Have you been nominated to serve as the Executor of a family member’s Last Will and Testament or are you considering being appointed as the Administrator of an intestate estate? Before you assume that responsibility, you should consider some of the rights and responsibilities that go along with the role.

Pursuant to Georgia law, an Executor or Administrator is considered a fiduciary after you become the personal representative of the estate. As a fiduciary, you will have certain obligations towards to the beneficiaries and creditors of the estate. You will have a duty to not only comply with terms of the deceased’s Last Will and Testament, if there is one, but also to comply with Georgia law regarding various deadlines, court filings, and payment preferences.  Since you may incur personally responsibility to correct any errors you made, it is important that you are aware of the obligations and potential liability of the being a personal representative before you are appointed. Accordingly, it is typically a good idea to consider retaining an experienced probate attorney to help you through the process.

While some estates may be straight-forward and not require much effort, others will require the transfer of real estate, distribution of business interests, or the collection of past due loans to family members.

Although you may assume that an estate of a person without significant is straight-forward, you may want to consider the consequences of being responsible for the distribution of the limited assets when there are several creditors who also want to be repaid. Before you decide to qualify as personal representative of an estate, you should make a preliminary determination about whether or not the estate’s debts and liabilities exceed the available assets. If the estate is insolvent, it will likely be much more difficult to serve as the personal representative.

If you have legal counsel, you should discuss whether or not it is appropriate for you to serve as the personal representative. If you have not yet obtained legal counsel, you should schedule an appointment with an experienced probate attorney to discuss your situation. The estate planning lawyers at Durden & Mills, PC are available to assist you. Call us at (706) 543-4708 for a free consultation.