(706) 453-7716     info@greenecountyga.gov

Probate Court

Probate Court - Judge Laverne Ogletree

Phone: 706-453-3346
Fax: 706-453-7649
Hours: Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. (4 p.m. Wednesday)
              Closed for lunch 12-1
Address: 113 North Main St, Suite 113, Greensboro, GA 30642

Each of Georgia's 159 counties has a Probate Court, with one judge for each court. The Probate Court performs many functions that are not limited to probate matters. The Supreme Court described the duties of the Probate Judge well in Comer v. Ross as "an official charged with the performance of duties judicial, ministerial, and clerical. Not by his or her title, but only by his acts, can the exact capacity in which the Judge appears ever be known upon any occasion." In Greene County, the Probate Judge presides not only over probate and traffic matters, but is also the Chief Magistrate Judge, and Vital Records Custodian.


The Probate Court office exercises exclusive, original jurisdiction in the following:

  • probate of wills
  • administration of estates
  • appointment of guardians
  • involuntary hospitalization of incapacitated adults and other individuals.
Probate Court Forms

Click here for court forms. 

For Probate Court questions, contact Donna Sidwell.

Marriage Licenses

Contact Dale Temple for Marriage License Questions. 

A marriage license may be issued under the following conditions and procedures:

County of Issuance:
1. If one of the parties is a resident of Georgia, the license can be issued in any county.
2. If neither party is a resident of Georgia, the license must be issued in the county in which the marriage ceremony is to be performed. 

Application:
1. A marriage license is issued based upon a written application made by the applicants, verified by oath of the applicants. 

Blood Test:
1. As of July 1, 2003, premarital blood tests are no longer required. The State of Georgia, however, recommends that each applicant applying for a marriage license obtain a blood test for sickle cell disease prior to obtaining a marriage license.

Surname:
1. The applicants must designate on the application the legal surname that will be used after the marriage. An applicant may choose his or her given surname or his or her surname as changed by order of the superior court, the surname from a previous marriage, the spouse's surname, or a combination of the spouse's surname and the applicant's given or changed surname or surname from a previous marriage.

Legal Requirements:
1. The parties must be of sound mind, must have no living spouse from an undissolved prior marriage, and must not be related in a degree prohibited by law. If the parties are at least 18 years of age, they may apply without parental consent. If either or both parties are less than 18 years of age, but at least 16 years of age, the parties may apply only with parental consent of the underage party or parties. Both parents must give written consent unless his/her rights have been terminated by an Order of a court.
2. Persons related by blood or marriage, falling within the following relationships may not be married in Georgia: (1) father and daughter or stepdaughter, (2) mother and son or stepson, (3) brother and sister of the whole blood or half blood, (4) grandparent and grandchild, (5) aunt and nephew, and (6) uncle and niece.

Premarital Education Program:
1. Under Georgia Law, a couple who present to the court at the time of making application a certificate of completion of a qualifying premarital education program shall not be assessed a marriage license fee(other charges may apply). The premarital education shall include at least six hours of instruction involving marital issues, which may include but not be limited to conflict management, communication skills, financial responsibilities, child and parenting responsibilities, and extended family roles. The premarital education shall be completed within 12 months prior to the application for a marriage license and the couple shall undergo the premarital education together. The premarital education shall be performed by:

(1) A professional counselor, social worker, or marriage and family therapist who is licensed pursuant to Chapter 10A of Title 43;
(2) A psychiatrist who is licensed as a physician pursuant to Chapter 34 of Title 43;
(3) A psychologist who is licensed pursuant to Chapter 39 of Title 43; or
(4) An active member of the clergy when in the course of his or her service as clergy or his or her designee, including retired clergy, provided that a designee is trained and skilled in premarital education.

Counties:
1. Check the individual county probate courts for more information concerning each court. 

Firearms Licenses

Contact Dale Temple for Firearms License Questions. 

Please click here for more information. 

Probate Proceedings: Wills & Estate Planning

Duties of Personal Representatives

What to do when a loved one dies

Glossary of Terms

Administrator The person who administers a decedent's estate when there is no will.

Administrator With Will Annexed The person, other than an Executor, who administers a decedent's estate when there is a Will (the Will fails to name an Executor or the named Executor cannot or will not serve).

Decedent The deceased person.

Executor The person who administers a decedent's estate when there is a Will.

Heirs Those persons who would inherit the estate of a decedent if there were no Will under the rules of descent and distribution. "Heir" does not mean the same thing as "beneficiary", although an heir may also be a beneficiary.

Intestate Without a Will.

Letters Testamentary/Letters of Administration The official document issued by the Probate Court evidencing the authority of an executor or an administrator.

Personal Representative Any executor, administrator, guardian or trustee, but not a temporary administrator.

Probate The court procedure by which a Will is proved to be the valid last Will of a decedent; also used generically to refer to the legal process of administering a decedent's estate.

Probate Court The Court having jurisdiction over proceedings to administer the estate of a decedent; also has other jurisdiction.

Proceeding Pro Se Representing yourself in court without an attorney

Testator A person who has made a Will.

Will A document, signed with the formalities required by Georgia law, by which a person makes disposition of his property, to take effect after his death.

Guardianship: Adult, Minor and Temporary

Handbooks for Guardians/Conservators

Alternatives to Guardianship and Conservatorship of Adults in Georgia

Adult Guardianship and Conservatorships
Probate courts have jurisdiction over the appointment and supervision of guardians and conservators of adult persons found to be incapacitated by reason of physical or mental illness to such an extent that the adult is no longer capable of making reasonable and rational decisions concerning his or her person or of managing his or her money and property. Guardians made decisions concerning the person of the Ward, and Conservators manage and make decisions concerning the income and property of the Ward. Conservators must be bonded for the value of all income and personal property of the Ward, and Guardians may be required to post bond. Guardians an incapacitated adult must file annual reports on the physical/mental status of the ward. Conservators must file an inventory of assets, an asset management plan and annual financial accountings, all of which are subject to review or audit by the staff of the probate court. The appointment, supervision, removal and discharge of guardians, conservators and their sureties are within the exclusive, original jurisdiction of the probate courts.

Minor Conservatorships
Probate courts have jurisdiction over the appointment and supervision of Conservators for minors. A Conservator may be required if a minor inherits money or personal property not in a trust or under the management of a testamentary conservator, when a minor has received an award of damages in a personal injury lawsuit, or when a minor is the named beneficiary of life insurance or retirement benefits. Conservators must be bonded for the value of all income and personal property of the Minor. Conservators must file an inventory of assets, an asset management plan and annual financial accountings, all of which are subject to review or audit by the staff of the probate court. The appointment, supervision, removal and discharge of conservators for minors and their sureties are within the exclusive, original jurisdiction of the probate courts.

Minor Guardianships
Under certain circumstances, probate courts have jurisdiction over the appointment and supervision of temporary and permanent guardians for minors. A permanent guardian may be appointed for a minor who has no living parents or, after notice to the parents without objection, when the parents fail to properly care for the minor. Permanent guardianship of a minor, though similar, is not the same as legal custody of a minor, which may be granted only by superior or juvenile courts in Georgia.

Temporary guardianship may be granted to a person having physical custody of a minor in need of a guardian. The consent of the natural guardian(s) must be given in writing or the natural guardian(s) must be given legal notice of the proceeding. The probate court may not grant temporary guardianship of a minor over the objection of a natural guardian. The natural guardian(s) of a minor is/are the parents, if living, or the parent(s) having legal custody of the minor if the parents are divorced or were never married. The granting of temporary guardianship of a minor does not permanently terminate the parental rights of the parents. Temporary guardians hold, during the term of the temporary guardianship, all of the powers of a natural guardian, which will include the authority to consent to medical treatment and to enroll the child in school. Temporary guardians may be required to file reports on the personal status and conditions of the minor.

Cost and Investigations
There are court costs and fees which must be paid in connection with any guardianship and/or conservatorship case. Attorneys' fees will also be involved in many cases. Particularly for adults, consideration should first be given to Alternatives to Adult Guardianship and Conservatorship. Most probate courts will require that all conservators and some guardians, particularly guardians of minors, undergo a criminal background check before appointment. Services caseworkers, social work professionals, and skilled and personal care facility administrators and staff.

Training and Educational Materials
Most probate courts will require all guardians and conservators of adults and all conservators of minors to view a training video and to read a handbook prepared and published for the courts by the Council of Probate Court Judges and the Administrative Office of the Courts. Even if not required, the videos and handbooks are excellent training and educational tools for guardians and conservators. There are links to those resources in the links above.

Traffic Violations

For traffic violations, contact Natasha Smith.

Pay your traffic ticket online.

Traffic Arraignments start at 9 a.m. on the first Tuesday of every month

Question: Do I have to appear in Court?
Answer: If you have been charged with one of the following, you do need to appear for the Court hearing.

  • DUI
  • Misdemeanor possession of marijuana
  • Driving on suspended license
  • Driving without a license
  • Driver over 24 miles per hour over the speed limit (and under 21 years of age).
Magistrate Court

Click here for the Magistrate Court.

Genealogical Requests

The library’s genealogical resources webpage can be found here. This webpage has links to genealogical associations and other resources.

While we do not assist in genealogical requests, the Greene County Law Library maintains the following records for genealogical research during office hours:

  • Birth Records (1890 onward)
  • Death Records (1919 onward)
  • Marriages (1801 onward)
  • Wills (1796 onward)
  • The Herald Journal newspaper (1805 onward)
  • Government Minutes (1886 onward)
  • Guardianship records (1856 onward)

Additionally, the following individuals can be contracted/hired to assist in the search/retrieval of genealogical information:

Elaine Neal
2451 Greensboro Hwy, Watkinsville, GA 30677
706-310-9891
Elaine@rgneal.com 

Betty J. McPhail
Phone: 706-816-1676

For general inquiries and direction, contact County Historian Joel McCray at the following:
120 North Main St., Greensboro, GA 30642
Phone: 706-453-7534

For vital records maintained by the State of Georgia, visit www.health.state.ga.us, or contact:
State of Georgia Vital Records Office
2600 Skyland Drive NE, Atlanta, GA 30319
Phone: 404-679-4701

For various special collections of historical documents maintained by the Georgia Archives, visit this site.

For cemeteries, your most valuable resource would likely be a book titled The Cemeteries of Greene County, Georgia sold by the Chamber of Commerce for $30, plus shipping/taxes. To purchase it, call 706-453-7592. A reference copy of this book is kept at the Greene County Public Library, along with many other genealogical resources pertinent to Greene County and this region. The library’s phone number is 706-453-7276.

Upcoming Events

Planning and Zoning Board Meeting

March 28, 2017 @ 4:00 pm - 12:00 am
To view the meeting agenda, click here.

Board of Commissioners Regular Meeting

April 11, 2017 @ 5:00 pm - 12:00 am
To view the agenda for the meeting, click here.