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Demystifying the probate process

It is easy to feel out of control when you are going through something unfamiliar. While there are certain parts to probate that follow a specific order, understanding probate can be an important piece to feeling confident about the process.

Even if you have experienced an estate going through probate, it can seem overwhelming. There are many pieces to the puzzle that can make it sound like an intimidating process, especially if you do not know what to expect.

These are some frequently asked questions about the probate process.

Do all estates go through probate?

In Ohio, most estates will go through probate, regardless of whether your loved one had a will in place. While a will does make the process simpler, probate does not have to be difficult.

No matter what your role is in your loved one’s estate, remember it is ok to reach out for help from the people and professionals around you. When you have the support you need, you can focus on what is required as you go through probate.

Are executors and administrators the same thing?

Although both have the same responsibilities, executors and administrators begin their duties under different circumstances. An executor is named in a will while the court appoints an administrator.

Executors and administrators are responsible for the estate as it goes through probate proceedings and complete tasks, including:

  • Identifying beneficiaries
  • Learning about and paying off any debts
  • Discover and ensure payment of all taxes owed
  • Keeping detailed records

Being an executor or an administrator can be a challenging role while you are grieving your loved one, but it is essential to support your loved one’s estate through taking care of their debts and assets.

How long does probate last?

The most straightforward answer is, “it varies.” Depending on the people and assets involved, probate can take between six months to one year.

It is important to give enough time in the process to discover all debts and potential tax liabilities for the estate. The state places the highest priority on taking care of taxes and other obligations of the estate. After those tasks are completed, you can start distributing your loved one’s assets either according to the will or, if there was no will, by following the state statute who receives the assets of the estate.

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