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Common terms heard when going through probate

Closing out a loved one's estate can be a challenge. When probate is necessary, the whole process can be confusing, and one may hear terms with which he or she is not entirely familiar. This week's column will go over some common terms one will hear when going through probate in Georgia.

Term number one is administrator. The administrator is the person assigned to administer the estate. One may be called to this position by a judge if there is not a will in place.

Term number two is executor. An executor is a person listed in the decedent's estate plan as responsible for administering the estate. If the individual assigned to this task refuses to or cannot serve, the court will name an administrator.

Term number three is intestate. If a person dies without having a will, he or she is said to have died in intestacy. In such cases, probate is mandatory to ensure assets and heirs are identified and the estate is administered appropriately.

Finally, the fourth term that will be reviewed is proceeding pro se. This means that the administrator or executor plans to go through the probate process without legal representation. Unless one is highly familiar with the probate process and laws, this is not necessarily a wise decision.

Probate can take time, and administering an estate can prove to be a grueling task. It certainly is not for the faint of heart. An experienced attorney who is well versed in Georgia probate laws can help those closing out their loved one's estates to do it as quickly as possible and without error.

Source: gaprobate.gov, "Glossary of Terms", Accessed on May 17, 2018

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