Counsel of Good Value: Ziegler Metzger's Motto Since 1952

Should your attorney be your executor?

When you make your Last Will and Testament in Ohio, one of the things you do in it is designate the person you want to act as the executor of your estate after you die. Obviously, the person you name should be able and willing to act as your executor.

While your executor need not be a person with extraordinary financial capabilities, nevertheless (s)he must be capable of taking your estate through probate, which includes the following things:

  • (S)he must gather up your assets.
  • (S)he must inventory and value these assets.
  • (S)he must protect and manage these assets throughout the probate process.
  • (S)he must pay all valid claims against your estate.
  • (She must defend your estate against will challenges, invalid claims, etc.
  • (S)he must construct a final estate accounting and then distribute your estate’s assets according to your wishes as stated in your will.

Choosing your executor

Most people choose a family member or trusted friend to be their executor. However, if you feel these people do not have sufficient financial knowledge and skill to fulfill the duties of an executor, you may wish to consider designating your attorney instead.

One of the main reasons your attorney could be your perfect choice as executor is the fact that in all likelihood (s)he has represented you for years and therefore knows your complete financial picture. In addition, (s)he is a neutral and disinterested party when it comes to your family members. (S)he has no reason to favor one of them over any of the others. Consequently, none of your family members has any reason to feel hurt or “left out” that you did not choose them as your executor. Nor do they need fear that (s)he will give one of them preferential treatment.

For these and numerous reasons, you may do well to choose your attorney as the executor of your estate.

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