After the death of a loved one, those left behind must settle the estate and address any remaining legal and financial issues associated with the decedent’s property and possessions. This can be a difficult and emotional process, and there are certain steps that family members must take in order to properly settle affairs and eventually close the Ohio estate. The probate process is often a necessary step in order to close an estate, and it is beneficial for heirs and beneficiaries to know what to expect during probate.
Probate is the court-supervised process of paying remaining debts, settling financial issues of the deceased and distributing property according to the terms of the decedent’s will. This is a lengthy and often complicated series of steps that the executor of the estate oversees. A person can designate a specific person to act as executor, or the court can appoint one. Probate can take a few months to complete, or it can last for years if there are complications or disputes.
Steps during probate
While every estate is different and unique, probate follows the same basic steps every time. The first thing that happens during probate is the location of the will and filing it with the probate court. After the appointment of the executor, the following steps will take place:
- Notification of the death to any remaining creditors
- Location and preservation of estate assets
- Notification of all heirs and beneficiaries
- Payment of remaining debts and outstanding taxes
- Distribution of assets according to the terms of the will
Probate is more complex when there are other issues, such as disputes among heirs regarding the terms of the will. Other problems could include the location of multiple wills, absence of a valid will, missing estate property, heirs that cannot be located and more. Due to the potentially complex nature of probate, it is smart to have experienced guidance at every step.
Are you facing probate?
Probate is not something you must navigate on your own. Whether you are the executor of the estate or an interested party in the estate, you will benefit from seeking an understanding of what to expect from this process and steps you can take to protect your interests. Many families find it helpful when a legal professional provides assistance as they navigate their loved one’s remaining affairs after his or her passing.