There are a lot of legal and practical obligations that arise when someone dies. The family will need to locate their estate plan and secure their assets. There will need to be a representative who handles the estate, and they will need to attend hearings in the Georgia probate courts.
Everything owned directly by the deceased individual becomes part of their estate. Family members and beneficiaries typically cannot access estate assets until the probate process reaches a certain point. If you expect to inherit from an estate in Georgia, you are likely eager to receive the assets left to you.
How long will it take to complete estate administration in Georgia?
You may have to wait a year or longer
The average estate may take between 12 and 18 months to fully resolve following the death of the testator. Probate proceedings can be a lengthy process, and the executor must fulfill all of their obligations before distributing property to any beneficiaries.
Some of the most important responsibilities that will delay asset distribution include notifying creditors. The executor has to provide written notice to creditors and publish notice so that unknown creditors can also submit the appropriate paperwork to the Georgia probate courts. Only after the window of time for filing and resolving those claims has passed can the executor or personal representative of the estate begin distributing assets to beneficiaries without risk of personal liability.
The delay should not significantly affect asset value
Those managing estates or overseeing trusts have a duty to the beneficiaries who would receive assets from the estate or the trust. That duty includes an obligation to carefully manage resources and maximize their value for the beneficiaries of the estate when possible.
If an executor fails to secure certain assets or if they make mistakes and how they manage or sell those assets, beneficiaries could potentially take them to court to stop them from diminishing the value of the estate and negatively affecting their inheritance. Probate litigation, including attempts to change the executor midway through the process, will usually increase how long it takes to complete probate.
Understanding the likely timeline for estate administration can help those who stand to benefit from an estate maintain their patients while waiting for their inheritance.