Does a will have to be probated? This is a common question when someone has passed away. The answer is going to vary depending upon the specifics of your situation. Several different factors can impact whether or not a will has to be probated, but the most important factor is the size of the estate.
It is important to understand the rules for when a will must be probated. You need to know these rules when making your estate plan. If you find that your family would have to go to probate court and you would prefer that your family not be forced into these legal proceedings, an estate planning lawyer can assist you in exploring ways to help your family avoid probate.
If your loved one has passed away and you are not certain if the probate process is necessary or not, you should also talk with an experienced attorney to get answers to the question, does a will have to be probated?
Zimmer Law Firm can offer you guidance on when probate is required and can help you to try to avoid the probate process with careful and comprehensive estate planning. We also can represent an executor of an estate as well as heirs or beneficiaries during the probate process. Give us a call today to find out more.
Does a Will Have to be Probated?
A will generally has to be probated after a death. However, there is an exception made in certain situations where the deceased person (the decedent) left behind only a limited amount of assets. In Ohio, the Ohio Probate Code section 2113.03 explains that an estate can be released from administration provided that one of the following is true:
- The value of the assets in the estate are $35,000 or less.
- The value of the assets in the estate are $100,000 or less, the deceased left a will providing instructions for the disposition of those assets, the assets were left to the decedent’s spouse, and the decedent’s spouse is still alive.
- The value of the assets in the estate are $100,000 or less, there was no will, and the deceased person was survived by a spouse who he is legally married to and who is entitled under intestacy law to inherit all of the assets.
When an estate meets these criteria and can be released from administration, this means that the full probate process is not necessary.
How Can You Make Sure Your Family Doesn’t Have to Go to Probate Court?
Having limited assets is one way to make sure your family does not need to go to probate court. However, many people own more than $35,000 in property, or own more than $100,000 in property and do not necessarily want to leave everything to their spouse.
If you do not meet the criteria to be released from administration because your estate is too large, you can still take steps to keep your family outside of probate court. You can create a comprehensive estate planning that allows assets to transfer through other means besides probate.
You may wish to work with an estate planning lawyer in order to make a plan to transfer assets outside of probate because probate can be time consuming and because it can also be a costly process. Tools like trusts, pay-on-death accounts, life insurance policies, and joint ownership of property are all among the options that may be available to you if you wish to facilitate the transfer of assets outside of the probate process.
If you want to help your family avoid probate, you should begin working with an estate planning lawyer as early as possible. You never know when an unexpected illness or injury could result in you passing away or becoming unable to make estate planning decisions. Talk with an attorney today to get the peace of mind of knowing there is a plan in place for what will happen when you pass away.
Getting Help from An Ohio Wills and Probate Lawyer
Zimmer Law Firm provides you with the assistance you need so you can make a comprehensive estate plan to avoid the probate process. To find out more about what components and tools you can include in your estate plan, download our estate planning checklist.
We also provide representation during the probate process, which can be a complicated process that is hard to cope with during your time of grief. We represent heirs or beneficiaries, executors, and other interested parties. To find out more, give us a call at 513.721.1513 today.