Is Probate Only a Concern for Those With Large Estates?

April 17, 2022  

Losing a loved one can lead to feelings of grief and regret, sadness and loss. It may also be a stressful time for you and your family as you plan a funeral, worry about dividing the estate, and think about a future without your loved one. With so much on the mind, it can be hard to understand the details of things like the probate process. At the office of Kryszak Law Firm, Co., LPA, our Ohio probate attorneys are here to answer all of your questions and provide legal support throughout the probate process. One frequently asked question we hear is: Is probate only a concern for those with large estates? Here is what you should know about how estate size impacts probate.

Do Small Estates Have to Go Through Probate in Ohio?

Unfortunately, most small estates do have to go through the probate process; however, a simplified probate process is available for estates that are:

  • Valued at under $35,000; or
  • Valued at $100,000 or less and the surviving spouse will inherit all of the probate property.

The only way that an estate does not have to pass through probate at all—not even a simplified version—is if the estate is valued at under $5,000 or if all assets held by the estate are exempt from the probate process.

What Types of Assets are Exempt from Probate?

Even if an estate is large, there may be many assets in the estate that do not have to pass through the probate process. Indeed, assets that are exempt from going through probate include:

  • Assets that are held in joint tenancy, such as a car or a home that is jointly owned by two people at the time that one of them dies.
  • Assets held in a payable-on-death bank account.
  • Assets that have a beneficiary designation upon death, such as the proceeds of a life insurance policy or a retirement account.
  • Assets held in a trust—one of the primary reasons that trusts are created is to avoid the probate process.
  • Real estate that will pay to a beneficiary through what is known as a transfer-on-death deed. 

Who Conducts Probate?

If you recently lost a loved one, you may be wondering who in your family is responsible for facilitating the probate process. The probate process is managed by the executor or administrator of the deceased person’s estate, who is named in the decedent’s will. If no will exists or no administrator is named, then the probate court will appoint someone. 

Call Our Ohio Probate Lawyers for Support

If you have questions about the probate process in Ohio, how the probate process works, what to do if will or property is contested, how to pay creditors and distribute assets, or anything else, our Ohio probate lawyers can help. To schedule a consultation with our probate attorneys, call our office directly or send us a message using the contact form on our website.