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Metz, Bailey & McLoughlin provides
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Attorneys For Today, Counselors For Life

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Attorneys For Today, Counselors For Life

Attorneys For Today, Counselors For Life

Metz, Bailey & McLoughlin provides customized estate planning and business law services to clients throughout Ohio

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  4.  » Facts about probate

If a loved one died and you are wondering what happens next, you should understand how the probate process works. Depending on the size of the estate, there may not even be a probate requirement.

For larger estates, although the judge oversees probate, the person who does the majority of the work is the executor.

Basics of probate

According to FindLaw, probate deals with the distribution of assets when someone dies. It is a legal process that occurs whether or not the decedent had a will. If the estate is worth less than $5,000, or $45,000 and all the assets transfer to the surviving spouse, no probate is necessary. If the estate’s value is less than $35,000, or less than $100,000 and the spouse inherits all assets, there is an expedited probate hearing.

All other estates must go through probate, although there are certain assets that skip the process. These include joint-owned real estate, revocable trust property, bank accounts with a transfer on death clause and retirement accounts and life insurance that have named beneficiaries. Probate distributes all other assets.

Duties of the executor

According to the Ohio Bar, an executor or administrator is in charge of managing the estate. If the will names someone, it is an executor. If the will does not name anyone, or there is no will, the judge will name someone as the administrator. Duties of this person, trust company or bank include:

  • Identifying and locating all beneficiaries and heirs
  • Maintaining upkeep and paying ongoing bills of the estate
  • Collecting and paying debts
  • Filing and paying estate taxes
  • Distributing assets

Depending on the size and complexity of the estate, the settlement of the estate may take months or even years.