35 Years Experience in Ohio Probate Administration
Lee S. Kolczun Co., L.P.A. assists estate executors and personal representatives in every aspect of Ohio probate administration, from advice and counsel regarding the payment of taxes and claims to assistance in preparing court documents and transferring property to heirs and beneficiaries.
What is Probate?
Probate refers to the process where a court oversees the administration of a deceased person’s estate, such as distributing probate property according to the terms of a will or Ohio’s statute of descent and distribution, as well as paying any bills and taxes owed by the estate or paying valid claims pressed against the estate by creditors, lienholders, etc.
A probate proceeding takes place in the county where the deceased person resided. The court has jurisdiction over all probate property, which includes all property that was titled in the name of the deceased person at time of death. If the person also owned real property located in another state, an ancillary probate proceeding may be required in that state as well.
Why avoid Probate?
Probate is generally thought of as something to be avoided. There are three main reasons for this: time, cost and lack of privacy.
Time – Claims against the estate may be made up to six months from the date of death, so probate takes at least six months to complete. A probate estate can sometimes be settled within six months from the appointment of the executor or administrator if it is a small estate, does not require the filing of an Ohio estate tax return, and does not have issues with creditors. However, if a federal or Ohio estate tax return is required, administration will take longer, particularly if the return is audited. Administration can also be delayed if there are creditor claims, or if the terms of a will are contested.
Cost – The cost of probate increases as the size and complexity of the estate increases, which is why people try to remove assets from their estate through the use of trusts and other estate planning techniques. Court fees are based on the fee schedule set by the probate court for the filing of probate documents. Attorney’s fees in most cases are subject to approval by the court and are typically based on the attorney’s hourly rate for services actually performed by the attorney. The executor or administrator of the estate can also receive a fee, in accordance with a fee schedule set by Ohio law based upon a percentage of the value of the estate being administered.
Privacy – Probate documents are filed with the court and are subject to viewing by anyone who wishes to peruse the probate file. Any interested person can view a copy of your will, the inventory of the assets of your estate and appraised value of these assets, creditor’s claims and other information contained in the file. Revocable living trusts, on the other hand, are not filed with the court and so their terms stay private from the public, except for real property in the trust which is recorded when the title is transferred.
Call for an Experienced Ohio Probate Administration Attorney
Through careful estate planning, the firm of Lee S. Kolczun Co., L.P.A. attempts to minimize the time and cost that will be required to probate the estate. Where probate cannot be entirely avoided, we provide accurate, efficient probate administration to settle the estate as quickly and economically as possible, while also making sure that every aspect of the probate process is conducted properly so there are no surprises. To speak with an experienced probate attorney about assistance with an Ohio probate administration, contact Lee S. Kolczun Co., L.P.A.