Court Information

PROBATE COURT DURING THE PUBLIC HEALTH STATE OF EMERGENCY

  • The Court will strictly enforce social distancing and a mask covering your mouth and nose is required.
  • Only one person will be allowed in the lobby at a time. Except for court appearances, visitors to the Probate Court should not bring anyone else with them unless he or she needs physical assistance or an interpreter.  
  • Self-represented litigants and attorneys are strongly encouraged to file petitions, motions, etc. by mail unless the matter is of an emergent nature.
  • Firearms permits and marriage licenses will be issued BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. Please visit the Marriage Licenses or Firearms Permit pages for additional information on how to schedule an appointment.

About the Court

Georgia Probate Courts exercise exclusive, original jurisdiction in the probate of wills, administration of estates, appointment of guardians and conservators (minor and adult), and involuntary commitment. In January 2017 the Probate Court of Newton County became an Article 6 Probate Court. Article 6 Courts have expanded probate jurisdiction. In accordance with OCGA § 15-9-127, Article 6 Probate Courts have concurrent jurisdiction with superior courts in proceedings regarding: 9 (A) Declaratory judgments; (B) Tax-motivated estate planning dispositions of wards' property; (C) Approval of settlement agreements; (D) Appointment of new trustees; (E) Acceptance of resignation of a trustee at beneficiaries' written request; (F) Acceptance of resignation of trustee upon petition of trustee; (G) Motions for DNA testing; (H) Conversion to a unitrust; and (I) Adjudication of petition for direction or construction of a will.

Melanie M. Bell, Probate Judge of Newton County, and her staff also administer oaths of office, issue marriage licenses and weapons carry licenses, and provide certified copies of birth and death certificates. Unless a jury trial is requested, Judge Bell hears certain misdemeanors, traffic cases, and violations of state game and fish laws.