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FAQ – Probate

How do I know if I need to write a will?

Any amount of property that you own constitutes your estate. Generally, the size of your estate and your family circumstances determine whether you need a Will. An estate does not have to be any particular size to justify a Will. If you have young children, or property that you would like to assure will be given to certain people, then you should consider writing a Will.

Where can I find the office to buy my car tag?

Since 1986, the duties of vehicle registration, title transfers, boat registration, business licenses, and Alabama driver’s license renewal moved from the Office of Probate Judge to the Office of License Commissioner. The office is located on the ground floor of the Clinton Street Courthouse Annex and may be reached at (256) 233-6430.

What is the difference between the adoption by a step-parent and/or a close relative and other adoptions?

There is usually a lot less formality and requirements when the adoptee is being adopted by a stepparent or close family member. Unlike all other adoptions, usually no preplacement or postplacement investigation nor accounting of the cost relating to the adoption are required. Nevertheless, in order to be exempt from these requirements, the adoptee must have lived with the petitioner for at least one year.

What does it mean to probate a will?

Probate of a Will is the administration of an estate to insure that all of the property is disposed of properly. It is the Probate Judge’s responsibility to make sure that all of the laws in Alabama regarding the distribution of estates are followed.

What is an involuntary commitment?

An involuntary commitment is a procedure whereby a person is involuntarily placed in the custody of the State Department of Mental Health for treatment. A person cannot be committed due to a drug or alcohol problem. The law specifically states that such problems do not constitute a mental illness for purposes of this act.

What type of records would I find in the probate office?

The following records are required by law to be submitted to the office of the Probate Judge:

  • Plats or maps
  • Judgments and liens
  • Deeds, mortgages, deeds of trust, bills of sale, contracts, or other documents purporting to convey any right, title, easement, or interest in any real estate or personal property
  • Petitions, decrees, or orders of bankruptcy
  • Corporations and other forms of business organizations
  • Lis pendens
  • Marriage license and military discharges
  • Documents and instruments concerning condominiums
  • Mortgages on personal property