Probating a Georgia Will – The Law

Chapter 5 of the revised probate code contains the law for probating a Georgia Will:
§ 53-5-2. (Revised Probate Code of 1998) Right to offer will for probate
The right to offer a will for probate shall belong to the executor, if one is named. If for any reason the executor fails to offer the will for probate with reasonable promptness, or if no executor is named, any interested person may offer the will for probate. § 53-5-3. (Revised Probate Code of 1998) Time limitation A will shall not be offered for probate following the expiration of five years from the latest date on which a petition is filed for: (1) The appointment of a personal representative of the decedent’s estate; or (2) An order that no administration is necessary on the decedent’s estate; provided, however, that the will of a testator who died prior to January 1, 1998, may be offered for probate at least until December 31, 2002. § 53-5-16. (Revised Probate Code of 1998) Conclusiveness; persons protected if set aside (a) The probate of a will in common form is not conclusive upon anyone interested in the estate adversely to the will except as provided in Code Section 53-5-19. (b) If set aside, probate of a will in common form does not protect the executor in any acts beyond the executor’s normal duties of collecting and preserving assets of the estate and paying the debts of the estate. Bona fide purchasers without notice under legally made sales from the executor will be protected. § 53-5-17. (Revised Probate Code of 1998) Procedure (a) A will may be proved in common form upon the testimony of a single subscribing witness and without notice to anyone. If the will is self-proved, compliance with signature requirements for execution is presumed and other requirements for execution are presumed without the testimony of any subscribing witness. (b) The petition to probate a will in common form shall set forth the same information required in a petition to probate a will in solemn form. The petition shall conclude with a prayer for the issuance of letters testamentary. § 53-5-21. (Revised Probate Code of 1998) Procedure (a) A will may be proved in solemn form after due notice, upon the testimony of all the witnesses in life and within the jurisdiction of the court, or by proof of their signatures and that of the testator as provided in Code Section 53-5-23. The testimony of only one witness shall be required to prove the will in solemn form if no caveat is filed. If a will is self-proved, compliance with signature requirements and other requirements of execution is presumed subject to rebuttal without the necessity of the testimony of any witness upon filing the will and affidavit annexed or attached thereto. (b) The petition to probate a will in solemn form shall set forth the full name, the place of domicile, and the date of death of the testator; the mailing address of the petitioner; the names, ages or majority status, and addresses of the surviving spouse and of all the other heirs, stating their relationship to the testator; and whether, to the knowledge of the petitioner, any other proceedings with respect to the probate of another purported will of the testator are pending in this state and, if so, the names and addresses of the propounders and the names, addresses, and ages or majority status of the beneficiaries under the other purported will. In the event full particulars are lacking, the petition shall state the reasons for any omission. The petition shall conclude with a prayer for issuance of letters testamentary. If all of the heirs acknowledge service of the petition and notice and shall in their acknowledgment assent thereto, and if there are no other proceedings pending in this state with respect to the probate of another purported will of the decedent, the will may be probated and letters thereupon may issue without further delay.

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