How do I become an executor?

My mother passed away a year ago and my stepfather just passed away 5 months ago. Now I’ve received a letter from his retirement fund that they need a letter from the executor, however there isn’t one. They have a check of $1,000 for me but I don’t know what to do with it?

Asked on March 27, 2017 under Estate Planning, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You can only become an executor if named as one in your stepfather's will--if he had one. Without a will, there is no executor, though in that case, the probate court can name someone (generally a family member) to be an administrator or personal representative and do the main things that a executor does: collect an assets of the decased and amounts owed him; pay any debts or final expenses; and then distribute any remaining assets to those who would inherit from him under "intestate succession"--the rules for who inherits what when there is no will. You can retain a probate attorney to help you with this, or if you'd rather do it yourself, contact the clerk's office of the probate court for instructions.

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