Experienced Eaton, Ohio Probate Lawyer
Eaton is an Ohio city in Preble County—and the county seat. Eaton lies about 24 miles west of Dayton, and, as of the 2010 census, Eaton’s population was about 8,400. Eaton was named for General William Eaton who is known for leading a diverse army in a difficult march from Egypt to Tripoli to meet U.S. Naval forces.
Once Eaton was established, it grew quickly, and by 1846, there were more than 1,000 residents. This growth was largely due to Eaton’s strategic location—at the junction of two turnpikes. Unfortunately, an outbreak of cholera hit the small town in 1849, causing more than half the population of the town to flee. Of the remaining 600 or so residents, 120 died from the disease.
Eaton slowly recovered from the cholera outbreak, only to have another catastrophic event just a decade later when a fire destroyed thirteen of the main business establishments in the town. The town of Eaton is well-known for Crystal Lake and Seven Mile Creek, along with Seven-Mile Park, Washington Landing Park, Water Works Park, and Fort St. Clair. Every year, Eaton hosts the annual Preble County Pork Festival as well as the Preble County Fair.
Residents and visitors alike enjoy Safari Junction, which is just down the road from Eaton. Safari Junction, established in 2009, offers hands-on interactive and educational animal encounters. As a family-owned and operated business, Safari Junction offers hands-on animal experiences with both farm animals and exotic animals of all types. Family picnics are enjoyable, set on designated areas of the beautiful 10-acre Safari Junction Park.
Serving the Probate Needs of Eaton, Ohio Residents
The Lovett & House attorneys have been serving your legal needs since 1989. We understand that estate planning can be a concern for many—one of those things we know we need to do but put off because we are unsure of the process. It is important to note that while many adults believe only the very wealthy need an estate plan, the Lovett & House attorneys can help put together an estate plan that will suit your unique needs perfectly. Attorney George Lovett is highly experienced in estate planning, trust, and probate law; he and his team will ensure your estate planning endeavors will be as simple and easy as possible.
What Does Eaton, Ohio Probate Entail?
Following the death of a loved one, that person’s estate may need to pass through probate. The probate process allows all debts owed by the decedent to be paid, and any remaining assets of the decedent to be paid to beneficiaries. Probate can be time-consuming and emotionally draining. Family conflicts and complex assets can compound matters.
Probate is a matter of public record, meaning all information associated with the decedent’s will is available to anyone with even a passing interest. There are some assets that are not required to go through probate, such as assets with designated beneficiaries or real estate held in joint names. Ohio also offers a simplified probate process for small estates that allows them to stay out of probate.
What is the Probate Process?
If you are involved in settling an estate, you may be feeling overwhelmed, wondering what you need to do. Perhaps you are an executor named by a person in his or her will who has assumed the role of handling the probate. If there is no will, the Ohio probate court will appoint an administrator. The general probate process includes:
- A petition will be filed in the county where the deceased person lived at the time of their death. The executor will be officially acknowledged and will then be the representative of the estate. If a will exists, it will be presented to the court, along with a death certificate. The probate case is now considered officially open.
- Notice will then be given to all next of kin and beneficiaries.
- All the assets of the decedent will be inventoried; assets that are subject to probate will be presented to the court, including bank accounts, real estate, stocks and bonds, retirement accounts, and personal effects and collections.
- All money owed to the estate will be collected (paychecks owed, rents to be collected). Outstanding debts will be paid from the estate. It is important that the executor ensures there are sufficient assets to cover all debts—otherwise, the state will prioritize creditor claims. All taxes must be paid from the estate, including a final income tax return.
- Once all monies owed have been collected, and all debts paid, the remaining assets will be distributed. The rightful heirs will get their inheritance, then the estate will be closed.
- If there are any challenges to the will, the executor must deal with those challenges, with help from his or her attorney.
Helpful Information to Have Prior to Meeting with an Eaton, Ohio Probate Attorney
Once you have been named as the executor of an estate, there are five things you can do to help your Ohio probate attorney help you.
- Bring a certified copy of the death certificate. Do not get more than three!! These cost $20 to $25 each, and usually, only one or two are needed. Obtaining more than three is usually unnecessary.
- Determine if there is an existing written Will or written Estate Plan. Your attorney will best be able to determine whether probate is required if you can produce these documents—or show they do not exist.
- Once a written Will or Estate Plan is located, bring copies of those documents with you to the meeting.
- Collect as much information as you can concerning all assets and debts of the decedent. Bring copies of existing life insurance policies, bank account statements, tax returns, pensions, and retirement accounts.
- Bring a written list of the names and addresses of the decedent’s children. If the decedent did not have any children but left grandchildren, then these are the next of kin and their contact information is most helpful. If there are no surviving children or grandchildren, then see the attorney before compiling the information about the next of kin.
How an Eaton, Ohio Probate Attorney from Lovett & House Can Help
Our Lovett & House attorneys have years of experience handling all types of estate plan issues, including probate. We handle all aspects of estate and trust administration, representing both beneficiaries and fiduciaries. Our goal is to make the probate process as simple and transparent as possible, in an effort to avoid family disputes. When a dispute becomes unavoidable, we are very experienced in representing those who find themselves entangled in disputes. If you have questions regarding a probate matter, or you have been named as the executor for a decedent, Lovett & House can help you. Contact Lovett & House today at 937-667-8805 for legal assistance.