How does the Probate Process begin in Ohio?

Posted in Probate. Tuesday, Dec 29th, 2015

When someone you love passes away, it can be difficult to think about the legal process that must be followed to settle their estate and distribute any remaining assets. The first step is to determine if the deceased had a will. The next step is to “probate the will.”

Under Ohio Revised Code § 2107.11, the will must be admitted to probate:

  • In the county where the deceased lived at the time of his or her death; or
  • In the Ohio county where any real or personal property of the deceased is located (if the deceased did not live in Ohio when he or she died and the will is not being probated elsewhere); or
  • In the Ohio county where a probate court previously judged that the will was valid and was filed in that county.

If you have questions about starting the probate process or if you run into issues along the way, Columbus probate litigation attorney Mike Gertner can help you through this detailed process.

What Do I Need to “Probate the Will?”

The first necessary document is the death certificate for the deceased person. You will then need to complete an Application to Probate Will and a Waiver of Notice of Probate. To fill out these forms, you will generally need the following information:

  • The name, birthday and residence of the deceased;
  • The date and location of death;
  • The name and address of any executor named in the will (if applicable); and
  • The names and addresses of all living heirs.

The purpose of the Waiver of Notice of Probate is to obtain signed verification from all heirs that they will not contest the executor’s appointment or the probate proceedings. If you believe there may be a challenge to a will, then the Notice of Probate form should be sent to all heirs that may not sign the waiver. These forms can be obtained from the county clerk’s office.

After the forms are filled out and the proper notices have been served on the deceased heirs, then the Application to Probate Will and the will should be filed with the county’s probate office. Included in the filing should be any other forms you completed and proofs of services that you received. The probate court office will then set a hearing that you must attend.

If there is not a will, the deceased’s property will be distributed according to Ohio law. For more information on the state distribution scheme, please refer to an earlier blog post titled Passing Without a Will in Ohio.

Types of Probate in Ohio

Ohio has a few different types of probate. These include two types of probate proceedings for small estates, Release from Administration and Summary Release from Administration. These procedures allow for expedited probate or no probate proceedings at all if the assets of estate are under a certain amount. To qualify for Release from Administration, the value of the estate must be under $35,000 or under $100,000 with all assets passing to the surviving spouse. Other probate proceedings are applicable for larger estates and for cases where a party believes there is a contest to the will.

Work with a Columbus Probate Litigation Attorney

A Columbus probate litigation attorney can help answer your questions about which type of probate is best for your situation, especially if you foresee a possible challenge to the will or the actions of the executor. From our office in Columbus, we serve clients throughout central Ohio. Contact us today for a free consultation at 877-772-1011 or by filling out our online contact form.