Ohio Probate Resources & Law | Inheritance Advances in OH

The Process for Probate in Ohio

When someone passes away, the probate process begins. How does probate work in Ohio? The probate courts oversee the distribution of the deceased individual’s — decedent’s — belongings. To do this, they will appoint a representative to be in charge of the estate.

The representative collects and itemizes assets and money to ensure all remaining debt is paid off. They will also check the validity of the person’s will. After the courts are satisfied and all steps in the probate process are complete, they will start the distribution of inheritance money and assets to heirs.

Is Probate Required in Ohio?

While many estates go through probate, it’s not always a requirement. Certain assets never go through probate, such as:

  • Assets in a trust
  • Assets that have a beneficiary designation
  • Real estate that is subject to the Ohio transfer-on-death deed
  • Assets in a survivorship tenancy
  • Money from an insurance policy that can be paid to the beneficiary

While probate is required for other assets or large estates, smaller estates may not need probate at all. If an estate is valued at less than $5,000 — or the expenses for the funeral — the probate process is not required in Ohio.

Steps to Settling an Estate

The probate process in Ohio involves several steps:

  1. Identify the executor: The estate must have an executor or administrator to oversee the probate process. The decedent’s will should name who the executor is. If the decedent didn’t leave a valid will, the probate court will appoint an administrator.
  2. File the petition: The executor will request to start the probate process by filing a petition, along with the decedent’s will and death certificate, with the probate court.
  3. Send notice: The executor will let the beneficiaries and creditors know that the decedent has died and the probate process has started.
  4. Take inventory of assets: The executor identifies, collects and appraises the estate’s assets, like bank accounts, real estate, vehicles and personal property.
  5. Pay debts: Creditors file a claim for payment, and the executor can pay off the decedent’s debts, like credit card debt, mortgages, rent, property taxes and more.
  6. Close the probate: The executor asks the probate court for permission to end the probate process and provides evidence that the previous steps are complete.
  7. Distribute assets: Once the probate court approves the probate process to end, the executor can disperse the money to the heirs based on the will or Ohio’s intestacy statutes.

How Long Is the Probate Process?

The probate process timeline is different for every case and can take months or years to complete. Many factors affect the probate timeline, including:

  • The complexity of the estate.
  • Whether the decedent had a will.
  • Disputes between heirs or heirs contesting the will.
  • Whether a federal estate tax return must be filed
  • If the estate owes state or federal estate tax.
  • Whether the estate’s tax return is audited.

The minimum amount of time probate can take in Ohio is six months because that’s how long creditors have to file claims against the decedent. However, you can only expect this shorter timeline if the rest of the estate is in order. If there are delays in the probate process, executors can only distribute the assets once the process is done, no matter how long probate takes. During this time, heirs cannot access the money their loved one wanted them to have.

How Much Does Probate Cost in Ohio?

Probate costs in Ohio are different for every case, depending on various factors. Some of the expenses you can incur from a probate case include:

  • Court costs
  • Executor or administrator fees
  • Appraisal fees
  • Lawyer fees

The exact cost for each of these expenses is either a flat fee or based on a percentage. Court costs follow a schedule of charges established by Ohio law. The executor or administrator fees are a percentage of the value of probate income and property and non-probate property. All costs are covered by the estate.

What Happens if Someone Passes Away Without a Will in Ohio?

Some people pass away without a will — often called dying intestate. Ohio has intestate laws that will help determine who gets the belongings and assets of the person who died without the will.

When the decedent dies intestate, only the next of kin can get an inheritance. This process is called intestate succession. Intestate laws define the next of kin — the decedent’s closest relatives — and the order of distribution to determine which relation gets the assets first.

This process is called intestate succession.

Intestate laws define the next of kin — the decedent’s closest relatives — and the order of distribution to determine which relation gets the assets first. In Ohio, the order of distribution will depend on your family situation and who survives the decedent. Next of kin under Ohio law follows this order:

  1. Spouse
  2. Children
  3. Parents
  4. Siblings
  5. Nieces and nephews
  6. Grandparents
  7. Aunts and uncles

Distribution of assets goes to the next of kin who survives at the time of the decedent’s passing. Here is what you need to know about intestate inheritance:

  • Generally, surviving spouses are the first to inherit the estate. The spouse will inherit all other assets if there are no other living next of kin.
  • Spouses do not automatically get every asset of the person who died. In Ohio, if the person who passed owned property with someone else in joint tenancy, that other owner will get the property instead of the person’s surviving spouse.  In most cases, the other property owner is a spouse, so the property is likely to go to them. If, for some reason, the asset is co-owned by somebody else, the spouse does not inherit the property automatically.
  • If the decedent’s children survive, and the spouse is the parent of all those children, the spouse will receive the entire estate.
  • If only one child survives, and the spouse is not their parent, the spouse receives the first $20,000 plus half the balance of the estate, and the child gets the rest.
  • If children survive, and the spouse is the parent of at least one but not all of the decedent’s children, the spouse receives the first $60,000 plus one-third of the balance of the estate. The remainder is distributed to the children equally.
  • If children survive and the spouse is not the parent of any of them, the spouse receives the first $20,000 plus one-third of the balance of the estate. The remainder is split equally between the children.
  • However, if there isn’t a surviving spouse, the inheritance would go to children and other heirs, as dictated by Ohio law.

Delays to Your Inheritance in Ohio

The probate process in any state, including Ohio, is lengthy. While the inheritance is in probate, heirs are unable to access the money and assets their loved one left for them.

The probate process in many states takes at least a year and a half to finally get to the distribution of money. Since most heirs have never been in this position before, they are shocked by how long it will take to receive their inheritance.

Many are understandably frustrated that their inheritance can be blocked for years by a legal process.

Access Your Inheritance in Ohio Immediately

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