Probate Shortcuts in Georgia

Save time and money when you wrap up an estate in Georgia.

Updated by , Attorney · George Mason University Law School

Georgia offers a probate shortcut for the estates of those who died without a will. If your loved one died without a will or other estate plan, you might be able to transfer your loved one's property using this simplified probate procedure. If so, you'll be able to save some of the time, money, and hassle associated with regular probate. Below, learn the rules for qualifying for this probate shortcut in Georgia.

Georgia's Simplified Probate Process for Estates With No Will

Most states offer simplified probate procedures for small estates—meaning estates that are particularly small in size or are particularly simple. Georgia has one simplified probate process, called a "petition for order declaring no administration necessary." However, it's available only to estates where the deceased person died intestate—meaning they didn't leave behind a will. (Ga. Code § 53-2-40 (2024).)

To use this simplified probate procedure, any heir can file a written request with the local probate court asking to use the simplified procedure. The court may then authorize the transfer of title to the assets without probate, making the whole process quicker and less costly for the heirs.

Requirements for Simplified Probate in Georgia

To qualify for simplified probate, the estate must meet these requirements:

  • the deceased person didn't leave behind a will
  • no personal representative has been appointed
  • the estate owes no debts, or all creditors have consented to the petition for simplified probate or will be served notice, and
  • all who are legally entitled to receive property (heirs) have agreed on how to divide the property.

If the estate meets the above qualifications, any heir can file a petition for simplified probate. (Ga. Code § 53-2-40 (2024).)

What to Include in the Petition for Order Declaring No Administration Necessary

The Petition for Order Declaring No Administration Necessary must include the following information:

  • the name and address of the deceased person
  • the name, ages, and addresses of the heirs of the deceased person
  • a description of the property
  • a statement that the estate owes no debts—or that creditors have consented to the petition or will be served notice, and
  • a written agreement signed by all the heirs—with each signature notarized—that states how they've agreed to divide the property.

(Ga. Code § 53-2-40 (2024).)

How the Simplified Probate Process Works in Georgia

If any creditor or heir objects, the court will refuse to grant an order that no administration is necessary. If the court finds that the estate qualifies—and there are no objections—it will issue an order that no administration is necessary. This order will state that the title of the deceased person's property vests with the heirs (as they've agreed in their written agreement). (Ga. Code § 53-2-41 (2024).)

If the deceased person owned real property, the court files a copy of the order in the deed of records in the county where real property is located to show that no administration is necessary. If personal property is located in another county, the order and the heirs' agreement to divide property may be filed with the superior court in that county. (Ga. Code §§ 53-2-40, 53-2-41 (2024).)

Getting More Help With Georgia Probate

For more information on probate in Georgia, also see the following Nolo articles:

Nolo also offers several resources and tools to help with Georgia probate. If you're an executor or personal representative of an estate and tasked with wrapping up a loved one's property, you can consult a probate attorney or the comprehensive book The Executor's Guide, by Mary Randolph (Nolo), for further help.

    On the other hand, if you're interested in actively planning now to minimize probate costs for your loved ones after your death, consider these next steps:

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