TN 17 (04-15)
GN 02315.047 Georgia — Small Estates
The Georgia Code Annotated provides for dispensing with the administration of an estate under certain circumstances under Ga. Code Ann. §§ 53-2-40 to 53-2-42 (2014).
Section 53-2-40 provides that, when an individual has died intestate without a personal representative appointed in Georgia, any heir may file a petition in probate court praying for an order that no administration is necessary, if:
All heirs have agreed upon a division of the estate (the agreement must be attached to the petition, contain original signatures from all heirs, and be attested to by a probate court clerk or notary public); and
The estate owes no debts or, if there are debts, all known creditors consent or will be served. There is no limitation on the size of an estate that may be settled with this procedure.
Following the probate court issuing an order dispensing with administration of the decedent’s estate, the decedent’s heirs take title to the decedent’s property as stated in the agreement attached to the petition praying for an order that no administration is necessary. Ga. Code. Ann. § 53-2-41(d).
After the probate court grants an order that no administration is necessary, any creditor of the decedent shall have a right of action on the unsatisfied debts against the heirs, to the extent of the value of property that the heirs received. Ga. Code Ann. § 53-2-42. Consequently, once the court has granted such an order, it does not appear that SSA would be liable to creditors for paying the underpayment to the heirs pursuant to the agreement attached to the petition praying for an order that no administration is necessary.
Accordingly, if a probate court has issued an order dispensing with administration of the deceased number holder’s estate and an underpayment is to be paid to the legal representative(s) of the deceased number holder’s estate, SSA should pay the underpayment as indicated in the unanimous agreement of the heirs that was attached to the petition praying for an order that no administration is necessary. If such agreement does not indicate which heir or heirs takes title to the underpayment, refer the matter to the Regional Attorney for an interpretation of Ga. Code Ann. § 53-2-1.