Many people dread the Ohio probate process, and rightfully so. It is a time when you must jump through legal hoops, tediously fill out paperwork, and pay undecipherable court fees – all while grieving the loss of someone close to you. It’s no wonder that many people try to do everything in their power to make sure their loved ones can avoid as much of the probate process as possible, however there are things you can do to make the probate process is a little bit more manageable. One of the most important things you can do is to simply educate yourself about the process.
The Ohio probate process takes place after a person dies, and broadly speaking, involves opening a case with the probate court by submitting a Last Will and Testament and/or Trust document along with a death certificate. The court will then require certain forms to be filled out which detail the deceased’s financial assets and property. At the same time, the court will put out notices for creditors, so they know they have a specific amount of time to try to collect on the deceased’s debt. By the end of the process, once the debts have been settled and all of the property has been accounted for, the court will issue a ruling that the estate may be distributed to the beneficiaries.
Some probate processes are more expansive and in-depth, especially if a person leaves behind a large estate. Others are less intense and can be settled within a matter of weeks. It all depends on the size of the estate and how much of the property has to pass through probate. A simple rule here is that anything that was solely-owned by the deceased, like a car, must go through probate before it can be distributed. Jointly-owned assets, assets with beneficiaries named to the accounts, or any assets or property held by a trust do not have to go through probate, since it’s already been determined how those assets and property should be distributed.
Throughout all of this, there are certain procedures that must be followed and deadlines that must be met, which many Ohio probate attorneys have experience in handling. If you would like to learn more about the probate process, or if you’re currently involved in a probate estate and need guidance, please contact our Ohio trust and estates lawyers at 877-653-3450 to schedule a complimentary initial consultation.