One of the things I like most about the law is it gives us a set of rules. Don’t know what to do? Go to the rulebook. There are literally hundreds of thousands of pages in the Official Code of Georgia, and in those pages is a rule that covers just about everything. And in case you disagree about those rules or if something isn’t covered, there are even more pages of appellate decisions interpreting those rules.
Given that premise, that there’s a rule for everything, and everything has a rule, you might wonder why things are so different when you cross county lines. Why, for example, is submitting a will for probate in one county so vastly different than submitting it in the next county over, when you submit it using the same state-wide form?
The answer, frankly, is people. And relativity – as Albert Einstein himself said, “Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT’S relativity.” Whether something happens quickly or slowly is relative. It depends on the number of people employed by the court, the number of citizens the court serves, and the general efficiency of the folks who work there. What is reasonably a week’s job in one place might reasonably be six weeks in another.
A court that serves a lot of people is almost always going to take longer to process your paperwork than a court that doesn’t. Anyone who has worked in an office for more than a couple of hours knows that some offices are run well and some aren’t. Some have systems that move paper from one place to another with efficiency and some have bureaucracies that seem designed to get as little as done as possible. Even if they are dealing with the same law and the same set of papers, the people dealing with them may have more to do, may not be as efficient or effective, and may be up against an office bureaucracy that sets people up to fail.
When that happens, be aware that there is little your lawyer can do about it. All your lawyer can do is get the right paperwork to the right place in a timely way. Once it is there, if your lawyer calls too often or is too annoying it might work at cross-purposes to what you’re trying to accomplish. Sure, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, but more often than not we shove the Brussels Sprouts underneath the mashed potatoes and hope no one notices. Don’t be the Brussels Sprouts.
Nothing in this article should be construed as legal advice. It is being offered for informational purposes only.