When a loved one dies, dividing up his or her estate has to be done in a specific way. Estate administration can be a complex process. There are certain steps that must be followed to make sure it is done properly and in accordance with Georgia law. So, what are the steps to estate administration?
Anyone who has been named the executor of an estate may have a lot of questions about what that means exactly. If it is something one has never done before, it is understandable that it seems rather foreign. The goal of this column is to give Georgia residents or those called to handle probate and estate administration cases in the state an idea of what an executor is supposed to do.
Planning for the future is something most people do to some degree. Unfortunately, quite a few fail to plan for what will happen to their assets and loved ones if they were to become incapacitated or die. The simple truth is, many Georgia residents believe that they do not have enough assets to warrant having an estate plan, so they don't. This thinking only causes problems down the line.
When people create their estate plans, they hope that no issues will arise so that their loved ones can quickly close out their estates when the time comes. Unfortunately, problems do often arise and probate cannot be avoided when they do. For instance, if a will is challenged, there is really no way to avoid probate court in Georgia -- the claims behind the challenges must be heard and investigated.
When going through the estate planning process, whether one resides in Georgia or elsewhere, it is necessary to assign a trustee if one establishes a trust and/or an executor to close out the estate when the time comes. Picking the right person or people for the job can be a bit of a challenge. Putting the wrong individual in such a position of power can land an estate in probate for a very long time.
There are several reasons guardianships may need to be sought or designated by Georgia residents. For some, it may be they need it to help take care of an ailing parent or other family members. For others, it may be that they want to make sure their minor children are taken care of. Whatever the reason, Georgia probate law is very clear on what it takes to name or become the guardian of another person.
Some time ago you created an estate plan. You believe it will do its job and protect your assets and your family as is, but are you sure? Does it take into account any law changes that affect the estate administration process in Georgia? If you are not sure, now is a good time to have your plan reviewed and modified, if needed.
It can be tempting to take on some really big projects by oneself rather than turning to professionals to get the job done. Sometimes, that approach is good and can save a person a lot of money. Unfortunately, the DIY craze should not extend to everything. For example, a DIY will may not hold up in a Georgia probate court, which will only end up hurting one's beneficiaries in the end.
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.
You and your spouse are young and still have small children at home. Your life is busy, and you don't want to think about what will happen to your children if you and your spouse were to die unexpectedly. The problem with not thinking about it is, instead of your kids going to someone you know and trust in the event such a tragedy does occur, they will likely end up in the state system for a while until everything can be sorted out in Georgia probate court.