As an Atlanta, Georgia Petition for Inventory and Accounting Lawyer, I see many clients who have all but given up discovering what happened to the assets and monies of a Georgia Estate. They erroneously believe this because they have signed away their right to an Inventory and accounting. In the alternative, they believe they are not entitled to an Inventory and Accounting because the language in the will explicitly states one is not required. If this is your situation, you are in luck!
Georgia probate law provides that you can renounce your waiver to production of an Estate Petition for Inventory and Accounting in Georgia. Georgia law also states that language in a Georgia Will that an Estate Petition for Inventory and Accounting is not required to be produced is for convenience purposes. Any holding to the contrary on both of the above-referenced would be tantamount to a “license to steal” for any administrator, executor, or personal representative (Collectively referred to as “Fiduciary” or “Fiduciaries” of a Georgia Estate).
If properly requested, the Georgia Probate Court will issue a “Rule Nisi” (a “Court Order”) for the administrator, executor, or personal representative to appear in court at a formal hearing and state why an interested party’s request for a formal and complete “Petition for Inventory and Accounting” should not be produced. Guidance of an experienced Atlanta, Georgia probate lawyer is almost essential when undertaking this request in an estate proceeding.
It is important to enter into requesting a Petition for Inventory and Accounting appropriately. First, in my Atlanta, Georgia probate practice, I find it is a best practice to make a formal request on the administrator, executor, or personal representative through detailed demand letter sent to their counsel, or directly to the Fiduciary if they do not have counsel. In my numerous years of Georgia probate litigation experience, I have found that it is prudent to attempt to resolve the issue without court intervention. While necessary, I have found that such demand rarely satisfies the heir or beneficiaries making the request. Second, this demand will likely have a “knee-jerk” reaction causing the administrator, executor, or personal representative to cease any correspondence with the heir or beneficiary and remain silent. Furthermore, it oftentimes elicits the losing argument that the heir or beneficiary has waived their right to such and inventory or accounting by signing it away on the Estate’s “Letters Testamentary” or “Letters of Administration” issued to the Fiduciary. The other losing argument by the Fiduciary is that the language in the will explicitly states they are not required to give or prepare one. Again, these are both losing arguments. Do not be surprised if you see this argument made by an attorney representing the Fiduciary. This is a finite area of Georgia probate law and many non-probate lawyers are not privy to this rule. On another note, such requests should not be done to offend the Fiduciary, or for some other non-legal and legitimate reason. Remember, filing a Georgia Petition for Inventory and Accounting is tantamount to showing a lack of trust in the Fiduciary, questioning their moral principles, and making an implied statement that they have stolen, squandered, or abused estate assets. This is a serious accusation.
In some cases, conflicts surface when executors, administrators, or personal representatives can have difficulty providing an inventory of assets in a timely manner. It is precisely this situation that can make it seem that there is an abuse of power on their part. Conversely, many times executors, administrators, or personal representatives have breached their Fiduciary Duties. Under these circumstances, they are unable to provide an accurate inventory and accounting. This happens more often than one would like to think and seems to be happening more frequently in these tough economic times.
If you are an heir or beneficiary who feels the administrator, executor, or personal representative has breached their Fiduciary Duty, please do not hesitate to contact Our Firm. We will properly hold the Fiduciary accountable and do our best to return the estate to its previous condition or make the Fiduciary make equally satisfying amends. Many cases of Breach of Fiduciary Duty are serious and involve theft of estate assets, self-dealing, misappropriation of funds, and worse. For this reason, it is important for executors, administrators, or personal representatives (Fiduciaries) in this situation, to retain the service of an experienced and Georgia probate lawyer who can assist in identifying a breach of fiduciary duty, or just plain bad estate handling by the Fiduciary. In the latter case, it may be best to have this Fiduciary removed in favor of another.
If you are an administrator, executor, or personal representative who has breached their fiduciary duty or is having trouble putting together an Inventory and Accounting that balances and satisfies the heirs or beneficiaries, it is important to retain an experienced Georgia probate lawyer with expertise in Inventory and Accounting issues. Your attorney and their staff can assist you in putting the pieces of the probate and non-probate assets in there categories and producing a proper Inventory and Accounting. They can also help you fend off false accusations and defamatory remarks by the heirs and beneficiaries. Moreover, they can argue your Inventory and Accounting to opposing counsel and the Probate Court effectively while the Fiduciary will almost certainly be called as a witness.
Whichever side you find yourself on in probate proceedings, as an executor or administrator or as an heir or beneficiary, you need to be aware of the legal options, rights and duties that apply to you, and seek the services of a Georgia Probate Attorney.
The Libby Law Firm represents individuals who need assistance navigating the Georgia probate Inventory and Accounting process, and all other matters related to the probate process. We welcome the opportunity to be of service to you. Please call us today at our Main (Buckhead) Atlanta Office at (404) 467-8611 to talk about your legal issues and goals. You can also provide a short succinct statement of your legal issues and send it through our “Contact Us” form on our website. At least one litigation attorney in our Atlanta Office as well as one experienced Paralegal Staff Member receives your “Contact Us” form and will call you immediately in response to your Contact Us request. In fact, do not be surprised if you get a phone call concerning your inquiry while you are still using our web site.
Our Firm would be glad to be of service to you. The Libby Law Firm provides legal services pertaining to probate and estate matters all over Georgia, including the cities and counties of North Georgia, Decatur, Sandy Springs, Roswell, Alpharetta, Buckhead, North Atlanta, South Atlanta, Fulton County, DeKalb County, Gwinnett County, Lawrenceville, Duluth, Forsyth County, Cumming, Cobb County, Marietta, Acworth, Kennesaw, and many more counties and cities throughout Georgia. We welcome the opportunity to assist you. Please do not hesitate to Contact Us.