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  1. #1
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    Mar 2010
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    Default Petition to Probate: Need Signature of an Heir, or Her Poa, or a Guardian Ad Litem

    My question involves estate proceedings in the state of: Georgia

    I'm trying to draw up, pro se, a petition to probate my father's will in solemn form. All of his heirs must have a notarized signature on the petition. For my Dad's widow, it's a little murky as to whether or not she is fully competent to sign on her own behalf. When I mentioned her sporadic confusion to the probate clerk, she told me that the judge likely would want a guardian ad litem for her. There's a form for this that I suppose I would have to submit to the judge, but I don't know if that should be included with the petition or if it should be submitted prior to the petition.

    She already has two durable POA's, one of them being her local accountant. With that in mind, would a judge still require a proceeding for the court to choose a GAL?

    I'm not sure it would even come up, but I don't want to take a chance. Should her POA sign the petition on her behalf? Or in addition to her signature? Or not at all?

    I have lots of questions about filing this petition, but this is the biggest one and the most baffling to me.

    This question seems to cross several topics. Please tell me if I should move this post to another section.

  2. #2
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    Mar 2013
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    17,288

    Default Re: Petition to Probate: Need Signature of an Heir, or Her Poa, or a Guardian Ad Lite

    Quote Quoting TooConfused
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    I have lots of questions about filing this petition, but this is the biggest one and the most baffling to me.

    This question seems to cross several topics.
    That tells me you should be talking to an attorney as there are just too many things that are destined to go wrong if you DIY.

  3. #3
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    Mar 2010
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    16

    Default Re: Petition to Probate: Need Signature of an Heir, or Her Poa, or a Guardian Ad Lite

    That would be ideal, but none of us (heirs) can afford to do that. Filing fees are >/< $200 to begin with. My father's attorney charges $500 on top of that. The estate has no liquid value and none of us can afford a lawyer; we're splitting the filing fees and will not be reimbursed by the estate. I had been advised/guided by a free lawyer from the NCOA, and with his help I had filled out all the required forms for the petition to probate in solemn form. This is an issue I did not anticipate when I was talking with him. I hoped maybe someone might be familiar with this particular issue and could share some information. Does anyone know if a GAL is necessary if there already is a POA? And if a POA will suffice, should he sign in addition to or instead of the widow? How likely is this to come up, anyway -- unless the clerk remembers my anonymous phone convo from a week ago, why would the judge even ask? I understand that it could be a basis to challenge the will if there were anything worth fighting over, but there's not.

    You hit on one of my fears, though: Will a judge likely be prejudiced against a petitioner attempting pro se, and look for just any reason to reject it?

  4. #4
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    Oct 2006
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    15,744

    Default Re: Petition to Probate: Need Signature of an Heir, or Her Poa, or a Guardian Ad Lite

    Quote Quoting TooConfused
    View Post
    That would be ideal, but none of us (heirs) can afford to do that. Filing fees are >/< $200 to begin with. My father's attorney charges $500 on top of that. The estate has no liquid value and none of us can afford a lawyer; we're splitting the filing fees and will not be reimbursed by the estate. I had been advised/guided by a free lawyer from the NCOA, and with his help I had filled out all the required forms for the petition to probate in solemn form. This is an issue I did not anticipate when I was talking with him. I hoped maybe someone might be familiar with this particular issue and could share some information. Does anyone know if a GAL is necessary if there already is a POA? And if a POA will suffice, should he sign in addition to or instead of the widow? How likely is this to come up, anyway -- unless the clerk remembers my anonymous phone convo from a week ago, why would the judge even ask? I understand that it could be a basis to challenge the will if there were anything worth fighting over, but there's not.

    You hit on one of my fears, though: Will a judge likely be prejudiced against a petitioner attempting pro se, and look for just any reason to reject it?
    What assets does the estate have if there is nothing liquid? I am asking for a reason.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Petition to Probate: Need Signature of an Heir, or Her Poa, or a Guardian Ad Lite

    Quote Quoting TooConfused
    View Post


    You hit on one of my fears, though: Will a judge likely be prejudiced against a petitioner attempting pro se, and look for just any reason to reject it?
    No, judges are not prejudiced against pro se as long as the pro se submits everything properly. It's the messes that they have little patience for.

  6. #6
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    Nov 2013
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    Default Re: Petition to Probate: Need Signature of an Heir, or Her Poa, or a Guardian Ad Lite

    You haven't said specifically if there is a will or he died intestate.

    I would have just asked her to sign the partition and let someone contest that partition. The POA to her accountant probably does not give the accountant authority to sign the partition in a probate action. He probably has authority to pay bills and control her cash assets.

    I think you are overthinking the issue.

  7. #7
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Petition to Probate: Need Signature of an Heir, or Her Poa, or a Guardian Ad Lite

    Quote Quoting budwad
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    You haven't said specifically if there is a will or he died intestate.

    I would have just asked her to sign the partition and let someone contest that partition. The POA to her accountant probably does not give the accountant authority to sign the partition in a probate action. He probably has authority to pay bills and control her cash assets.

    I think you are overthinking the issue.
    op said there is a will in the first post:

    I'm trying to draw up, pro se, a petition to probate my father's will in solemn form.

  8. #8
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    Nov 2013
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    Default Re: Petition to Probate: Need Signature of an Heir, or Her Poa, or a Guardian Ad Lite

    OK, I missed that but how does that change my advice if at all?

  9. #9
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    Sep 2010
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    Default Re: Petition to Probate: Need Signature of an Heir, or Her Poa, or a Guardian Ad Lite

    Note, that what she's signing isn't the petition itself, it's just acknowledgment that she's been served with the petition. She doesn't need to be continually or even fully competent, just there enough to understand that she is receiving the notice. As for the power of attorney, the form specifically states how that is handled if you read the instructions. The attorney-in-fact (that's the person granted power of attorney) has to sign and provide the copy of the power of attorney that shows they have the right to do that act. We can't see either power of attorney, so we can't say if is handled. Also if she has a real attorney, he may be already able to act for her.

    But given the case that she isn't competent and there is no attorney (actual or in fact), then you'll have to petition for a guardian ad litem. This can be any responsible adult who is not in conflict of interest with the ward.

  10. #10
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    Mar 2010
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    16

    Default Re: Petition to Probate: Need Signature of an Heir, or Her Poa, or a Guardian Ad Lite

    Quote Quoting llworking
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    What assets does the estate have if there is nothing liquid? I am asking for a reason.
    There is a vehicle, personal property (clothes, papers, some yard tools, paintings, books, etc.), and deed to a house with underwater reverse mortgage (his house, not his wife's). We need the deed in order for one of us to buy back the house. The personal property would bring next to nothing if ordered sold, but the loss of all sentimental items would devastate us.

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
    View Post
    No, judges are not prejudiced against pro se as long as the pro se submits everything properly. It's the messes that they have little patience for.
    That is good to know. I hope I can avoid making messes! That's your concern for me, I realize. I'm going to do my best.

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