Georgia’s probate courts determine the validity of a deceased person’s will and appoint an executor to administer the will. The court grants legal authority to the executor through official letters of testamentary or administration. The executor takes an oath of office to affirm that he will perform the duties as required by law.
The executor collects the decedent’s assets in a process called “marshaling” and identifies creditors. Typical duties include paying bills, judgments and probate expenses. The executor prepares tax returns, files court reports and communicates with parties to the probate process, such as heirs and creditors. She uses the assets in the order prescribed by Georgia probate law, such as payment of debts before distributions to heirs.
Protect Estate's Interests
The executor’s duties include protecting the interests of the estate. This can include hiring an estate attorney, opening an estate bank account and placing required legal notices in newspapers for potential heirs and creditors. The executor can take legal action to compel cooperation and, when necessary, sell assets. He maintains a complete record to document work performed on behalf of the estate.
Asset Distribution and Closing the Estate
The executor submits an accounting and report -- including an inventory of assets -- to the court after all debts are paid and requests permission to distribute the remaining assets to heirs. Once the estate is fully administered, the executor submits a final accounting and report to the court and requests permission to close the estate.