When a loved one dies, one person is generally assigned to handle the closing out of his or her estate. This personal representative may be named in the estate planning documents of the deceased, or a Georgia probate court judge may name someone to this position. No matter how a personal representative gets the job, he or she has a lot of responsibilities when it comes to ensuring that an estate is properly handled.
The first job of a personal representative is to inform beneficiaries and creditors of the decedent’s passing. After that, he or she then has the responsibility of gathering and making an inventory of all assets. This can be a grueling task if this information has not all been kept together or is out of date.
After everything is together and in order, the personal representative then has the job of making sure that any debts and taxes are paid. If any claims are made against the estate by creditors or family members, those can also be addressed. Assets will not be distributed to beneficiaries until all of these housekeeping issues are taken care of appropriately.
After everything is said and done, the personal representative has to file a Petition for Discharge in order to officially close out the estate and be released from any further liability. Before a judge will sign off on such a petition, the state of the estate needs to be reviewed, and beneficiaries and creditors need to be made aware that the estate is about to be closed. If no further claims are filed against the estate and everything looks to be in order, an Order for Discharge may be granted.
On paper, a personal representative’s job looks pretty easy. The truth of the matter is, though, it can be challenging to get everything done. Those who are closing out an estate of a loved one in a Georgia probate court can seek help with the process.
Source: gaprobate.gov, “Duties of Personal Representatives“, Accessed on Feb. 23, 2018