Probate in Ohio
Probate in general, is not a very pleasant experience for most people. In many cases it can drag on, emotionally draining everyone involved. This was never the intention. Probate laws were enacted so that a decedent’s estate could be distributed to their family members and loved ones as efficiently as possible.
The probate laws in the Ohio may be different then those in another state. Therefore, just because an individual has been involved in probate outside of the state, it does not mean that they will fully understand the specific laws which govern Ohio.
Will I Need an Ohio Probate Attorney?
To increase the probability that an estate is disbursed with as few issues as possible, individuals involved should contact an attorney. A good probate attorney that is familiar with probate law will be well aware of the Ohio statutes. They will be able to help individuals navigate the potentially confusing process. Because they understand what is mandated each step of the way, their presence and expertise can prevent delays and decrease the amount of time that the probate takes to go through the system.
The Role of the Ohio Probate Administrator
The probate process requires a great deal from the administrator of the estate. The administrator handles the assessment and distribution of the estate. Their role is very important and extremely labor intensive. They must first locate and list every piece of property and every asset in the estate and have it appraised. The administrator is able to pay the estate’s creditors and beneficiaries based on the worth of the estate. Creditors are paid first. Beneficiaries are paid next.
After an assessment of the estate has been made (inventory), the next step for the administrator is to place a Notice of Creditors in the newspaper. The purpose of this is to notify creditors of the death so that they can file the proper paperwork necessary for them to make a claim receive what they are owed. Based on the Ohio probate laws, they will have a certain amount of time to make that claim.
A Notice of Administration is sent out next. This is an attempt to contact other involved parties. These are persons that may have some interest in the estate, namely the heirs.
Once the Notice of Creditors and the Notice of Administration have been sent out, if there are no problems, the administrator can pay the creditors and then the beneficiaries. After all payments are made, the probate should be discharged and then finally closed out.
What Happens When There is No Will
The probate process is typically much easier when there is a valid will. Without a will, intestate laws will govern the process. The court will appoint an administrator and the statutes will determine how the property will be divided. In the vast majority of cases, the widow will become the administrator. However, this is not always true. At times, an adult child, the mother or father of the decedent or their grandchild may have to act in this role. This may occur when the widow is not interested in being the administrator or is not able to. If the decedent was not married or was divorced, then obviously there is no spouse and the court will have to find an alternative.
Because the probate process can take a long time, beneficiaries may be delayed in receiving their inheritance. For some people, this can be a huge inconvenience or even a hardship. If a beneficiary really wants cash and does not want to wait, they have the option of taking out a probate loan. These are also referred to as an heir advance. This is a loan that is to be repaid once an individual receives their inheritance. It is one option that allows them to get the money that they want or need right away, even while going through probate.
In Ohio, not all property and assets have to be probated. Jointly owned property, trusts, P.O.D. and T.O.D. assets do not have to go through probate. Neither do retirement benefits left for a beneficiary.
All attorney fees require the approval of the court. Court filing fees are $200.
Probate Resources- Ohio
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