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Columbus Probate Lawyers

The probate process is in place to ensure that the estate of a deceased is distributed according to his or her wishes. This process varies in complexity depending on the facts of each case, but no matter how complex the case is, the Columbus probate lawyers at Sheppard Law Offices are here to help see it through to the end. If you are the executor or administrator of an estate and you don’t know where to turn for help, give us a call and schedule your free consultation today.

IS PROBATE NECESSARY?

Probate is the legal process where the probate court is needed to make sure an individual’s estate is properly administered.  In a case where a person dies, that deceased person’s assets must be administered by the court if any assets are owned in the decedent’s individual name at the time of his or her death. If any assets are owned jointly with another or if there are others named as a beneficiary on an account, then those assets do not pass through the probate process.  For this reason, this is why many people will establish a living trust as assets held by a trust typically do not get administered by the probate court.

There are different processes of probate depending on the size or value of the estate.  Full administrations may last at least six to nine months, whereas smaller estates may only take a few weeks or days to pass through the probate court.  Our probate attorneys can help you determine which probate process is the best for you.

Our attorneys can simplify the probate process

There are different processes of probate depending on the size or value of the estate.  Full administrations may last at least six to nine months, whereas smaller estates may only take a few weeks or days to pass through the probate court.  Our probate attorneys can help you determine which probate process is the best for you.

The Probate Process

Going through probate is far more complex than simply abiding by an authenticated Last Will and Testament. If you have never gone through the probate process, it can seem needlessly complex. The leading probate attorneys at Sheppard Law Offices are here to help break down the process to ensure our clients’ experience with the probate process is as simple and straightforward as possible.

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

Before anything else can happen, the Will of the decedent has to be authenticated through probate court. At this time, the probate court will host a hearing in which any individual named in the Will and any potential heir of the estate can attend and voice their opinion. If there are no objections by any interested parties, the Will is deemed authentic, and the process can continue.

If one or more parties has an objection to the admittance of the Will that cannot be settled, our probate lawyers can help resolve the dispute through legal processes. Once this issue is settled, the Will is authenticated, and the process continues.

The executor is the person named in the Will who is responsible for overseeing the entire probate process. If there is no Will, the probate judge will appoint an administrator of the estate. An executor or administrator must apply to the court to be named as the fiduciary of the estate. A probate judge typically appoints a family member as the executor or administrator. Once again, interested persons may object to the appointing of the executor or administrator.

A bond may be required of the fiduciary in an estate to protect the estate’s interest in the event there is a mistake made while settling the estate. Nearly all Wills state that the requirement of a bond is waived, thus no bond would be required to be posted by the fiduciary. If the Will doesn’t explicitly state that the bond is waived, the probate judge will likely require the executor to post a bond before the probate process can continue.

A comprehensive list of the estate’s assets is crucial to identifying and assessing the estate’s total value. At this point, one of our probate attorneys will assist the fiduciary in locating the estate’s assets. In full administration cases, the executor or administrator must report the estate’s assets (and debts) to the probate court.

Once we identify the estate’s assets, the probate court will want to know the value of each asset.  This may require the court to appoint an appraiser to value the estate’s personal and real property.

Now that we know how much the estate is worth, the next step is to locate all remaining debts that the estate owed at the time of death. Our probate lawyers will work with the fiduciary to help identify debts. The next step is to notify the creditors of the recent death. In the state of Ohio, creditors have six months from the decedent’s date of death o file a claim; otherwise, the creditor’s claim is forever barred.

The executor or administrator also has to have the decedent’s last income tax returns prepared and filed.  The fiduciary must also pay any income, property, or other taxes due at the time of the estate owner’s death. Let the probate lawyers at Sheppard Law Offices use their extensive tax law knowledge to help you prepare, file and/or appeal any of the estate’s taxes.

Once the debt and taxes of the estate have been paid, the executor or administrator is then responsible for distributing whatever assets remain to the appropriate beneficiaries. Net assets would be distributed according to the terms of the authenticated Last Will and Testament.  The executor or administrator must make either Partial or Final Accounting to the probate court.

Contact the Leading Columbus Probate Lawyers

Why face the probate process yourself when you can have an experienced probate attorney on your side? The Columbus probate attorneys at Sheppard Law Offices have the skills to make this process as simple and straightforward as possible. Contact us today and schedule your free consultation with our leading probate lawyers.

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