DECEDENT’S ESTATES DURING COVID-19

"Emergency" or other time-critical cases: If your petition or other pleading is time-critical, such as an impending foreclosure or you have reason to believe that an estate representative is stealing funds or the like, we will work with you to make sure your case is handled appropriately so that the estate’s assets are not wasted. We may be able to accept your filing your pleading in person at the courthouse. First, however, please email a copy of what you intend to file in person to wwwilliamson@chathamcounty.org for review.

Non-emergency or other cases: Examples of such cases might be petitions to probate a will, or to appoint an administrator to an estate, or for a year’s support, or amendments or objections to any of those. These might also be reports or inventories required of a personal representative of an estate. Absent a time-critical situation, we accept these filings only by mail or overnight delivery.

Oaths and official letters: We are now able to administer your oath of office “remotely,” that is, online, once your petition to probate a will or to administer an estate has been granted. You may find it surprisingly easy. When your case is ready for an oath, we will contact you by email or mail with instructions. Once you take your oath, we will mail you your formal Letters, which will show your legal authority.

Hearings By Remote Video Conferencing: The Supreme Court’s order of judicial emergency, as modified and extended, suspended the Uniform Rules of Probate Court rule 11.2(E)(4), which addresses public access to the location at which a judge is presiding over a remote video conference. Accordingly, the public and all litigants are hereby notified that any hearings scheduled to be conducted during the period of judicial emergency may be conducted remotely. You may contact the Clerk of Probate Court for information about viewing such remotely handled hearings. (You may read the Supreme Court’s orders at: https://www.gasupreme.us/rules/amendments-to-rules/).

Decedent's Estate

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 Probate Court is located at 133 Montgomery Street, Room 509, Savannah, Georgia 31401 (Map and Directions). The office accepts filings Monday through Friday, excluding holidays, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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


What if the only asset the decedent owned is a bank account with less than $10,000?
If the deceased person had no will and the only asset is money deposited in a bank or other financial institution, and the amount is less than $10,000, an heir-at-law may be able to claim those assets by completing an affidavit for financial institution without petitioning for Letters of Administration. O.C.G.A. §7-1-239. Some banks may require a Determination of Heirs Worksheet with the Banking Affidavit.


Filing your Will for Safekeeping
You have the option to file your will for safekeeping in the Probate Court. Only you or your attorney can file a will for safekeeping. Wills that are filed for safe-keeping will require a $15.00 storage fee. The will should be brought to Probate Court in a sealed envelope. The testator must complete an information sheet and the sealed envelope containing the will is then 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.


What if a decedent owes me money?
If a decedent owes you money, you can notify the personal representative by filing in Probate Court a "Claim Against the Estate" . The Probate Court does not have jurisdiction to hear a disputed claim so you should file a legal action in the appropriate other court to prove your claim and obtain a judgment.

If you have any further questions specific to a Decedent’s Estate, please call (912) 652-7264 (Option 4).