Frequently Asked Questions About Georgia Probate
At Trotter Deems & King LLC, we help executors and beneficiaries of estates through the often-complicated probate process. Below are some answers to common questions about probate. However, there is no substitute for a personalized consultation with an attorney.
What is probate?
Probate is the process through which a deceased person’s estates, or assets and belongings, are distributed to their heirs or beneficiaries. Probate is typically handled in probate court.
What does the executor of an estate do?
The executor of an estate is typically named in the deceased person’s Last Will and Testament and confirmed by the court. An executor, sometimes called a personal representative, is responsible for paying off any debt or taxes using the deceased person’s assets, then distributing assets as outlined by the will.
Being an executor or a personal representative is a significant responsibility. Working with a qualified probate attorney can help bring clarity to the process and minimize stress.
How does the probate process work?
The probate process can vary depending on the nuances of an estate, but the process generally involves:
- Filing the deceased person’s will with the probate court
- Petitioning the court to begin the probate process
- Gathering all the assets in the estate
- Paying off any remaining debts or taxes owed by the deceased
- Transferring remaining assets to the people named in the will
What property must go through probate in Georgia?
Bank accounts with no designated beneficiaries, stocks and bonds, real estate and tangible property such as jewelry, antiques and vehicles, must go through probate. Only certain assets may legally be distributed without probate, primarily those that are held in a trust, jointly owned with another person or have a named beneficiary.
How long does the probate process take?
There is no deadline to settle an estate in Georgia, and the amount of time it takes can vary greatly depending on several factors. Larger, complex estates take longer to settle than small, simple estates. Whether the deceased person had a will can have a great impact on the length of the process. On average, most estates are probated in six to 12 months, barring any unforeseen obstacles or litigation.
We’re Here To Help. Call For A Consultation.
Matters involving estates and probate law can be both legally and emotionally challenging. If you have additional questions or desire guidance about estate administration and probate in Georgia, we encourage you to contact us for a free initial consultation. Please call our Cartersville office at 770-382-6144 or send an email to get started.