Creating a last will and testament in Georgia is a necessity to ensure your property and assets go to loved ones in the event of your death, and to avoid potentially costly and time-consuming probate court proceedings. Regardless of the amount of money or property you own, a will can convey your final wishes and help avoid any disputes that could arise.
Last Will and Testament Georgia
A will is a legal document that provides an inventory of your estate and instructions for its distribution. Your estate includes real estate and personal belongings such as cars, clothing, furniture and collectible items, as well as assets such as checking or savings accounts, retirement or pension benefits and stocks. In addition to your inventory, you will name beneficiaries, which are the people or organizations you wish to inherit from your estate, and a personal administrator, who will handle probate proceedings, settle any outstanding debts and make distributions.
How Long Does It Take To Probate a Will?
Once your will is filed with the Georgia probate court, a number of duties must be fulfilled by the personal administrator before the estate can be settled. These include:
- Obtaining letters of administration, authorizing the personal representative to handle matters on behalf of the estate;
- Inventorying and gathering assets;
- Providing notice to creditors and settling all outstanding claims, including final medical expenses and any tax debts;
- Selling property to ensure all outstanding debts and expenses are paid;
- Filing the final tax returns for the estate;
- Distributing property to beneficiaries and heirs;
- Filing final inventory and accounting forms with the probate court;
- Applying for discharge and release from liability to close the estate.
Depending on how long it takes to inventory and gather the deceased’s personal belongings, notify creditors and locate beneficiaries, the probate process can take anywhere from six months to several years.
Our Georgia Wills and Estate Planning Attorneys are here to Assist You
If you need assistance in creating a will or other estate planning documents, or have questions about the probate process, contact our experienced Georgia wills and estate planning attorneys. At Stearns-Montgomery & Proctor, we can advise you on the types of legal documents you need to ensure that both you and your loved ones are protected. Call or contact us online today to request a consultation at one of our five offices located conveniently throughout Atlanta and the surrounding area.