Probate Shortcuts in Ohio

Save time and money when you wrap up an estate in Ohio.

Updated by , Attorney

The probate process can be long and drawn-out, costing your survivors time as well as money. Fortunately, Ohio offers a probate shortcut for "small estates." If the property you leave behind at your death is below a certain amount, your loved ones can use a simplified procedure to transfer your property more quickly and with less hassle.

When Can You Use Simplified Probate in Ohio?

Ohio has two very similar simplified probate processes called "summary release from administration" and "release from administration." Check if your estate qualifies for either of these.

Ohio's Summary Release From Administration

You can use "summary release from administration" in Ohio if either:

  • You're the surviving spouse. The value of the estate can't exceed $40,000 (plus up to $5,000 of funeral and burial expenses).
  • You paid funeral or burial expenses. The value of the estate can't exceed $5,000.

(Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2113.031.)

If you qualify, you can apply for this procedure with the local probate court in the county where the deceased person was living. You'll need to fill out forms and provide documentation such as the will (if there was one), death certificate, funeral bills and receipts, and documentation of assets.

Once the court grants summary release, the assets can be transferred.

Ohio's Release From Administration

A similar procedure called "release from administration" is available if either:

  • The value of the estate is $35,000 or less, or
  • The value of the state is $100,000 or less and a surviving spouse inherits everything (either under a will or by law).

(Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2113.03.)

In the estate qualifies using the first criterion (if the value of the estate is $35,000 or less), the inheritor must give notice to the surviving spouse, if any, and to the heirs. The inheritor may also be required to publish notice of the filing of the application.

After an application is approved, the probate court will issue an order that states no further administration is necessary, and direct the 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).

For more on Ohio estate planning issues, see our section on Ohio Estate Planning.

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