Request a Free 5-Minute Phone Appointment
The very word “probate” is often confusing, frustrating, and even alarming because probate can be complex—and not something we want to think about at a time when we are grieving the loss of a loved one. Probate can be expensive and lengthy—not to mention a very public process. Many people erroneously believe that if there is no will probate is not required. This is simply not true. In both cases—when there is a will and there is no will—Ohio probate will be required to settle a decedent’s estate. If you want to avoid the headaches that probate brings—whether you are in the process of estate planning, or you have been left with a probate responsibility following a loved one’s death—the highly experienced probate attorneys at Lovett & House can help.
Englewood, as a suburb of Dayton, OH, is in Montgomery County. This area was first founded by a group of settlers who came from North Carolina in 1801, leaving their homes and heading to the banks of the Stillwater River. While there are many theories as to why these pioneers headed to Ohio, some of the descendants of these original families still live in this area. Englewood has a population of approximately 14,000 and is a picturesque area to live and work. Although Englewood offers many amenities to those who live and work here, residents must, like those across the United States, engage in estate planning. This can include many different aspects and is unique to each individual and his or her specific situation.
Why Choose an Englewood Probate Attorney from Lovett & House?
When you are planning for probate or you are dealing with probate following the death of a loved one, the attorneys at Lovett & House are ready to assist. With six local offices for your convenience, our attorneys are sensitive to the emotions families go through when probating a loved one’s estate. Our primary goal is to take the confusion and frustration out of the probate process by helping executors discharge their duties while avoiding unnecessary conflicts with family members or other interested parties.
Our firm has more than 100 positive Google reviews because we always go the extra mile for our clients. We offer a free, five-minute consultation that will allow you to determine the direction you need to go with your estate planning and probate issues. Attorney George Lovett is an accomplished lecturer and writer in the areas of estate planning and Medicaid planning and is ready to answer all your questions regarding the probate process.
What is Probate?
Probate is the legal court process that occurs when a decedent leaves assets to distribute, including bank accounts, real estate, and financial investments. Probate is the administration of the will left by a decedent or the estate of a decedent who left no will. If there is a will, and the will names an executor or administrator, then the court will approve this named individual who will then be responsible for the probate process. If there is no will or no executor is named in the will, the court will choose an executor.
The probate process includes authentication and validity of a current will, then the assets left behind will be inventoried—and appraised, when necessary. All debts will be paid, then the remaining assets will be distributed according to the instructions in the will—or according to Ohio statutes when there is no will. Although certain assets are not required to go through probate, others must go through probate before being distributed.
Why Would You Want to Avoid Probate?
As noted above, there are three primary reasons many people want to avoid probate: time, money, and the public nature of probate. Probate is a court process that can require many months—or even a year or more—to complete. If there are loved ones who are struggling financially until the estate is probated, then the time matters. If a will is contested, the probate process can take even longer. Probate also brings additional costs. The court will take a portion of the value of the estate to cover probate fees, plus there are the costs associated with a probate attorney. Many people want to avoid probate because it is a public process with every detail of the will accessible to anyone with an interest.
What Does Not Have to Go Through Probate?
There are some items that are not required to go through probate, including the following:
- Any assets that are held in a trust—including a revocable living trust and an irrevocable living trust
- Assets that are held in joint tenancy, or survivorship tenancy
- Tenancy by the entirety for assets held by married couples (but only if the tenancy was created between 1972 and 1984)
- Retirement accounts with a beneficiary designation
- Life insurance policies with a designated beneficiary
- Payable-on-death bank accounts
- Some Ohio real estate that is subject to a “transfer-on-death” designation affidavit
Does Ohio Offer a Simplified Probate?
Ohio—like some states—does offer a simplified probate process for small estates. To take advantage of this simplified probate process, the executor must file a written request with the local probate court asking permission to use the simplified procedure. The requirements for simplified probate in Ohio include:
- An estate worth less than $5,000
- An estate in which another individual paid burial and funeral expenses up to $5,000 and is asking for reimbursement for those costs
- The entire worth of the estate is $35,000 or less. If this is the case, notice must be given to the heirs and/or a surviving spouse.
- The entire worth of the estate is $100,000 or less and under the will or under Ohio law the surviving spouse inherits everything.
If you want to use the simplified probate process in Ohio, an affidavit must be completed and submitted to the court and must include a comprehensive description of all the assets in the estate, including:
- A description of any motor vehicles owned by the decedent
- Information and balance on any bank accounts
- Total shares and value of any bonds included in the estate
- Receipts that show payment of funeral and burial expenses
If everything is in order, the probate court will issue an order stating no further administration is necessary. All property will be transferred to the applicant at this time.
How Can an Experienced Englewood Probate Attorney from Lovett & House Help?
You do not have to deal with probate on your own. This is a time when you should be allowed the time to grieve your loved one, rather than being forced to deal with probate issues. At Lovett & House, we can take this burden from your shoulders, handling all probate issues as quickly and efficiently as possible. Having our firm in your corner ensures there will be no mistakes, and that the probate process will be handled legally and appropriately. Contact Lovett & House today to get the probate help you need.