A Georgia personal representative lawyer is an attorney that you might wish to hire after you have been appointed as the executor of a loved one’s estate. A personal representative or executor may be involved with the closing out of the decedent’s estate for a long period of time and depending on the complexity of the estate, could find themselves involved in very complicated matters. Understanding the duties and responsibilities of a Georgia personal representative can be a lot to take in while also coping with the death of a loved one. This is why many appointed personal representatives choose to retain an attorney. The responsibilities of personal representatives in GA are outlines in GA Code § 53-7-2 et seq.
As a personal representative attorney in Georgia can inform you, getting legal advice and support from the outset of the case can decrease the possibility of making mistakes and increase your chances of a streamlined probate process. A Georgia personal representative lawyer can be a powerful advocate for you and can help support you for the duration of this case whether it’s a few months or well over a year.
A personal representative in Georgia has a legal responsibility to administer completely and fully all of the estate. For certain losses suffered as a result of your failure to appropriately administer the estate, you could be held legally responsible and personally liable. This is one of the reasons why it is recommended that you hire an attorney to advise and represent you in this important position.
One of the first steps that a Georgia personal representative needs to take is to gather all of the assets. These assets might need to be sold to pay creditor claims or to pay taxes on final estate tax returns. All debts and expenses of administration are then to be paid from those assets.
Any remaining assets are to be distributed to beneficiaries either as outlined in the decedent’s will or through the laws of intestate succession, which define what happens when a person does not have a will. Finally, a Georgia personal representative must close the estate. While it is certainly true that you might be able to handle these responsibilities on your own, a Georgia personal representative lawyer can make a world of difference in streamlining this process.
The deceased might have owned property that is both passed through probate and not by probate. The three most common forms of non-probate assets include jointly owned brokerage or bank accounts, which will automatically pass to a surviving co-owner, life insurance policies that are payable to the beneficiaries named on that policy, and pension benefits or other types of retirement or deferred compensation accounts.
These are not associated with the Georgia probate case but other assets that do not fall under these guidelines will become part of probate. With any kind of non-probate property the personal representative, however, might still need to get documentation about that asset for tax purposes and could even support the facilitation of receiving that asset by the designated co-owner or beneficiary. The process of securing all of these probate assets will depend a lot based on the type of property and can be complicated or easy depending on how simple it is to find.
If someone interferes with the personal representative’s ability to administer or secure estate assets, then legal action might need to be taken by the personal representative in which case a Georgia personal representative attorney can be extremely helpful because these cases can quickly become adversarial and legal representation can help clarify things for the personal representative.
After a few months a personal representative might be ready to pay creditors but answering the question of in what order these debts are to be paid is an important one because it could otherwise expose them to unnecessary liability. If you find yourself in the situation of serving in this role and are not clear about your responsibilities or how to proceed appropriately, set up a time to speak with a dedicated personal representative lawyer in Georgia to learn more.