2020 Georgia Code
Title 53 - Wills, Trusts, and Administration of Estates
Chapter 11 - Proceedings in Probate Court
§ 53-11-3. (For Effective Date, See note.) Personal Service; Generally

Universal Citation: GA Code § 53-11-3 (2020)
  1. Except as otherwise prescribed by law or directed by the probate judge, a party in interest who is a resident of this state is entitled to personal service of any petition and citation for proceedings that are subject to the provisions of this chapter.
  2. (For effective date, see note.) Except as otherwise provided in this Code section, personal service shall be made by delivery of a copy of the petition and citation by the sheriff or some other lawful officer at least 30 days before the hearing except that, if waived in writing or if shortened by the probate court upon good cause shown, the 30 day provision shall not apply. An entry of such service shall be made on the original and the copy for the party served.
  3. A party who is in the military service may be served by any commissioned officer who shall file with the probate court a certificate stating that copies of the petition and citation were served in person.
  4. Individuals who are not sui juris shall be served as provided in this chapter or as provided in Code Section 15-9-17.
  5. (For effective date, see note.) When personal service is required by this Code section, unless otherwise directed by the probate court, service may be made by registered or certified mail or statutory overnight delivery if the petitioner so requests in the petition. The court shall cause a copy of the petition and the citation to be sent by registered or certified mail or statutory overnight delivery with return receipt requested and with delivery restricted to addressee only. If the return receipt is not signed by the addressee, dated at least 30 days before the date specified in the citation, except where shortened by the court upon good cause shown, and received by the court before the date specified in the citation for the filing of objections, service shall be made as otherwise required by this Code section.

(Code 1981, §53-11-3, enacted by Ga. L. 1996, p. 504, § 10; Ga. L. 1998, p. 1586, § 45; Ga. L. 2000, p. 1589, § 3; Ga. L. 2020, p. 377, § 1-64/HB 865.)

Cross references.

- Service of process generally, § 9-11-4.

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 2000, p. 1589, § 16, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that the Act shall be applicable with respect to notices delivered on or after July 1, 2000.


This section provides general provisions for personal service. Unless a specific law or the probate judge directs otherwise, personal service is required for all parties in interest who are residents of Georgia. This section reflects the provisions of former OCGA Sec. 53-3-14.


Editor's notes.

- In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, decisions under former Code 1933, § 113-607, and former O.C.G.A. § 53-3-14 are included in the annotations for this Code section.

Notification of probate by publication insufficient when absent heir is member of armed forces.

- In the probate of a will in solemn form, the absence from the state, at the time of probate, of an heir at law who resided within the state, solely because of service in the armed forces of the United States, does not change one's domicile or residence so as to authorize service on that person of a notice of probate by publication. Foster v. Foster, 207 Ga. 519, 63 S.E.2d 318 (1951) (decided under former Code 1933, § 113-607).

Service upon an attorney who may represent a person is not service upon the person so as to give a court jurisdiction of the person where personal service is required. Souter v. Carnes, 229 Ga. 220, 190 S.E.2d 69 (1972) (decided under former Code 1933, § 113-607).


Am. Jur. 2d.

- 80 Am. Jur. 2d, Wills, § 808 et seq.


- 95 C.J.S., Wills, §§ 545 et seq., 557.

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