Probate Terminology 101
Understanding Probate Language
Often, the most difficult part of understanding probate law is learning the terminology. “Probate” refers to the legal process of dividing property when someone dies. The person who dies is the “decedent.” A decedent who dies with a will dies “testate,” while a person who dies without a will dies “intestate.” “Probate property” is all property included in a decedent’s estate that is subject to probate distribution. However, certain types of property are not subject to probate proceedings, including some real estate property and personal property, according to Ohio law.
You need to understand what your written Will should include and consider Ohio law and its treatment of property that can be excluded from formal probate procedures. The specific statutory authority is codified in the Ohio Revised Code. In Ohio, probate courts are located in each county within the Court of Common Pleas.
Under Ohio law, “nonprobate property” is all property that is not subject to probate proceedings. Careful financial planning and estate planning can help you understand how to avoid probate. What types of property does nonprobate property include? Typically, in Ohio, nonprobate property includes
“payable on death accounts.” Also known as “pay on death” or “transfer on death” property, these accounts transfer to named beneficiaries automatically upon a decedent’s death. It also includes “right of survivorship” property commonly created through real estate deeds or joint bank accounts. Upon one owner’s death, the property passes to the surviving tenant.
Although right of survivorship property and payable on death accounts are not subject to probate proceedings, Ohio law requires you to use specific language in your legal instruments to make it clear that the specific types of property should not be probated. Thus, you must ensure that you create your accounts or create real property ownership using specific joint tenancy and right of survivorship language.
Let The Zimmer Law Firm help. Feel free to contact our office for a consultation. 513.721.1513.