Our Georgia probate attorneys answer questions from relatives of decedents who lived outside of Georgia at the time of their death and filed the will for probate outside of Georgia, and now need to file a copy of that will in the state of Georgia. Attorney Sharon Rowen has given many seminars on behalf of Georgia estate and probate lawyers. Her lectures cover numerous state of Georgia attorney probate and estate topics. The following excerpts from her June 8, 2006 seminar materials, "Troubling Shooting Real Estate Transactions Involving Georgia Probate" may be of used to people with Georgia probate issues involving deceased relatives that did not live in Georgia at the time of their death. The Georgia estate lawyer and Georgia probate attorney know that Georgia probate and estate law is in constant flux. They understand the need to stay apprised of the most recent changes in the Georgia estate and probate statutes. Hopefully, these Georgia probate materials, as related to out-of-state domiciled decedents, will be of use to the lay person as well as to the Georgia estate and probate lawyer needing more detailed information.
An out of state will is the will of an individual who was domiciled at death in a state other than Georgia who owns property located in Georgia. A foreign will is the will of an individual who dies while domiciled outside the United States and owns property in Georgia.
There are three different categories of probate for these wills:
1. Original probate of wills not admitted to probate in the jurisdiction of the decedent's domicile;
2. Ancillary probate of out of state wills already admitted to probate in the jurisdiction of the decedent's domicile;
3. Ancillary probate of foreign wills admitted to probate in a foreign country where the decedent was domiciled.
An out of state will may be admitted to ancillary probate upon presentation of a copy of the will and a properly authenticated copy of the final probate proceedings from the court of the domiciliary state. For the admission to ancillary probate of a foreign will that has been probated or established under the laws of the domiciliary country, a certified copy of the will and an authenticated copy of the proceedings in such foreign court, under the seal of the court must be received as prima facie evidence of the due execution of the will.
Once an out of state or foreign will has been admitted to ancillary probate, the executor named in the will or the personal representative from the jurisdiction where the will was probated is entitled to qualify as executor or administrator with the will annexed in Georgia. Once qualified, an ancillary personal representative is subject to Georgia laws governing the administration of estates.
All wills that are probated or established in a state other than Georgia constitute muniments of title for the transfer of real property in this state to the beneficiaries mentioned in the will. The will must be admitted in evidence as a muniment of title when accompanied by properly authenticated copies of the record admitting the will to probate in the other state, certified according to OCGA 24-7-24, and when the certified copy of the will is recorded in the deed records of the clerk of the superior court of the county in which the land lies. OCGA 53-5-35. It is good practice also to file a copy of the executor's letters testamentary and an assent to devise signed by the executor, witnessed in accordance with Georgia real estate law.