Scriber Law Group, LLC.

Estate Administration

Estate Administration Attorney in Atlanta, Georgia

Dealing with the loss of a loved one is a particularly difficult experience. It is often made more challenging when the loved one did not leave a Will behind and the estate must be distributed in the process of Administration. If your loved on died with a Will, the estate is distributed in a process known as Probate.

For those of you living in Georgia, this is where the assistance of an experienced and trusted Atlanta Estate Administration attorney can be of significant value. We are committed to providing our clients with the comprehensive legal advice that is necessary to complete the process of Probate with minimum stress and few distractions, which can ultimately save the client time and money.

What Is Administration?

Administration is the process that involves the distribution of the estate of person who dies intestate, that is, they died without leaving a Will.

The Administrator first notifies any interested parties that the Administration process has started, performing an accounting of estate assets, distributing the estate according to the terms of the Will, and eventually closing the estate. Once appointed, the Administrator can also bring claims in favor of the estate, such as a wrongful death action.

During Administration, an Administrator, typically a spouse or close family member of the deceased, is nominated by a consensus of Heirs or by the Probate Court. Once nominated, the Administrator takes the required oath and receives a document called the “Letters of Administration.” The Administrator, in a role similar to the Executor, is tasked with several responsibilities.

First, the Administrator must identify and inventory the contents of the estate. This can be a time-consuming step as many significant properties or accounts may be considered to be non-Probate assets as the ownership automatically transferred to someone upon the death of the deceased.

For example, a house or bank account may be owned as joint tenants with right of survivorship. Complete ownership would transfer to the surviving owner(s) of this property. Automobiles and other vehicles owned by multiple parties automatically transfer to the surviving owner(s).

Other property maybe titled to the name of a trust. These trust assets are not part of the estate and will be managed by a Trustee or Trustees.

And, when a deceased dies with a membership or significant share of a company such as an S-Corp, LLC, LLP, et cetera, the transfer of the interest may be governed by bylaws or partnership agreement of the company.

Finally, the proceeds of retirement plans such as IRAs and 401(k) plans and life insurance policies typically go straight to the beneficiary as defined by the policy and are not included in the estate. However, if the life insurance has no stated beneficiary or the estate is named as beneficiary, then the policy proceeds must be included in the Probate of the estate to be transferred according to the Will.

The best way to understand what is in the estate and whether to include it in Georgia Probate is to consult an experienced Atlanta Estate Administration attorney.

Second, the Administrator must identify and settle the estate’s taxes and debts owed with creditors. It is important that these get handled before any distributions are made under the Will. The Executor should be aware that many major bills, such as those for final medical care and funeral costs, can arrive several weeks after the death. But, it is also important to know that many bills can be settled in a way that can preserve much of the estate for the Beneficiaries.

Third, once the estate’s taxes and debts have been paid or settled, the Administrator must then distribute what is left of the estate according to the state law. Under OCGA § 53-2-1(c), this is done on the following basis:

  • If the person is survived by a spouse and not survived by any children, the spouse shall be the sole heir.
  • If the person is survived by a spouse and children, the spouse and children shall share equally with the descendants of any deceased children taking that child’s share, provided the spouse does not get less than one-third.
  • If there is no spouse and no children, the nearest surviving relatives as defined by the statute shall share be Heirs.

This is an area that often creates difficulties if the valuation of the estate has not been done correctly and Heirs believe that they have not received what they are entitled to under Georgia law.

There are also several procedural steps that must be completed, such as recording any real estate transfers from the estate to Heirs with the local Clerk of Superior Court and make sure all transfer taxes have been paid.

While engaged in these responsibilities, the Administrator must submit paperwork to the court and may face challenges from family members and other interested parties. These matters often require the assistance of an attorney and our Atlanta office would be able to help. Typically, the estate pays for all necessary attorney’s fees and court fees.

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Scriber Law Group, LLC.

Get your questions answered - Call for a complimentary strategy session at (404) 939-7562.

How We Can Help

As your Atlanta Estate Administration attorneys, we assist Administrators, Heirs, or anyone with an interest in a Georgia estate. We provide all necessary legal services needed by the client, including advice and consultation on all steps of the process of Probate, preparation and filing of all legal petitions and required documents, communication with all necessary parties, and resolution of all disputes. We have worked on Probate matters involving:

  • Caveats
  • Petition for Letters of Administration
  • Administration of Intestate Estates
  • Objections to Executors
  • Objections to Administrators
  • Intestacy proceedings
  • Ancillary estates
  • Inventories
  • Tax management
  • Final accounting
  • Investing and distributing assets
  • Gathering (“Marshaling”) and protecting assets

Moreover, we understand the conflict that can occur within a family mourning the loss of a loved one and struggling to divide the estate. Our attorneys can work to prevent this from arising and turning into litigation. In the event that your family is struggling with issues surrounding the division of an estate, performance issues of the Administrator, or any other legal issue arising from the Administration process, we have the knowledge and expertise to advise you.

Atlanta & Marietta, GA Estate Administration Lawyers

Before proceeding into the process of Estate Administration, it is very important to talk with an attorney experienced in Georgia Estate Administration to understand what is needed and what alternatives exist, such as a Year’s Support action. If you have a loved one who has recently died without a Will, contact our office so that we can help.

Finally, we provide clients with the comprehensive legal advice necessary to Estate Administration, making sure Administrators comply with all procedures required to efficiently and orderly distribute the estate, from the initial filing to the closing of the estate.

Contact Us

If you have any questions or would like to get started, call our office at (404) 939-7562 or contact us online for a free consultation.

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Scriber Law Group, LLC.

Get your questions answered - Call for a complimentary strategy session at (404) 939-7562.