Probate Court is a court of limited jurisdiction responsible for the probate and administration of estates for Stephens County residents. The Probate Court exercises exclusive, original jurisdiction in the probate of wills, administration of estates, appointment of guardians and involuntary hospitalization of incapacitated adults and other individuals. Glenda Ernest is the Probate Judge.
All probate court judges administer oaths of office and issue marriage licenses. They may hold habeas corpus hearings or preside over criminal preliminary hearings. Unless a jury trial is requested, probate court judges may also hear certain misdemeanors, traffic cases and violations of state game and fish laws in counties where there is no state court. When authorized by local statute, probate judges serve as election supervisors and make appointments to certain local public offices. Some probate courts serve as the Registrar of Vital Records.
It is a court of record; therefore, all documents filed in Probate Court must be recorded in minute books and kept permanently available to the public.
Probate court judges are elected to four-year terms in countywide, partisan elections. A candidate for judge of the probate court must be at least 25 years of age, a high school graduate, a U.S. citizen and a county resident for at least two years preceding the election. In counties with more than 96,000 residents, a candidate for probate judge must have practiced law for seven years and be at least 30 years of age.
The Probate Court is committed to providing you with excellent customer service. We will be happy to assist you with any questions or concerns you may have about the services of this office or the procedures you must follow for a particular process. Please be advised, however, that state law prohibits our staff from rendering legal advice, restating the law or recommending specific ways to pursue legal action. If you have a problem involving the interpretation of the law, we suggest you contact an attorney licensed in the State of Georgia.
As a service to Stephens County residents, we have provided links to gaprobate.org, the homepage of Georgia's Probate Courts. On this website you will find information and resources to assist you in matters such as estate planning, acquiring marriage and firearms licenses and guardianships. You will also find the Georgia Probate Court Standard Forms, which are currently available in both Microsoft Word and Corel WordPerfect format. Use the menu at left to navigate to these resources.
For fee information, please contact the court.
Glenda Ernest, Probate Judge
70 N. Alexander St. Suite 108
Toccoa, GA 30577
Phone 706-886-2828 Fax 706-886-0335