When a family member who has significant assets within their estate passes away, the family members will understandably want to begin the distribution process. However, most states, including Ohio, have what is called probate. This process is used to ensure that anyone who is owed money is paid off and that the members about to receive funds are interested parties. In the state of Ohio, this can take anywhere from six months to a year. Read on to learn a few routes you can take to avoid having to go through probate.
When you should not avoid probate
Although probate is something most people want to avoid, there are times when it’s actually recommended. For example, if there is a line of creditors waiting to obtain what they are owed, probate can significantly slow them down. In other cases, some relatives who may not have been added during the estate planning process might want to contest it, thus reducing everyone’s cut of the estate. Probate can help weed out those who are not legally allowed to contest the estate.
Alternatives to probate
The fact is that probate doesn’t make sense for smaller estates, and many states have acknowledged that. That is why it is important to consult with an attorney to see if you can simply transfer the estate rather than going through the probate process. It must be noted that every state has its limits of what is considered small. For example, Ohio considers a small estate one that has assets of $100,000 or less.
Creating a living trust
If you fear that your family will have to go through a costly probate process, then you may want to look into a living trust. A living trust allows you to transfer your assets to the trust while still having control of where they are distributed. This changing of titles and deeds may allow your family to remove the possibility of having to go through probate.
No matter what route you take, it is imperative that you have an attorney at your side. They may be able to provide you with important legal information and thus help you avoid costly mistakes down the road.