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The Burke County Probate Court exercises jurisdiction over the administration of estates of deceased persons, the appointment of guardians and conservators for minors and incapacitated adults, the involuntary evaluation and commitment of persons suffering from mental illness or substance abuse, and the issuance of birth and death certificates, marriage licenses, weapons carry licenses, and certain specialized permits.
It is suggested that you discuss court filings with an attorney who practices probate or estate law. An attorney can assists in determining which proceeding is the most appropriate for your particular situation. Very often, there are other matters (such as spousal/minors’ support, taxes, deeds, title transfers, benefit claims, creditor notices, debtor demands) which may make it appropriate or necessary to seek the services of an attorney. If you proceed without an attorney, it will be your responsibility to determine or select the proceeding appropriate to your situation. The staff of the Probate Court cannot make the determination or selection for you, since to do so may constitute the unauthorized practice of law, a misdemeanor crime under Georgia law. Neither the Court nor the County can accept responsibility for incorrect decisions made by the staff, and they have been directed to refrain from giving that kind of advice.
It is also your responsibility to properly complete all forms, which must either be typed or legibly printed. The staff are not permitted to perform clerical tasks or complete court filings for the public. The Probate Judge is required by law to remain impartial to all parties. The Judge must treat every case as though it may become contested. Therefore, the Judge also may not advise you on which proceeding is most appropriate to your case. The Judge is prohibited from discussing the facts or evidence in any contested case with a party unless all parties are present. You should not ask to discuss your case privately with the Judge, and you should understand if the Judge stops any discussion which appears to require the presence of others.