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Duties in estate administration

Ohio residents who have been named the executor of a loved one's will might wonder what their responsibilities are. Usually, the first thing that must be done in such a situation is identifying and securing assets. They should obtain several copies of the death certificate since this will be necessary in some cases. Other types of assets may involve filing a claim or other actions.

It might also be necessary to hire an appraiser to assess the value of the decedent's property. If the decedent was a collector, it might be necessary to hire a specialist to appraise the collection. Real estate and businesses may also need to be appraised, and financial assets must be valued as well.

The executor is a fiduciary acting on behalf of the testator's beneficiaries and needs these assessments of value for several reasons. One is that the probate court may require an inventory report. Another is that the valuation may be necessary in order to complete state and federal income tax forms. Finally, knowing the full value of the estate allows the fiduciary to assess whether those assets are sufficiently insured.

While executors are responsible for managing an estate and its assets effectively, they do not necessarily have to be financial experts. The right choice is someone who is organized, responsible and trustworthy, but that person may hire professionals to assist them in managing the estate. This assistance may range from ensuring that estate assets are invested wisely to ensuring that tax forms are filled out and submitted on time. Executors should keep careful financial records in case a beneficiary challenges their actions. Eventually, they will also be responsible for the distribution of assets to beneficiaries once any debts have been paid.

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