I think that she has named her eldest son as Executor. Should we consult an attorney and if so for what services?
Estate Planning Attorney
Yes, you will want to hire an attorney to ensure the estate is administered properly.
The steps to administer the estate could include opening a probate estate, filing an income tax return, and payment of creditor claims. All of this would depend on the type of assets, how the assets are titled, and other factors, which would be discussed in an initial consultation.
Elliott Stapleton is an Estate Planning and Probate Attorney in Cincinnati, Ohio with CMRK Law. For more information you may contact him at 513-771-2444 (Ext. 106) or by following this link: www.ohio-estate-planning.com/contact-elliott-stapleton.html Any information provided by this attorney does not establish an attorney-client relationship. You must seek qualified counsel to fully evaluate every legal matter.
Estate Planning Attorney
The responsibility of the Executor is to file the Will in probate court, along with an application to be appointed Executor. It must be accompanied by a "preliminary account" of assets and liabilities on the court-prescribed forms. Depending on the language of the Will, the Executor may or may not need to go to an insurance company and purchase a fidelity "bond." All persons named in the Will and all "next of kin" need to be notified of their right to appear in court. Then all the things Mr. Stapleton mentioned. Sometimes it is necessary to negotiate with creditors. Ultimately, a final account must be filed (that must balance to the penny) and the remaining assets distributed to the proper inheritors.
Unless you have plenty of time, aren't worried about liability and have some skill in finance and accounting, you will do yourself a favor to hire an attorney. Fees usually work out to be somewhere between 1% and 2% of assets, but can be more or less depending on the type of estate and what issues arise.
Mr. Stapleton and a couple other Avvo participants practice in Cincinnati and I am sure would be glad to speak with you.
Mr. Huddleston is an Ohio-Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law, with offices in Columbus and Dayton, serving client families and private business owners throughout Ohio. He may be contacted directly by phone toll-free at 888.488.7878 or by email CLH@HUDDLAW.COM. Mr. Huddleston responds to Avvo questions as a public service to help educate and provide general guidance to questioners, but his responses are not legal advice and do not create an attorney-client relationship.
Divorce / Separation Lawyer
Mr. Huddleston's answer is excellent. Visit my website under probate for some particulars. Should you consult an attorney will depend upon how much confidence/trust you have in your brother. I always advise consulting with an attorney. Probate can be quite complex, and there are many timelines that must be met by the executor.