How to Handle a Non-Resident Decedent's Real Estate in Georgia
Did your deceased loved one own property in Georgia, but live in another state? You'll handle the probate process in the state where he or she lived. But how do you sell or otherwise transfer the property in Georgia? This guide to ancillary probate in Georgia (or ways around it) will help.
Ancillary probate is often unnecessary in Georgia.Georgia statutory law clearly gives duly appointed out-of-state personal representatives (executors and administrators) the authority to "sell and convey any property of the decedent" within Georgia. This may be done without an ancillary probate action. All you need to have authority to sell (or transfer) real property of a non-resident decedent in Georgia is: (1) a duly appointed personal representative from another state, and (2) the Letters Testamentary/Letters of Administration from the out-of-state jurisdiction. O.C.G.A. Section 53-5-42.
So, what steps do I take instead of ancillary probate?In order to present a clear chain of title, you'll want to take the following steps to transfer the non-resident decedent's Georgia property: first, the personal representative will execute an Executor's Deed or Administrator's Deed (whichever is appropriate) in the Georgia county where the real property is located. The personal representative should attach an authenticated copy of: (1) the Order admitting the Will to probate in the foreign jurisdiction (if there's a Will) and (2) his or her Letters Testamentary/Letters of Administration to that deed. (These documents must be authenticated according to O.C.G.A. Section 24-9-922.) If there is a Will, an authenticated copy of the Will should also be attached. The authenticated documents will serve as muniments of title, pursuant to O.C.G.A. Section 53-5-35, and the chain of title to the property will be intact and clear.
So, I don't ever need to do ancillary probate in Georgia to transfer real estate?Typically, no. However, some title companies will insist upon an ancillary probate action. If you are dealing with a buyer (or beneficiary) that is getting title insurance, explain that Georgia permits the transfer of real estate without ancillary probate, show them this guide, and see how they want to handle it from there. Good luck!