A person who is executor of an estate in Georgia has a number of duties. Among an executor’s first tasks are to locate and secure the will and the testator’s assets. The will must be submitted to the court so it can go through probate, which is the process of having the will validated.
Probate usually happens in the county that the person lived in, but there are situations in which it may be better to file in a different county. This could be the case if the person lived in a nursing home in one county but owned property in a different county. An attorney may be able to advise as to the best place to file, particularly if the executor is hoping to avoid multiple probate processes.
The executor must notify beneficiaries, but before they can receive their assets, it is necessary to pay creditors. This may involve placing a notice to creditors in the newspaper in case there are some the executor is unaware of. Creditors must respond within a certain amount of time. The decedent’s taxes must also be paid. The current estate tax exemption is more than $11 million, so it is unlikely that there will be any estate taxes. After distributing assets to beneficiaries, the executor can then take the final steps to close the estate.
When creating an estate plan, individuals should think carefully about who they want in the role of executor. This person does not need to have legal or financial expertise and can hire an attorney and other professionals at the estate’s expense. However, the executor should be trustworthy and well-organized. Others may be appointed to certain roles in the estate plan as well, including a guardian for minor children and people to take over health care and financial decision-making if a person is incapacitated.