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Decedent's Estate

General Information

The clerk and deputy clerks desire to help all parties that ask for assistance and will attempt to do so. The clerk and deputy clerks are strictly forbidden to practice law by statute and are restricted in what they can give advice about or assistance in preparing. Sound legal advice must only come from a licensed practicing attorney and the clerk's office encourages all parties to seek competent legal advice. We ask that you be understanding with our staff as we attempt to assist you, knowing the limitations we face in assisting each individual party to a case.

The Estate Division of the Probate Court is located on the main floor of the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center (click for directions) located at 75 Langley Drive, Lawrenceville, Georgia 30046. The office accepts filings Monday through Friday, excluding holidays, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

All pleadings filed with the Gwinnett County Probate Court by mail must be signed, verified, and have the appropriate filing fees. Pleadings without fees will be returned without filing. Mail all pleadings to:

  Gwinnett County Probate Court
Estate Division
75 Langley Drive
Lawrenceville, GA 30046

 

What do I do when a loved one dies?

If your loved one dies with a will, you must file the will in the Probate Court in the county where the deceased was domiciled at the time of his death. If your loved one was not domiciled in Georgia at the time of his death, you may file the deceased’s will in any Georgia County where he owned property.

Upon the death of the deceased, you are required by law to file the deceased’s will with the Probate Court; however, you are not required to probate a will. If an estate has no assets, there may be no need to probate a will. wills that are filed not for probate are scanned and stamp-filed to be made a part of the official record. There is no fee for filing the will not for probate.

If your loved one died without a will, you may file to administer his estate in the Probate Court of the County where he was domiciled at the time of his death. If your loved one was not domiciled in Georgia at the time of his death, you may file to be appointed as the administrator of the estate in any Georgia County where he owned property.

http://gaprobate.gov/content/what-do-when-loved-one-dies?menu=main

 

How do I identify the heirs of an estate?

Heirs and beneficiaries may not be the same people. Heirs are determined by law at the time of your death and are the persons who would inherit from your estate if you died without a will. Beneficiaries are named in a will to receive your property.

http://gaprobate.gov/sites/default/files/probate/determination of heirs worksheet.pdf

 

What are my duties as Personal Representative of an estate?

Can I file my will for safekeeping with the Court?

You have the option to file your will for safekeeping in the Probate Court. Wills that are filed for safe-keeping will require a $15.00 storage fee. In addition, the testator must complete an information sheet and the will is then placed in a sealed envelope and filed in a fire-proof cabinet. The will shall remain confidential, and no person other than the person depositing the same, his legal representative, or his attorney in fact shall have access to the file prior to the death of the testator.

 

Probate Forms

The Council of Probate Court Judges of Georgia has created standard forms for use in every Georgia Probate Court. The forms are updated annually and the Gwinnett County Probate Court requires that you use the most updated form. For your convenience, the Gwinnett County Probate Court has created non-standard forms for certain recurring situations where no standard form is available.

Standard Georgia Probate Forms

http://gaprobate.gov

Frequently used forms:
Petition to Probate will in Solemn Form (Form 5)
Petition for Letters of Administration (Form 3)
Petition for Year’s Support (Form 10)
Petition for Discharge of Personal Representative (Form 33)

Non-Standard Gwinnett Probate Forms

Annual Return (filed by Administrators, Executors, and Conservators as required)
Application to Appoint Successor Executor (Executor dies or resigns)
Generic Motion form
Information Sheet for a will Filed not for Probate
Inventory (filed by Administrators or Executors as required)
Notification for Change of Address (for Executors, Administrators, Personal Representatives, Guardians, Conservators, wards, and minors)
Petition to Accept Resignation (Personal Representative, Executor, Administrator, Conservator, Guardian requesting to resign)
Petition to Open Safe Deposit Box (form will allow examination of contents in box)
Petition to Reduce Bond (request for reduction of bond based on reduction of assets in the estate)
Will Filed for Safekeeping (information sheet to accompany the original will)

 

Filing Fees

Prior to mailing in or filing your petition in our office, please contact an Estate clerk at (770) 822-8350 for the current filing fees. All fees are due at the time of filing. The Probate Court accepts cash, credit cards (Visa, Discover, MasterCard), personal check, or money order.

 

What if I cannot afford to pay filing fees?
If you cannot afford to pay filing fees, you may complete a Petition to Proceed in Forma Pauperis and attach the following: most recent pay stub, bank statement, Medicaid award letter or any other proof of your current income. Your petition may be granted initially but the fees may be required after an estate is opened and money is available to the Personal Representative.

Petition to Proceed in Forma Pauperis

 

Glossary of Terms