When someone passes away, it may seem like property and finances follow an immediate flow directly to the surviving relatives as inheritance. There are several steps, however, as part of the Ohio probate timeline that must take place before receiving inheritance. This process can be wrapped up quickly or may take place over a year or more depending on the complexity of the estate. The easiest way to navigate the probate process is to find a southern Ohio probate attorney who is familiar with the timelines and can help guide you through the processes as quickly as possible.
Ohio Probate Timeline Events and Deadlines
Having a last will and testament in place will greatly reduce the amount of time that an estate takes in the probate process. This document can really serve to ensure your wishes are carried out upon your death and alleviate potential added stress of the probate process on your surviving heirs. However, even if there is a will in place at the time of death, the estate will still have to go through the Ohio probate process albeit a much more expedited process.
Establishing the Executor of the Estate
One of the first events required in the Ohio probate timeline is to identify the executor of the estate. This person will be responsible for the estate administration in southern Ohio. The executor is charged with identifying and being responsible for all financial and physical assets of the estate until their final distribution. In addition to managing the assets of the estate, the executor will also be responsible for paying from estate assets any creditors who have a claim against the estate.
An executor named in a will has to be willing and able to accept the role. If either unwilling or unable to serve in that capacity, or if there is no valid will or identified executor, the probate court will consider petitions for the role of executor of the estate and appoint an estate executor.
Ohio Probate Timeline to Identify Assets and Liabilities
According to Ohio Revised Code § 2113.25, the executor has six months to compile an inventory of the estate’s assets. This inventory will need to include all financial accounts, real estate property, vehicles, antiques, jewelry, art, and any other belongings of value.
When it comes to liabilities, Ohio’s probate timeline requires creditors to alert the executor of their claims against the estate within six months. The executor then has the responsibility to account for these claims and either complete payment or reject the claim.
The probate court may extend these six month deadlines if the estate is complicated and the court deems an extension appropriate. A probate lawyer in southern Ohio can help clients through this process to ensure an accurate accounting of the estate assets.
When the Ohio Probate Timeline Allows for Distribution of the Estate
An executor of an estate administration in southern Ohio may make distributions of the assets of the estate at any time. Assets distributed must be accounted for in the inventory of the estate. If making distributions before the six-month deadline for the accounting of assets and liabilities of the estate, the executor should ensure that there are enough assets in the estate to cover any claims that may yet be due.
Any assets distributed are at potential risk of being required to be returned to the estate if a debtor makes notice of a claim against the estate. Regardless of whether or not distributions are made, the probate timeline allows for creditors to make notice of claims against an estate for a six-month time frame. If there are not enough assets in the estate to cover the liability claims, the heirs who received such distributions will be responsible for paying the creditor claims.
Finding the Right Probate Lawyer in Southern Ohio
The estate administration process can be complicated. It is filled with deadlines and requirements that can become quite complex, especially if an estate has significant assets. Ohio probate law sets out a process that needs to be followed to ensure that all assets and liabilities are accounted for and that determines when distributions can be made.
West Virginia and southern Ohio probate attorney Xavier W. Staggs at Jenkins Fenstermaker, PLLC has the experience navigating the Ohio probate process. He can be reached by calling (304) 523-2100 for a consultation, or complete this online contact form, especially if you have questions about the WV or Ohio probate timeline.