Wes Lewis, Judge
Colquitt County Courthouse
9 South Main St., Office 108
P.O. Box 264
Moultrie, GA 31776
Office Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Monday - Friday
Closed on all major holidays
THE PROBATE COURT OF COLQUITT COUNTY
Probate courts in Georgia are courts of limited or special jurisdiction. Each of the 159 counties in Georgia has one probate court and one probate judge. The probate judge is an elected Constitutional County Officer with a four-year term of office. Probate judges are the successors to the position originally known as the "Ordinary." Before the creation of Boards of Commissioners which today govern the affairs of a county, the Ordinary was the chief administrative officer of the county and ran the county's business. Many of the administrative duties and functions of the probate court derive from that fact.
Probate courts have exclusive, original jurisdiction over certain categories of cases involving decedents' estates, adult guardianships and/or conservatorships, minor guardianships and/or conservatorships, and involuntary treatment of persons suffering mental illnesses or addiction to or abuse of drugs or alcohol. In addition, probate courts perform other judicial and administrative functions.
The estates of persons who die domiciled in or owning property in the State of Georgia are primarily administered under the supervision of the probate courts. Probate courts hear and rule upon petitions to probate wills, petitions to appoint administrators, petitions for year's support, and petitions for orders declaring no administration to be necessary. When required by law or a will, probate courts rule upon the sale and disposition of the property belonging to, and the distribution of, the property of a decedent. Probate courts receive, audit and review the returns of all administrators and executors required by law to file reports with the court. The discharge or removal of executors and administrators and their sureties is within the jurisdiction of the probate courts.
Adult Guardianships / Conservatorships
Probate courts have jurisdiction over the appointment and supervision of guardians/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. All guardians of an incapacitated adult must file annual reports on the physical/mental status of the ward, and all conservators must file an inventory of assets and annual financial accountings, all of which are subject to review or audit by the staff of the probate court. The discharge or removal of guardians/conservators and their sureties is within the jurisdiction of the probate courts.
Minor Guardianships / Conservatorships
Probate courts have jurisdiction over the appointment and supervision of conservators of the property of minor children. Conservators of minors also must file an inventory of assets and annual financial accountings with the probate court. Probate courts may also appoint permanent guardians or temporary guardians of the persons of minor children in certain circumstances.
Probate courts may order the assessment and evaluation of persons 17 years of age and older who are believed to be mentally ill and/or addicted to or abusive of alcohol or drugs and who appear to be a risk of danger to themselves or others. The probate courts in counties in which there is located a state regional mental hospital or a designated private mental hospital may also order the involuntary treatment of such persons for limited periods of time.
Probate courts perform other judicial and ministerial functions, including, but not limited to the issuance of marriage licenses; issuance of firearms permits; upkeep of all public records and minutes of proceedings in the probate court; acceptance and maintenance of funds, as custodian, for missing heirs and minors without guardians; issuance of residency certificates; issuance of licenses to conduct business by veterans maintenance; issuance of permits to perform public fireworks displays; filling vacancies in certain public offices; administering oaths to public officials; acceptance, and the approval and recording of bonds of certain public officials. Probate courts may hear cases involving the removal of obstructions from roads.
In Colquitt County, the probate judge serves as the superintendent of elections for the county, thereby having charge and supervision of all elections held in the county.
Forms and other information
Many, but not all, of the proceedings filed in probate courts, are initiated by the use of a Georgia Probate Court Standard Form. Those forms are available in the probate court office located at the Courthouse in downtown Moultrie. These standard forms may also be accessed and downloaded from the Probate Court Information System at gaprobate.gov.