Ohio probate can be triggered after a death and can be a complicated, time-consuming, and costly endeavor. The good news is, you do not always have to allow your assets to be transferred in probate after your death. With a comprehensive estate plan in place, it may be possible to avoid probate entirely or to reduce the number of assets which transfer during probate.
Zimmer Law Firm can provide you with invaluable assistance if avoiding Ohio probate is one of your goals. Give our legal team a call today to learn how we can help you.
We will work with you to determine if probate avoidance is something you should prioritize. We will also help you to explore many different ways to facilitate the transfer of money, property, a family business, or other assets outside of probate.
Top Ways to Avoid Ohio Probate
It is possible to avoid probate by making sure you structure the ownership of your assets so the assets can transfer outside of the normal probate process. For example, you can avoid probate using legal tools and ownership methods including:
- Revocable living trusts. When you create a revocable living trust and transfer property into it, the property held by the trust is not considered part of your probate estate and it does not transfer through probate. It is important to realize, however, that the property held in a revocable living trust does count for estate tax purposes and will be factored in when determining the value of the estate.
- Pay on death accounts. When you have a retirement account, a bank account or certain other types of financial accounts, you can complete a form with your financial institution requesting that the account be treated as a pay-on-death account. The money will pass directly to your beneficiary in this situation, rather than going through probate.
- Owning property jointly. If you own a property with someone else and the property is a joint tenancy with rights of survivorship, the property will automatically transfer to the co-owner after death. This process will occur outside of probate.
- Inter vivos gifts. You can give away property over the course of your life. This property will not be a part of your estate at death. You should explore the IRS rules for gift tax in order to make sure that the gifts you give are not subject to federal gift tax. As of 2016, you can give a gift up to $14,000 without triggering the gift tax. It is possible to give as many gifts up to $14,000 as you want to different people without incurring gift taxes. If a couple is married, each spouse can give gifts up to $14,000 so a couple could give away $28,000 to each child or relative.
These are a few key ways in which you can transfer assets outside of the probate process.
Why Avoid Ohio Probate
There are a number of reasons why you may wish to try to avoid probate. One big reason is to simplify things for family members. If your estate must go through probate, this is costly and involves going to court. Your executor will have to fulfill many responsibilities and this can be a difficult thing to do when family members are also trying to cope with their grief over a life-changing death.
Another big reason why you may wish to avoid probate is to try to get property transferred to new owners more quickly. The probate process can sometimes take months or even years, especially if a will is contested or there are problems.
During this time, those who you wish to inherit will not have access to the property that you wish them to receive, and that they may be depending upon. An executor will also be overseeing the property, but may not have the same level of expertise at managing property and investments that new owners will. This can be an especially big issue if you are transferring ownership in a family business for example.
Getting Help from an Ohio Probate Lawyer
Zimmer Law Firm assists anyone who is considering taking steps to transfer assets outside of the probate process. We can make probate avoidance techniques a key part of your comprehensive estate plan. We also provide help during Ohio probate if your loved one has passed away and property needs to transfer through this method.
To learn more, you can join us for a free seminar which helps to explain probate and estate planning. You can also get personalized advice on probate avoidance techniques by giving us a call at 513.721.1513.