The Dougherty County Probate Court exercises jurisdiction over the administration of estates of deceased persons, the appointment of guardians and conservators for minors and incapacitated adults, the involuntary evaluation and commitment of persons suffering from mental illness or substance abuse, and the issuance of birth and death certificates, marriage licenses, weapons carry licenses, and certain specialized permits. During COVID 19 pandemic, the lobby is open for service BY APPOINTMENT ONLY Monday through Friday. Customers should arrive no later than 3:30 p.m., to allow sufficient time to conclude all business with the Court at or before 4 p.m. Except for scheduled appointments, no entry will be allowed in the Court after 4:00 p.m. From 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., the staff of the Probate Court must perform administrative and clerical duties required for accurate accounting and filing and for cleaning our work areas daily.
It is suggested that you discuss court filings with an attorney who practices probate or estate law. An attorney can assists in determining which proceeding is the most appropriate for your particular situation. Very often, there are other matters (such as spousal/minors’ support, taxes, deeds, title transfers, benefit claims, creditor notices, debtor demands) which may make it appropriate or necessary to seek the services of an attorney. If you proceed without an attorney, it will be your responsibility to determine or select the proceeding appropriate to your situation. The staff of the ProbateCourt cannot make the determination or selection for you, since to do so may constitute the unauthorized practice of law, a misdemeanor crime under Georgia law. Neither the Court nor the County can accept responsibility for incorrect decisions made by the staff, and they have been directed to refrain from giving that kind of advice.
It is also your responsibility to properly complete all forms, which must either be typed or legibly printed. The staff are not permitted to perform clerical tasks or complete court filings for the public. The Probate Judge is required by law to remain impartial to all parties. The Judge must treat every case as though it may become contested. Therefore, the Judge also may not advise you on which proceeding is most appropriate to your case. The Judge is prohibited from discussing the facts or evidence in any contested case with a party unless all parties are present. You should not ask to discuss your case privately with the Judge, and you should understand if the Judge stops any discussion which appears to require the presence of others.
Georgia Probate Court Standard Forms and General Instructions are available at: https://www.gasupreme.us/probate-court-standard-forms/ and helpful videos are available at: https://www.maconbibb.us/probate-court-video/
Certified copies of Georgia vital records (with government seal) can be ordered online. https://www.vitalchek.com/
Firearm applications can be completed online at https://www.georgiaprobaterecords.com/Firearms/FirearmsApplication.aspx
Marriage License applications can be completed online at https://www.georgiaprobaterecords.com/Marriage/MarriageApplication.aspx
The Probate Court accepts cash, money orders, credit and/or debit cards. Using a credit/debit card will incur an additional vendor’s fee. Unless you have the exact amount for a fee, no bill larger than a $50 will be accepted. Do not send cash in the mail.
Probate of Wills, Administration of Estates, Guardianships: Submit filings by mail or in person at the Court. Do not send cash in the mail.
Birth and Death Certificates: To request a birth or death record, you must have an official photo identification. The cost in the office (payable by cash, money order, or credit/debit card) or by mail to the Probate Court (payable by money order only) is $25. Each additional copy is $5 more. If you do not have an acceptable photo I.D., an immediate adult family member (i.e., mother, father, sister, brother, son, or daughter) may request on your behalf with their I.D. To request a vital record by mail, you must include a copy of the requestor’s official photo I.D. card, along with the record requested, the requester’s address, telephone number, and relationship to the person for whom the record is sought. Mail the written request and the payment to the Probate Court of Dougherty County at P.O. Box 1827, Albany, GA 31702. Do not send cash in the mail. However, a Georgia vital record may be retrieved in any county in Georgia, not just the county of birth, death, or marriage. You may also order a birth, death, or marriage record online at www.vitalchek.com
Weapons Carry Licenses: Complete the application online, and you will be contacted to schedule an appointment, no walk ins. You must be at least 21 years old unless you are active military. When applying, select New License whether the license is new or a renewal. If it is a renewal, bring your current license to the appointment, and the application will be changed to renewal. Once the application is submitted, you will be given a confirmation number. Allow up to two weeks for a phone call to schedule your office appointment to complete the application process. The charge payable to the Probate Court is $73.25 for a new application and $30 for a renewal. A separate money order in the amount of $20 payable to the Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office is required for a state-mandated NICS background check for all applicants, and an additional $5 cash payment is required for fingerprinting of new applicants.
Marriage Licenses: Complete the application online. Applicant 1 is the Groom or the person whose last name will not change. Applicant 2 is the Bride or the person whose last name may change. If either party was previously married, a final divorce decree or a death certificate is required. The cost is $56. With proof of at least 6 hours of documented premarital counseling, the cost is $16. Once the application is submitted online, both parties must be present at the Court to receive the license. The processing of marriage licenses ends at 3 p.m. The Probate Court does not conduct marriage ceremonies. After the parties are married, the marriage license must be recorded in the County where the marriage license was obtained. The fee to record the marriage license is $10.
Presiding Judge for the Probate Court is The Honorable Leisa G. Johnson
The Probate Court is located in the Judicial Building at225 Pine Avenue, Albany, in Suite 123. During COVID 19 pandemic, the Probate Court is open by appointment. They can be reached at 229-431-2102 to schedule an appointment.