Hi, I’m Paul.
When someone dies in Georgia, unless other arrangements have been made, their estate goes into probate. Probate is the process of legally winding up a deceased person’s affairs, including payment of debts and distributing property to heirs. In Dekalb County, this process is supervised by the Dekalb County Probate Court. This page gives you an overview of the Dekalb County Probate Court, including its location, the kinds of cases it deals with, and information on the Georgia probate process, including forms you may need.
If you have questions about the probate process, I’m here to help. There is no commitment and we provide free initial 15-minute phone calls. We look forward to meeting you.
Paul Black is a private attorney and does not work for the Probate Court of Dekalb County.
Where is DeKalb County Probate Court Located?
The Dekalb Probate Court is located in the Dekalb County Courthouse at 556 North McDonough Street, Decatur, GA 30030. All petitions relating to the probate of wills and estates are filed at this location. Most petitions require a filing fee to be paid. Please note that the court does not accept bills larger than $20 when you pay your filing fee in person.
Decatur GA probate court offices are open from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday. Forms turned in after 4:00 PM will be dated and processed on the following business day.
The Dekalb County Courthouse is closed for state and federal holidays. The court may also close for bad weather or other emergencies. To confirm that the court is open before you go, call the Dekalb Probate Court at (404) 371-2601.
Cases at DeKalb County Courthouse Probate Court, Decatur GA
These are the types of cases that are handled by the Probate Court of Dekalb County, GA:
- Administration of estates
- Validation of wills
- Involuntary mental health commitments
- Guardianship and conservators for minors or incapacitated adults
- Marriage license applications (can be filed online)
- Georgia firearms license applications (can be filed online)
For questions about specific actions, such as land records and public records, you can contact a clerk for informational purposes who supervises that type of procedure. However, most services in the courthouse can only be done if you have scheduled an appointment.
Probate isn’t always required in Dekalb Probate Court and any other Georgia supreme court. However, it is necessary if the deceased person’s assets belonged only to them, and they died without naming a beneficiary of the estate.
Rather than providing different types of probate, the Probate Court of Dekalb County may allow an estate not to go through probate if the deceased person didn’t leave a will, all heirs agree with asset distribution, and the creditors don’t object, or the estate has no debts.
But, if you think you may need legal advice and assistance with the DeKalb County Probate Court, schedule a consultation with a probate attorney in Atlanta who is intimately familiar with this court. Our office is equipped to handle any probate issues involving the estate. However, we do not handle firearms-permit-related issues.
For more information, fill out our contact form or visit our official website.
DeKalb County Probate Process
Probating an estate in Georgia usually involves these three steps:
- Gathering all the assets of the deceased person’s estate, including money, investments, bank accounts, real estate, and other property.
- Paying off the debts and taxes owed by the estate.
- Distributing the remaining assets to the heirs.
The specific way these steps are accomplished can differ, depending on the size of the estate, whether or not the deceased person was married, and whether or not there is a will.
Georgia Probate When There is a Will
There are four possible types of probate when there is a will:
- Solemn Form Probate:
- When the heirs are known and present, this form is used for the immediate conclusion of the estate.
- Common Form Probate:
- This is filed by the executor when all heirs are unknown and are inconclusive for up to four years following public notice of a death.
- Probate of Will in Solemn Form/Letters of Administration with Will Annexed:
- This type of petition is filed when the executor named in the will is unable or unwilling to carry out the duty and names a new administrator (usually by agreement of a majority of the heirs).
- Will Filed Not for Probate:
- If there is no property to distribute to heirs, the will is filed with the court to create a permanent record, but no probate is carried out. There is no fee for this filing.
Georgia Probate When There is No Will
When a person dies without a will (“intestate”), there are three possible proceedings:
- Permanent Administration:
- Notice to all heirs is required. The spouse or sole heir becomes the administrator unless they decline or are disqualified; otherwise, the administrator is chosen by a majority of the heirs.
- Temporary Administration:
- Notice to heirs is not required, but heirs may choose an administrator who compiles the estate inventory. No expenditures or disbursements are made without a court order.
- No Administration Necessary:
- If all the estate’s debts are paid, no other administration is needed, and all heirs agree to the division of the estate. This is the form of probate used.
Other Georgia Probate Petitions
There are also petitions that may be filed whether there is a will or not:
- Year’s Support:
- Filed on behalf of surviving spouse or minor children to set aside a specified part of the estate for their support before payment of unsecured debts or any distribution under a will.
- Petition to Enter Safe Deposit Box:
- Filed when it is believed that the deceased person’s will is in a safe deposit box. If there is a will, the bank is required to deliver it to the probate court and to deliver any insurance policies to the beneficiaries. Burial instructions and any deeds to burial plots may be removed; all other items remain in the box until an executor or administrator is in place.
Georgia courts have worked hard to streamline the process to make it easier on grieving families, and it is legal to handle probate without an attorney.
If you choose to go through probate without an attorney, you’re responsible for obtaining information to help you make the right decisions. That means knowing which forms you need, completing the forms, handling the filing fees, and understanding the possible outcomes of your decisions. Getting it wrong can cost time and money.
The Dekalb County probate office staff and the Dekalb Probate Court judges are limited by law in the assistance they can provide. They can answer questions about the types of forms, filing deadlines, and fees but cannot give you any advice on how to proceed. They also cannot complete forms for you or make copies.
The Law Office of Paul Black can advise you during any part of the probate process in Dekalb County. While it is best to handle estate planning and draw up a will ahead of any need, we understand that life can take unexpected turns. Even if you do not have a will, we can assist you with filing the correct Dekalb probate forms.
Georgia Probate Forms
The Council of Probate Court Judges of Georgia has made the most often used probate court forms available online. For your convenience, most forms you need are available online, including supplementary forms. You can download them to your computer and fill them in before printing, or print them out and then complete them by hand. Before completing any of these forms, make sure you carefully read and follow the general instructions for completing all Georgia Probate Court forms.
GA Probate Forms
- Petition for Temporary Letters of Administration
- Petition for Letters of Administration
- Petition to Probate Will in Common Form
- Petition to Probate Will in Solemn Form
- Petition to Probate Will in Solemn Form & for Letters of Administration w/ Will Annexed
- Petition for Letters of Administration with Will Annexed (Will Previously Probated)
- Petition for Order Declaring No Administration Necessary
- Petition for Year’s Support
- Petition for the Appointment of an Emergency Guardian and/or Conservator for a Proposed Ward
- Petition for the Appointment of a Guardian and/or Conservator for a Proposed Ward
- Petition of Personal Representative for Leave to Sell Property
- Petition of Conservator for Leave to Sell Property or Rent, Lease, or Otherwise Dispose of Property
- Petition for Leave to Sell Perishable Property by Conservator
- Petition for Leave to Convey or Encumber Property Previously Set Aside as Year’s Support
- Petition for Presumption of Death of Missing Individual Believed to be Dead
- Petition to Compromise Doubtful Claim of Minor/Ward
- Petition for Leave to Encroach on Corpus
- Bond of Administrators, Conservators, & Executors, Etc.
- Petition to Establish Custodial Account for Minor or Incapacitated Adult
- Petition for Temporary Letters of Guardianship of Minor
- Petition for Permanent Letters of Guardianship of Minor
- Petition for Letters of Conservatorship of Minor
- Petition by Personal Representative for Waiver of Bond and/or Grant of Certain Powers
- Petition for Discharge of Personal Representative
- Petition of Conservator for Final Settlement of Accounts and Discharge from Office and Liability
- Petition for the Appointment of a Temporary Medical Consent Guardian for a Proposed Medical Consent Ward
- Commission to Administer Oath
- Service upon Minor or Adult Ward through Service Upon Guardian
- Adult Conservatorship Inventory and Asset Management Plan
- Minor Conservator Inventory and Asset Management Program
- Petition for the Restoration of an Individual Found to Be in Need of a Guardian and/or Conservator
- Certificate in Accordance with Uniform Probate Court Rule 5.9(D)
- Petition for Leave to Sell Perishable Property by Personal Representative
- Petition for Determination of Right of Disposition of Remains of a Decedent
- Supplement 1: Determination by Court that a Person May Act as Guardian or Appointment of Guardian Ad Litem
- Supplement 2: Appointment of Special Process Server
- Supplement 3: Certificate of Service
- Supplement 4: Guardian/Conservator/Personal Representative Oath
- Supplement 5: Petition for Letters of Testamentary Guardianship
- Supplement 6: Interrogatories to Witness to Will
Georgia Probate Court Records
Probate court does not just determine current estate matters in Dekalb County. Dekalb County Probate Court records can also assist in tracing the history of a property and its ownership or recovering copies of wills and other documents for genealogical research.
Copies of birth and death certificates can be obtained through the Vital Records division at the Dekalb County Department of Public Health.
Locating and copying these records may require payment of fees. For information about obtaining older or historic Dekalb County court records, call the Dekalb County Probate Court at (404) 371-2601.
Dekalb County Probate Attorney
Legal procedures and forms are challenging to understand, and it can be especially difficult to make decisions when you’re grieving a loss or concerned for the well-being of minors and other family members. A trained and experienced probate attorney can offer invaluable assistance for matters such as:
- Drawing up a will or other forms of estate planning
- Making arrangements for long-term care or end of life matters
- Appointing an executor or guardian
- Settling an estate in probate
- Locating a missing heir
- Contesting a will
Paul Black is a seasoned Dekalb County attorney who specializes in estate and elder law. If you are struggling with the probate process or other matters through the Dekalb County Probate Court, contact Paul for an appointment today!