Columbus Probate Administration Lawyers
When a loved one passes away, the family members left behind face the burden of tidying up their financial affairs and distributing the inheritance. Our experienced Columbus probate administration lawyers work with clients to get them through the process as smoothly as possible and in accordance with the terms of Ohio law.
There’s a common misunderstanding that suggests a person with a will does not need to go through probate. This is not the case. It’s true that having a last will and testament drafted by an attorney can make probate much smoother, but an estate will still need to be opened. If it is your goal to avoid the probate process, then other options are available, namely to set up a trust.
KSR has been helping people throughout Franklin County deal with a loved one’s last wishes and their estate since 1977. While we can’t lift the burden of grief from our clients’ shoulders, we can give them peace of mind knowing that detailed legal processes involved in probate are being handled efficiently and professionally.
Call us at (614) 665-5833 or reach out online to set up a consultation.
The Probate Process in Ohio
There are several steps in the probate process, but it might be broadly summarized thusly:
Open the Estate
Probate requires the appointment of a person to administer the estate. This can be an Executor named in the decedent’s will, or if there is no will, then the person appointed is called an Administrator. An application must be filed to start the probate process or “open the estate”. This application is filed with the will (if it exists) and death certificate in the probate court of the county where the decedent lived at the time of their death. The probate court will then schedule a hearing on the pending application and decide whether to appoint the Executor or Administrator and decide whether to admit the will to probate.
Notify Interested Parties
A person seeking to serve as Executor or Administrator must notify interested parties of their application to serve as fiduciary of the estate. This includes the decedent’s surviving, spouse, children, next of kin, heirs or beneficiaries. Notifying the beneficiaries can be relatively straightforward and self-explanatory in cases involving spouses, children, and other immediate family members. However, it may require finding a long-lost relative or friend. Our Columbus probate administration attorneys are experienced in knowing how to track down hard-to-find people.
Once appointed, the Executor or Administrator’s contact information is also available to be contacted by potential creditors of the estate.
Identify the Assets and Complete the Inventory
All of the deceased's belongings must be located, including cash, the value of their stock portfolios, real estate deeds, vehicle ownership titles, a list of personal property, and anything else they may have owned at the time of their passing.
The Executor or Administrator must prepare an Inventory of these probate assets. This is a “snapshot” of the assets owned by Decedent at the time of death, including the date of death valuation. The Inventory is filed with the court, and interested persons are provided with a copy. The court will schedule a hearing to approve the Inventory or to hear objections to the Inventory filed by any beneficiaries.
Some assets are easily valued; others, such as jewelry, art collections, and business interests, require formal appraisals to determine date of death values. KSR attorneys can assist an estate fiduciary in identifying, valuing, and preserving estate assets for the benefit of beneficiaries and creditors.
Settle the Affairs of the Estate – Payment of Debts
Creditors are entitled to the opportunity to recover any owed funds. This can include debts for credit card bills, medical expenses, mortgage/rent due, loans, utility bills, taxes, among others. Pursuant to Ohio law, most creditors have six months from the date of death to present a claim against the estate. If a creditor fails to make a claim during this period, they are likely prohibited from trying to collect from the estate or its beneficiaries.
Valid claims against the estate are typically paid from assets of the estate. There is a statutory priority which identifies the order in which claims are to be paid. An Executor may have authority in the Will to sell assets to pay debts. An Administrator would need to seek permission from the court to sell estate assets to pay debts.
Final Account and Distribution to Beneficiaries
At the conclusion of the estate, the fiduciary files an Account identifying how the remaining probate assets are to be distributed to creditors and beneficiaries. The probate court schedules a hearing to approve the Account. Again, interested persons must be provided with the Account, and are permitted to file objections to it and the fiduciary’s plan of distribution of assets.
Steve is great and willing to help in any way he can!! Suzette doesn't skip a beat, and keeps it all on track!!!- Heather L.
We couldn't be more thankful. Steven definitely made the process very easy and as stress-free as possible.- Maria J.
Matthew is very professional & knowledgeable. He has helped me in many ways with obtaining shared parenting with my child. He is very professional with time management of deadlines in all cases and really is a overall great attorney to hire for all fam- Former Client
KSR is amazing and they are my go-to lawyers!- Don B.
I was very pleased with Mr. Yarmesch, He stayed in contact with me, and returned my phone calls and emails promptly. Most importantly he negotiated a satisfactory outcome.- Former Client