When someone passes away owning assets where there was no surviving beneficiary or joint account holder with rights of survivorship listed on the asset, then the asset will have to be transferred through probate. This is true whether the person who passed away has a Will or does not. This often comes as a surprise as many people mistakenly believe having a Will keeps assets out of probate. However, probate is basically the process of passing the assets of a deceased person to his or her heirs after the creditors are paid and if there is a Will, establishing the validity of the Will.
When it is necessary to administer an estate through probate, it is important to have an attorney assist you who understands the probate process. Trying to do probate on your own generally leads to problems, including more costs and fees and the process taking a lot more time than it otherwise would take. A knowledgeable attorney will help the process go smoother, quicker and will often help keep family squabbles down.
Many Executors find that the probate process takes a lot more of their personal time than was ever imagined. The amount of time it takes goes up drastically where a knowledgeable attorney is not involved.
Each probate estate is unique, but typically the following steps are taken:
- File an application to appoint Executor or Administrator for the estate.
- Notice to the heirs in the Will or to statutory heirs if there is no Will.
- Inventory and appraisal of estate assets by Executor/Administrator.
- Payment of estate debt to rightful creditors.
- Sale of estate assets.
- Payment of estate taxes, if applicable.
- Final distribution of assets to heirs.
The length of time needed to complete the probate of an estate depends on the size and complexity of the estate and the local rules and schedule of the probate court.
We assist clients in the probate process on a daily basis. We have handled cases in the counties of Erie, Huron, Lorain, Sandusky, Cuyahoga, Trumbull, Lake and Ashtabula. Probate cases make up a large part of our law practice. We are knowledgeable and use systems to keep track of the cases and to help the cases move along.
Call to speak with an Ohio Probate Attorney for a free consultation at 419-626-0684.