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Understanding your role as an executor in estate administration

Being chosen as an executor is both a privilege and a responsibility. The fact that a loved one decided that you were the best person to undertake the estate administration duties after his or her death may have felt like a honor, but you also need to understand what it will entail. Fortunately, you do not have to fulfill your duties alone as you go through the Georgia probate process.

As an executor, you are considered a fiduciary, which is an individual or entity who acts for the benefit of others and owes them a duty of care. This means that your actions could come under scrutiny from the heirs and beneficiaries you serve during the administration of the estate. Your first task will be to read your loved one's will in order to understand the instructions left behind.

This gives you the opportunity to determine who will receive what assets of the estate. Before you can distribute them, however, you must complete other tasks. The will may specify what assets serve as payment of final debts and taxes of the decedent and the estate. You must also determine what those debts and taxes are. Another crucial duty of an executor is to gather all of the deceased person's assets and safeguard them for eventual distribution.

These are just the basics of your job as executor when it comes to estate administration. Every estate is different, and it may help to have some assistance as you carry out your duties. You may need the guidance and assistance of a Georgia attorney, who can also help you determine whether you need other parties such as appraisers and accountants. As executor, you can typically bring in whatever help you need in order to properly administer the estate.

Source: americanbar.org, "Guidelines for Individual Executors & Trustees", Accessed on Oct. 8, 2017

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