What powers does an executor of an estate have?

What powers does an executor of an estate have?

Probate powers are one of the least understood but most important topics for an executor or administrator to understand.

The reason for this is that the level of powers the administrator or executor has been granted by the probate court will have a very large impact on how long it takes to settle the estate, how much work will be involved, and how much it will all cost.

The default rule in Georgia is that the personal representative serves with limited powers. 

In this article we’re going to look at what happens when a personal representative only has the default limited powers.

My name is Erik Broel & I am the founder & CEO of Georgia Probate Law Group.

What powers does an executor of an estate have

What powers does an executor of an estate have?

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.

By default, an executor or administrator has very limited powers.

What powers does an executor of an estate have

For example, the personal representative may:

  • Collect assets of the estate
  • Preserve assets of the estate
  • Pay valid creditor claims
  • Make distributions per the will and Georgia law

If the executor or administrator wants to take any other actions, they will likely need to secure permission from the probate court first.

Example: Selling or improving a home

For example, if estate owns a home and the personal representative would like to sell the home or use estate funds to make improvements to the home to prepare it for sale, then the personal representative would need to obtain court permission first. 

Related Topic:  Does Georgia Probate Law Say That You Must Pay The Hospital Bills Of a Spouse That Dies?

To get that permission, the executor or administrator would need to file a petition with the court, fully explain the action they want to take, and attach any relevant documents. 

The court would then provide notice to all of the heirs or beneficiaries of the estate and set a timeframe for any objections. 

After that time expires, the court may hold a hearing. 

As you can imagine, having to go through that process each time an action needs to be taken will slow down the process of settling the estate considerably, increase the complexity, and increase the cost.

The best way to avoid that is to seek expanded powers from the court.

Next Steps: 

Everything discussed in this article is for general information and is not legal advice.

If you are in a situation where you need help settling an estate correctly, 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.

What powers does an executor of an estate have