Q: Dad died last month, GA, with a signed, notarized will. Everything goes to us 3 sisters. Is probate neccessary?
Dad died last month. I am named executor in his will. His second wife died 7 years ago. Our mother died 30 years ago. Dad had 3 daughters and 1 son, who died from cancer 20 years ago. Dad's will is signed and notarized and we all have a copy. I have the original. His will states that everything he owns, cash, house, land, boat and truck pass to us 3 sisters. Our question is: under Georgia law, does his will have to go through probate? I do believe, from my research, that I need some sort of appointment or paper, stating I am the executor / administrator of his estate. None of us are in argument about anything. We will have to eventually sell his property and divide it amongst us. Again, do we need to go through probate? We estimate the value of all assets to be under $1,000,000, including a 2 BR, 1 bath house, a small barn, a tiny storage bldg, a truck, 30 acres and about $30,000 in cash. Thank you so much!
A: A person named as executor in a will does not actually become the executor until a petition to probate the will is filed and the probate court issues letters testamentary to the person named as executor. Until letters testamentary have been issued, the person named as executor would not have any authority to act on behalf of the estate. After appointment as executor, the executor would have certain duties which he or she must fulfill. The executor can be personally liable if he or she does not properly administer the estate. I recommend that you consult with a probate attorney, who can assist you with this matter.
A: Because you mentioned that there is a house and a car and land, you will need to go through probate. You should file a Petition to Probate Will in Solemn Form. You might be able to handle this without a lawyer, but a lawyer who works in probate and understand probate will be invaluable to you in helping you through the process, making sure you handle the estate the right way and maximizing your ultimate distribution.
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