Located on the lower level of the Walker County Courthouse in LaFayette, you’ll find Probate Court, the administrator of many family matters.
Probate Court handles marriage and weapons carry licenses, fireworks permits, guardianship for children and adults, wills, estates and mental health hospitalizations, among other duties.
Marriage and weapons carry licenses make of the bulk of requests handled by this court. Judge Christy Anderson said, “If they’re going to get a weapons carry permit, when they come in for the first time, or if you’ve allowed your permit to expire more than 30 days, then when you come in you will need your driver’s license that has your current physical address on it and then you will need $79.75 cash.”
You also need your driver’s license and 66-dollars in cash to obtain a marriage license. “The law says that no prior marriage may be presumed, so therefore when you come in for a marriage license and you’ve had a prior marriage or two or three, you must have the final decree that is signed by the judge for the divorce from every marriage prior,” said Anderson.
Both licenses require an in person office visit. “We have to put all the information in and print it. We don’t even have an application out there to hand you. It’s all generated once we put your information in and then printed,” Anderson added.
When it comes to wills and estate planning, Anderson knows the topic makes many people uneasy, but she carries the mantra taught to her by the longtime Probate Court Judge W.L. Abney. “If you own a pen, please have a will telling me who you want that to go to, because anything you own is yours and my job is to make sure I grant your wishes of who you want that to go to. So, if nothing else, just please have a will. And if you don’t have the money for an attorney to draw-up a will, that’s fine. Our wills are public record. Come down and get a copy of one. Look at it and see if that is what you like and go by it.”
The court’s offices can be reached by calling 706-638-2852. Office hours are 8:00 a.m. to Noon and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.