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Probate Court

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 are cautioned to be aware of the differences which exist in "Article 6 Probate Courts."

Required Format

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 determine heirs.

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.

Facsimile Transmittals

Unless specifically authorized by the Judge or Clerk of the Court, no pleadings or documents may be transmitted to the court for filing by facsimile.

Electronic Transmittals

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 Standing 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 Qualifications Questionnaire.

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.]

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601 Mulberry Street Macon, GA 31201     Phone Number : (478) 621 - 6400