If the lawyer represents me, is he the new fiduciary?
No. You remain the fiduciary. The lawyer simply advises you and assists you in administering the estate. You, as "personal representative" execute all estate documents and are ultimately legally responsible for the estate. Your attorney, however, can be invaluable in drafting all the paperwork and advising you on exactly what to do during a difficult time.
Am I entitled to compensation for my service as Executor, Guardian or Administrator?
Yes, depending on the role of the fiduciary. An executor, for instance is entitled to two and one half percent (2.5%) of funds received, two and one half percent (2.5%) of funds paid out, up to three percent (3%) of the value of real or personal property delivered in kind and ten percent (10%) of interest earned during the period of administration on money loaned by the executor.
Can I live in another state and serve as a fiduciary in Georgia?
Yes, provided that you faithfully serves in that fiduciary capacity. Georgia courts allow for an "Oath by Commission" whereby a fiduciary may be sworn in at their local court using the Georgia oath. I have represented clients from other states or countries who never once physically visited Georgia.
Is it hard work to be a personal representative or fiduciary in Georgia?
That depends on several factors like the size and complexity of the estate, the relationship between the interested parties, the amount of work done by the personal representative and the amount of work delegated to professionals.
Do I have to pay for the costs of Probate?
No. The estate is responsible for the legal costs of the estate. If the estate has no liquid assets, then the fiduciary may pay some of the upfront costs, but these costs are reimbursed once the assets are liquidated.