What can you do if an Executor or Administrator (Personal Representative) is not performing his job? Executors for an estate are nominated in the Will to handle all estate matters. The Executor must be approved by the Probate Court as part of probating the Will. Administrators are appointed to handle an estate when a person dies without a Will (intestate). Wills may give an Executor enormous latitude and discretion in how he handles the Will, while Administrators usually have far less discretion on how an estate is handled. All Personal Representatives must comply with Georgia Probate laws. As a general rule, Personal Representatives are supposed to conclude their duties in about 6 months. However, there are exceptions.
If you are the heir or beneficiary of an estate and feel that the Personal Representative is not performing his job, you have a few options. The primary remedy you have is to bring the Personal Representative before the Court by filing a Petition for Settlement of Accounts. This can be filed no sooner than six months after the Personal Representative obtains his Letters. Once you file that petition, the Court will command the Personal Representative to provide you with the full accounting of his work as a Personal Representative and further will command the Personal Representative to conclude the estate quickly. If the Personal Representative cannot provide an accounting, or will not distribute the estate quickly, the court may remove the Personal Representative and appoint another person to handle the estate.
We just concluded a matter in Probate Court where the Personal Representative had been in charge of an estate for almost a year, but failed to perform any duties. The home of the deceased deteriorated in that time because it sat vacant. The bank account had not been closed, nor had the estate bills been paid. The Court removed the Personal Representative and appointed our Client to conclude the work.
Should you find yourself in a similar situation, contact Hughes and Associates at 770-469-8887 for assistance.