If there is a mortgage on the property, it can go into foreclosure if the mortgage is not paid. We have an effective way avoiding foreclosure that puts you in control of the sale that other attorneys don’t know. But we must act before a foreclosure is filed, so time is of the essence.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
+ WHAT IS PROBATE?
“Probate” is the legal process through which a deceased person’s assets (such as bank accounts, vehicles, real property, and investments) are transferred to others. County Probate Courts oversee this process. When a person makes a Will, it controls how his or her assets will be transferred. If a person dies without a Will, the probate law in Ohio will control how the assets will be divided. If there are no living family members, the assets go to the state.
The Probate Court appoints an executor or administrator for each estate, and that person is responsible for managing the estate. The executor or administrator will determine what assets the deceased person owned, pay any bills the person owes, and then distribute the remaining assets. These are called “probate assets.” Certain kinds of assets do not have to go through probate. Any asset that goes directly to another person following someone’s death without having to go through the probate process is called a “non-probate asset.”
+ WHERE ARE PROBATE CASES FILED?
The probate court in the county where the deceased was a resident at the time of death has jurisdiction.
+ HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR MY FAMILY TO GET THEIR MONEY THROUGH PROBATE?
Even when the gross value of the estate (probate assets and certain non-probate assets) is small, the probate process can take a long time. During that time, the family of the deceased person must wait for the distribution of the person’s assets, even though life goes on and bills pile up. The process itself can also be costly. The executor or administrator is entitled to a percentage of the estate’s assets for the work he or she does and there will also be attorney fees paid from the estate. That is money that will not go to the person’s family members. There are nine basic steps to probating an estate:
- Filing of an application for authority to administer the estate, admit the will to probate, if one exists, and notification of probate;
- Appointment of fiduciary;
- Gathering assets and obtaining appraisals as required;
- Filing an inventory and schedule of assets;
- Selling assets to convert to cash;
- Paying creditors;
- Filing estate and income tax returns and paying taxes, if any (as of January 1, 2013 Ohio no longer has an estate tax);
- Distributing remaining assets to beneficiaries;
- Filing accounts; and
- Closing the estate.
It can take months or years to complete these steps depending on the case. If the gross value of the estate is small enough, Ohio law allows you to file a summary release from administration or to apply to relieve the estate from administration to expedite the process.
+ WHAT ARE THE ATTORNEY FEES AND COURT COSTS FOR PROBATE ADMINISTRATION, AND WHO PAYS THEM?
Before we can collect attorney fees from the estate or beneficiary, the probate court must approve it. Some counties allow attorneys to charge attorney fees based on a percentage of the value of the probate and non-probate properties, but the Franklin County Probate Court prefers that attorneys charge an hourly rate and provide an itemization of the time spent on the case as proof that the fee is reasonable. We following the Franklin County model and charge an hourly fee.
Depending on the case, the probate court requires an initial deposit of $113-$250 to cover court costs as the case proceeds. Any unused portion of the deposit will be returned to the estate. We offer affordable rates that range from $150-$250 per hour depending on the task. We guarantee you our most affordable rate and charge in 6-minutes increments so you don’t pay for a full hour if we complete an assignment is less time. These fees are not paid by the executor, administrator, or beneficiaries, they are paid from the estate’s assets at the conclusion of the case unless the court approves an earlier payment.
+ WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I MEET WITH YOU?
We will spend some time talking about what you have and what you want to do with it. Once we have had that conversation, I can tell you what steps would help you prepare for your family. I can also tell you what it will cost to make those preparations. Think of me as a personal trainer for your estate: my job is to help you reach the estate goals you set for yourself.
+ WHAT IS MY NEXT STEP?
If you’re ready to discuss an estate plan or your relative has passed away, call my office at (614) 610-4545 or visit www.pkesq.com for more information. When we schedule the first appointment, my office will tell you what you need to bring to our first meeting to get started.