The person who administers your estate in probate and after your death in our state is your executor. You name this person in you Ohio will, and it is someone whom you trust to carry out your wishes after you pass. Sometimes, it is your estate planning attorney, a family member or a friend.
Your executor has many legal requirements. First, they must file your will with the probate court and file all of the other court and tax documents. They have the duty to protect all of the trust assets and maintain trust property. They must settle trust debts and taxes, and then, distribute assets according to the will. They represent the estate before the Probate Court and in any other court proceeding.
For those new to this process, probate is the court process where the estate is settled, meaning that all of the debts are paid and the assets distributed. Assets are distributed according to the will, but if there is no will, the assets are distributed according to state law, and the executor is appointed by probate judge.
Not everything is included in probate
However, to be clear, probate is not always required. If the deceased assets are all owned by someone else, probate is not required. If all of the deceased assets are held in trust, probate is not required. If all of the deceased assets are worth $5,000 or fewer, or if they are worth less than the cost of the funeral, probate is not required.
Not everything is included in probate either. Joint property that is held as joint tenants with right of survivorship is not held in probate. It belongs to the other property owner. Property held in trust belongs to the trust. Accounts with a payable on death or will transfer on death to a named beneficiary are sent to that person. Insurance or retirement benefits that are payable to a named beneficiary are sent to that person and are not part of the deceased’s estate.
In a future post, we will go over additional information on the Ohio probate administration process.