Conservator/County Administrator appointed ex-officio administrator of ward’s estate

In In re Estate of Brown, 357 Ga. App. 869, 850 S.E.2d 503 (2020), the Fulton County Probate Court appointed Ann Herrera as conservator for Leon Brown in 2011. After Brown died, Herrera filed a petition for letters of administration and Brown’s sister, Linda Glover, objected. Glover argued that Brown was a resident of Henry County, so the petition for letters of administration should be filed there. The Fulton Probate Court disagreed and appointed Herrera ex-officio administrator. Glover appealed.

On appeal the decision below was affirmed. Glover failed to object to the probate court’s jurisdiction over the conservatorship and OCGA § 29-5-72(g) provides: “When a ward for whom the county administrator or county guardian has been previously appointed as conservator dies intestate, the conservator shall proceed to distribute the ward’s estate in the same manner as if the conservator had been appointed administrator of the estate.” Citing Williams v. State, 299 Ga. 632 (2016), the Court of Appeals found that this specific statute prevails over the general statute providing that administration shall be in the county of decedent’s domicile. OCGA § 53-6-21(a).

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