Probate FAQ With Facts You Need To Know

Solomon, Steiner & Peck, Ltd. — Probate FAQ With Facts You Need To Know

I've seen the term probate used in a number of contexts — and as both a noun and verb. Can you clear up the confusion and simply define it?

Probate is a legal proceeding that takes place in the county where the decedent owns property, whose function is to distribute transferred property and carry out payments of claims, taxes and expenses. What assets and property that remain are dispersed among persons mentioned in a will, known as beneficiaries.

What is the order of events within the probate process?

executor. If there is no will, or no person is named in the will, someone will be appointed by the probate court, considered an administrator. The administrator or executor could be a single person or representative of a financial institution — an individual, a trust company or a bank.

That sounds complicated. Can it be avoided?

solid estate planning. A forward-looking estate plan can counter difficulties before they happen and increase your loved ones' future financial security.

Is the need to participate in the probate process as expensive as I hear it is?

Expenses are based on a schedule of charges for each type of document filed in the court. Attorney fees are approved by the court, usually based on a flat fee, hourly rate or percentage. Executors and beneficiaries must agree to this. The executor or administrator receives a fee established by Ohio law, based on a percentage of estate assets' value.

How long does probate take?

I have no legal background. Do I need one if I become an estate's executor?

You don't have to be a lawyer, but a tendency to detailed organization helps. As executor, you will be called upon to oversee an inventory and appraisal of assets and property; collection of assets that will be distributed after taxes are paid; repayment of debts and expenses; and the final distribution of assets. These responsibilities don't have to be yours exclusively — interested friends and family members are permitted to help you.