Following is a general time overview for a full administration. Additional steps and time may be required depending on the complexity of the estate and other factors, such as additional time to sell estate real estate. For smaller estates, a release or summary release from administration may be used, which will simplify the probate process and reduce the time required.
File Next-of-Kin, Application to Administer Estate, & Appointment for Appraiser or Order Dispensing with Appraisal with probate court. If there is a will, file Application to Probate Will and waivers and/or notices.
a. With your Letters of Authority, open an estate checking account.
b. Transfer all bank accounts in decedent’s name to this account.
c. All checks received for the decedent’s estate should be deposited into this account.
d. All estate bills from this date forward are paid from this account.
NOTE: This account if for estate use only. The fiduciary may not use this checking account for individual purposes and cannot borrow from this account. The fiduciary should note on the bank deposit receipt or in a cash journal what each deposit and debit was for. For example, IRS refund, medical reimbursements, liquidation of stock, proceeds from sale of house, etc.
Three months from the appointment of Fiduciary, an Inventory must be filed with the court. This lists all probate assets of the estate along with an exact date of death value for each asset. The Inventory must be accurate and complete. The Fiduciary must account for the items included in the Inventory. This may include, but is not limited to:
a. House (not titled joint, joint with Right of Survivorship, Transfer on Death)
b. All banks accounts listed solely in decedent’s name
d. Stocks, bonds, annuities, etc.
e. Any insurance policies with no listed beneficiary(ies).
Once the Inventory has been approved, provided the will gives necessary powers, the fiduciary may begin following:
a. Sell the real estate if applicable. If transferring the house, file Certificate of Transfer with the probate court.
b. Sell personal property (file application to sell personal property with the court if necessary).
c. Deposit all proceeds from the sale of property and/or liquidated assets into the Estate Account.
d. Pay valid debts of the estate.* If there are insufficient funds to pay debts, the law provides the order for payment.
*Consult with your attorney before beginning the payment of any debts. If the order is not followed and there are insufficient funds, the fiduciary is personally liable.
Ohio estate taxes were discontinued for decedents passing after January 1, 2013. Federal estate taxes may be due on estates over the current applicable value. Federal, State and Local income taxes for the decedent or the estate may need to be filed.
Distribute cash or in kind property (in kind property may be a vehicle a beneficiary may choose to take instead of money) to all beneficiaries listed in the Will. This should not be done until at least six months after the date of death, which is the deadline for receipt of claims and debts. Final Account is due within 6 months after appointment, except when an estate tax return is due or when other exceptions apply.
A typical estate that does not require the filing of any tax returns is typically settled about six to nine months after the Court appoints the executor or administrator. If the estate contains real property that is to be sold, closure of the estate may be delayed until the property sells. If taxes are due, the administration of the estate can take more than a year.
The probate process typically consists of admitting the deceased's will to the probate court; notifying all interested parties; collecting, protecting and making inventory of the deceased's assets; payment of valid debts; filing of taxes as necessary; accounting of all receipts and disbursements; and distributing remaining assets based on the will or on Ohio's statues of decent and distribution.
Each step of the probate process is governed by state and local probate court rules. Attorney Durbin is experienced with the probate process and and can provide you with necessary guidance to comply with your fiduciary duties and handle the estate of your loved one in a timely, efficient manner.
Attorney Deanna Durbin of the Akron, Ohio, law firm of Durbin Law Office, LLC, provides probate, estate planning, and trust and estate administration legal services in the cities of Akron, Bath, Richfield, Fairlawn, Copley, Norton, Wadsworth, Medina, Doylestown, Cuyahoga Falls, Stow, Tallmadge, Munroe Falls, Hudson, and surrounding Summit, Stark & Medina County areas.
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