The following is a guest post by Matthew W. Gibson, attorney. Note that the following information is specific to Ohio.
estate or other assets held jointly with rights of survivorship;
accounts, CDs, life insurance policies, retirement accounts, or other assets
with beneficiary, or “transfer-on-death” designations; and
Often times, an individual who is named
as an Executor has trouble moving past this first question because the
individual has no idea what assets the decedent owned. If you cannot find bank statements or life
insurance policy information among the decedent’s possessions, a great place to
locate assets is the decedent’s most recent Form 1040 and the accompanying
Schedules, which should help identify a fair amount of asset and debt
information. Another place to look for
asset information is in the
Once the Executor has located the
decedent’s assets, if there are no assets that need to pass through probate,
the Executor should file an Application to File Will for Record Only (standard
form 2.0A). If there are assets that
need to pass through probate, a summary proceeding may still be available that can
greatly reduce the time and expense associated with probate. An attorney experienced in probate matters
should be able to assist you in determining whether a summary proceeding
Many individuals who are named as Executors, either before or while they are finding asset information, come across bills, sometimes boxes of bills, and naturally have questions about the payment of debts. Unsecured creditors, such as credit card companies, are typically only entitled to collect from a decedent’s probate estate, so any assets that do not need to pass through probate are not subject to unsecured creditors’ claims. Moreover, unsecured creditors have a low priority among estate creditors, and are generally not entitled to payment until administration costs and expenses, funeral expenses, and the family support allowance of up to $40,000 are all paid. If any individual named as an Executor is uncertain as to whether these higher priority payments can be made, the Executor should contact an attorney to determine if it is wise to refrain from paying unsecured creditors.
If you have been named as an Executor in a decedent’s Will and are at all uncertain as to what to do, you should contact an attorney who handles probate matters to assist you in navigating the probate process.Matthew W. Gibson is an attorney in the law firm of Jones, Troyan, Pappas & Perkins located in Powell, Ohio. He can be reached at www.jonestroyan.com or call (614) 888-8500 ext. 132.