The Role of Executors in Georgia

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Understanding the Role of an Executor in Georgia

Curious about the role of executors in Georgia? Turn to Perigon Legal Services for insights. Connect with us for clarity.

Author: Stan Faulkner, Founder, Perigon Legal Services, LLC

Mr. Faulkner is an experienced counselor and litigator with 15 years of experience, having held bar licenses in four states (Mo, Il, Ct and Ga). Stan Faulkner uses this experience and focuses his skills in the pursuit of assisting individuals in probate (trust and estate) matters, guardianships and conservatorships, estate planning, business disputes and contract disputes. Published on January 04, 2024.

After a loved one’s death, all their belongings and remaining assets are included in their probate estate. When a will is left, the deceased’s estate is managed by the person named in the will, known as an executor. An executor’s primary role is to carry out the deceased’s desires and wishes concerning the administration and distribution of their estate assets.

The estate executor of a will in Georgia must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older, and
  • Not be judged as incapacitated by the court.

If you have been named an executor in a loved one’s will, our team of probate lawyers can help you understand your duties, the probate process, and any legal issues that may arise along the way.

Perigon Legal Services assists individuals and families through the probate process. Our practice areas include estate planning, wills and trusts, guardianship, and conservatorship. Expect an experienced probate attorney from Perigon to know the current laws and guidelines to ensure compliance and the most favorable results.

Key Responsibilities of an Executor

Administering the Estate

The executor is responsible for tracking down and gathering all of the decedent’s assets. After ensuring that all outstanding debts and taxes are settled, they distribute assets among the beneficiaries. The whole process could take some time.

The executor pays off the decedent’s residual debts using the money from the estate. Executors can and should hire an estate attorney to provide legal guidance and help them navigate the law. They can also get the services of an accountant to help them with the estate’s financial aspects.

Other executor responsibilities include:

  • Filing for a death certificate
  • Initiating the probate
  • Contacting all the estate’s beneficiaries and creditors

The executor must carry out their duties in conformity with the state’s probate laws and the terms of the will. Additionally, the executor must carry out their responsibilities with diligence and good intentions.

Legal and Financial Obligations

The executor has many responsibilities with the purpose of carrying out the deceased’s wishes. Some of the legal and financial obligations of an executor in Georgia include:

  • File the last will and testament in the probate court.
  • Notify creditors, life insurance companies, credit card companies, and relevant government agencies of the person’s death.
  • Provide a death certificate to institutions to stop the person’s financial obligations and claim insurance benefits.
  • Get a valuation of the decedent’s real estate and personal property so beneficiaries receive their fair share.
  • Set up a separate bank account for the estate.
  • Pay creditors.
  • Pay taxes and file the deceased person’s final income tax return. The executor must also file an estate tax return.

Challenges Executors Face and How Perigon Legal Services Can Help

Here are some of the common problems that an executor might face:

  • Out-of-state probate, or when properties are located outside Georgia

  • The deceased owned properties in other countries

  • Tax problems

  • Complex estates

  • Beneficiary disputes

How Perigon Legal Services Assists Executors

An experienced probate attorney can provide valuable legal insight to help the executor deal with the complexities of estate administration. Perigon Legal Services can offer advice on the executor’s tasks and obligations, making sure the estate is administered and distributed to the heirs in accordance with the deceased’s desires. The firm can also offer advice on how to resolve disagreements that may come up while managing an estate.

Navigating Georgia’s Probate Laws as an Executor

The probate process involves several steps. Here are the things that the executor must perform:

  • File the will in the probate court.

  • Petition the court to start the probate process and appoint a personal representative.

  • Notify creditors, family members, heirs, and beneficiaries.

  • Take an inventory of the probate assets.

  • Pay debts and any tax liability.

  • Distribute the assets.

  • Close the probate case.

The probate process can be complex and time-consuming. To avoid complications in settling an estate, it may be practical to hire a probate attorney.

Specific Georgia Laws Affecting Executors

Georgia Code Title 53 Chapter 6 covers the laws relevant to administrators and personal representatives. It discusses eligibility, appointment of executors, letters of administration, and other issues.

Other states explicitly prohibit people convicted of felonies from being executors. However, there is no law in Georgia that stops a person from assigning a convicted felon as an executor of a will.

Georgia law allows the assigning of a corporation, limited liability company, partnership, association, or business trust as an executor. However, it needs state authorization to function as a fiduciary. Between an institution and an individual, it is always better to appoint an individual as an executor.

In addition, in contrast to many other states, Georgia does not place extra restrictions on executors who reside outside the state. However, this does not imply that choosing someone who lives far away is a smart idea. It’s usually best to appoint a local relative as executor for practical reasons.

The law requires that when it comes to the distribution of real estate properties, the executor signs a deed of assent to transfer the title to the intended beneficiary or heir.

Executor Fees and Compensation in Georgia

After performing their duties, the executor of a will is entitled to compensation. A probate executor in Georgia is paid from the estate fund. However, the amount is not fixed. Some wills indicate the exact compensation of the executor.

Under Georgia estate law, an executor may carry out a will’s instructions with or without compensation. If the will does not specify executor fees, Georgia executor fee guidelines will govern the administrator’s compensation.

According to Georgia estate law, a 2.5% commission must be paid out of the estate’s earnings. This sum excludes the value of shares, bonds, and real estate unless they have been sold. In general, an executor may be entitled to 10% of the estate’s interests or 3% of any non-cash assets distributed to beneficiaries as long as they are not sold.

Calculating the fees of the executor, whose responsibilities are immense, can be confusing. Perigon Legal Services can help executors negotiate fees to compensate for their hard work.

 

Let an Experienced Probate Lawyer Help You With Executor Duties

 

The role of an executor is crucial in the estate administration process. It is essential to know more about what they do if a loved one or a family member named you their executor.

At Perigon Legal Services, we know that being an executor can be overwhelming. You have the duty to manage their assets, such as bank accounts, real estate, stocks, insurance, and others. You have to work for everyone’s best interests while carrying out the wishes of a departed loved one.

Call Perigon Legal Services for a free consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney.

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