Tonight’s post on managing Probate with great efficiency was written by our Probate and Wills, Trusts and Estates attorney, Steve Worrall.
Georgia probate lawyers are well aware of the hassles and headaches that families face when a loved one’s estate goes into probate. The process can drag out, eating up not just time but also resources that would have otherwise gone to beneficiaries. Appointed executors find themselves with burdensome responsibilities that can compound their grief. In order to navigate the process as quickly and smoothly as possible, I recommend you keep the following in mind:
Probate Tip #1: Hire an Experienced Georgia Probate Attorney
It may be tempting to navigate the process alone, but a good probate lawyer will be able to make the entire process more efficient. The attorney’s expertise will guide you steadily in the right direction and keep you on track for closing the case as quickly as possible.
Probate Tip #2: Notify Creditors Quickly
Part of the Georgia probate process is making creditors aware of the death. As long as the case is open, creditors can come looking for payment, which can significantly slow down process. Instead, it is better to get everything lined up as quickly as possible to be able to move on to the next phase.
Probate Tip #3: Get an Appraised Inventory
As the executor works with the estate, he or she should be creating an inventory of its assets and getting appraisals when appropriate, whether on personal effects, real estate, or other assets. The courts may need to be involved with the process, so discuss it with your probate lawyer.
Probate Tip #4: Don’t Miss Deadlines
There are specific deadlines set for when documents need to be filed. Missing these deadlines will lead to the need for more court appearances (time, hassle, money), as well as keeping the case open-and the estate vulnerable-for that much longer.
Probate Tip #5: Keep Accurate Records
The creditor claim period can vary from state to state, which is another excellent reason to work with a local probate lawyer. In Georgia, this period is generally six months. Once this period has ended, the executor will file the final report and accounting. Having these numbers ready to go and double-checking them for accuracy helps get the estate closed faster.
There’s no doubt that seeing an estate through probate in Georgia creates some stress and potential confusion. A good lawyer will minimize this stress, and utilizing these simple probate tips, can get the estate and all those connected to it through the process that much faster.
(Steve’s primary office is in Marietta, but he services all of our clients from Marietta to Atlanta to Canton to Lawrenceville to Savannah)