Ohio courts will oversee the distribution of a Dayton resident’s property if they should die without a will.
The court-appointed administrator of the estate will play an important role in this process. They will have to gather the deceased person’s property, appraise it or even sell it for cash if necessary, pay all valid claims and then distribute what is left.
An executor does the same task under the supervision of the court, except the executor must distribute property according to the terms of the will, provided that the will is admitted into probate.
But there is a lot more that an executor or other representative might have to do during the estate administration process. In most cases, for instance, the person will have to deal with filing tax returns and, possibly, answering questions about them.
The representative may also find themselves involved, if only indirectly, with arranging for the transfer of nonprobate property, like a jointly held home or bank account.
Again, it depends on the circumstances, but issues with life insurance or retirement accounts may land on an executor’s or administrator’s lap.
An executor may even have to file a lawsuit on behalf of the estate separate from the probate case in some situations, such as if the deceased person was killed in an accident.
Trustees have to administer trusts outside of court
It is also worth remembering that not all Dayton residents choose to use a will for their estate planning. Some might put virtually all of their assets in a trust and appoint one or more close relatives to be trustees.
Especially for a larger trust, a trustee’s job can be just as complicated if not more complicated than that of a personal representative going through the probate court.
Trustees have an important fiduciary duty to do what is in the best interest of the trust and to follow the directions in the trust document strictly. Sometimes, it is not entirely clear how to do this most effectively.