I will prepare, file (with the necessary court), and attend hearings for all your probate/guardianship needs. I have extensive experience and knowledge to solve any of your probate issues.
What is probate?
Probate is a legal proceeding to administer certain kinds of property (called probate property) owned by someone who has died (the decedent), and to see that claims, expenses and taxes are properly paid, and that the remaining estate is distributed to those entitled to receive it under the decedent's will or Ohio law. Probate property is all property titled in the decedent's name alone. It is distributed only under the decedent's will or according to Ohio law. A probate proceeding takes place in the probate court of the county where the deceased property owner lived. If the deceased also owned real estate in another state, additional proceedings may be necessary in that state.
What property is not included in probate?
Property that is not probate property (called non-probate property), and therefore is not part of the probate proceeding, includes: property held by the decedent and another as joint tenants with right of survivorship; property held in a trust; accounts that are payable on death (POD) or will transfer on death (TOD) to a named beneficiary; and insurance or retirement benefits that are payable to a named beneficiary. Non-probate property passes directly to a named beneficiary, survivor or successor in interest, independent of any probate proceeding.
Property that must be included in probate and property that is subject to estate taxes are two different matters. Both probate property and non-probate property may be subject to federal or Ohio estate taxes.
Why is probate necessary?
Probate is necessary to give the executor or administrator legal authority to deal with the decedent's probate assets. The executor or administrator has the authority and duty to take control of and safeguard the assets of the decedent's estate. Probate then provides a process for the payment of outstanding debts, taxes and the expenses of administration, and for the distribution of the remainder of the estate to the beneficiaries and heirs.
What does probate involve?
Probating an estate requires the appointment of a person to conduct the administration of the estate. If there is a will, this person usually is named in the will and is called an executor. If there is no will or no person is named in the will, this person is appointed by the probate court and is called an administrator. The executor or administrator may be an individual, a bank or a trust company.
The executor or administrator takes care of the following tasks:
- caring for all property of the decedent;
- receiving payments due the estate, including interest, dividends and other income;
- collecting debts, claims and notes due from the decedent;
- determining the names, ages, addresses and degree of relationship of all heirs;
- determining the names, ages and addresses of all beneficiaries, if there is a will;
- investigating the validity of all claims against the estate and paying all outstanding obligations including federal, state and local estate and income taxes;
- planning for federal and state taxes and preparing and filing estate tax returns when required;
- carrying out the instructions of the probate court pertaining to the estate and distributing the assets of the estate to the heirs.
The probate court judge and support staff supervise the work of the executor or administrator. These actions require 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 tax returns and possibly gift and estate tax returns, an accounting of funds, final transfer of all assets to beneficiaries, termination of the probate proceeding, and discharge of the executor or administrator by the probate court. Because of the complexity of these procedures, the assistance of an attorney usually is needed.
If the total value of all property in the decedent's individual name is $35,000 or less, the estate can be relieved from some of these administrative requirements. Where the decedent's spouse is entitled to receive all of the estate's assets, the amount that can be relieved from formal administration is increased to $100,000.
DISCLAIMER: WALSH PARALEGAL SERVICES IS NOT A LAW FIRM, CANNOT PROVIDE LEGAL REPRESENTATION OR ADVICE. WALSH PARALEGAL SERVICES IS SUPERVISED BY ATTORNEYS PURSUANT TO THE RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT. I AM A FREELANCE CONTRACTOR WHOSE PURPOSE IS TO ASSIST ATTORNEYS AND BUSINESSES WITH DOCUMENT PREPARATION, CORRESPONDENCE, AND RESEARCH. ANY COMMENTS ARE THE OPINIONS OF WALSH PARALEGAL SERVICES AND MUST NOT BE INTERPRETED AS LEGAL ADVICE.