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Probate Judge Office provides diverse services
L to r: Tara James, Associate Probate Judge, and Gloria Dubberly, Tattnall County Probate Judge.
L to r: Tara James, Associate Probate Judge, and Gloria Dubberly, Tattnall County Probate Judge.

The office of the Tattnall County Probate Judge offers a multitude of services, many of which the public is unaware.

Tattnall County Probate Judge Gloria Dubberly and Associate Judge Tara James were guests of the Glennville Rotary Club on Wednesday, June 8, 2022.  James outlined the many services the court offers.

The areas of services include estates, guardianships, licensing, business, criminal, civil, and governmental.

“We issue marriage licenses to those who are 18 years of age or older.  All minors who want to marry and are between the ages of 16 and 17 are no longer able to, even with the consent  of their parents.  They have to be emancipated, which involves filing a request to be emancipated through Superior Court,” she said.  In 2021, 133 marriage licenses were issued by the Tattnall County Probate Court.

Firearms licensing is another service of the Probate Court, and, in 2021, 720 weapons permits were issued to those 21 and older; however, permits can be issued to an 18-year-old  actively serving in the U.S. military.

“The requirements to obtain a firearms license are that an individual must be 21 years of age and have no criminal background with reference to any felonies.  Also, if an individual has been hospitalized in any mental, alcohol, or drug treatment center within the last five years, they will not be issued a license.  A firearms license is good for five years, and can be renewed up to 90 days prior to expiration or 30 days after expiration to avoid additional fingerprinting fees,” she said. “In 2022, with the passing of the Constitutional Carry law, we have seen a decline in carry permits, now just at 143 so far this year.

“We handle birth and death records in our office, dating back to 1919 for individuals who were born in our county.  We have a computerized system that allows us to retrieve vital records from all 159 counties in Georgia, but we cannot access birth and death records from another state.

“I am also the Passport Acceptance Agent, and I accept passport applications by appointment.  I am often asked the difference between a passport book and a card.  A card will only allow border crossings by land or sea.  A passport book allows you to travel internationally by airplane.  Minors can obtain a passport as long as both parents consent, and there are few exceptions,” she said.  

For a passport, the fee for an adult is $130 for routine service and $190 for expedited service, and it is $100 for routine and $160 for expedited service for a child.  The validity of a passport is ten years for an adult and five years for a child.

“We handle unclaimed corpses for our local and state prisons, and all unclaimed bodies are held by the correctional facility pending notification of a family member for disposition. If no one comes forward, we post a Notice to Dispose of Corpse for 24 hours,” she said.

Permits to Disinter/Reinter Human Remains and Transfer Permits are handled by the Probate Judge’s office.  This procedure involves the relocation of a deceased person from one burial site to another within the same cemetery or to transport a body from one location to another destination.

Other services include issuing of fireworks and explosive permits, and Orders to Apprehend for individuals who have a mental illness or alcohol or drug dependency.

“We prepare Certificates of Residency, which are required by all colleges and universities, proof of residency for students entering graduate programs in Georgia,” she said.

Other services handled include the following:

• Acceptance of Waiver of Extraditions for inmates in our local prisons and jails

•Applications for Veteran’s Certificate of License Tax exemptions

•Guardianships and Conservatorships for Minors and Incapacitated Adults

•Administering of deceased persons estates, such as done by will probates, petitions for administration, and other procedures, with a recommendation to use an attorney because the law restricts the Probate Judge’s Office from giving legal advice.

The Tattnall County Probate Judge’s Office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Monday through Friday, and is located in the Judicial Annex, phone (912) 557-6719.