Grieving the death of a loved one isn't easy. Add the prospect of going to a probate court, and even the calmest person is likely to feel stressed. However, you may get some unexpected legal relief through "Release of Administration."
Release from Administration in Ohio Probate Court
If the decedent's estate qualifies for a Release of Administration, the probate process becomes significantly easier, less expensive and takes less than half the time of a standard probate trial.
Learning more about this expedited option will help you figure out if the estate in question qualifies.
What Is Release from Administration?
A Release from Administration is allowed when the assets to be transferred of the deceased's estate is below court set limits. Where there is a surviving spouse, and the assets are under $100,000, or where there is no surviving spouse and the assets are under $35,000 the court permits this shorter procedure. In this instance, the procedure is shorter, less paperwork intensive and less expensive.
Keep in mind that many assets are non-probate assets and not includable in the release from administration calculation. Things like life insurance proceeds, jointly held property and payable upon death financial institutions are non-probate asset and equal zero when determining the probate asset base and whether they qualify for release from administration.
Summary Release from Administration
There are also several conditions that can warrant a "Summary Release from Administration". This procedure is even less burdensome than release from administration.
A surviving spouse entitled to inherit the whole of the deceased's estate and receive the family support allowance of $40,000 would qualify for this exception. Also, if there is no surviving spouse and the value of the estate is less than $5,000, summary release can be used.
Real Estate Transfer
In a case where the decedent only owned real estate, the executor/administrator may request a "Real Estate Only" transfer if at least six months have passed since the death and no creditors have made a claim on the property. This procedure can take anywhere from a day to a week to complete, so when applicable, it is a very helpful tool.
However, the transfer of the property must meet the requirements of either the Statute of Descent and Distribution (Ohio Revised Code 2105.06) or Family Allowance (Ohio Revised Code 2106.13)..
How Do I Figure Out If the Estate Qualifies?
Courts understand that handling the death of a loved one is challenging and have clerks ready and happy to provide assistance to you throughout the probate process.
While they can assist you with any questions and paperwork, they can't provide legal advice. An attorney can best advise you as to whether your estate qualifies and answer any other legal questions that you have.
Questions about the will, its beneficiaries, and any surviving spouse or heirs are routine, so prepare to answer these questions and others when meeting with a courthouse magistrate.
What is the Cost of a Release from Administration?
Filing costs for both a Release of Administration and Summary Release of Administration range between approximately $110 - $120.
What's Required to Complete the Process?
There are four steps that to complete before the Release from Administration is officially issued by the court.
- The required financial limits (concerning the value of the estate) are met.
- All of the assets of the estate that qualify for probate are accurately listed on the documents filed with the court at the time of processing.
- All relevant parties, including heirs, beneficiaries, and creditors have received sufficient notice of the application for a Release from Administration and any related hearing.
- The approval of the application does not prejudice or prevent creditors from bringing a claim against the estate at a later date.
Dealing with additional concerns while grieving is often unavoidable. However, going through a shorter and more simplified probate process can certainly help to lighten your load and give you more time to honor your loved one.
If you need additional information about probate or estate planning, please contact us for a free consultation by calling our office at 614-641-7399 or by scheduling a consultation online. We're happy to help.