Ohio Probate Laws

Definition of Probate

In Ohio, probate is the legal process that happens after a person (the"decedent") dies, regardless of whether the person died with a valid will or without a valid will. If a decedent dies with a will, then their property is distributed according to the will. If a person dies without a will, then Ohio probate laws dictate how the decedent's assets are distributed. Probate isn't always required after someone dies; it depends on what assets the decedent owned.

The Probate Process in Ohio

A probate proceeding begins when the court appoints someone to handle the administration of estate, i.e. a personal representative. Many times the decedent will already have named the personal representative in his or her will. If not, the court or clerk of the court will appoint someone (see below).

He or she must:

  1. Assemble all the decedents assets;
  2. Pay the bills (Funeral Expenses, Creditors, Taxes, and general administration expenses);
  3. Distribute Any Assets that Are Left Over.

Types of Estate Administration

The process of administering the estate will vary depending on whether or not the decedent had a valid will and the type of probate administration the decedents estate will have to go through. In Ohio, if a decedents estate is small enough, the law allows the estate to be probated using a simplified process called "release from administration" or "summary release from probate."

See Probate Court, State Probate Courts, Avoiding Probate, and Estate Taxes for more information.

Code Section Ohio Revised Code Section 2107.01 et. seq.
Types of Probate Administration

Probate of a Small Estate (2 Types)

Release from Administration Requirements (Expedited Probate Proceeding)

  • Surviving spouse inherits all of the property and value of estate is less than $100,000
  • Value of the estate is less than $35,000

Summary Release From Administration Requirements (No probate proceeding at all)

  • Value of the estate is less than $5000 or the funeral/burial expenses amount to $5000
  • Estate is worth less than $45,000 and all assets will transfer to the surviving spouse
What Assets Go Through Probate?

Probate is necessary when a person dies leaving property in his or her own name (such as a house titled only in the name of the decedent) or having rights to receive property.

Examples: Bank accounts in the decedents name with no co-owner and no beneficiary designation; Real estate that is owned by the decedent individually; Real estate that is co-owned as tenants in common; Stocks and Bonds in the Decedents name, tangible possessions such as clothing, jewelry, household furniture, and cars registered in the Decedents name only

What Assets Skip Probate Entirely
Who Supervises and Decides Probate Cases? Ohio Probate Courts
Estate Taxes No, Ohio does not have a separate estate tax . The law changed as of January 1, 2013.
List of Forms

Ohio Probate Forms

Ohio probate laws can be tricky. Please consider contacting a local Ohio probate attorney who can help you better understand the current rules and procedures.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.