If you have lost a loved one, there is a possibility that you will be named the executor or administrator of the decedent’s estate. If the deceased had a will, they may have named you as their personal representative in the will itself. If the decedent did not have a will, or they did not name anyone as their representative, the probate court may appoint you as the legal administrator of the estate.
Responsibilities of estate administrator
As part of your responsibilities as an estate administrator, you may have to go through the probate process to ensure that the decedent’s estate is properly distributed and their debts are paid. Generally, probate is required in Ohio for estates with a value of more than $35,000. Smaller estates may be able to avoid probate through a release from administration requirements or summary release from administration requirements.
As estate administrator, you will likely have to do the following:
- Determine whether a valid will exists and establish validity.
- File necessary forms, including an application for probate
- Notify heirs, beneficiaries, and others with interest in the estate.
- Gather the decedent’s assets and provide the court with an inventory of assets.
- Seek an appraisal of the decedent’s assets to determine their value.
- Pay off creditors and debts owed by the decedent.
- File taxes on behalf of the decedent (e.g., income tax returns, estate tax return).
- Distribute remaining property to beneficiaries, in accordance with the decedent’s will or state intestate laws (if no valid will exists).
Handling probate/estate administration is no easy task, especially for larger estates. An attorney specializing in estate-related matters can help ensure that you follow all applicable state rules and procedures when managing the decedent’s estate.