Alabama Probate Office
alabama probate
   Alabama Probate Office | Probate Office

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An Alabama probate office has many varied responsibilities. However, they can be broken up into a few generalized areas: presiding over wills, recording, licensing, and motor vehicle tags and titles. These activities are specified by the Alabama legislature, and are performed by various staff in different departments of the probate office.

The probate court handles guardianships (also known as conservatorship, adoptions, wills and estates, registration for name changes, and court cases dealing directly with mental illness. If a person is mentally ill and needs a guardian or needs to be committed to an institution because they can not take care of their own affairs, this court would be the proper administrative court for such proceedings.

If a child needs a guardian or is to be adopted, this court handles those affairs, also. The probate court also processes testate estates, which are estates that have a valid will when there is a death. The office must make sure that death certificates are in order, claims are paid, and heirs ultimately receive distribution of the decedent's assets. The office has still more duties.

The office has a section for recording important matters of public interest. When property is bought and sold, the office records the transaction so that deeds are never in question as to ownership. In fact, all official transactions related to real property must be recorded through the probate office, including tax liens, auctions, transfers, and sales. You don't want to purchase a home or land without recording the transaction so that your name is on the deed. Similarly, when money is owed for taxes, a tax lien is registered against property held by the person who owes the money. If they try to sell the property, any potential buyer who checks with the office finds the lien is unlikely to complete the transaction until the lien is paid off, first. If it is not paid, after a certain period of time the county conducts a tax lien auction to dispose of the property and get the tax money. Of course, the office also collects a fee for recording property transactions.

The recording division will keep permanent records of all public documents and enables public access for reviewing the documents. Copies may be ordered by written request. Not only do they record property transactions, but the recording division also records marriages, as well as births and deaths. A marriage certificate must be obtained from the office in order to get married. They keep copies of certificates on file and these are available by public access. Death certificates are filed with the office when someone dies, just another part of the probate process.

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