A Brief Guide to the Ohio Probate Court
Over two hundred different duties are placed upon the Ohio Probate Court, from adoptions to name changes to living wills. The most important, however, is probate, which is the process of determining what happens to a person’s property after their death. Many people are unfamiliar with Ohio Probate Courts, which is unfortunate, because as soon as you need to use them they become incredibly important resources. Some individuals may suffer because of their inexperience with the court, so it is best that you know as much as possible about Ohio Probate Courts and their procedures.
Estate Procedures in Ohio Probate Courts
Though no statutory time limit exists for when to begin the probate procedure, the Ohio Probate Court recommends that it be done within a reasonable period after the death of a loved one. To begin the process, fill out and file the “Application to Probate Will,” available here: https://www.franklincountyohio.gov/probate/forms/estate/PC-E-2.0Rev10-2002.pdf.
Estates worth less than $35,000 and that are without property are considered small estates. They are liable for fewer financial obligations than larger estates and the Ohio Probate Court allows for a faster and easier probate process for them. Ask your county’s Ohio Probate Court for more information.
Larger estates will go through a somewhat regular Ohio Probate Court procedure. A fiduciary will be appointed. If there is a will, the fiduciary is usually named in it and they are termed the estate’s “executor.” However, they do not become the executor until they are given the Letters of Authority by the Ohio Probate Court. If there is no will, the fiduciary is appointed by the Ohio Probate Court.
In cases with wills, the next point of order will be to validate the will and to hear any challenges to it in a trial if necessary. The will is to then be carried out by the estate’s executor as best pleases the Ohio Probate Court. In cases without wills, much more time is spent deciding how to best split up the estate among possible heirs.
Fees Associated with Ohio Probate Courts
If an estate is going through Ohio Probate Court, there is no avoiding that a significant percentage of it will be lost due to the many fees and costs associated with the Court. For instance, there are significant fees accorded to the fiduciary according to Ohio Probate Court procedure: 4% of an estate worth $100,000, 3% for the next $300,000, and then 2% of the balance. Additional court costs are usually in the low hundreds of dollars, but they could be much more depending on the size of your estate.
Legal Guardianships in Ohio Probate Court
Another important duty of Ohio Probate Courts is to assign legal guardianships. These can be for minors or for those individuals who, because of mental or physical handicaps, are unable to satisfactorily care for themselves. There are many forms required to obtain legal guardianship, but it can still prove a relatively simple procedure with little time actually spent in an Ohio Probate Court. Visit this page to view the forms required to apply for guardianship.