How To Probate A Will In Georgia

How To Probate A Will In Georgia

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A lot of people probate wills on their own in Georgia. 

It’s likely that: 

  • your loved one just passed
  • you know they have a will

This will give you an overview of how to get started with the probate process

Keep reading to learn more. 

When Is Probate Necessary?

Probate is necessary to pass down the assets of the deceased. 

You need probate:

  • if there is a will
  • if assets are solely in the deceased’s name (i.e., houses, cars, etc.)
  • to sell or transfer the deceased’s property
  • to pay off debts the deceased had

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What Is The Role Of The Executor?

The executor is responsible for: 

  • locating and filing the will
  • managing the estate
  • hiring a probate lawyer
  • inventorying and appraising the estate
  • finding creditors and paying off the debts
  • distributing assets to the heirs
  • maintaining accounting on the estate

Fill out the form below to get help from a probate attorney.

What Is The Role Of The Probate Courts?

Here are the key functions and responsibilities of the Probate Court in Georgia:

  • prove the will is valid 
  • appoint an executor or administrator
  • overseeing the estate administration
  • handling estate litigation
  • protecting the interest of minors
  • managing guardianships and conservatorships

How To Probate A Will

The executor is responsible for:

  • probating the will
  • performing all the steps listed below

Here are the steps to probating a will

  1. Locate the original will (not a copy). 
  2. File the will and death certificate with your petition to probate. 
  3. Notify the heirs and creditors. 
  4. Inventory and appraise the estate’s assets. 
  5. Notify and pay off creditors and the debts. 
  6. Distribute the remaining assets to the heirs. 
  7. Close the estate.

Key Things To Consider

  • The will needs to be the original – not a copy. 
  • You need to file your paperwork in the county where the deceased lived
  • You need to file the will, the death certificate, and the Petition for Probate
  • There is not a deadline to file the Petition for Probate after the death. 
  • You have to notify all parties; heirs, creditors, guardians, etc. 
  • You have to create an EIN for the estate and file tax returns for it. 

You need a local attorney to transfer properties that are out of state.

Risks Of Probating A Will Without An Attorney

You can probate a will without a lawyer in Georgia. 

But, you run into several risks without guidance of a probate lawyer

Some risks the executor faces are: 

  • Personal Liability: If you make distribution errors, you’re financially responsible
  • Misinterpreting the Will: The legal jargon and clauses can be confusing
  • Delays in Probate: Not understanding deadlines and the process can delay probate
  • Litigation: Heirs can bring lawsuits against you for mismanagement. 
  • Co-mingling Estate Funds: This leads to accusations of mismanagement or embezzlement.  
  • Fiduciary Duties: Not upholding these can lead to civil lawsuits

Get Help From A Probate Lawyer

Probating a will on your own is normal.

The easy part is filing the will. 

The hard part is: 

  • properly notifying all parties
  • inventorying and appraising the property
  • paying off creditors
  • distributing property
  • keeping accounting
  • closing probate

Fill out the form to get professional guidance through the probate process. 

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