When you find out you are the personal representative of an estate, you probably have a lot of questions. You may not know what to do or where to start. As the executor of a will, it is important to know your responsibilities and follow all the rules.
Managing an estate may sound like a daunting task, but it is easier when you get some advice and seek legal assistance. First, here are some tips to make you feel more comfortable about your role as a personal representative.
1. Securing assets
One of the first steps you should take is locating, documenting and taking possession of all probate assets. These assets may include the following:
- Bank accounts
You may also need to gather non-probate assets, such as life insurance policies, brokerage accounts and pension assets.
3. Paying debts
After a few weeks of assuming your role as the personal representative, it may be time to pay off creditors. This step is necessary before you distribute the inheritances. You must notify creditors within 60 days of taking your role. Once creditors inform you of their demands, you must pay the debts. These are the most important debts:
- An award of support
- Funeral bills
- Court filing fees
- Legal and tax services
Once you account for all liabilities, it is time to file tax returns and distribute the estate to heirs and beneficiaries.
3. Distributing the estate
After you finish all claims, expenses and taxes, you must see to it that all remaining assets go to heirs of the estate. You must adhere to the wishes of the decedent in the will if there is one. If no will exists, you must distribute the estate assets according to Georgia laws. You may face some legal challenges when distributing assets, especially if the beneficiaries do not trust you.
This is just a simple explanation of some of the core executor duties.