Estates of Erie County residents are administered by the Erie County Probate Court. There are basically three types of administration determined by the gross amount of assets in the probate estate. Probate Assets are assets titled in the name of the decedent (the person who has died). All J & S (joint and survivorship), POD (payable on death) and TOD (transfer on death) accounts or real estate titled in this manner are NON probate assets and vest ownership on date of death with the beneficiary. The same is true of trust assets. However, a surviving spouse is entitled to two automobiles without going through the probate process. This can be accomplished by the spouse taking the title(s) and death certificate to the Clerk of Courts Title Department, where a spousal affidavit can be signed.
An original will should be admitted to probate within a reasonable length of time. A will can be admitted to probate by any person who has the original will. After the will is admitted, the person named should apply to be appointed to administer the estate.
If probate assets total $1,000 or less, (or $6,000 or less with a surviving spouse) a Short Form Release can be filed. A copy of the paid funeral bill must be submitted or assets will be ordered transferred to the funeral home up to the amount of the bill.
If probate assets total $35,000 or less, (or $100,000 or less and the surviving spouse is entitled to all of the assets and date of death is after 3/18/99) a Release from Administration can be filed. A commissioner will be appointed to collect and transfer the assets.
If probate assets total over $35,000 or $100,000 as stated above, a Full Administration must be filed. If there is a will (testate) an Executor or Executrix will be appointed. If there is no will (intestate) an Administrator or Administratrix will be appointed to collect and distribute the assets. Administrators and Administratrixes must file an appropriate bond (twice the personal property). Only an Executor/Executrix or an Administrator/Adminstratrix has the power of sale of real estate. A Commissioner can only transfer real estate to the heirs.
For dates of death after January 1, 2002, an Ohio Estate Tax Form must be filed only if assets total over $338,333. For dates of death in 2001, the amount is $200,000. Prior to 2001, the amount is $25,000.
These instructions are only a guideline and not to be construed as unchangeable facts as the law is updated often. An attorney should be contacted if you have any questions.
A full administration refers to an estate that requires the appointment of an executor or an administrator either for the purpose of filing or defending a lawsuit on behalf of the decedent or to collect and distribute assets over the limit for a release from administration.
The probate court may relieve an estate from administration. ORC Section 2113.03(A) provides that if the assets of the estate are valued at $35,000.00 or less and the probate court finds that creditors will not be prejudiced, the court may issue an order relieving the estate from administration and directing the distribution of property to those entitled. The probate court may also issue an order relieving the estate from administration if there is a surviving spouse that receives all assets under a will or if the decedent died without a will and the surviving spouse is entitled to inherit all of the assets of the estate.
A Summary Release can be filed if the total of the assets of the decedent’s estate does not exceed the lesser of: $5,000.00 or the amount of decedent’s funeral and burial expenses if there is not a surviving spouse. If there is a surviving spouse, the value of the decedent’s estate does not exceed the total of the allowance for support that is made to the surviving spouse and minor children pursuant to ORC Section 2106.13 and an amount less than $5,000.00 for the decedent’s funeral and burial expenses, as defined in ORC Section 2113.031(A).
A Short Form Release from Administration may be filed if the decedent’s assets are less than $1,000.00 without a surviving spouse and less than $6,000.00 if there is a surviving spouse. A paid funeral bill must be submitted or assets will be ordered payable to the funeral home.
Pursuant to ORC Section 5731
For persons deceased after July 1, 1993, there is an unlimited marital deduction. An Estate Tax Return must be filed if: the decedent died before January 1, 2001 and the gross estate is over $25,000.00; the decedent died in 2001 and the gross estate is over $200,000.00; the decedent died after January 1, 2002 and the gross estate is over $338,333.00.
The Ohio Estate Tax was repealed effective January 1, 2013. There will be no estate tax on estates of individuals with a date of death on or after January 1, 2013. This legislative change occurred with the passage of the 2012-2013 Budget Bill, House Bill 153.