Probate can be expensive and time-consuming for your descendants. With careful planning, however, you can potentially avoid probate, allowing your executor to independently administer your estate.

Review common strategies for probate avoidance in Ohio.

Establish a trust

Most assets held by a trust do not go through Ohio probate. Trusts provide a versatile estate planning vehicle since you can establish your wishes for the assets and change the terms as needed. You can also use various types of trusts for different purposes, such as real estate, family giving or charitable giving.

Designate beneficiaries

When you name someone to inherit bank accounts, investments, life insurance policies, real estate and other assets, these items can often avoid Ohio probate. Examples include:

  • Real estate with a valid transfer-on-death affidavit
  • Insurance policy benefits with an established beneficiary
  • Retirement accounts and pensions with an established beneficiary
  • Payable-on-death bank accounts
  • Assets you hold in joint survivorship with a spouse or family member

Filling out the right forms for these designations and submitting them to the proper authorities can keep these assets out of probate when you die.

Make lifetime gifts

If you have a sizable estate, you may consider gifts to your family members during your lifetime. When your estate has less than $35,000 in probate assets, it can qualify for simplified probate in Ohio. The threshold increases to $100,000 if you plan to leave everything to your surviving spouse.

When you begin estate planning, you can decide which of these strategies best fits your goals, wishes and needs, as well as your financial situation.