Losing a loved one is a devastating and overwhelming experience. In many cases, you are still grieving the loss of your loved one when you must deal with the probate court to settle the estate. Hiring an experienced Dayton and Miami Valley estate attorney can reduce the stress you may feel when trying to settle an estate. The probate attorneys of Lovett & House Co., LPA provide support throughout the probate process and we make it an easier and less stressful experience.
How do You Settle an Estate in Ohio?
A probate estate is settled in one of two ways in Ohio — testate or intestate.
Testate Estates in Ohio
If your loved one had a will, the person named in the will to administer the estate will petition the probate court to open an estate to probate the will. The executor or personal representative is in charge of filing the original will with the court to begin the formal probate process. Typical actions the administrator must take when probating a will include but are not limited to:
- Secure the property and assets of the decedent to prepare and inventory and appraisement for the court;
- Receive any payments owed to the estate or the decedent;
- Gather bills owed by the decedent and review claims filed by creditors;
- Pay the decedent’s bills and claims or object to the claims;
- Determine the names, addresses, ages, and relation of each heir;
- Notify the heirs of the probate estate;
- Prepare any personal and estate tax returns due;
- Open a bank account for the estate if necessary;
- Distribute assets according to the instructions in the will; and,
- Prepare a final accounting for the court.
Depending on the complexity and size of the estate, the administrator may be required to perform other duties. In many cases, hiring a probate attorney to assist with the probate process makes it much easier for the administrator, especially in complex estates.
Intestate Estates in Ohio
If a person dies without a will, the estate will be probated in accordance with Ohio’s intestate laws. “Intestate” means that the person did not have a will. Someone must petition the court to be appointed as the personal representative or administrator to administer the estate. If any heirs contest the appointment, a hearing must be held for the court to determine who should administer the estate.
After the court appoints an administrator, that person does the same thing as the executor does in an estate with a will; however, the assets and property must be distributed in accordance with intestate laws. The state decides who the decedent’s heirs are and the law dictates who will receive a percentage of the decedent’s estate.
It is much easier to probate an estate with a will; therefore, an experienced estate attorney is recommended if you are settling a probate estate without a will.
Are You Struggling to Settle a Probate Estate?
If so, Lovett & House Co., LPA can help you. Let us handle the stress and frustration of dealing with the probate court while you focus on what is truly important — the grieving process as you remember your loved one fondly.
Contact our office to discuss how our estate lawyers can help you finalize the estate to avoid any further frustration and anxiety.