Ohio offers a probate shortcut for "small estates." This makes it easier for survivors to transfer property left by a person who has died. You may be able to transfer a large amount of property using the following probate shortcut -- saving time, money, and hassle.
Simplified Probate Procedures
Ohio has a simplified probate process for small estates. To use it, an executor files a written request with the local probate court asking to use the simplified procedure. The court may authorize the executor to distribute the assets without having to jump through the hoops of regular probate.
You can use the simplified small estate process in Ohio if:
- The estate is worth less than $5,000 or someone paid funeral and burial expenses (up to $5,000) and asks the court for reimbursement. The surviving spouse can use this option if the value of the estate is less than the family support allowance and up to $5,000 for funeral and burial expenses. The spouse must have prepaid the funeral expenses or be obligated to pay them. This process is called "summary release from administration." Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2113.031.
- The value of the estate is $35,000 or less. The inheritor must give notice to the surviving spouse, if any, and the heirs. He or she may also be required to publish notice of the filing of the application if the court in a newspaper published in the county if the court requires it. The court then orders the inheritor to distribute the assets to the inheritors according to the instructions in the will, or if there is no will, then according to intestate succession. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2113.03.
- The value of the state is $100,000 or less and the surviving spouse inherits everything (either under a will or by law). Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2113.03.
To use one of these simplified procedures, you must complete an affidavit and submit it to the court. This affidavit must include the following information:
- a description of all of the estate assets
- the motor vehicle year, make, model, body type, VIN, certificate of title number and value at the time of death for any motor vehicle the deceased person owned
- the name, account number, and balance on the date of death for any account that is part of the estate
- the total number of shares and their value at the time of death if bonds are included in the estate, and
- receipts evidencing payment of burial and funeral expenses.
The probate court then issues an order that states no further administration is necessary, directs anyone holding the deceased person's property to provide it to the applicant, and orders property to be transferred.
For More Information
For help determining if an estate qualifies for one of these probate shortcuts, or handling an estate in general, see The Executor's Guide, by Mary Randolph (Nolo) or Estate Planning Basics, by Denis Clifford (Nolo).