In Ohio, probate is a court-supervised process that makes sure that the decedent’s debts and taxes are resolved. The probate court also helps transfer the remaining property and assets from the estate to heirs.
Many of your assets may go through the probate process if you don’t have a will or trust in place. There are some assets that won’t necessarily go through probate, though, even if you don’t have a will. These may include:
- Assets held jointly that pass on automatically
- Assets in a trust
- Assets with a beneficiary designation, like bank accounts or retirement accounts
- Real estate that is subject to the “designation affidavit,” a transfer-on-death deed
- Insurance policies with beneficiary designations
Other assets, like your primary residence, vehicle, personal belongings and others may end up in probate if you do not account for them in your will.
The two types of probate in Ohio
There are two kinds of probate in Ohio:
- Release from Administration
- Summary Release from Administration
In the first, a surviving spouse inherits all property when the value of the estate is under $100,000. The overall value of the estate should be less than $35,000 for this process, which is also known as expedited probate proceedings.
In the second form, the estate must be less than $5,000 or have funeral and burial costs that add up to $5,000. The estate should be worth less than $45,000 with all assets passing on to the surviving spouse.
In either case, you can help your family avoid these probate processes by making sure to set up a will. If you place your assets into a trust and have beneficiary designations set up, the process will be much easier for them. Of course, you can also start gifting some of your assets now, which could also help you offset taxes.
Start estate planning now to protect your loved ones
There is a lot to think about with estate planning. Avoiding probate should be something that you keep on your mind as you work on yours, so that your beneficiaries may receive their inheritances sooner rather than later.