There is no one size fits all estate plan.

No "One-Size-Fits-All" Estate Plan

The probate court process can be complex and confusing, and many legal requirements that must be followed. Winkler Legal, LLC represents estate executors, administrators, and estate beneficiaries through the complicated proceedings of probate court. We know that the death of a loved one is challenging enough, let us handle the legal challenges of Probate Court. 

What is a Probate Estate?

The “probate estate” is comprised of all property owned by the decedent that does not automatically pass to another by beneficiary designation (e.g. life insurance and IRAs), joint ownership with right of survivorship (e.g. real estate), financial accounts (checking and savings account) or by operation of law (joint ownership of an asset).  It is important to review your beneficiary designations to ensure they are up to date.

What does it mean to Probate an estate?

To probate an estate, a case must be filed in the probate court where the decedent resided immediately before death. The decedent’s last will is filed with the probate court to be probated. If the decedent did not have a will, the estate will be opened and any distributions (inheritances) from the estate will follow Ohio’s Descent and Distribution statute. It is important to have a current estate plan in place so that that you have control over the distribution of your assets at your death. 

What are the duties of an executor or administrator?

An executor is a person designated in a will to gather assets, pay decedent’s bills and administer the estate promptly.  An administrator is the individual appointed by the probate court when the decedent dies without a will.  The administrator has the same duties as an executor, except that the administrator must seek permission from the court to carry-out certain duties and must also post a bond before being appointed.  Executors and administrators must reside in the state of Ohio to serve.  Lastly, both executors and administrators are deemed “fiduciaries” which requires of them the highest legal standard to always act in the best interests of the estate beneficiaries when administering an estate.  

Relief from Administration

In Ohio, if the total value of all property in the decedent’s name is $35,000 or less, the estate can be relieved from Ohio’s formal estate administration requirements. Please contact Winkler Legal, LLC so that we can assist you in obtaining relief from administration. 

Will Contests

If a dispute arises as to the validity of a will, interested individuals may contest the will submitted to the probate court.  There are time restraints to challenging a will, so it is important to seek the legal advice of a law firm well versed in Will Contests. 

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