Probate is the process that occurs after someone dies. The decision to go through probate depends on the value of the decedent’s estate.
One of the first steps in the probate process is to appoint a personal representative if the will had not named one. This individual is in charge of managing and distributing the assets of the estate.
Types of estates released from probate
According to the Ohio Laws and Administrative Rules, Legislative Service Commission, not all estates need to go through the probate process. If the estate’s assets are $35,000 or less, the court may release the estate from probate. Also, an estate that has assets valued at $100,000 or less may be able to skip probate if the will named the surviving spouse as the sole heir, or if there is no will and the surviving spouse is the one entitled to the assets.
Role of the personal representative
For estates that go through probate, FindLaw discusses that the personal representative plays a big role. The representative must locate and inform the heirs named in the will; gather, value and safeguard all assets and distribute the assets to the heirs.
Before distributing the assets, however, the personal representative must conduct due diligence to locate any and all creditors of the estate and pay and collect, all debts. He or she must pay ongoing bills of the estate, such as mortgage and utilities. If there are pets, the representative must find homes for them, and he or she needs to maintain the estate’s property. After the payment of all required bills, asset distribution can occur. The final job of the representative is to file and pay taxes of the estate.