How do you handle an estate in Georgia from out of state?
Settling an estate is difficult on its own, and those challenges are magnified when you have to manage the estate remotely because you don’t live close by.
In this article, we’re going to discuss some of the unique challenges of this situation and what you can do to overcome them.
My name is Erik Broel & I am the founder & CEO of Georgia Probate Law Group.
At our firm we help families who have lost a loved one navigate the complex and confusing legal process so they can make sure the estate is handled properly and their loved one’s memory is honored.
When managing an estate remotely, there are a number of potential complications that can make the process more difficult.
We’re going to focus on three of the most common in this article.
1. Taking the Oath of Executor or Administrator of The Estate
The first complication usually occurs once the petition to open the estate has been filed and accepted by the probate court.
Before you will be able to begin to officially manage the estate, you must be sworn in by the clerk of the probate court.
To do that requires that you appear in person at the court.
Fortunately, our office has had a lot of success with getting the judge to allow our clients to take their oath of office at a local probate court where the client lives.
That saves the client from having to travel to Georgia for a relatively short proceeding with the clerk.
2. How to Handle Physical Inventory of Items in The Home
The second complication is how to handle the physical inventory of personal and other items in the home? And, after the inventory is completed, how to handle the sale or disposition of those items?
If all heirs or beneficiaries of the will are in agreement, then the formal inventory requirement can be avoided.
When it comes to handling the personal property, it may require you to be in Georgia for some time to handle it.
Alternatively, you may need someone here to help you with it.
Our team has had a lot of success at coordinating disposition of personal property – either to family members, through an estate sale, or to charity.
3. Hearings or Other Appearances
Finally, if your case requires any hearings or other appearances in court, then you will need travel to Georgia for those. While some of these can be avoided, others cannot.
For example, if you only have the standard, limited powers that an executor or administrator has under Georgia law, you would be required to file a petition with the court and potentially have a hearing before selling the estate home.
Fortunately, there are ways to avoid this requirement if all heirs or beneficiaries of the will agree.
Everything discussed in this article is for general information and is not legal advice.
If you are in a situation where you are attempting to settle an estate from out-of-state, I recommend you reach out to our office at (770) 920-6030 to set up a consultation.
If you’re not quite ready for a consultation, be sure to download our Georgia Probate Handbook so you know how the estate is supposed to be handled.