Last Week’s Probate Presentation

I had the pleasure of speaking last week at a continuing education event for other attorneys on matters relating to probate administration. One of my topics of responsibility had to do with the role of the executor (or administrator) in effectively administering an estate. While that presentation was geared toward other lawyers, many non-lawyer individuals might wonder the same thing, i.e., what are the responsibilities of an executor in a probate proceeding? It might be worthwhile to know the answer to that question if you’re ever approached by someone who wants to nominate you as his or her executor.

Happily, the Ohio Supreme Court, as slightly modified by local courts, has created a Fiduciary’s Acceptance form that contains a fairly succinct list of those responsibilities. In my opinion, the items on that form can be distilled down even further to create this list:

1. Admit the Will to probate;

2. Prepare and file an inventory of assets;

3. Deposit funds in an estate bank account;

4. Invest assets in a lawful manner;

5. File a final accounting;

6. File estate/income tax returns;

7. Maintain insurance on estate assets;

8. Get court approval for personal dealings;

9. Get court approval for attorneys fees; and

10. Keep the court updated and follow court orders.

Certainly, there are nuances and complications embedded in that list of responsibilities – but that’s why we’re here to help.

Mark Coriell

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