What Happens When an Executor Doesn’t Do What He’s Supposed To?
A Cincinnati probate attorney represents executors after a death. Executors are named in a deceased person’s will and they are given tremendous responsibility for overseeing the probate process. Executors have to take care of assets, file court paperwork, and facilitate asset transfers, among their many obligations. They have a legal duty to fulfill their responsibilities in an appropriate manner, and there can be serious consequences if they don’t.
To make sure you fulfill your role as an executor properly, you should contact Zimmer Law Firm. Our legal team can help you to ensure that you do what is required of you and that you are respectful of the wishes of the deceased so the deceased person’s legacy is protected.
We can also provide legal representation to those whose loved one has died and who believe that an executor is not fulfilling his responsibility appropriately. To find out more about how Cincinnati probate attorney can help, give us a call.
What is an Executor’s Responsibility?
The Ohio Bar Association provides a summary of some of the different responsibilities that an executor must fulfill during the probate process. Executors have to:
- Take care of the property which the deceased person owned and which was a part of the estate.
- Receive payments which are owed to the deceased’s estate, including dividends from investments, interest payments, and other types of income which are earned by estate assets.
- Collect on debts which are owed to the deceased.
- Collect on outstanding notes due to the deceased person.
- Determine who all heirs are, including their names, the degree of their relationship with the deceased person, and the contact information for heirs.
- Determine who all beneficiaries named in a will are, including their names, addresses, and ages.
Investigate any and all claims which are made on the estate in order to determine if claims are valid.
- File tax returns as required and pay any and all taxes which are due.
- Follow the instructions of the probate court related to transferring assets and managing the affairs of the deceased
An executor has a legal duty to respect the wishes of the deceased and to follow Ohio law. An executor is a fiduciary, which means that the duty he owes is the highest under the law. Executors must put the interest of the estate and beneficiaries over their own interests and must avoid any activities which could be considered a conflict of interest. If an executor fails in this duty, there are serious consequences.
What Happens if an Executor Does Not Live Up to His Responsibility?
The probate court judge and the support staff for the probate court supervise the work that the executor does. The court can remove an executor who is not following the law, who is not following the will, or who is not fulfilling his duties. The court can appoint a new personal representative to oversee the estate.
A beneficiary who believes that the executor isn’t living up to his duties can petition the court for the executor’s removal. A beneficiary or heir who wishes to take this step should be represented by a Cincinnati probate attorney who can provide assistance in convincing the court to remove an executor.
If the beneficiaries or heirs believe that an executor’s inappropriate actions caused them to experience losses, they can also take action to try to impose personal liability on the executor. The executor could be held financially responsible for losses which occur. For example, if the executor refuses to pay estate taxes, he could be held responsible for penalties and interest. If he steals money from the estate, he could be forced to repay it. An attorney can help beneficiaries and heirs in actions against the executor to recover lost funds.
Contact a Cincinnati Probate Attorney Today
You do not want to fail to fulfill your responsibilities as an executor, as you do not want to face legal consequences and you don’t want to let the deceased down. Let a Cincinnati probate lawyer at Zimmer Law Firm provide you with the help you need to comply with the wishes of the deceased and to comply with your responsibility under Ohio law.
If you are a beneficiary in a will or an interested party during the probate process and you believe an executor is not living up to his obligations, you also need to get legal help. Zimmer Law Firm is here for you. Give us a call at 513.721.1513 to find out more. You can also download our estate planning checklist to find out more about the role of an executor and about the responsibilities of executors during the probate process.