How to Prove That an Estate Is Solvent in Georgia

by Jennifer Williams Google
Georgia estates prove themselves solvent through the probate process of creditor payment.

Georgia estates prove themselves solvent through the probate process of creditor payment.

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Georgia law defines a solvent estate as one that has the funds to cover all exemptions and pay all debts according to the hierarchy of debt payment provided by statute. In Georgia, a portion of an estate's value is protected from creditor claims. Debts of the estate are then paid in order according to Georgia statute. Unsecured creditors are paid last if the estate has the money, or assets left to liquidate, to pay them. Georgia estates are assumed solvent unless and until the estate runs out of money or assets available for liquidation during the debt payment portion of the probate process.

Step 1

Reserve the amount of one year's support for the family of the deceased. This amount of estate value is exempt from creditor claims, which means creditors cannot touch it to satisfy their claims against the estate. This exempt amount comes off the top of the estate's value, which means it gets set aside first before any other estate obligations are paid.

Step 2

Collect all of the deceased's assets and assign a value to each. Assets include furniture, clothing, jewelry, artwork, investment portfolios, life insurance, autos, real property and business ownership interests. Value the assets by assigning fair market value to personal property and obtaining professional appraisals of real property, high value items such as autos, jewelry and artwork. Fair market value can be derived from advertisements for similar items listed in the newspaper. File an inventory of all assets and their corresponding values with the Georgia probate court.

Step 3

Publish a notice to creditors in the newspaper of record in the Georgia county where the deceased lived within 60 days of appointment as personal representative. Publish the notice for four consecutive weeks. Creditors have three months from the fourth publication to file notice of their claims against the estate with the personal representative.

Step 4

Pay creditors according to the hierarchy of payment provided by Georgia statute. Funeral expenses must be paid first, followed by the expenses of probating the estate. Such expenses include the personal representative's fee, court costs and fees, and professional fees for legal and accounting advice. Next in line are the medical bills from the deceased's last illness, followed by any unpaid taxes, liens and secured loans. Unsecured creditors are paid last if the estate has enough money or assets to liquidate. If all creditors are paid, the estate proves itself solvent. File an accounting with the Georgia probate court detailing all creditor claims and payment thereof.