Executor of Estate Law in Ohio

By Bernadette A. Safrath

An executor is the person appointed, in your will, to administer your estate after your death. Your executor should be someone you trust to disburse your property to your beneficiaries according to your wishes. While you are free to name your executor, Ohio law does set forth certain requirements to ensure the probate process goes smoothly. The probate court must approve the executor before he starts work. If you do not have a will, the court will appoint an administrator. Collectively, executors and administrators are referred to as personal representatives.

An executor is the person appointed, in your will, to administer your estate after your death. Your executor should be someone you trust to disburse your property to your beneficiaries according to your wishes. While you are free to name your executor, Ohio law does set forth certain requirements to ensure the probate process goes smoothly. The probate court must approve the executor before he starts work. If you do not have a will, the court will appoint an administrator. Collectively, executors and administrators are referred to as personal representatives.

Requirements

The Ohio Code provides that an executor must be mentally competent, no less than 18 years old and be bonded. This means that he must obtain a bond from an insurance company while serving as executor. The bond protects beneficiaries in cases where the executor acts inappropriately or makes a mistake with regard to the estate, causing a loss of some or all of the assets. To be bonded, an executor must not have a criminal record and must have an outstanding credit score. The cost of the bond is paid from estate assets. You have the option to waive the bond, which you may choose to do if your chosen executor can't strictly meet the requirements, but you still trust him to serve.

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Probate

After you die, the executor must begin probating your estate. In Ohio, if an estate is valued at less than $35,000, the formal administrative requirements are not necessary. For all other estates, probate begins with filing of the will in probate court and seeking appointment as executor. Once appointed, the executor must take possession of, and value, all property in the estate. When the inventory is complete, the executor must submit this list to the Ohio probate court in your county of residence. This task must be completed within three months from appointment as executor, unless the court grants an extension. Before disbursing any property, the executor is responsible for paying debts you owed and collecting debts owed to you. The executor also must notify all creditors of your death. If a creditor has a claim against the estate, he must notify the executor within six months of your death or be barred from recovering. Federal and state income tax returns must be filed and taxes paid prior to April 15. The executor is responsible for preparing and filing a federal estate tax return if the estate is valued at $5,250,000, as of 2013, and paying an amount of tax based on a percentage of the value of the estate. As of December 31, 2012, Ohio no longer levies estate taxes.

Beneficiaries

During probate, the executor must identify and locate any heirs named in your will, and notify those beneficiaries of a possible inheritance. If there are any assets left after all outstanding debts are paid, the beneficiaries will be entitled to inherit those assets. The executor is responsible for distributing estate property to beneficiaries in accordance with the wishes established in your will. The executor must then submit a final accounting to the court, setting forth all payments to or disbursements from the estate before the probate case can be closed.

Compensation

Because of the extensive work that goes into administering an estate, an executor can be compensated for his service. Ohio law permits a compensation fee of a certain percentage of the estate -- 1 to 4 percent, depending upon the total value of all the assets in the estate.

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Iowa State Laws on Executors

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How Much Can an Executor Charge for Services in Ohio?

When you die, someone must carry out the task of collecting and distributing your property. The process is known as probate, and the person you name in your will to be in charge of administering probate is known as the executor. Although the amount of work involved in a probate proceeding can vary, executors in Ohio are entitled to compensation from your estate for their services, and this compensation is based on the total value of your property.

An Executor's Duties to a Beneficiary

Executors are individuals who are appointed through a will to ensure the wishes of the testator, person who created the will, are carried out. In some states, executors are called personal representatives. Since the testator is deceased, the executor owes certain duties to those who stand to benefit from the deceased's will, known as beneficiaries. While the primary duty of the executor is to follow the instructions of the testator and administer the will as written, the executor has other legal duties, called fiduciary duties, he owes the beneficiaries.

New Jersey's Probate Estate Laws With an Executor Fee

Being asked to settle a deceased person's estate can sometimes feel like taking on a second job. In addition to the time-consuming process of wrapping up the individual's financial affairs, you may be required to make court appearances and could be placed in the middle of a highly contentious family situation regarding inheritance rights. For this reason, New Jersey law gives executors the right to take a percentage of the estate as payment for their services.

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