Georgia Estate, Probate, and Inheritance Questions

With most things, there are definitely some questions that can come up that you might not think of ahead of time. We’ve compiled a list of a few of the most common questions, as well as our answers, which should hopefully help answer questions you didn’t know you wanted to ask.

Is Probate Necessary?

Georgia Probate does not actually require an estate to be processed through the probate court. Most estates should go through probate to protect against liability and prevent potentially costly problems in the future however.

How long does Georgia Probate take?

Generally speaking, Georgia Probate can take anywhere from six months to a year depending on the estate itself. Other factors can also affect how long this takes such as disagreements between people involved, delays at the courthouse, etc.

What does an Executor or Administrator do?

Generally, an Executor is tasked with making sure that Georgia law is followed with regards to managing the estate and distributing the estate properly. Additionally, the Executor owes a Fiduciary duty to the heirs or beneficiaries of the estate. This means that you, as Executor, must be sure that all of your actions are in the best interest of the estate itself. You have to be sure that you don’t do anything or make any decisions that may be perceived as for your own gain and a detriment to the estate. If you do, you may be held personally liable. </span>

Am I entitled to a share of the Estate?

The answer depends on the estate itself. Be sure to check for a Last Will and Testament. In a Will the heirs, as laid out by Georgia Law, will be named and will inherit the estate. If you’ve determined the heirs of the estate, what each heir receives is determined by the total value of the estate minus the debts of the estate. Its always a good idea to consult a seasoned Probate attorney, they can usually help minimize the debts associated with an estate which would help maximize each heirs’ inheritance.

What happens if I violate the Will?

Assuming there’s a valid will, Georgia Probate requires that the will be followed to the letter. The only exception is if the Will itself would violate another provision of the law. If the Will is not being followed then any interested party, usually an heir, can file a petition within Probate court and bring the issue to a Probate Judge. Generally, this happens when someone is attempting to deprive heirs of their inheritance. It is highly important to act quickly to preserve the estate. Some of the estate may be irreplaceable, and if there are funds spent from the estate it may be incredibly difficult to recover those losses.

Which Creditors must you pay?

Under Georgia law, all creditors of an estate are to be paid from the estate, assuming the debts are valid. As Executor, you can be forced to sell property from the estate if it is required to pay one or more of the creditors to the estate. Should you need help, a probate law firm may be able to assist with any claims against the estate.

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