As an Elder Law Attorney, I counsel families and clients who need someone to determine, based upon their situation, the best method and strategy to handle their affairs in case of illness, accident or when they face their final years.
Opening of an Estate:
The Estate of a decedent is opened by filing certain forms with the Probate Court. The first step is to admit the Will to probate. The next step is to either “Release the Estate from Administration”, if the assets in the decedents name is less than $35,000, or ask for the appointment of an Executor if the assets exceed $35,000.
Forms required when opening an Estate:
The forms to probate an estate are available from the Probate Court. The Court employees are NOT allowed to provide legal advice so it is up to the individual to determine how to complete the forms and what forms are actually required. Most people turn to an experienced Attorney to assist them with these matters.
Inventory and Appraisal:
If an Executor is appointed the first responsibility is to identify all assets in the decedents name and have the assets appraised to determine the current value.
Debts of Estate:
Another responsibility of the Executor is to pay any outstanding debts of the Decedent. There is a statutory time for creditors to file a claim for payment against the Estate.
Election by Surviving Spouse:
In Ohio, you are not allowed to disinherit a spouse without their permission. The Spouse needs to file a notice in the Probate Court that they wish to accept their distribution under the terms of the Will.
Transfer of Real Estate:
If the Decedent owned real estate at the time of their passing, it is necessary to obtain a “Certificate of Transfer” that acts as a deed to transfer the real estate to the named beneficiary of the Estate.
Distribution of Estate:
Once the Inventory has been filed and any Estate taxes are paid and claims resolved, the remaining assets may be distributed to the beneficiaries.
The last step in the administration of an Estate is to file an “Account” with the Court showing the receipt of all assets as listed in the Inventory and all disbursements. Upon approval of the Court the Executor is dismissed and the Estate is closed.