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Akron Probate Lawyers

Probate is a legal process in place to settle an estate in the event of a death. If you apply to be named as the executor or administrator of an estate, you are responsible for the payment of the estate’s debts and taxes, as well as the proper distribution of net assets.

The Akron probate lawyers at Sheppard Law Offices are here to break it down step by step to help you understand the probate process. Contact us to schedule your free consultation with one of our leading probate attorneys.

IS PROBATE NECESSARY?

A probate case may be filed for several reasons. One of the most common reasons to file a probate case is to transfer assets to heirs.  Only “probatable” assets go through the probate process.  An asset is probabatable if the asset was owned solely by the decedent at the decedent’s death.  If the asset was owned jointly between the decedent and another, the asset does not go through probate. Certain assets go through probate and certain assets do not pass through probate. The experienced probate attorneys at Sheppard Law Offices in Akron, Ohio can help you understand the various rules and procedures to address how particular assets are handled in the probate process.

Our attorneys can simplify the probate process

If we cannot bypass the probate process, we may be permitted to simplify the process by filing a shortened type of probate case. These are generally referred to as Relief from Administration and Summary Release from Administration cases.  There are certain requirements that need to be satisfied in order to file one of these shortened probate cases, but the most important advantage is the reduction in length of time that a probate case remains open with the court. Our Akron probate lawyers can share with you whether your case can proceed through one of these shortened types of probate cases.

The Probate Process

The probate process tends to be intimidating to those who have never dealt with it before. Thankfully, the Akron probate lawyers at Sheppard Law Offices are here to break it down and assist you every step of the way.

  • Authenticate Last Will & Testament
  • Appoint Executor
  • Post Bond (if necessary)
  • Locate Assets
  • Assess Value
  • Identify & Pay Debts
  • File Taxes
  • Distribute Assets

The first step in authenticating a Will is to submit it to probate court. At this time, all living heirs and parties mentioned on the Will can attend a hearing and voice any objection to either the Will being admitted or to the appointment of the executor. If there are no objections, the probate judge validates the Will if sufficient evidence supports its authenticity.

Once the probate judge authenticates the Will, the court will appoint an executor to preside over the estate through the remainder of the probate process. A person who wishes to be named as executor makes an application to the court.

A bond may be required of the executor or administrator to protect against any intentional or unintentional errors on behalf of the executor or administrator. When an estate planning lawyer drafts a Will, he or she often voids the requirement to have a bond posted in order to expedite the probate process. However, if there is no Will or a Will fails to invalidate this bond requirement, then the probate court will insist that the executor or administrator post a bond before taking control of the estate.

One of the most important aspects of the probate process is to ensure the legal distribution of the deceased’s assets. Therefore, it makes sense that one of the early steps is to locate the decedent’s assets. To find estate assets, our legal team goes through various personal and tax records and other documentation to ensure nothing goes unaccounted for. In many cases, our probate lawyers find assets that the surviving parties never even knew existed.

Once we identify the decedent’s assets, we then need to value them.  In some cases, a court appointed appraiser will help determine certain assets’ values. For other assets their values can be readily ascertained from certain records and statements.

In order to pay the estate’s debts, we have to identify the creditors and notify them of the recent death. Creditors have six months to respond, at which time the executor will use the estate’s assets to pay the debts.  Contacting one of our Akron probate lawyers as early as possible to help you can pay big dividends at this stage of the probate process. A timing strategy may be used to avoid having to pay certain creditors.

One of the expenses of probate administration is addressing the preparation and filing of the decedent’s last income tax return and making sure that real property taxes are paid. Our Akron probate lawyers will help file or appeal any income tax that the IRS, state of Ohio or county tax division claims the estate owes. Legitimate tax debts would be paid by the executor or administrator with the estate’s assets.

Finally, after the executor or administrator pays the debts and expenses of administration, he or she will then distribute the remaining net assets to the appropriate parties.

Akron Probate

Sheppard Law Offices has the experienced Akron probate lawyers needed to help you through the complicated probate process. Contact us to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys!

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