For the executor or administrator of an estate, the probate process can be very confusing. There are a plethora of court forms, duties and responsibilities. To attempt to educate yourself can not only be a headache for the executor or administrator but can also cost the estate both time and money.
Beyond the required forms and deadlines, there are simple facts about estate administration that many executor and administrators are not aware of. For example, there are limits on creditor claims. See http://www.perlalaw.com/blog/having-a-knowledgeable-probate-attorney-handle-your-loved-ones-estate-could-save-you-a-lot-of-money/ Moreover, if the estate has insufficient funds to distribute to heirs, there is a specific order in which all heirs must be paid. Money must be preserved in order to pay fiduciary fees, your compensation for all of your hard work. Failure to preserve these resources means you are cheating yourself out of your rightful compensation. You have a right to recoup estate expenses. In order to calculate fiduciary fees, you must have the correct values for all probate and non-probate assets. You must also have these values to determine whether Ohio estate tax is due as well. You must keep appropriate records and preferably conduct all estate transactions out of an estate checking account, as the Court will require a full accounting of all estate transactions.
Beyond the sampling above, probably the most important thing an executor or administrator of an estate needs to know but most unfortunately do not is that ATTORNEY FEES ARE PAID FROM THE ESTATE. I’m putting emphasis on this statement because sadly far too many people make the mistake of going it alone because they think that help will cost them out of pocket, when it does not. Most executors and administrator are grieving family members, not law professionals. However, the responsibilities and liabilities are the same. Do yourself a favor and consider hiring an estate administration attorney to guide you through the process.