Ohio residents may be asked by their friends or loved ones to serve as the executor under their wills, but they may not fully understand what they are being asked to do. Settling an estate may take as long as two years, and executors must be organized and have a good head for finance. It is not necessary to be a financial or legal expert as professionals can be hired to offer guidance, but executors are expected to make sound decisions and communicate effectively with the named beneficiaries in the will.

Potential executors may want to sit down with the testators and learn as much as the testators are willing to share about their finances. At minimum, executors must know how to access the will. Testators who consolidate their accounts, list their assets and are clear about their wishes make an executor’s job easier.

After the testator has died, the executor has to obtain a death certificate to notify financial institutions such as banks and credit card companies as well as government agencies such as Social Security of the death. The executor may need to place an ad in the paper looking for creditors and obtain asset valuations. It is also necessary to file the will in probate court, pay taxes on the estate and distribute assets.

Being an executor is an important responsibility, and those who are chosen should not take their duties lightly. A person who has some questions or concerns about what the role entails may want to obtain the advice and counsel of an attorney who has experience in estate planning and administration.

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