IN THE PROBATE COURT OF BIBB COUNTY
STATE OF GEORGIA
Pursuant to Order Dated Auguest 9, 2006
Promulgating and Enacting the Following:
Internal Operating Procedures
Although probate practice is essentially uniform in Georgia, there is a two
tiered system of Probate Courts in Georgia, with certain different rules
applying in "Article 6 Probate Courts," as defined in Article 6 of Chapter
9 of Title 15 of the Code of Georgia Annotated. The Probate Court of Bibb
County is an "Article Probate Court," having the enhanced jurisdiction as
provided in O.C.G.A. §§15-9-127, et seq., and in the Uniform Rules of the
Probate Courts, which are available at
www.gaprobate.org. Attorneys and all persons representing themselves
cautioned to be aware of the differences which exist in "Article 6 Probate
Every pleading or document filed must be typed, printed or legibly hand
printed in black ink on 8.5" X 11" white paper. Pleadings or documents
which are illegible will not be accepted for filing. This rule, of course,
does not apply to original documents (e.g., wills and codicils) which may be
in a different format required to be filed with the court or to documents,
exhibits and other original things offered as evidence in a case. This
rule applies to pleadings and other documents prepared for the purpose of
being filed in connection with a proceedings pending in this court.
Georgia Probate Court Standard Forms [GPCSF]
For all proceedings for which there is a Georgia Probate Court Standard
Form, use of the approved standard form is preferred. Any GPCSF which is
retyped or recreated in any manner which alters the exact layout and format
of the approved form, including by use of word processing software, must
bear the certificate required under Uniform Probate Court Rule 21(F). For
any proceeding for which there is a GPCSF, the form must be fully completed
to the extent practicable and appropriate at the time of filing.
Incomplete forms may be returned to the submitting party, without being
filed, for completion.
Except for final orders in adult guardianship/conservatorship cases and
unless otherwise directed by the Court, the petitioner will be required and
expected to complete both the "Petitioner" and "Court" parts of any GPCSF.
Particularly with regard to will probate and administration proceedings
where the GPCSF calls for the listing of heirs of a decedent, complete
information (as required by the form) must be included when the list
includes grandchildren, cousins, nieces, nephews and other collateral heirs
concerning the deceased ancestor through whom those heirs are related to
the decedent. Petitions which do not contain the required information may
be returned to the filing party for completion. Attorneys and all persons
representing themselves should use diligence and caution in the listing of
the lawful heirs of a decedent to whom notice is required. The failure to
list all heirs to whom notice is required by law will result in a defect in
the proceedings, the necessity of formal amendment to the petition, and delay.
Attorneys and all person representing themselves should carefully review O.C.G.A.
§53-2-1 for a determination of who constitutes the heirs of a decedent. See
"Heirs Determination" for further information and a helpful worksheet to
Payment of Costs and Late Filings
For most pleadings and other documents filed, there is a corresponding court
cost. [See Schedule of Costs] Costs are due and payable at the time of
filing, and, except when accompanied by a proper pauper's affidavit, no
pleading must be accepted by the court without payment of the cost. For
new proceedings and for any filing for which the total costs is uncertain
or cannot be computed by the staff at the time of filing, an advanced cost
of $30.00 (plus certain additional fees as may be required for the
particular matter) must be paid. The Court does not accept personal
checks; all costs must be paid by cash, money order, or an attorney's check.
Unless necessary to meet a filing deadline, pleadings filed after 4:30 PM will be
filed and processed the next business day. If necessary to meet a filing deadline,
the pleading may be stamped "filed" and clocked in but will be processed
the following business day.
Unless specifically authorized by the Judge or Clerk of the Court, no
pleadings or documents may be transmitted to the court for filing by
Unless specifically authorized by the Judge or Clerk of the Court, no
pleadings or documents may be transmitted electronically to the court for
filing. The Judge will generally accept and may require briefs and
proposed orders by electronic transmittal.
Communication with the Judge
Judges are generally not permitted to have private (ex parte)
communications, correspondence or discussions with persons involved (as
parties or counsel or witness) in matters pending before the court or which
can reasonably be expected to be filed in the court, except when all
parties or counsel are present. Parties/counsel should not attempt to
have private conversations with the Judge regarding a pending or
potentially pending matter. Copies of all correspondence with the court
should be sent to all other parties/counsel.
Hearings and Trials
Routine hearings are set by the clerk to whom a file has been assigned.
The court holds hearings in all matters filed, except as directed by the
Judge. Trials are set by the Judge or at his direction.
Guardianship and Conservatorship Cases
Proceedings for the appointment of a guardian and/or conservator for a
minor or an incapacitated adult are among the most important and difficult
cases tried in Probate Court. These cases are handled by the Probate Court
of Bibb County in accordance with the degree of importance given them under
law. Counsel involved in guardianship and/or conservatorship matters in
the Probate Court of Bibb County will be expected by the Court to prepare
and handle the matter accordingly.
The Georgia Council of Probate Court Judges has produced two videos
concerning guardianship matters, one applicable to guardianships and
conservatorships of adults and one applicable to conservatorships of
minors. Except when specifically waived by the court, prior to the
issuance of Letters of Guardianship or Conservatorship, every guardian
and conservator appointed by the court will be required to view the
appropriate video and to sign a certification of the fact of the viewing.
The court has facilities here for the viewing of these videos. Copies
of the videos may be checked out for viewing outside this office by the
payment of a refundable $10 deposit.
In adult guardianship/conservatorship cases, the Court issues a
Order. Attorneys and all persons representing themselves
are required to comply with the provisions of the Standing Order.
As set forth in the Standing Order, the Court requires that a
criminal background check be performed on every person who is
nominated or appointed as a guardian or conservator. Ever person seeking
appointment as a Conservator must complete and file with the Court a
Guardians and Conservators appointed by this court are strictly monitored
in accordance with Georgia law and are required to use the reporting forms
provided by this court. Conservators are required to fully itemize all
income and expenditures on returns/accountings filed with the court and
are expected by the court to maintain full, accurate and complete records,
to maintain all bank statements and canceled checks, and to retain all
invoices, vouchers, bills, statements and other documents in support of
all transactions at least until the return for which those records apply
has been accepted, approved and recorded by the court. [It is recommended
that all such records be maintained for a period not less than three
years, and it may be advisable to maintain all records until the
conservator is fully discharged from office and all liability.]