After the passing of your loved one, the real work begins.
An executor of an estate is the person appointed with the task of carrying out the final instructions of the decedent as stated in their will, such as allocating assets to beneficiaries. Where there is no will, intestacy proceedings take place, starting with the appointment of a personal representative of the estate. Along with paying off debts, sending out death notices, and submitting final tax returns, the executor or personal representative also handles other duties related to wrapping up the deceased’s affairs. The bigger the estate, the more work is required in the estate administration process. You can hire professional help or delegate the task to an Atlanta estate administration attorney if you find the process overwhelming.
Firstly, it is essential to note that only some assets in an estate are required to go through the probate process. If an estate is deemed too small, it can be handled without the probate court’s involvement. Additionally, not all estate assets must go through the court’s probate process. Assets that the deceased person owned solely in their name must go through probate if they did.
Some assets, however, can be immediately transferred to their new owners.
These assets consist of the following:
Estate administration lawyers are good at identifying non-probate assets. It’s best to speak with one if you have questions about life insurance policies or the effect of having joint tenants.
The estate administration process can be a long and tedious one.
You do not automatically become the executor or personal representative, even if you have been specifically named. To apply for the position, you must appear in a proper probate court in the county where the deceased lived. Applicants must be eligible heirs if the deceased passed away without a will in their estate plan. The court chooses the appointed “administrator” after it has reviewed the petitions from other potential personal representatives. The first preference is usually given to surviving spouses.
When the Probate Court has appointed you executor or estate administrator, you must inform all parties who may have an interest in the estate. This typically comprises the named beneficiaries, heirs, and creditors. You give these people a notice informing them of the window of opportunity to claim the estate when you notify them. The probate process is a public one. It can entail alerting the parties by mail or publishing an obituary in a neighborhood newspaper.
As the estate administrator or executor, you must take inventory of the decedent’s possessions. When you’ve located everything based on the responses to the notices, make an asset list and submit it to the probate court.
These assets may include:
Personal representatives must pay taxes, Court fees, and funeral expenses. It’s also your responsibility to pay off any outstanding debts owed or obligations. Utilities, mortgages, and personal injury suits don’t disappear when a person dies. The annual maintenance for family members is considered a necessary expense under Georgia law. As a result, dependent children under 18 and the surviving spouse are entitled to a year’s support following the decedent’s passing. Executors’ obligations can be overwhelming, so to ensure you have all your ducks in a row, consider speaking with an experienced attorney.
The estate tax is a charge placed on the deceased’s assets by the federal government and some local governments. The estate tax, also known as the “death tax,” is levied before the beneficiaries receive the funds. Under Georgia law, there won’t be an estate tax after 2022. Furthermore, there is no inheritance tax. However, heirs can be responsible for paying additional taxes, such as federal estate taxes. Additionally, you are responsible for filing the final income tax return for the deceased’s estate one year after their passing. If the estate receives any revenue while being administered, the estate will require a separate tax identification number. Speak to an experienced estate planning attorney about tax management.
Most of the assets can be distributed once the estate has been processed and any taxes or debts have been dealt with. But most administrators keep some in reserve. This way, there will be sufficient money to cover unforeseen claims and estate closing expenses. Paying debts and taxes may have significantly dissipated the estate assets. This is why asking your Atlanta estate administration attorneys about methods of protecting assets is essential.
The estate administrator must submit a final account to the probate court at the very end of this process. This is where estate administration attorneys are especially valuable. Every financial transaction taken as the estate’s representative, including tax filings, tax payments, payments to settle debts with creditors, and division of assets or property, should be particularized in this account. This is presented to the Probate Court, so the information must be accurate. Estate planning attorneys will be able to vet the information. At our law firm, we help our clients through every step of the process.
Trust someone with extensive experience in estate administration. An area of law such as this requires comprehensive legal advice from legal counsel with knowledge of state law. This process is overwhelming, especially when you are grieving.
Don’t delay. Schedule a consultation with Edwards Family Law.
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