If you have assets in your estate when you pass away, your estate will likely need to go through probate. During this process, a Georgia judge will ensure that your will is valid and that creditor or other claims are heard. Assuming that your will is deemed to be valid, assets will be distributed to beneficiaries per the instructions included in the document.
An executor represents your estate during probate
Your interests are represented by an executor who may be appointed in your will or by the judge overseeing your case. If you have named an executor in your will, this individual initiates the probate proceeding by presenting your death certificate to the court. In addition to transferring assets to beneficiaries, he or she will also be responsible for filing your tax returns and making sure that other valid debts are paid.
Expect to pay multiple probate fees
There are several fees that your estate will likely need to pay to settle your affairs. For instance, there may be a filing fee, creditor notice fees and a probate bond fee. Furthermore, you will likely need to pay for legal assistance as well as the executor for his or her services. Altogether, the costs associated with probate can range from 2% to 7% of your estate’s value. It may be possible to reduce or avoid these costs with a properly drafted will or by putting assets into a trust.
Taking time to complete estate planning tasks such as creating a will or trust may help you save time and money after your death. Avoiding probate may mean that assets can be given to your beneficiaries immediately upon your passing. As a general rule, depending on the size of your estate, probate will take several months or years to complete.