Losing a loved one is never easy; even when death is expected, grief can be consuming. When an individual has to manage their own feelings of loss and the estate of a loved one, they may feel overwhelmed. At Kryszak Law Firm, Co., LPA, our North Ridgeville probate lawyers can guide you through the probate process, offering you support and counsel when you need it most.
Probate is the legal process of presenting a will to the court, recognizing or proving its validity, inventorying assets, paying creditors, and distributing any remaining assets amongst beneficiaries per the terms of a will. Again, it is a legal process that occurs before the court. Probate is not optional, and while there are some assets that are exempt from the probate process, most assets, including assets named in a will, must pass through probate.
If a person dies without a will in Ohio, their estate must still pass through the probate process. However, after creditors and debts have all been paid, rather than distributing assets per the terms of a will, assets will be distributed per Ohio intestacy laws.
Intestacy laws are rules that state how an estate is to be divided. For example, in Ohio, the law specifies that when an individual dies without a will, their assets will be divided as such:
For more specific situations not listed above, refer to Ohio Code Chapter 2105: Descent and Distribution.
The personal representative of the deceased’s estate is responsible for managing the probate process. Sometimes, the personal representative is named in the deceased person’s will; other times, this person is named by the court.
Probate can be confusing if you are responsible for an estate. You must inventory all of the estate, which in itself can take weeks or months to complete. You must also determine all of the decedent’s debts, pay creditors, and ensure that there are no existing arrears. You must also prove the validity of a will–which may mean disagreeing with loved one’s about how a will was created, what the decedent wanted, etc.
Working with an attorney can alleviate some of the stress associated with the probate process. An attorney can handle all of the above on your behalf, and guide you through probate law.
To learn more about the probate process and when it is required, as well as what probate may mean for you, please call our North Ridgeville probate attorneys today for a consultation. We will work hard on your behalf.