Probate office readies for election year

The New Year has arrived and it will be a busy one for all of us in the probate office. This is election year so we, along with the other election officials, will be busy ordering ballots, arranging for poll workers and training sessions and doing all of the work that goes into holding free and fair elections in our county. The primaries are March 13; if runoffs are necessary, they will be April 24; and the general election is November 6. I hope everyone that is eligible will vote in these elections because this is the foundation of our democracy.

Watch for notices from the Board of Registrars about a few changes in voting locations and district lines. Some county commission and state board of education districts have changed due to the 2010 census and a few voting locations will change.

You will be mailed a notice before the March primaries if these changes affect you.

In addition to working on the upcoming elections, I have the privilege of being chairman of the state’s Electronic Recording Commission, which is tasked with developing and writing standards and business practices for implementing electronic recording in all probate offices. The commission has been meeting quarterly for the past couple of years and is close to completing its work. Once the standards and business practices have been adopted it will be up to each probate judge to elect to participate in electronic recording of documents such as deeds and mortgages.

At the request of the Alabama Law Institute, I am serving on two committees responsible for reviewing and drafting legislation for consideration by the legislature. The Partition of Heir Property Committee is drafting legislation designed to provide a framework for dealing with inherited property that is fair for all heirs. The Collaborative Law committee is working on legislation that would establish a framework for resolving legal disputes that is voluntary for the parties.

All of us in the probate office will also continue to assist people with their probate issues as we have in the past.

We cannot give legal advice, but we are more than happy to assist you in any other way we can. I am very fortunate to work with wonderful ladies who are genuinely interested in the people of our county and I look forward to working with these ladies and serving you this year.

Jim Fuhrmeister is the Shelby County probate judge.