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When Executors Fail to Act - An Overview of Probate Law in Georgia

Posted by Joel Beck | Jul 28, 2023 | 0 Comments

In the realm of estate planning, the executor of a will holds a significant responsibility. They are responsible for carrying out the wishes expressed in a will, including distributing the decedent's assets. Their duties often involve a process called probate, where the will is validated in court. But what if the executor does not probate the will in Georgia? Let's take a closer look.

The Consequences of Not Probating a Will

There can be various reasons why an executor might not probate a will. They might be overwhelmed with their duties, there might be family disputes, or they might be unsure of the process. However, not initiating the probate process can lead to significant issues.

Without probate, the wishes outlined in the will cannot be implemented. The deceased's assets cannot be properly distributed, debts cannot be settled, and tax obligations cannot be fulfilled. This can lead to legal complications and potential personal liability for the executor.

A Closer Look at Georgia Probate Laws

Under Georgia law, if an executor does not settle the estate properly or timely, the court may intervene. The court can appoint another person to serve as an administrator. This administrator then has the responsibility to probate the will and manage the estate.

Notably, Georgia law requires the executor or an interested party to present the will for probate timely.  State law further provides that any person having possession of a will shall file it with reasonable promptness with the probate court, and there can be consequences of fines and imprisonment for a person withholding a will from the court.

When an Executor is Unwilling or Unable to Serve

If an executor is unwilling or unable to serve, they can resign their position, or decline to be appointed over the estate. In this case, a substitute executor named in the will can take their place. If no substitute is named, or if the substitute is also unwilling or unable to serve, the court will appoint an administrator.

This process ensures that every estate is appropriately managed and that the wishes of the deceased are respected, even if the original executor cannot or does not initiate probate.

Contact Peach State Wills & Trusts Today

Handling the complexities of estate planning and probate can be a daunting task. Here at Peach State Wills & Trusts, we're dedicated to making this process easier and more understandable. If you're appointed as an executor and you're unsure of your responsibilities, or if you're planning your estate and want to ensure your wishes are properly known so that they can be carried out, we're here to help.

Contact Peach State Wills & Trusts at 678-344-5342 to learn how to plan for your estate's future in Georgia today or for help with a probate case. And remember, if you have any questions about estate planning in Georgia, you can download our free guide here, no strings attached.

About the Author

Joel Beck

Joel Beck founded The Beck Law Firm, LLC in 2007. His firm focused on business law and estate planning needs of clients, two areas that he was drawn to based upon personal and business experiences in his life, including a ten-year career at NASD (now known as FINRA).


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At Peach State Wills and Trusts, a division of The Beck Law Firm, LLC, we're committed to answering your questions about wills, trusts, powers of attorney, healthcare directives, uncontested probate, and business planning issues in Georgia.

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