The loss of a loved one can be devastating for families in Ohio and elsewhere. Like many in this situation, your grief may be further complicated by concerns over settling your loved one’s affairs. Depending on the assets your loved one left behind, however, his or her estate may not have to go through formal probate.

When people in Ohio and elsewhere pass away with property in their own names, probate may be necessary. Probate is the legal process through which a person’s debts are settled and assets are distributed to his or her heirs. The steps involved in the process depend on the debts and the size of the estate that your loved one leaves behind.

According to FindLaw, Ohio state law allows two provisions for administrating small estates – release from administrative requirements and summary release from administrative requirements. An expedited proceeding, release from administrative requirements is available in cases when the decedent’s surviving spouse inherits all his or her assets and the total value of the estate is under $100,000. This option is also available in cases when the total value of a decedent’s estate is less than $35,000.

A summary release from administrative requirements is available in cases when the estate’s value is less than $45,000 and a surviving spouse will inherit all the decedent’s assets. This option is also available in cases when the funeral or burial expenses total at least $5,000 or when the estate’s value is less than $5,000. When a summary release from administrative requirements is granted for an estate, there is no probate proceeding.

The information contained within this post is intended only for general purposes and should not be taken as legal advice.