Georgia law does not impose any concrete deadlines on filing for probate. Because estate property can not be distributed or even used to pay estate creditors until after the probate process has begun, however, we generally recommend starting the process as soon as the executor/administrator is ready to begin the process. Ideally, within two or three months of the decedent's death.
If the estate is subject to federal estate taxes, the federal estate tax return (and any tax owed) is due 9 months from the date of death. As such, it is more important to get started early when an estate must file an estate tax return. If the estate is non-taxable, no real deadlines exist.
Delaying probate could result in increased interest costs to creditors of the estate. Delay also means that it will be longer before the assets of the estate can be distributed, debts paid, etc. However, if good reasons for delay exist, such as time to grieve or time to locate the original will, you should not be concerned about delaying the process.
Of course, every case is different and some estates may have unique circumstances (such as rapidly depreciating property or heirs/beneficiaries who intend to contest the will or fiduciary appointment) that would warrant filing for probate as soon as possible. You should seek legal counsel to advise you with regard to the specifics of your situation.
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To comply with the requirements imposed by the United States Treasury Department, any information regarding any US federal tax matters contained in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, as advice for the purpose of (1) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code, or (2) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.