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Steps to take after my father's death

Alpharetta, GA |

My father has just died and I am named executor of the will. What steps do I need to take at this point. I live in the state of Georgia

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Attorney answers 2


Step 1: Find the original will and any old wills which your father may have executed. (Georgia law requires that anyone in possession of the original will file it with the court of the decedent's domicile)
Step 2: consider hiring an attorney to assist you with estate administration. Although the probate process in Georgia does not require a lawyer and can be done on your own, sound counsel may allow you to administer the estate more efficiently and may allow you to save money on taxes, reduce creditor exposure, or protect your own interests since you will be serving as executor.
Step 3: File a petition to probate the will. You likely want to file a petition for solemn form probate asking the court to appoint you as executor. You may, however have other options. One thing to consider, particularly if your mother is still living, is whether or not to have your mom file a petition for year's support. There can be advantages to filing this type of petition
Step 4: Notify Social Security, credit reporting agencies, creditors (such as credit cards, Veterans Administration (if your dad served in the military)
Step 5: continue to pay secured creditors (such as the mortgage company and any car loans); do not make payments on unsecured credit card debt until you are appointed executor; if possible, wait to pay the funeral home and funeral expenses to preserve their priority among creditor claims (if your dad had no debt, this may not be important)
Step 6: After filing for probate and getting appointed, begin administering the estate (determining and marshalling assets, paying debt)

THIS IS ONLY GENERAL INFORMATION . The correct steps for administering the estate vary depending upon the nature and solvency of the estate, whether the decedent owned property in another state, whether the decedent had minor children or a surviving spouse, and many other factors. As stated above, I recommend consulting an attorney with regard to administering your father's estate.


You should file the will with the probate court in the county where your father resided at his death. The probate court should have a booklet that describes the steps you need to take after being sworn in as executor.

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