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Cleveland, Akron Area Probate Lawyer Gives Instructions to Executors


Cleveland, Akron Area Probate Lawyer Gives Instructions to Executors


Responsibilities of Executors



Explanation of Executor Duties and Directions from a Cleveland, Akron Area Probate Lawyer

Have you been named as an executor?  If so, your head is probably spinning thinking about all the different things you must do for the probate estate.  Be sure to check out our main information page on probate estate administration after you read this.

Call Us Now to Help You Stay on Track

The best thing you can do right now is call Valente Law so that we can help  ensure you are complying with all your legal requirements as an executor.  Executors are permitted by Ohio Law to hire their own attorney and their attorney’s fee is to be paid from the Decedent’s estate, so there is no reason to attempt to handle the estate without legal counsel.

In any case, whether you hire a probate lawyer or not, Executors are required to take care of the Decedent’s estate, and that usually includes the following duties of executors:

Follow the decedent’s directions for end-of-life medical treatment and memorial ceremonies.

Review the Health Care Power of Attorney, Living Will, DNR, Memorial Instructions, Pre-paid funeral plots, etc. and be sure to carry out the Decedent’s directions. Make arrangements with a funeral home, cemetery, mortuary and any related arrangements.

Minor Children and Pets

Make sure that arrangements are in place for all minor children and pets.  Pets are technically considered pets and will be distributed along with the rest of the Decedent’s assets unless the Decedent provided alternate direction.  If there are minor children and no surviving parent, they will need a guardian to be appointed to care for them.

Avoid Paying Any Bills Out of Pocket

Avoid paying any of the Decedent’s bills out of your own funds. If there are insufficient estate assets, you may not be able to be reimbursed.  Also, other beneficiaries may try to say that you are not entitled to reimbursement.

Secure the Decedent’s Assets

Gather all house keys, car keys, valuables and other important assets to avoid any loss.  Contact all cleaners, yard services, landscapers, etc., and inform them that they are no longer permitted on the property and to return any keys.  Contact police to inform them that the house is vacant and request regular patrols.

Gather Original Estate Planning Documents and Important Files

Obtain the original signed copy of the Decedent’s Will and Trust.  If you can’t find the originals, check with the decedent’s attorney or the county probate court as they may be on file there.  Next, organize all bills and account statements.  Contact the post office to forward all mail to the executor. Contact the funeral home to obtain the death certificate – if they don’t have it, contact the County Office of Vital Statistics to get the death certificate.

Obtain Tax Identification Number (TIN)

After you are appointed as the executor, you should obtain a Tax Identification Number (TIN). TINs are sometimes called an Employer Identification Number (EIN).  You should use this TIN for opening any estate bank accounts.

Open a Bank Account for the Probate Estate

Using the TIN you obtained, and the Letters of Authority you receive from the Probate Court, go to a bank and open a Probate Estate Checking Account.  Use this account to liquidate other accounts into and to deposit any checks or payments.

Organize all of Decedent’s Assets

It is important that you make a good effort to find all of the decedent’s assets.  If you miss an asset, you could be responsible for it.

Contact the decedent’s employer to see if there are any pension benefits or insurance. Likewise, contact all subscription services like magazines, or Netflix or Amazon Prime and cancel them.  Then, contact the bank to see if there is a safe deposit box. Next, contact the Social Security Administration to inform them of the death. Do not cash and social security checks after the month in which decedent died.  Locate all life insurance, certificates of deposits, investment accounts, bank accounts and annuity information. If the decedent had equity in any businesses, inform the business.  After you inform the business, determine if there is a Buy-Sell or similar document.  Find all car, boat and other vehicle titles.  Contact all people that owed decedent any money and demand repayment.

Pay all Required Debts and Expenses

After consulting with your Valente Law probate lawyer, you will pay all valid debts that are properly presented to the executor. First, be sure to maintain homeowner’s insurance.  Next, cancel all cable, internet, and other utility companies and cancel service if appropriate.  Meanwhile, pay any mortgage payments and pay of any credit cards and cancel them. Pay real estate taxes when due.  Work with an accountant, if you don’t have one, we can recommend one, to make sure the taxes are paid.

Distribute the Remaining Assets to the Heirs and Beneficiaries

Next, after paying all the valid debts, expenses and taxes, you will need to distribute the remaining assets. The remaining assets should be distributed to the beneficiaries in the appropriate amounts.  Be sure to review and make any specific distributions of personal property directed in the Will or Trust.

Contact Valente Law to Work as Your Probate Lawyer

This may seem simple as we presented it here, but it can get extremely complicated.  If you don’t know what you are doing, you can put yourself at risk of being sued and letting down the beneficiaries and heirs.  Let us take some of the stress and burden off of you and help you through this process.  Call us today at (330) 665-5000 to set up your free consultation.


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