Georgia residents who have been asked to be an estate’s personal representative may be wary of accepting the role. However, it is generally not as scary or overwhelming as it sounds, and it will only take a limited amount of a person’s time to carry out their duties. As a general rule, a personal representative is responsible for inventorying assets, paying creditors and the government and distributing assets to beneficiaries.
Those who serve as executors will need to make time to talk with the estate’s attorney and attend court hearings. It could also be necessary to take time to go to the bank or be present at a real estate closing. Individuals who are worried about being held liable for making a mistake while settling an estate should understand that judges expect minor errors to be made.
If mistakes are made, the personal representative of an estate is generally not liable assuming that they weren’t made in a reckless or intentional manner. To protect against the risk of making a mistake, an executor could ask to be put under a supervised administration. Doing so means that the court would have to approve most major moves before they happen. By relying on a court order, a personal representative has a defense if something is done incorrectly.
Tasks such as distributing property will typically be conducted in accordance with instructions provided in a will or trust. If legal challenges are made during probate or at any point after a person passes, it may be necessary to determine the validity of those challenges. An estate’s personal representative may be able to ask an attorney to help determine how to handle questions related to settling an estate. Doing so might help end such challenges in a timely manner.