Purpose of Probate
- To make sure the decedent's estate is distributed according to his/her will or by law
- To pay the decedent's creditors
- To file and pay any estate or income taxes
The Ohio legislature has created a number of methods by which a person's probate estate can pass through the Probate Court. Which method is best is determined by the facts in each probate estate. Personnel of this court are not allowed to give you information on the different methods of probate and/or to advise you which forms to use. Ohio Supreme Court has adopted Standard Probate Forms. These forms are available online and at the Clerk's office.
The three main types of probate procedures are:
- Summary Release From Administration
- Release of Estate From Administration
- Full Administration
Type One - Summary Release From Administration
Summary Release From Administration Information
A Summary Release from Administration may be filed if:
- The value of the probate assets may not exceed $2,000 for deaths prior to October 12, 2006 or $5,000 for deaths on or after October 12, 2006 and the applicant paid or is responsible for the decedent's funeral bill, or
- If the application is filed by the decedent's surviving spouse, the value of the probate assets may not exceed $42,000 for deaths before October 12, 2006 or $45,000 for deaths on or after October 12, 2006 and the spouse must be entitled to the entire support allowance provided for under Section 2106.13 of the Revised Code and the decedent's funeral expenses have either been prepaid or the spouse is obligated to pay the funeral bill.
The Summary Release of Administration forms consist of:
- If the decedent had a Last Will and Testament, the original should be presented to the court. In some cases it may also be necessary to probate the decedent's Last Will and Testament of the decedent.
Any person filling out these forms should bring with them the following documents:
- A certified copy of the decedent's death certificate
- A list of the names and addresses for all of the decedent's next of kin and the persons named in any Last Will and Testament
- Funeral bill and/or paid funeral receipt that shows who is responsible for the funeral expenses and/or who paid the funeral expenses
- Proof of your identity - ie. Driver's License
- Copy of any title to motor vehicles and/or deeds to real estate
A court appointed appraiser must appraise any assets that do not have a readily ascertainable value. There is an exception for real property. The 100% tax value may be used to establish the value for real property. If the real property is located in Montgomery County this value can be obtained from the Montgomery County Real Estate Tax Information site. A copy of tax value from this website should be attached to your application.
Type Two - Release of Estate From Administration
Release of Estate From Administration Information
These forms can be used in cases in which the decedent died on or after November 9, 1994 and the estate has assets of $35,000 or less. If there is a surviving spouse, and he or she is entitled to receive all of the assets of the estate, these forms can be used in cases in which the decedent died on or after March 18, 1999 and the estate has assets of $100,000 or less. For dates of death prior to these dates, please view Form 5.0, Application to Relieve Estate from Administration, which may be accessed at the link above.
The forms used in a Release of Administration may include:
- Application to Relieve Estate From Administration
- Waiver of Notice of Application to Relieve Estate
- Surviving Spouse, Children, Next of Kin, Legatees and Devisees
- Assets and Liabilities of Estate to be Relieved From Administration
- Appointment of Appraiser 100% tax value may be used for real estate
- Entry Relieving Estate From Administration
- Commissioner's Report, if required
The decedent's Last Will and Testament, if any, should be submitted to the court.
The decedent's Last Will and Testament may also need to be probated. If said Last Will and Testament does need to be probated, an Application to Probate Will form should be completed. Notice of probate of the will must be given or waiver of notice of the probate of the will must be obtained and a Certificate of Service of Notice of Probate of Will form must be filed with this court.
A court appointed appraiser must appraise any assets that do not have a readily ascertainable value. There is an exception for real property. The 100% tax value may be used to establish the value for real property. If the real property is located in Montgomery County this value can be obtained from the County Real Estate Tax Information site. A copy of tax value from this website should be attached to your application.
The person appointed as Commissioner may also need to be bonded. The Court will determine if a Commissioner is appointed and if the Commissioner must be bonded. There is a Fiduciary Bond form that can be completed with a fiduciary bonding agent.
Type Three - Full Administration
A full administration filing is more involved and this Court would encourage any person interested in pursuing a full administration to retain experienced probate counsel.
The steps in a full administration case will include, but may not be limited to:
- Probate the decedent's Last Will and Testament, if any, and serve notice of the admission of the will on all required persons or obtain waivers from all required persons
- Appoint an Executor or Administrator
- Notify surviving spouse of his or her rights under Ohio law For dates of death on or after January 1, 2002
- If there is a Will and if the decedent died on or after January 1, 2002, the fiduciary must file a Certificate of Service of Notice of Probate of Will form with the Court within two 2 months of his or her appointment. If the decedent died prior to December 31, 2001, the Certificate of Service of Notice of Probate of Will must be filed within three 3 months of the appointment.
- The fiduciary must gather the probate assets and determine their value. If the property does not have a readily ascertainable value, a court-approved appraiser will need to be appointed to appraise the property. This includes real estate.
- The fiduciary must invest the assets of the probate estate as allowed and required by Ohio law
- The fiduciary must file an Inventory within three 3 months of his or her appointment
- The fiduciary may receive any claim for outstanding debts of the decedent. The fiduciary must pay the valid debts in the order required by Ohio law and dispute any debts the fiduciary determines
- The fiduciary must file and may be obligated to pay income taxes required for the decedent and/or the decedent's estate
- The fiduciary must file and pay any estate taxes required of the decedent's estate. In some cases persons who received non-probate assets may be required to contribute to any estate tax that may be due and owing
- The fiduciary must distribute any remaining assets to the persons entitled to receive these assets under Ohio law or the terms of the decedent's Last Will and Testament
- If the decedent died on or after January 1, 2002, the fiduciary must file a final distributive account or certificate of termination to close out the probate estate. This account may be due within six 6 months of the appointment of the fiduciary. In some cases this time period may be extended due to the circumstance in the estate or by order of the court
- If the decedent died on or before December 31, 2001, the fiduciary's initial account is due within twelve 12 months of the appointment of fiduciary
- The fiduciary must mail a copy of any account to all required next of kin or legatees and devisees and file a Certificate of Service form with the Court with their account.
- The fiduciary must serve notice of hearing on the approval of any final account on all next of kin or legatees and devisees who have not waived notice of hearing on the final account. Any waivers and proof of service of notice must be filed with the Court.
There may be additional steps required due to the circumstances in each case.
The Ohio Supreme Court has adopted Standard Probate Forms that may be used to complete some of the steps noted above. These forms are available online or from the Clerk's Office. There are some proceedings for which there may be no Standard Probate Form. In these cases the fiduciary may need the assistance of an attorney to draft any necessary forms.
If the fiduciary fails to file documents on a timely basis, the Court will issue a Citation Order to the fiduciary. This Order will be served upon the fiduciary by the Sheriff. The fiduciary may be fined or removed if he or she fails to comply with the Court's Citation Order.
A fiduciary that fails to timely perform his/her duties is subject to being removed by the Court. In some cases, the fiduciary may be held personally liable for any damages caused to an estate due to his/her failure to properly perform his/her duties.
If there is a problem in the administration of an estate, please contact an attorney.
A filing fee is required when you open an estate. The amount of the fee is based upon the type of estate you are opening. There may be additional court cost required during the administration of the estate. We do not accept personal checks. We accept filings by mail. If you wish a filed stamped copy of any filed documents to be returned to you, each mailing should include a self-addressed stamped return envelope. Please also include a phone number and email address if applicable. If there is a problem with a filing which cannot be resolved by quick communication, the filing will be returned with an explanation of the problem.
The personnel of this court are not allowed to give you legal advice or information on your legal rights. You should consult with an experienced probate attorney if you have questions as to your rights, the actions of the fiduciary, or the actions of another party in the probate estate.