Understanding the duties of trustees, executors & fiduciaries

There are various capacities in which a person may be asked to tend to the financial and personal affairs of a loved one or close friend who has passed away. Suffering the loss of a family member or friend is often a traumatic experience. Those who have been named as trustees, executors & fiduciaries (or to any one position) to a decedent's estate in Georgia may want to seek legal guidance to clarify the required duties and responsibilities.

Typically, after death, a person's assets must be collected, financial affairs addressed and outstanding debts paid to settle the estate. An executor acts as personal representative in such circumstances where a decedent has executed a will prior to death. If no will is present at the time of death, an administrator of the estate will be appointed by the court. Such fiduciary duties and titles vary according to the governing laws regarding such matters in each state.

Many times, more than one person or party has been named to represent a decedent's estate. Further, a person named as a fiduciary may accept or decline the position; therefore, it is typically prudent to list an alternate in one's will. Because fiduciary work can be complicated, a person called to the task may enlist outside professional help to carry out the duties. Any fees incurred therein may be paid out of the estate.

Trustees, executors & fiduciaries take on serious responsibilities when they agree to act on behalf of a deceased loved one or friend. Various situations or disagreements among beneficiaries may lead to delays or obstacles when settling an estate. In Georgia, a person acting as representative of an estate where legal challenges have arisen typically benefits from the guidance of an attorney who has experience in matters of probate and estate administration.

Source: uscg.mil, "Fiduciaries", Accessed on April 12, 2016

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