Administrations (Permanent and Temporary)
When an individual has not made a Will, or if the Court deems the Will to be invalid, the Estate can be handled through an Administration. An administrator is appointed to represent the estate. The laws of assent determine the heirs to receive property. A Petition for Temporary Letters of Administration only allow the Administrator to “collect and hold” the property of the Estate. A Permanent Letters of Administration allow the Administrator to distribute the property in the estate, in accordance with Georgia Law. You may have to file Inventory, Annual Returns, or other proceedings if you are not granted full powers.
To begin the process, a Petition for Letters of Administration must be filed with the Court. The Initial Filing Fees must be paid upon filing the petition. Any interested party or heir can file the Petition for Letters of Administration. The petition has to be completely filled out, including a complete listing of each and every heir of the deceased, each heir’s age (or over 18), addresses, and relationship to the deceased. NOTE: If you need help determining who are the heirs, you may use the “Heir Determination Worksheet”.
Once the Petition is filed and the filing fees paid, the petition is docketed and assigned a file number. The court reviews the Petition for deficiencies, and contacts the Petitioner if further information is needed to properly complete the petition. Or, the Court schedules a hearing date. The Court determines if citation is needed, prepares any required notice, and has the notice published or served. There are additional costs for notices to be served or published. If an objection (Caveat) is filed to the Petition, a new hearing date will be assigned. The Judge makes a ruling on the Petition and upon his determination signs the Order and Letters of Administration, and the Petitioner takes his/her Oath. The Judge may require you to post a Bond and file an Inventory and Annual Returns during the Administration of the Estate.
The filing fees for the petition must be paid at the time the petition is filed with the Probate Court. The Probate Court accepts cash, money orders, or personal checks made payable to “Bryan County Probate Court.” Any balance of court costs must be paid prior to the Order or Letters of Testamentary being issued.