What Are My Responsibilities as an Administrator or Executor of an Estate?

Losing a family member or close friend is incredibly difficult to process as it is, but this time can become even more hectic when you have been designated to manage their estate as an Administrator or Executor. 


Amid the sorrow and grief, it’s important that you feel prepared and capable of carrying out your loved one’s wishes.


Let’s talk about each of these roles and what they are responsible for.


What is the Difference Between an Administrator and an Executor?

While these roles carry out similar functions, they are set apart by the manner in which they were appointed. 


An Executor is nominated by the Decedent specifically to manage their estate in their will. If the deceased does not have a will in place or their specified Executor is either unable or uninterested in carrying out their responsibilities, the probate court will step in and appoint an Administrator who they believe is capable of managing the estate. 


What Should I Do First as an Administrator or Executor? 

The first thing you should do is determine if the estate must be probated.


In Georgia specifically, some estates may not have to go through the probate court if the Decedent’s heirs and beneficiaries agree on the division of assets laid out in the estate.


If there is a disagreement between the heirs, the Executor or Administrator would then petition the estate to go through probate. The court then notifies the heirs that a petition has been filed, and they must either comply with or object to the petition. After that, the estate administration process begins, which can take months or years to complete depending on how long it takes for heirs to find an agreeable resolution.


What are Executors and Administrators Responsible for?

    • Identifying and Collecting Assets: These representatives are in charge of gathering all of the assets named in the estate. While many assets are likely named in the will, others may need to be identified by looking through the decedent’s financial records.  Once all of the assets are tracked down, the representative then collects them.  
    • Paying Off Bills, Taxes, and Debts: One of the most important tasks for these roles is ensuring that all of the Decedent’s debts and expenses have been paid out. In the event that the debt is too great to be covered by the deceased’s cash, the Executor or Administrator would likely have to sell off other assets to cover the expenses.   
    • Dividing and Distributing Assets: After all of the above expenses have been paid out, the representative is tasked with distributing the remaining assets to the appropriate heirs and beneficiaries.


Estate Planning with Lefkoff Duncan

Do you need help creating a solid estate plan and naming the right Executor to oversee that your wishes are carried out correctly? Lefkoff-Duncan is here to help. Our experienced team will assist you in all of your estate planning endeavors so that you’ll never again need to wonder if you’ve done enough to take care of the ones you love. Contact us today!