Augusta Estate Administration Attorney
When planning for what happens to your estate and assets after you die, you have the option of assigning an administrator of the estate. For most estates, it is wise to hire an experienced attorney to help you navigate the probate process in this matter. There are several legal steps that must be completed in a timely manner when administering an estate. One mistake or misstep could invite disruptive legal challenges from beneficiaries or someone who has been left out of the will.
The executor or administrator of the probate estate may be elected to perform the following responsibilities:
- Collect, inventory and appraise all assets that are subject to probate
- Pay taxes
- Pay creditors
- Pay funeral expenses
- Pay the costs of administration, such as for lawyers and appraisers
- Formally transfer the estate property according to the will
- If there is no will, transfer the estate property according to GA state laws
When is an Estate Administrator Necessary?
The process of having an administrator appointed is necessary when a person dies “intestate”, which mean without a will. Although almost anyone can be appointed administrator of an estate, the administrator is usually a close relative of the decedent, like a spouse or an adult child. The process of having an administrator appointed is similar to the probate process in that the probate court must appoint the administrator (much like appointing an executor when there is a will) to administer the estate according to the laws of the State of Georgia, as opposed to the terms of a will.
There is confusion as to the role the state plays in the distribution of a deceased’s assets when there is not a will. Many people are under the misconception that upon the death of someone who dies without a will, the state comes forward and decides who gets the deceased’s assets. That is not exactly the case. Each state has laws of descent and distribution which spell out who the heirs are and their rights of inheritance. These laws are usually logical, with the nearest of kin inheriting from the decedent. For instance, a spouse and children are going to be the heirs of the decedent and only in the event there is no surviving spouse or children, would other relatives like parents, brothers or sisters, or aunts and uncles inherit.
If you are ready to learn more about the process of probating or administering an estate, contact Stephen Hagler LLC, Attorney at Law. We have been assisting families with issues that pertain to wills, estate planning and probate since 1991. Regardless of the size of your estate, how it is set up and administered can make a significant difference to the surviving family and beneficiaries.