Serving as the personal representative (also called the executor or administrator) of an estate is a great responsibility. You're responsible for identifying, inventorying, securing, and distributing a deceased person's assets, not to mention paying their creditors and the estate's income taxes. For someone who's never served in this capacity before, the responsibility can be overwhelming, especially if the estate contains complex assets like a business or rental property out of state. It can be easy to make a mistake, which is why Ohio law authorizes a personal representative to hire a probate attorney to assist in the administration, and for the attorney's fees to be paid out of estate funds, not the personal representative's pocket.
Most personal representatives take their position very seriously and strive to do a good and efficient job. On occasion, however, a personal representative may act carelessly or even unethically, breaching the duty they've undertaken to faithfully execute. What recourse do heirs and creditors have when a personal representative breaches their duty?
A personal representa… Read More
One of the duties of an executor (also called an administrator) of an Ohio probate estate is to manage the deceased's personal property. Depending on the circumstances, this may call for liquidating or selling some property. This often takes place via an estate sale.
While estate sales may be held for other reasons besides the death of a property owner, such as a move, they are a common way of disposing of personal property when someone has passed away. What restrictions are there on executors with respect to conducting an estate sale in Ohio?
An executor must get permission to conduct an estate sale. If the probate court is satisfied that conducting a sale would be in the best interests of the estate, it will authorize the executor to carry out a sale. The estate sale may happen at any point in the probate process, and may be private or open to the public.
So far, so good. But an executor can't put just any estate property up for sale. If there is property that has been specifically bequeathed to someone, that property may not be sold (unless estate debts are such tha… Read More
If the deceased person (decedent) had a will, the will almost certainly named an executor. The probate court for the county in which the decedent was domiciled will need to admit the will to probate and will most likely appoint the named person as executor of the estate.
Wait, isn't the court obligated to appoint the executor that the decedent chose? Yes and no. The Ohio Revised Code says that the court shall issue letters of appointment to an an executor named in a will if the person named is "suitable, competent, accepts the appointment, and gives bond if that is required." If a named executor is deceased, incarcerated, or otherwise unsuitable, the court will name a different executor.
The person whose will is being probated may name co-executors, as permitted by law. Co-executors must be willing and able to work together for the benefit of the estate and heirs.