When someone asks you to be his or her personal representative to administer a Georgia estate, consider it an honor. Most people put a lot of thought into designating their agent. Being an executor is a solemn duty that comes with many responsibilities. It’s important to understand the implications of being asked to fulfill this role before you agree to do so.
As an executor, you will communicate with numerous people and carry out multiple tasks, some of which must be completed by a specific deadline. If you do not feel capable or willing to take on the responsibility, it is best to decline the testator’s request. If you accept, your main duties will be to carry out the testator’s final wishes as stated in the last will and testament and to make sure beneficiaries receive the inheritance that has been set aside for them.
Your basic duties as an executor to a Georgia estate
One of the first things you might be asked to do as an executor to a Georgia estate is obtain the testator’s death certificate. The following list includes additional tasks that may be part of your responsibilities:
- Gathering all assets
- Notifying beneficiaries of their inheritance
- Initiating probate and filing documents in probate court
- Carrying out instructions for burial
If you were chosen as an executor, it means that the decedent was a person who trusted you. A will often contains highly personal information, such as specific details regarding what type of burial a person desires. As the executor, you are charged with making sure those wishes are carried out.
Who should you choose as an executor?
If you are preparing to file an estate plan and are including a last will and testament, you will be choosing someone as your representative/executor. Keep in mind that this person will have to carry out certain duties in person, so it is helpful to choose someone who lives in Georgia, or, at least, can travel here with ease.
You can designate a family member or choose someone who is no relation to you, such as a trusted friend or business partner. You can also ask a professional, such as an estate law attorney, to be a co-executor, so that there is someone on hand to help resolve any legal problems that may arise. Also, it has happened in the past that a chosen executor has died before the testator. To be prepared for this possibility, it’s a good idea to name an alternate who will step in to fulfill the role if the primary executor dies or becomes incapacitated.