The legal procedure following an individual’s death in Ohio is called “probate.” This is the case regardless of whether or not the deceased prepared a valid will. If a deceased (or ‘decedent’) left a will, then the estate is divided following the terms of the will. Ohio probate rules govern how the deceased’s assets are allocated following death if there is no will.
Probate may not always be necessary, depending on the deceased’s assets.
Probate starts when the court names a personal representative to oversee the estate’s administration. This individual will frequently have been named in the decedent’s will. If not, one is designated by the court or court clerk.
The named estate administrator is then responsible for gathering information on the deceased’s assets. They must then take care of outstanding debts held by the estate, such as taxes, creditors, funeral expenses, and expenses related to the estate’s administration. Once all that is accomplished, the administrator can distribute any remaining assets.
How the estate is administered depends on whether the deceased has a valid will and the type of probate administration the estate will have to follow. If a decedent’s estate is sufficiently small, Ohio law permits streamlined procedures known as “release from the administration” and “summary release from probate” to be used to probate the estate.
To qualify for a “release from administration,” a surviving spouse would inherit all property involved, and the value of the estate must not exceed $100,000, or the estate overall must be valued at less than $35,000.
For a “summary release from administration”—which involves no probate—the estate’s value must be less than $5,000, or the funeral expenses must come to that same amount. In addition, if the estate is worth less than $45,000, all assets will be transferred to any surviving spouse.
In the absence of a surviving spouse, the remaining estate is divided equally among the deceased’s siblings or their descendants.
Probate occurs when an individual passes on having left property in their name or by having rights to receive property.
Alternatively, assets that can bypass probate would include:
Probate can be complicated, mainly if the deceased left behind a sizeable or varied estate. Here are some other things you might want to know.
Ultimately, the probate court will be the final judge. In general, if there is property left behind, it will go through probate, barring the exceptions listed above. Also, as previously mentioned, there are some instances in which the court will allow for a more streamlined version, making it easier, quicker, and cheaper for the estate administrator and other survivors.
Holding power of attorney during an individual’s lifetime has no bearing on whether or not probate is needed after they pass away. The need for probate depends entirely on what the deceased owned when they died.
Yes. The estate administrator can sell the deceased’s property as part of the probate process, whether it’s a house, condo, or land. The details, and how easy it may or not be, will often depend on whether or not the deceased died with a will.
In both cases, a qualified probate attorney is often brought in to help the estate administrator or will’s executor with the process.
Often, yes, if the vehicle is registered in the deceased’s name only.
To avoid probate, the deceased must create a Transfer on Death (TOD) document allowing the vehicle’s ownership to be transferred without a will or need for probate.
The experienced attorneys at Heban, Murphree & Lewandowski, LLC are ready to answer any questions about wills, trusts, settling estates, and managing assets following someone’s passing. We can also walk you through the probate process and handling debts, taxes, property ownership, and transfer.
Contact Heban, Murphree & Lewandowski, LLC today for a free consultation.