Estates


What is a Probate Estate?
A probate estate is a legal proceeding provided for by Ohio law to determine the assets of a deceased person who was an Ohio resident at the time of death, the value of those assets, and the distribution of those assets to the persons entitled to them by law.

Why is Probate Estate Necessary?
A probate estate is necessary to protect and conserve the assets of a decedent for the heirs, creditors, and other persons interested in an estate. The probate estate will provide for the payment of outstanding debts, the payment of taxes, and the distribution of the remaining assets to the persons entitled to receive them under the decedent's will, or by law.

What Procedures are Involved in Probating an Estate?
A probate estate is a legal proceeding provided for by Ohio law to determine the assets of a deceased person who was an Ohio resident at the time of death, the value of those assets, and the distribution of those assets to the persons entitled to them by law.

The probating of an estate requires the appointment by the Probate Court of a suitable person to supervise the administration of the estate. The person appointed is called an executor, if named in a will, or an administrator, if there is no will.

The executor or administrator may be an individual, a bank, or trust company.

The duties of an executor or administrator are:

  1. To determine the names, ages, and degree of relationship of heirs;
  2. To take possession of, and conserve all of the real and personal property of the decedent;
  3. To file with the Probate Court an inventory of all the assets held in the name of the decedent;
  4. To receive and determine the validity of all claims against the decedent's estate;
  5. To file tax returns and to pay income and estate taxes;
  6. To make distribution of the estate's assets to the proper persons;
  7. To file an account of all receipts and disbursements made by the executor or administrator with the Probate Court.
    If the total value of all property in the decedent's name is $35,000 or less, the estate can be relieved from the administration requirements.

For dates of death on and after March 18, 1996, assets of $100,000 or less can be relieved from administration provided the surviving spouse is the sole heir at law or under a will.

What is Survivorship Tenancy?
Real estate may be owned by two or more persons in survivorship form so that upon the death of any one of them the title of the deceased person would pass to the survivor or survivors. Title may be transferred without court proceedings by filing an affidavit and death certificate with the County Auditor and Recorder.

What is Joint and Survivorship property?
Joint and survivorship property is property held by two or more persons jointly; each party has equal rights of possession and income. On the death of one joint tenant, his interest transfer to the benefit of the survivor or the survivors in equal shares, without court proceedings. One joint tenant can sever the joint tenancy by conveying his interest to a third party.

Joint and survivorship ownership may be useful in certain situations. However, court proceedings may be necessary to transfer clear title to the assets and to determine Ohio estate taxes. Tax consequences can be detrimental to the beneficiaries if joint and survivorship ownership is used imprudently.

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What Costs are Involved in Probating an Estate?
The costs involved in probating an estate are court costs, executor or administrator fees, attorney fees, and taxes.

Court Costs Court Costs are based on a schedule of charges established by the state legislature for each type of document filed in the Probate Court. A court cost deposit of $250 is required when opening an estate, which in most cases is sufficient to pay all the court costs. Payments may be made in cash, money order, cashier's check, MasterCard, Visa, Discover and American Express credit or debit cards. There is a convenience fee to use a credit or debit card.

Executor or administrator fees are established by the state legislature and are based on a percentage of the estate. The percentages are from 1% to 4%, depending upon the nature and value of the assets.

Attorney fees Attorney Fees are set forth in Local Rule 71.1 of the Probate Court of Cuyahoga County.

All taxes due on or after the death of the decedent must be paid by the executor or administrator of the estate. The taxes that must be paid are: real estate taxes, personal property taxes, local, state, and federal income taxes, and Ohio and federal estate taxes.

What is Ohio Estate Tax?
The Ohio estate tax is no longer applicable for dates of death after December 31, 2012.

An Ohio estate tax is levied by the State of Ohio on the estate (including both probate and non-probate property) of a decedent who was a resident of Ohio at time of death.

An Ohio estate tax return must be filed when the value of the gross estate exceeds $200,000 for deaths in 2001 and $338,000 for deaths on and after January 1, 2002 to December 31, 2012.

If the value of the gross estate is less than $200,000 for dates of death in 2001, an Ohio estate Form 22 must be filed if there is real estate.

An estate tax must be paid when the amount of the gross estate exceeds the $6,600 tax credit for 2001 or $13,000 for 2002 (generally equivalent to a $200,000 or $338,000 estate exemption), plus the amount of the administration costs, debts, and deductions allowed by law.

A surviving spouse receives an unlimited marital deduction for dates of death on and after July 1, 1993 which can result in no estate tax on property passing to a surviving spouse.

The Ohio estate tax rates are as follows:

If the taxable estate is:The tax shall be:
Not over $40,000 2% of the taxable estate
Over $40,000 but not over $100,000 $800 plus 3% of the excess over $40,000
Over $100,000 but not over $200,000 $2,600 plus 4% of the excess over $100,000
Over $200,000 but not over $300,000 $6,600 plus 5% of the excess over $200,000
Over $300,000 but not over $500,000 $11,600 plus 6% of the excess over $300,000
Over $500,000 $23,600 plus 7% of the excess over $500,000

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