Estate planning involves the execution of legally binding documents such as a will, trust, or power of attorney. However, there is also a human element. These documents allow you to leave behind instructions, but someone has to be responsible for following these instructions as well. When you make a will the centerpiece of your estate plan, this “someone” is the known as your executor (or executrix for a female). Though these two separate terms exist, in many cases the term executor is used to describe people of either gender.
When creating your will, you should include the choice of an executor to administer your estate. If you don’t choose your own executor, the probate court would be forced to appoint a personal representative to handle the estate administration tasks.
Of course, you can never be sure who the court will select to administer your estate. That uncertainty alone can be a huge gamble, and there may be undesirable consequences resulting from the court making a poor selection.
What Does an Executor of a Will in Cincinnati Ohio Do?
The executor is responsible for numerous tasks. First, he or she must make sure that all the property that comprises the estate is secured and accounted for. There would be problems if different people were taking property of the estate without supervision, and it would be difficult if not impossible to carry out your wishes under the will. The executor should take immediate steps to take control or possession of the estate property so that it may be used first to satisfy debts, claims, taxes and expenses, and then to make sure the people named as beneficiaries receive their inheritances.
The executor must then admit the will to probate. Probate is a process that takes place under court supervision. This court determines whether or not the will is valid. Anyone who wanted to challenge the will could do this during probate.
Final debts must also be paid, including taxes. The executor must make sure that these liabilities are settled. Disputed claims are also resolved.
Preparing the assets for distribution to the heirs is another responsibility that the executor is going to undertake. This can involve property appraisals and liquidation. Depending on the extent of the assets in question, this can be a daunting task and become time consuming.
How long does it take to do all this? It is different from one case to another. It depends on how many assets are to be handled and what type of assets they may be. Each type of asset has a process to be followed. For example, imagine trying to sell a car collection, a valuable art collection, and 3 different homes so that you can distribute cash among multiple heirs. This is not easy, and it’s not going to happen overnight. But estates with fewer assets and perhaps mostly cash or marketable securities may be handled much quicker.
Choosing the Right Executor of a Will in Cincinnati Ohio
Because the executor must handle all of these business oriented tasks, you should select someone who has a good bit of business acumen. It is not a ceremonial role that you bestow upon a close relative out of love or affection.
In addition to this, administering the estate can be time-consuming. You should be certain that the executor has the time and ability to complete all these tasks.
Lastly, you must also be certain that the person you would like to see acting as executor is willing to take on the role.
For more information, or to create or modify your own estate plan, please contact Zimmer Law Firm at 513.721.1513 today for a consultation.