Request a Free 5-Minute Phone Appointment
Probate Attorney in Beavercreek, OH
According to the Ohio Supreme Court, as of 2018 probate cases in the state had declined over the past decade. In 2018, there were 85,787 incoming probate cases—about three percent fewer than the 10-year high in 2013. The declining number of probate cases is likely due to the fact that more people are using trusts and other estate planning tools so they can avoid probate altogether. You may wonder why people want to avoid probate. The simplest answer is that probate is often lengthy, and costly, requiring a significant level of paperwork by the executor of the estate. If there is no will, the estate still requires probate—it just becomes even more complicated. Having an experienced Beavercreek probate attorney to guide you through the process can greatly simplify an Ohio probate.
In the state of Ohio, probate is the legal process that occurs once a person dies (the decedent). As noted, probate occurs whether a person has a valid will or not. Trusts and other forms of asset division may be able to steer clear of probate, but for the most part, probate will maintain a part of the process. The state of Ohio does make a probate exception for estates that are worth less than $5,000, or the amount of funeral expenses. If this is the case, anyone other than the surviving spouse who has paid or is obligated to pay those expenses can ask the court for a summary release from administration. The surviving spouse can make a request for summary release only if:
- All the assets of the deceased spouse are worth less than $45,000.
- The surviving spouse is entitled to a family support allowance and inherits everything.
- The surviving spouse is obligated to pay the funeral costs or has already paid the funeral costs.
If you are a resident of Beavercreek, you likely enjoy the beauty of the area as well as the many amenities available. Regardless of where you live, grief and pain usually accompany the loss of a loved one. The emotional aspects of the grieving process can be overshadowed by the necessary tasks of dealing with final arrangements and ensuring the decedent’s estate is probated. The duties and obligations involved in probating an estate can feel overwhelming at a time like this. The Beavercreek probate attorneys of Lovett & House are dedicated to helping you through this difficult time, making the process as stress-free and easy as possible. We know the probate process can be complex and confusing. We can help!
Why Choosing a Beavercreek Probate Attorney from Lovett & House Can Be Beneficial
The compassionate, highly-skilled Lovett & House attorneys will handle the legal requirements associated with settling your loved one’s affairs while you focus on healing. Choosing Lovett & House brings you an attorney that is a board-certified specialist by the Ohio State Bar Association. We have decades of experience helping others just like you and offer a free 5-minute phone appointment for your convenience. We also have more than 100 positive Google reviews!
What Assets Do Not Require Beavercreek Probate?
Generally speaking, only assets owned in the decedent’s name alone are required to go through probate. The following assets do not have to go through probate:
- Any assets that are held in a trust
- Tenancy by the entirety assets held by a married couple
- Survivorship tenancy or joint and survivorship assets that pass automatically to the surviving owner
- Payable-on-death bank accounts
- Retirement accounts or life insurance policies with a named beneficiary
- Any real estate that is subject to an Ohio transfer-on-death designation affidavit
Are Smaller Estates Exempt from Probate?
In some cases, a simplified, less expensive probate process is available for Ohio residents. This simplified probate is available when the surviving spouse inherits all the probate property, whether under the decedent’s will, or by state law if no will exists. Simplified probate is also available when the total value of the estate is not more than $100,000. If you use the simplified process for probate, it will likely only take from 2-4 months.
What Does the Executor Do?
For a smaller estate or a larger one, the person named as executor in the decedent’s will (if a will exists) will be in charge of probating the will. If there is no will—or if the named executor is unwilling or unable to serve—the court will appoint someone to serve as an administrator. If there is a surviving spouse, he or she has first priority in being named as the administrator or executor of the estate. The court will issue a document known as “Letters of Authority,” then the executor will do the following:
- Conduct the usually routine matter of proving in court that the decedent’s will is valid
- Gather and inventory the decedent’s assets
- Have all assets appraised and ensure they are properly safeguarded
- Pay all the decedent’s taxes and other debts
- Distribute any remaining assets as the will directs, or, if there is no will, as state law directs
Executors must keep very careful records regarding the handling and distribution of estate assets; having an experienced Beavercreek probate attorney can help the process along.
How Long Does an Ohio Probate Usually Take?
It takes about nine months in general for formal probate to conclude after the executor or administrator is appointed. Probate must last at least six months since creditors have six months to file a claim. If the decedent’s estate owes state or federal estate tax, probate could take as long as a year or longer. If anyone contests the will, the probate process will take even longer. A person might contest a will by claiming the deceased either was not of sound mind or was unduly influenced when he or she signed the will. Contesting a will must be done within three months of time after there is a notification of the probate.
How a Beavercreek Probate Attorney from Lovett & House Can Help
The Lovett & House Co., LPA attorneys can help you through the probate process in the easiest, least stressful way possible. We have compassion for what you are going through following the death of your loved one, and we can help you discharge your executor duties while avoiding unnecessary conflicts with family members or others. Contact Lovett & House Co., LPA today to schedule a confidential consultation regarding your Beavercreek probate.