An important part of careful estate planning is appointing an executor whom you can rely on to ensure the carrying out of your wishes when the time comes. Understanding what the executor will have to do can help you make the right decision.
As you read through the following outline of a Georgia executor’s obligations, consider how the person you have in mind will likely handle them. Ask yourself whether an appointment might be too burdensome for an otherwise qualified person, or whether it might generate conflict among the will’s beneficiaries.
The executor begins carrying out his or her duties by complying with the formal requirements of the probate court. This means taking an oath in probate court to perform all obligations properly and submitting the original will. The executor will afterwards receive written authorization from the court to handle matters on behalf of the estate.
Inventorying the estate
The executor must then take inventory of the estate. He or she must locate any property belonging to the deceased. The court will consider most property to be a probate asset and part of the estate; however, there may be some exceptions in cases of joint ownership.
Dealing with liabilities
Before the executor can begin distributing assets according to the terms of the will, he or she will need to take care of any debts the estate owes. Generally, this obligation includes publishing a notice to creditors in the county’s official newspaper for a period of four weeks. Creditors may then demand payment, which the executor must disburse prior to any distribution. The executor must also deal with any tax obligations by the estate.
Managing and distributing assets
Then the executor may finally act to distribute the remainder of the estate according to the terms of the will. Sometimes, this can mean selling off certain assets and distributing the proceeds. At each stage, the executor must take care to manage all assets with the interests of the beneficiaries in mind.
Accounting for each action affecting the estate
Throughout the process, the executor must keep complete and accurate documentation for any transactions with respect to the estate. When the process is complete, the executor must obtain an official discharge from the probate court.