Probate is a court proceeding by which a deceased person’s debts are paid and the remaining assets are transferred to the person’s entitled to them either through the descendant’s will or through Ohio interstate law, that is, the law that applies when a person dies without a will.
After appointing the executor or administrator1, the court issues “letters” which the administrator can present to banks, retirement plans, insurance companies, stock brokerage companies, and the like to obtain control of the asset and ultimately use the same to pay creditors and distribute the remainder to heirs.
Property is either probate property or non-probate property, meaning property passes through court probate procedures or passes outside of court involvement. Examples of property that passes outside of probate are bank accounts with a payable on death beneficiary, stock accounts with a transfer on death beneficiary, real estate with a transfer on death affidavit, life insurance with a beneficiary besides the estate, and retirement benefits with a beneficiary named.
Probate generally requires the filing of a number of documents which the administrator’s attorney prepares for the administrator’s signature.
The administrator and his attorney take care of:
1The person who administers the estate when there is a will is generally called the executor, and the person who administers the estate when there is no will is called an administrator. For purposes of this article, the term administrator will be used for both.