What Are the Responsibilities of an Executor of a Will in Georgia?

By A.L. Kennedy

The executor of a will in Georgia is officially known as the "personal representative," according to the Georgia Council of Probate Court Judges. The personal representative must fulfill certain responsibilities under Georgia law when he seeks to distribute a deceased person's estate. Since the probate judge who will be supervising your work as a personal representative cannot give advice, the Georgia Council of Probate Court Judges recommends to consult an attorney if you need help fulfilling the responsibilities of executing a will in Georgia.

The executor of a will in Georgia is officially known as the "personal representative," according to the Georgia Council of Probate Court Judges. The personal representative must fulfill certain responsibilities under Georgia law when he seeks to distribute a deceased person's estate. Since the probate judge who will be supervising your work as a personal representative cannot give advice, the Georgia Council of Probate Court Judges recommends to consult an attorney if you need help fulfilling the responsibilities of executing a will in Georgia.

Gathering Assets

One of the first responsibilities of a personal representative is to gather, inventory and take possession of all the assets that belong to the estate. How to take possession of a certain asset depends on what kind of asset it is. For instance, you may gather and take possession of a deceased person's house and furniture simply by ensuring that the premises are secure, according to the Georgia Council of Probate Court Judges. Also ensure that you are receiving all of the decedent's mail, since as personal representative, you are responsible for paying any bills the estate still owes.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan

Paying Debts

Once you know what assets the estate has and what they are worth, your next duty as a personal representative in Georgia is to pay the debts of the estate and the expenses of administering it, according to Official Code of Georgia section 53-7-7. These debts include funeral and burial expenses, any taxes still due and support payments to the family. You must provide notice to the estate's creditors that the deceased person has passed no more than 60 days after the death, according to the Georgia Council of Probate Court Judges.

Filing Tax Returns

The personal representative is responsible for filing the estate's final tax returns and paying any taxes due, according to the Georgia Council of Probate Court Judges. If you fail to complete the estate's tax work, you may be personally liable for the amount of any unpaid taxes on the estate, according to the Georgia Council of Probate Court Judges. Since the amount of taxes due may depend on the deceased person's use of other estate planning mechanisms like trusts or insurance policies, the Georgia Council of Probate Court Judges recommends to seek the advice of an attorney, tax professional or both.

Distributing the Estate

Once all debts, taxes and costs of administering the estate are paid, you must distribute the remaining assets in the estate to the beneficiaries listed in the will, according to Title 53, Section 7, Article 6 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated. If the beneficiaries disagree on how the property should be distributed, you may consult an attorney and pay the costs of doing so from the estate's assets, according to the Georgia Council of Probate Court Judges.

Filing Probate Court Paperwork

A personal representative in Georgia is required to file certain forms and other paperwork with the probate court. For instance, you must file an inventory of the estate's assets within six months of being named personal representative. You must also file a final accounting within 60 days of finishing the distribution of the estate, showing which assets went to which beneficiaries, according to the Georgia Council of Probate Court Judges.

Closing the Estate

You have the responsibility of closing the estate once all the assets have been distributed and any disagreements among the beneficiaries have been settled. You do this by filing a Petition for Discharge with the probate court, according to the Georgia Council of Probate Court Judges. Once the probate court is satisfied that the proper paperwork has been filed and the estate's business is finished, it will release you from your duties as a personal representative.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan
How Are the Estate Settlement Costs Determined?

References

Resources

Related articles

How to Prove That an Estate Is Solvent in Georgia

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.

Estate Laws for Insolvent Estates in Georgia

Georgia law considers a decedent's estate insolvent when the decedent dies without enough money to pay all of his debts, including taxes. As in bankruptcy, Georgia law exempts some assets from creditor attachment. In other words, some assets are not available to creditors to satisfy an estate's debt. Georgia law establishes the order in which debts must be paid from estate assets less exemptions. Each debt must be paid in full before the next in line may be paid. If there are not enough assets left to pay all of the debts remaining, those creditors do not receive payment.

What Are the Protocols of Executor of a Will in the State of Florida?

Probate is the process of winding up a deceased's financial responsibilities and transferring legal ownership of her property to new owners. An executor, called a personal representative in Florida, is appointed by the probate division of the Circuit Court to stand in for the deceased by paying creditors and taxes and distributing all personal and real property to the heirs named in the will, or as identified by state statute, in the event there is no will. All duties are detailed in Chapter 733, Florida Statutes, including ethical requirements by which the personal representative must abide.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help.

Related articles

Rules for the Probate of Wills in Georgia

When a will is probated in Georgia, it goes to the probate court, which checks whether the will is valid and oversees ...

Tips for an Executor of a Will

As the executor of a will, you are responsible for carrying out the instructions left in the will, according to ...

What to Expect From the Executor of the Will After Someone Dies?

The executor or personal representative of a will is responsible for wrapping up the estate's affairs according to the ...

How to Obtain a Discharge After Probate

In your will, you can nominate an executor, or representative, to manage your estate between your death and the ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED