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.

Not All Assets Go Through Estate Administration 

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:

  • Property held in joint tenancy
  • Assets with designated beneficiaries
  • A revocable living trust’s assets

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.

Navigate the Probate Court With an Atlanta Estate Planning Attorney

The estate administration process can be a long and tedious one.

Being Appointed the Estate Representative

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.

Giving Notice

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.

List All the Assets in the Estate

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:

  • Rental property
  • Bank accounts
  • Motor vehicles
  • Stock

Pay Debts

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.

Pay Taxes

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.

Final Distribution of Property

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.

Creating Final Accounts

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.

Experienced Estate Administration Attorney in Atlanta

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.


cutting through confusion and providing clarity

Do I need a Family Lawyer?

Each case is different, but we can share what clients typically struggle with when they make their initial calls to us:

  • My Spouse Wants a Divorce
  • My Marriage Has Fallen Apart And Cannot Be Fixed
  • I Am Expecting a Child Out Of Wedlock
  • I Have Fallen Behind on Child Support Due to Unemployment or salary reduction
  • My Circumstances Have Changed Drastically And Think A Change Of Custody Is Warranted
  • My Ex Announced They Want to Move Away and Take Our Child

How much will my Divorce or Child Custody matter cost me?

The financial aspect of family law matters can be terrifying because it has been historically known as a black hole of billing with retainers and hourly charges for things like emails and texts. Peel back further uncertainty by Estimating Your Legal Fees.

Flat Fees - No Funny Stuff

While other firms might tell you “there is no way to predict the total cost of a divorce,” we can tell you with certainty that those smoke and mirrors will not be a part of your care at Edwards Family Law. We provide value with a high degree of peace of mind through conscientious costs for our care. Learn more about our Flat Fee Family Law and Estate Planning Services.

Fearful of being bogged down in legal fees?

Heard the horror stories about being sucked in with low retainers only to be hit with hidden incremental hourly changes?

We Have The Right Solutions For The Next Chapter of Your Life


At Edwards Family Law, we understand that your life, family, livelihood and legacy are important to you. They are important to us as well. We are committed to doing everything possible to make sure your identity is respected and that your dignity is preserved at all times throughout the process.

The law prohibits us from guaranteeing the outcome of your case. But, it does not prohibit us from guaranteeing the service you receive. We promise to provide you with the very best in customer service and client relations. We have codified our commitment in our Ten Commandments. If, at any time during your case, we fail to deliver on any of our Ten Commandments, please let us know. We will apologize for our mistake and do what is necessary to fix the problem.

What You Can Expect From Your Experience With Edwards Family Law

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    What You Can Expect From Your Experience With Edwards Family Law
  • 2
    Clients are not an interruption of our work. They are the purpose of it.
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    Clients will not be charged for calls to their attorney. Each client shall receive aggressive representation combined with incomparable guidance and counsel.
  • 4
    Our clients will receive the most courteous and attentive treatment we can give them.
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    Each client will have their telephone call returned within one business day.
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    All of our attorneys shall practice exclusively family law and domestic relations.
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    Our clients are not just a name on a file. We will present each client with an honest assessment of all options that can provide them the best chance of success.
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    Our firm will attend all conferences and Continuing Learning Education Seminars that relate to the practice of Family Law, to ensure that we have access to the most current case law that can affect the lives of you and your family.
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    Our firm will employ the latest technology for use in your case, to include a secure server where the client’s entire paper file is scanned and posted to the server for immediate retrieval by the client.
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    Clients are people who bring us their wants. It is our job to meet those wants.


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