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When a person does pass away, their property, assets, and debts – known as their estate – typically become the responsibility of their estate executor or administrator. This is often a close family member such as a spouse or an adult child but can be anyone the grantor chooses. The estate executor or administrator is responsible for making sure the deceased’s assets and property are distributed in accordance with their wishes. In order to ensure that any debts the deceased left behind have been paid, and that beneficiaries receive their entitled inheritance, a court-supervised process called probate may be required. This process may include:

  • Proving the validity of the will
  • Inventorying the assets of the deceased
  • Appraising the assets
  • Paying off any taxes and/or debts the deceased left behind
  • Distributing assets and/or property in accordance with the will
  • And more.

Depending on the particulars of a specific case, the probate process can take anywhere from months to a year or more. Factors that may lengthen the process include creditor claims against the estate, beneficiaries contesting the will, and more.

An Overview of the Probate Process in Ohio

In Ohio, probate is a legal process (some aspects of which are court-supervised) of administering a deceased person’s estate. The first step of probate is initiating where the named executor in the will or close relative (if there is no will) files a petition with the probate court. The court then schedules a hearing to validate the will and/or appoint an executor if there is no will. After this, estate administration will commence where an inventory of the deceased’s assets will be done including arranging for asset appraisals and paying any debt and taxes from the estate funds. Once the debts and assets are settled, the remaining assets are distributed according to the will or Ohio’s intestacy laws if there is no will. This process can take anywhere from 9 months or longer if it’s a complex situation. We do recommend hiring an attorney when dealing with probate court matters.

Types of Probate in Ohio

The type of probate process used will depend on the size of the estate as well as who is inheriting the assets. Here is a basic overview on the different types of probate our attorneys can assist with:

Full Administration: This is the standard probate process for estates that exceed the statutory amount for an abridged administration (see below). This process requires inventories, hearings, and accounting to ensure all legal requirements are met.

Release from Administration: This is a simplified process for estates under the statutory threshold. This process allows the executor/administrator to collect and distribute assets without full court involvement.

Summary Release from Administration: This is the simplest and quickest option available for estates with limited assets.  This process allows one individual (usually the one paying the funeral expenses) to collect and distribute assets with little court involvement.

Duties of the Administrator or Executor

The administrator or executor is responsible for the administration of the deceased’s estate. Their responsibilities may include things like doing an inventory of the estate, gathering the assets, paying creditors and bills, dealing with their attorney, filing the appropriate paperwork, and making sure that the provisions of the will or the statute, if it’s an intestate estate, is being followed.

Contact Our Probate Attorneys for a Legal Consultation

Contact our Zanesville probate attorneys if you require legal assistance on a probate matter. Our law firm has been providing estate administration legal services since 1923 and are proud of our deep roots in Southeastern Ohio. Reach out to us today and one of our attorneys will be pleased to help out.

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Zanesville Office

17 N. 4th St.
Zanesville, Ohio 43701


Cambridge Office

1230 Southgate Pkwy
Cambridge, Ohio 43725

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