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Experienced Troy, OH Probate Lawyers
Probate in Ohio is a court-supervised legal process that may be required after someone dies. The purpose of probate is to ensure the decedent’s debts and taxes are paid and that his or her assets are transferred to the rightful beneficiaries. Usually, only the assets owned by the decedent in his or her name alone are subject to probate. Probate can take a considerable amount of time, can be expensive, and is a public process, therefore, many people seek to avoid it by using a trust when planning their estate. Because probate can be complex and confusing, it can be beneficial to speak to an experienced Troy probate attorney from Lovett & House.
Troy, OH is a town with a population of about 26,000 in Miami County and is the county seat as well. Located 19 miles north of Dayton, Troy boasts a thriving historical downtown and a strong sense of community. Green spaces abound in Troy, with a variety of parks and hiking paths throughout the town. Established in 1808, Troy grew quickly, due to its location on the Great Miami River and the railway. From 1840, the population of Troy grew quickly, doubling over the next six years. Three flour mills, five sawmills, one iron foundry, one machine shop, two newspaper offices, a shingle factory, a plow factory, and six churches were quickly added to Troy’s thriving town.
Troy was a center for agricultural trade, as crops could be shipped to market via the Miami and Erie Canal as well as the railroads. By 1886, the Troy Buggy Works was the community’s largest employer; two more newspaper offices, four more churches, and two banks had been added to the community. Today, many residents are employed not only in Troy but also in Dayton and Springfield, including at the Wright-Patterson Air Force base. Troy is known for its annual Strawberry Festival when the city sees an influx of as many as 100,000 visitors.
Why Choose a Troy, OH Probate Attorney from Lovett & House?
At Lovett & House, our Troy probate attorneys are dedicated to making the process of probate as stress-free and easy as possible. We understand that you need to take time to grieve for your loved one and dealing with the complexities of probate is simply not something you want to think about. We are highly skilled, experienced, and compassionate and will handle the legal requirements associated with settling the affairs of your loved one while you focus on the healing process. At Lovett & House, we truly stand out from other estate planning law firms. We have more than 100 positive Google reviews, offer a free 5-minute phone appointment, have decades of combined estate planning experience, and have an attorney that is a Board-Certified Specialist by the Ohio State Bar Association.
What Does Not Have to Go Through Probate?
Probate ensures all claims, expenses, and taxes are properly paid and that the remainder of the estate is distributed to the beneficiaries of the decedent. Probate property consists of all property that is titled in the decedent’s name and is not transferable on death. Non-probate property includes any property held in joint tenancy with the right of survivorship, payable-on-death accounts, transfer-on-death accounts, life insurance or retirement benefits that have a named beneficiary, and property held in a trust.
Does Ohio Offer a Simplified Probate?
The state of Ohio does offer a simplified (and less expensive) probate process under certain conditions, including:
- When state law or the decedent’s will states that the surviving spouse inherits the entire probate property and that property is not worth more than $100,000 or
- When the entire estate is not worth more than $35,000
When the simplified probate process is used, which is known as a “Relief from Administration,” the entire probate should take only 2-4 months. Estates that are worth less than $5,000 or the amount of the funeral expenses may be resolved with an even shorter probate procedure called “Summary Release from Administration.” Speaking to a knowledgeable Troy probate attorney can help you determine how the estate will be probated.
Who Handles Probate?
If the decedent left a will and named an executor, then that person is responsible for taking charge of the estate and handling the probate. If there is no will, the probate court will appoint an administrator, with the surviving spouse as the first priority to be appointed. The executor or administrator will:
- Prove that the will is valid
- Gather, inventory, and safeguard the assets of the decedent
- Have assets appraised
- Pay all outstanding taxes
- Pay any outstanding debts
- Distribute the remaining property as directed by the will or state law
Do I Have to Go Through Probate if My Loved One Does Not Have a Will?
While a will makes probate much simpler, even if your loved one did not have a will you will still be required to go through Ohio probate unless the assets are joint and survivor, transfer on death, or contained in a trust. The difference is that if there is a contract that states who gets the asset, then that contract controls who gets the asset and probate is avoided. But if an asset is not controlled by a contract that states who gets it at death, then that asset must go through probate.
Why Can’t I Do It Myself?
Many persons try handling probate themselves, but they soon find it too complex and overwhelming. The forms can appear simple, but knowing what to put in the blanks, which forms to use and when, and doing everything within the deadlines set by the court is nearly impossible if one has not done it many times. The Troy probate attorneys at Lovett & House have done it hundreds of times. Our probate attorneys often tell folks that trying to handle a decedent’s probate case is like trying to get on WebMD and learning how to set your own broken arm. Theoretically, it may be possible, but it is not realistic or advisable.
What are The Negative Aspects of Probate?
There are three primary reasons people try to avoid probate. Probate can be costly, with court costs running about $250, executor’s or administrator’s fees, attorney fees, and appraisal fees, when necessary. If the estate is large enough, there may also be federal estate taxes, although there is no Ohio estate tax. Probate takes time—usually about nine months after the executor or administrator is appointed if there are no glitches to deal with. Creditors have six months to file a claim, so probate has to last at least that long. Finally, probate is not a private matter like a trust is. Anyone with an interest can look up the details of the estate if they choose. In addition, if a beneficiary is drinking, gambling, in a bankruptcy or divorce, or receiving government benefits, they could lose their inheritance or government benefits because the probate process cannot protect them (however, a trust can protect against these dangers).
How an Experienced Troy Probate Attorney from Lovett & House Can Help with Probate
At Lovett & House, our Troy probate attorneys understand that this is a time of grief and pain for you and your family members. This is not a time when you want to deal with the practical tasks of the decedent’s probate estate, as these duties and obligations can be overwhelming at this particular time. Even a small, relatively straightforward estate requires a great deal of time to handle all the required documents and tasks. We are here to help you through the probate process in Troy and in our other local offices. If you have questions about the probate process, contact a Troy probate attorney from Lovett & House Co., LPA.