Why is Probate Necessary?
Probate gives the Executor or Administrator (if there is not a will) legal authority to handle and administer the decedent’s probate assets. The Probate Court grants the Executor or Administrator the authority to take control of the decedent’s assets and to safeguard the assets during the administration process. Probate provides for a structured process for the payment of a decedent’s outstanding debts, taxes and the expenses of administration, and thereafter for distribution of the remaining estate to the beneficiaries.
What Does Probate Involve?
During the probate administration process, the Executor or Administrator takes care of the following tasks:
- Safeguarding all the property of the decedent
- Collecting payments due the Estate, including interest, dividends and other income
- Collecting debts, claims and notes due to the decedent
- Reporting to the court the names, ages and addresses of all beneficiaries, if there is a will
- Determining the names, ages, addresses and degree of relationship of all heirs
- Investigating the validity of all claims against the Estate and paying all of decedent’s outstanding obligations
- Paying and filing an estate tax return when required
- Obeying and caring out the instructions of the Probate Court pertaining to the Estate and distributing the assets to the heirs
The Probate Court supervises the work of the Executor or Administrator. The Executor’s work, generally with the assistance of an attorney, requires the preparation and filing of numerous legal documents, the provision of notices, hearings in court, an appraisal of the assets of the Estate, an inventory of the assets, completion of final income and tax return, an accounting of funds and final transfer of assets to the beneficiaries. Due to the complexity of these mattes, the assistance of an attorney is often required and the probate attorneys at Barron Peck Bennie & Schlemmer are very familiar and experienced with the probate process.
In some cases, an Estate can be relieved from administration. If the total value of all the property in a decedent’s name is $35,000.00 or less, the Estate can be relieved from some of these administration requirements. When the decedent’s spouse is entitled to receive all of the Estate assets, the amount that can be relieved from formal administration in Ohio increases to $100,000.00.
How Long Does Probate Take?
In Ohio, claims against the Estate may be made up to six (6) months from the date of death. Generally, an Estate that does not require the filing of an Ohio estate tax return and has no creditor issues can often be completed within six (6) months of the appointment of the Executor or Administrator. However, if an estate tax return is required, the administration of an Estate can last more than a year. An extraordinary administration involving a contested will or complicated tax litigation may take several years to complete.
Probating an Estate is a complicated process which occurs during a time of family grief. The Cincinnati Probate attorneys at Barron Peck Bennie & Schlemmer approach probate with skill and tact and sensitive to the needs of the family. For more in-depth information on probate, please Contact us by telephone or e-mail. We would be happy to discuss any matter of concern with you.