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Have you been waiting to receive your inheritance longer than you expected? If so, join millions of other folks who are expecting Personal Representatives of an Estate to get their job done more quickly than expected. In Georgia, a Personal Representative has six months from the date Letters of Administration or Letters Testamentary are issued to them to perform their task and distribute the Estate assets to the beneficiaries. While this time period is fixed by law, it is not unusual for a Personal Representative to need more time due to extraordinary circumstances such as closing a business or selling real estate. Most of the time, a Personal Representative should be able to complete this task within the six-month period.

What is your remedy if the Personal Representative is not doing their job?

There are several possible remedies for you to follow, listed in increasing order of severity. Naturally, your relationship with the Personal Representative and their conduct toward you leading up to this moment will dictate which method you feel most comfortable following.

  1. Send an overnight letter to the Personal Representative demanding information about the Estate and asking for a time estimate in getting distributions to you. This letter can be kind or quite terse, depending upon your individual needs. As your mother probably told you, you get further with honey than you do with vinegar.
  2. If you have tried writing a letter and have not received satisfactory results, you can petition the Court for a Final Settlement of Accounts. This is the proper way to bring the probate court judge into the picture. If you think the Personal Representative is simply dragging their feet but not stealing from the Estate, this is the proper method to follow. Remember, you must give the Personal Representative six months before you can file this Petition. The probate judge will summon the Personal Representative to court and make them explain what they have done to settle the Estate and what remains to be done to finish their work.
  3. If you believe the Personal Representative is stealing from the Estate, is doing nothing to advance the Estate, or is otherwise taking advantage of the Estate, you can file a Petition to Remove the Personal Representative for Breach of Fiduciary Duty. This is the most extreme position you can take and will likely result in a trial before the probate judge. You will need to be ready to present evidence of wrong-doing to the court to achieve your goal of removing the Personal Representative.

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