One of the most important reasons to make a will is to name your executor -- sometimes called a "personal representative" in Georgia. After your death, your executor's primary job is to protect your property until any debts and taxes have been paid, and then transfer what's left to those who are entitled to it.
Every state has some rules about who may serve as the executor of an estate that goes through probate. Here are the requirements in Georgia.
Your executor must be:
(Ga. Code Ann. § § 53-1-2, 53-6-1.)
Many states prohibit people who have felony convictions from serving as executor. In Georgia, however, there is no statute prohibiting you from naming an executor who has been convicted of a felony.
In addition to the above requirements for individuals, Georgia law imposes restrictions on the types of corporations that can serve as executor. In Georgia, while you can name a limited liability company, corporation, association, partnership, or business trust as your executor, it must be authorized to act as a fiduciary in the state. Even so, you should think carefully before appointing a business entity to represent your estate. It's almost always best to name an individual; consider an institution only if you don't know anyone you trust enough to serve, or your estate is very large and complex. (Ga. Code Ann. § § 53-1-2, 53-6-1.)
Unlike many other states, Georgia does not impose special requirements on executors who live out of state. But that doesn't mean it's a good idea to appoint someone who lives far away. For practical reasons, it's usually best to name an executor who lives near you. Your executor may have to handle day-to-day matters for weeks, months, or sometimes longer.
If you want to know more about an executor's duties and responsibilities in Georgia, the Georgia Council of Probate Judges and the State Bar of Georgia offer a guide for personal representatives.
For more information about choosing your executor and making your will, see the Wills section of Nolo.com.