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HB 0865 - Wills, trusts, and administration of estates; Revised Probate Code of 1998; revise and update provisions

Tracking Level: Monitor
Sponsor: Mitchell Scoggins
Last Action: 1/1/2021 - Effective Date
House Committee: Code Revision
Senate Committee: Judiciary
Assigned To:
08. Probate CourtsNext Bill
12. All CourtsNext Bill
CivilNext Bill

Staff Analysis of the Legislation


HB 865 amends Titles 7, 9, 10, 15, 19, 23, 50, and 53 of the OCGA to provide comprehensive revisions of laws regarding wills, trusts, and estates. The jurisdiction of all probate courts is expanded to include DNA testing and approval of settlement agreements. Additionally, the jurisdiction of Article 6 probate courts is expanded to include declaratory judgments involving fiduciaries and construction of wills and trust matters. The qualifications of Article 6 court judges are aligned with those of superior and state court judges. The bill also clarifies that probate courts are allowed to appoint a temporary administrator in the absence of a personal representative. HB 865 revises language across several subjects to provide clarification and improve consistency across Code Sections. The bill extends the time limit for filing objections in probate matters from ten to thirty days. It also clarifies that the execution of will formalities requires physical presence and electronic signatures are not sufficient. The bill further outlines which actions do not violate a no contest clause in a will or trust. The bill states that year’s support is to be preferred before all other debts or demands and clarifies year's support provisions applied to a decedent’s minor children born to individuals other than the decedent’s surviving spouse. The bill also outlines the circumstances in which property taxes can be divested. The bill provides for a prudent investor standard for trust assets all allows for trustees to consider the personal beliefs of beneficiaries when making investment decisions. Finally, HB 865 amends the 'Georgia Power of Attorney Act' to bring uniform act provisions in line with statutes regarding real property transfers and Medicaid qualification trusts and codifies several common law practices.

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