If you have been chosen to serve as an executor of an estate in Ohio, you will have a number of legal duties and responsibilities.
Before beginning your responsibilities, you must be appointed by the court to serve as executor of the estate. If the decedent chose you to be the executor of their estate and named you in their will, the court will likely appoint you to serve as the executor. However, if the decedent died without a will, the court will decide who to appoint as executor.
Once you have been appointed as executor, you will begin carrying out your duties. The estate administration process will vary depending on the size of the estate and the details specified in the decedent’s will, but here are some of the responsibilities you will most likely have as an estate executor:
- Probate will (if there is one): Present the will to the court to have it validated.
- Create inventory: Make a list of all assets owned by the decedent at the time of their death and file the list with the court. If the value of an asset is not obvious, a professional appraiser will value it. Non-probate assets, or assets not required to pass through probate, do not need to be included.
- Collect assets: Gather all assets to prepare them to be distributed to beneficiaries.
- Pay taxes and debts: Pay decedent’s debts, including bills, medical expenses, property upkeep expenses, and probate court costs. You will also need to file income tax returns on behalf of the decedent.
- Distribute assets: Distribute remaining assets to named beneficiaries.
If an administrator of an estate breaches their duties owed to the beneficiaries or violates the law while carrying out their responsibilities, they could be held personally liable for these mistakes.
Speaking to an attorney who focuses on probate/estate administration can help avoid these mistakes and make the process go more smoothly for everyone involved.