Effective Guidance Through Estate Administration Proceedings
After a person dies, his or her estate must be gathered and distributed to applicable heirs and all lingering debts and taxes must be paid. Although estate administration in Georgia is dictated by state law, personal representatives of an estate must understand their duties and responsibilities in order to take appropriate actions with an estate.
At Jones & Walden LLC, we make sure personal representatives fully understand what is being asked of them before guiding them through estate administration. We have extensive estate planning experience to draw from as well as diverse legal backgrounds that allow us to address additional legal needs associated with the execution of an estate plan. When you work with our law firm, you can rest assured knowing you’re getting the big-firm experience you need without sacrificing the personal attention you want and deserve.
Understanding The Role And Responsibilities Of A Personal Representative
When a personal representative is appointed for the deceased’s estate (either an executor or administrator), the representative is granted certain powers to fulfill those duties. Georgia law automatically grants a designated personal representative the power, with the probate court’s approval, to:
- Enter into contracts that provide a benefit to the estate (including the power to borrow funds to satisfy tax obligations of the estate)
- Consummate or complete contracts entered by the deceased that have not been fulfilled
- Continue businesses operated by the deceased for a period of up to 12 months
- Subject to certain limitations, sell, lease or exchange property
- File or defend lawsuits
- Retain legal counsel to represent the estate
- Invest estate assets
A will may also grant an executor certain “expanded powers” that exceed the scope of the powers in the Georgia Probate Code. In the absence of a will, the probate court may also grant the administrator of an intestate estate expanded powers upon request by the heirs.
The personal representative also has the following duties (unless waived):
- Prepare an inventory of estate property
- File an annual return reflecting:
- Income and disbursements made on behalf of the estate
- An updated inventory of estate property
- Determine the nature and amount of debts owed by the deceased upon death to be paid by the deceased’s estate. The personal representative must see to the payment or other resolution of debts because they have a higher priority than the beneficiaries of the estate (except for an award of year’s support). In other words, creditors must be paid before the heirs except where the heirs qualify for and receive property as year’s support.
- Administer property: Once a personal representative (administrator or executor) is appointed, title to all the deceased’s property (such as real estate and personal effects) vests in the representative who holds estate property for the benefit of those entitled to it (such as the heirs and/or creditors).
Getting Guidance From Attorneys You Can Trust
At Jones & Walden LLC, we pride ourselves on helping our clients feel comfortable and confident in their duties as a personal representative by giving them access to a team of lawyers with decades of combined experience. As an added benefit, we also have extensive litigation experience, which makes us adept at handling will contests and other disputes.
Since 2001, our hard work, dedication and commitment to results have made us a cornerstone in the legal community in Atlanta and surrounding areas. We’ve helped numerous personal representatives through the estate administration process, and we can help you, too.
Secure Our Counsel — Schedule A Consultation
Whether you’re a personal representative about to start estate administration proceedings or have just been appointed in a will or by the court, you can always turn to the legal team at Jones & Walden LLC, for guidance and support.