ESTATES
The Purpose of Probate

• To make sure the decedent's estate is distributed according to his/her will or by law
• To pay the decedent's creditors
• To file and pay any estate or income taxes

General Information

The Ohio legislature has created a number of methods by which a person's probate estate can pass through the Probate Court. Which method is best is determined by the facts in each probate estate.

THE PERSONNEL OF THIS COURT ARE NOT ALLOWED TO GIVE YOU INFORMATION ON THE DIFFERENT METHODS OF PROBATE AND/OR TO ADVISE YOU WHICH FORMS TO USE.

The Ohio Supreme Court has adopted Standard Probate Forms. These forms are available at the Clerk's office.

The three main types of probate procedures are:

I. Type One - Summary Release From Administration

These forms can be used to reimburse a person who has paid the funeral bill of the decedent or who is responsible for the funeral bill, up to $5,000.00. If there is a surviving spouse, these forms can be used to pay the surviving spouse up to $45,000.00 in probate assets if the spouse paid the funeral bill or is responsible for the funeral bill and is entitled to receive the entire support allowance set forth under the Ohio law. The Summary Release of Administration forms consist of:
* Application for Summary Release From Administration
* Surviving Spouse, Next of Kin, Legatees and Devisees
* Verification of Valuation
* Entry Granting Summary Release From Administration

If the decedent had a Last Will and Testament, the original should be presented to the court. In some cases it may also be necessary to probate the decedent's Last Will and Testament of the decedent.

Any person filling out these forms should bring with them the following documents:
• A list of the names and addresses for all of the decedent's next of kin and the persons named in any Last Will and Testament
• Funeral bill and/or paid funeral receipt that shows who is responsible for the funeral expenses and/or who paid the funeral expenses
• Proof of your identity - ie. Driver's License
• Copy of any title to motor vehicles and/or deeds to real estate

A court appointed appraiser must appraise any assets that do not have a readily ascertainable value. This applies to real estate.
For court cost for a Summary Release from Administration, please see local rule.

II. Type Two - Release of Administration

These forms can be used for estates with less than $35,000.00 in assets unless there is a surviving spouse. If there is a surviving spouse and he/she receives all of the assets of the estate, these forms can be used for up to $100,000.00 in assets (For dates of death on or after March 18, 1999). For dates of death prior to this time period, the value of assets are less for a Release of Administration.

The forms used in a Release of Administration may include:
• Application to Relieve Estate From Administration
• Waiver of Notice of Application to Relieve Estate
• Surviving Spouse, Next of Kin, Legatees and Devisees
• Assets and Liabilities of Estate to be Relieved From Administration
• Appointment of Appraiser
• Entry Relieving Estate From Administration
• Commissioner's Report, if required

The decedent's Last Will and Testament, if any, should be submitted to the court.

The decedent's Last Will and Testament may also need to be probated. If said Last Will and Testament does need to be probated, an Application to Probate Will form should be completed. Notice of probate of the will must be given or waiver of notice of the probate of the will must be obtained and a Certificate of Service of Notice of Probate of Will form must be filed with this court.

The person appointed as Commissioner may also need to be bonded. There is a Fiduciary Bond form that can be completed with a fiduciary bonding agent.
For court cost for a Summary Release from Administration, please see the local rule.

III. Type Three - Full Administration

A full administration filing is more involved and this Court would encourage any person interested in pursuing a full administration to retain experienced probate counsel.

The steps in a full administration case will include, but may not be limited to:
• Probate the decedent's Last Will and Testament, if any, and serve notice of the admission of the will on all required persons or obtain waivers from all required persons
• Appoint an Executor or Administrator
• Notify surviving spouse of his or her rights under Ohio law (For dates of death on or after January 1, 2002)
• If there is a Will and if the decedent died on or after January 1, 2002, the fiduciary must file a Certificate of Service of Notice of Probate of Will form with the Court within two (2) months of his or her appointment. If the decedent died prior to December 31, 2001, the Certificate of Service of Notice of Probate of Will must be filed within three (3) months of the appointment.
• The fiduciary must gather the probate assets and determine their value. If the property does not have a readily ascertainable value, a court-approved appraiser will need to be appointed to appraise the property
• The fiduciary must invest the assets of the probate estate as allowed and required by Ohio law
• The fiduciary must file an Inventory within three (3) months of his or her appointment
• The fiduciary must receive any claim for outstanding debts of the decedent. The fiduciary must pay the valid debts in the order required by Ohio law and dispute any debts they determine to be invalid
• The fiduciary must file and pay any income taxes required for the decedent and/or the decedent's estate
• The fiduciary must file and pay any estate taxes required of the decedent's estate. In some cases persons who received non-probate assets may be required to contribute to any estate tax that may be due and owing
• The fiduciary must distribute any remaining assets to the persons entitled to receive these assets under Ohio law or the terms of the decedent's Last Will and Testament
• If the decedent died on or after January 1, 2002, the fiduciary must file a final distributive account or certificate of termination to close out the probate estate. This account may be due within six (6) months of the appointment of the fiduciary. In some cases this time period may be extended due to the circumstance in the estate or by order of the court
• If the decedent died on or before December 31, 2001, the fiduciary's initial account is due within twelve (12) months of the appointment of fiduciary

There may be additional steps required due to the circumstances in each case.

The Ohio Supreme Court has adopted Standard Probate Forms that may be used to complete some of the steps noted above. These forms are available from the Clerk's Office. There are some proceedings for which there may be no Standard Probate Form. In these cases the fiduciary may need the assistance of an attorney to draft any necessary forms.

If the fiduciary fails to file documents on a timely basis, the Court will issue a Citation Order to the fiduciary. This Order may be served upon the fiduciary by the Sheriff.

A fiduciary that fails to timely perform his/her duties may be subject to being removed by the Court. In some cases, the fiduciary may be held personally liable for any damages caused to an estate due to his/her failure to properly perform his/her duties.

If there is a problem in the administration of an estate, please contact an attorney.

A filing fee is required when you open an estate. The amount of the fee is based upon the type of estate you are opening. Please see local rule. We can charge additional costs at any time to cover filing costs. WE DO ACCEPT PERSONAL CHECKS, CASH AND MONEY ORDERS. We accept filings by mail and each mailing should include a self-addressed stamped return envelope. Please also include a phone number and e-mail address (if applicable). If there is a problem with a filing which cannot be resolved by quick communication, the filing will be returned with an explanation of the problem.

THE PERSONNEL OF THIS COURT ARE NOT ALLOWED TO GIVE YOU LEGAL ADVICE OR INFORMATION ON YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS. YOU SHOULD CONSULT WITH AN EXPERIENCED PROBATE ATTORNEY IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS AS TO YOUR RIGHTS, THE ACTIONS OF THE FIDUCIARY, OR THE ACTIONS OF ANOTHER PARTY TO A PROBATE ESTATE.


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