In this series of posts, Maria will address some common truths and misconceptions about Estate Planning, Wills, Family Law and other practice areas. So to begin:
FACT or FICTION: I am the Executor because the Will says so.
Being named the Executor in someone’s Last Will and Testament does not automatically make you the Executor of that person’s estate after death. Only the Probate Court has the power to appoint an Executor, so you must apply for and be appointed the Executor of a decedent’s estate. The bank, post office, employer, etc., will not even talk to you about the estate unless you can produce the official “Letters of Authority” from Probate Court.
The bottom line is that in Ohio you are not in charge of your loved one’s probate estate unless and until the probate court has appointed you the Executor.
On the other hand, you may be relieved to know that you don’t have to serve as the Executor, even if you are named as the Executor in the Will. You can waive the right to administer the estate and allow someone else to serve as the Executor.