What Is A Letter of Testamentary in Georgia?

What Is A Letter of Testamentary in Georgia

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You need a Letter of Testamentary when there is a will. 

You’ll learn about: 

  • who can get them
  • how to get them
  • your responsibilities
  • challenges to watch for

What Is A Letter Of Testamentary?

A Letter of Testamentary appoints an executor of the estate. 

You need one when someone dies with a will to manage and distribute the estate.

Without this document, you cannot manage the estate

In Georgia, it involves:

  • filing a petition
  • notifying heirs
  • attending a court hearing
  • possibly posting a bond

The executor handles:

  • collecting assets
  • paying debts
  • distributing the estate

How To Get Letters Of Testamentary

You get the Letters of Testamentary at the probate courts in the deceased’s county

Here is how to get them:

  1. File a Petition: Submit a petition to the probate court in the county where the deceased resided. Include the death certificate, the will, and details of the estate.
  2. Court Review: The court examines the petition to ensure it is complete and valid.
  3. Notify Heirs: Notify all heirs and beneficiaries about the probate process.
  4. Probate Hearing: Attend a court hearing where the judge reviews the petition and any objections.
  5. Issuance: If approved, the court issues the Letters of Testamentary.

The Letters of Testamentary give you the authority to manage the estate

You cannot get Letters of Testamentary without probating the will

You will need these Letters to: 

  • access banks to release or close accounts
  • prove authority to manage real estate transactions
  • deal with lawsuits and claims against the estate
  • settle the deceased’s financial obligations
  • distribute the estate’s assets according to the will

Schedule an appointment to get help from our probate lawyers

How Long Does It Take To Get A Letter Of Testamentary?

It usually takes 3 – 6 months to get Letters of Testamentary, appointing you as executor.

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Responsibilities of the Executor

The executor’s responsibilities are: 

  • Asset Management: Identify and secure all assets of the deceased.
  • Debt and Tax Settlement: Pay outstanding debts and taxes and sell assets if needed.
  • Estate Management: Oversee properties, investments, and legal matters during probate.
  • Distribution of Assets: Ensure beneficiaries receive their inheritance per the will.
  • Legal Compliance: File necessary court documents (i.e., inventory and accounting).
  • Communication: Keep beneficiaries informed about the probate process.
  • Fiduciary Duty: Act in the estate’s and beneficiaries’ best interests, managing assets prudently.
  • Professional Assistance: Hire a lawyer when necessary to navigate complex probate processes.

Challenges and Considerations

Common challenges our probate lawyers help with are: 

  • Handling conflicts over asset distribution.
  • Managing large or complicated estates.
  • Navigating legal requirements and financial complexities, including creditors, taxes, and debts.
  • Balancing the extensive time commitment required with personal responsibilities.
  • Coping with personal grief while managing the estate.
  • Needing to understand probate laws and financial management.
  • Risk of being held personally liable for mistakes or mismanagement.

Contesting The Will

Sometimes, we see siblings disagreeing about the contents of the will.

Grounds for contesting the will are: 

  • Undue Influence: Someone coerced them into making or changing the will.
  • Lack of Capacity: They were not of sound mind when the will was created.
  • Improper Execution: The will does not meet legal requirements.
  • Fraud or Forgery: The will was created under false pretenses or falsified.

Get Help From A Probate Lawyer

Are you overwhelmed by the Georgia probate process

Our Georgia probate attorneys handle everything for you.

We specialize in taking as much as possible off your plate so that you are not: 

  • personally financially liable
  • accidentally breaking the law
  • filling out the paperwork wrong
  • not notifying or paying off creditors
  • dealing with disputes among family

Fill out the form to take this off your plate.

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