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compensation. Call today to find out more! Download PDF for more info.

(740) 400-4194 719 West Market Street,
Baltimore, Ohio 43105


What is Probate?

Perhaps one of the least liked words in the English language, unless of course you are a probate lawyer. So what is Probate? Why is it disliked?

Probate is the process of giving your “stuff” to your heirs when you die. You might think, “Hey, I have a will! My loved ones won’t have to go through the probate process!” Unfortunately that is a very common misconception. The reading of the will is in fact part of the probate process. The next misconception that is common is “I don’t own my house or have any property other than my car and some small things in the house so I don’t need a will and my stuff won’t have to go through probate.” Again, this is wrong because when a person dies without a will, the courts will direct how that person’s property is to be distributed. While the court tries to be as fair as possible, it has no way of knowing the particular dynamics of a family and may distribute things in a way that seems unfair to some family members.

So let’s just assume you have a will or you are fine with the court deciding for you after you are gone. How does Probate work? After you die someone will have to file papers with the court to open your estate (account for all your stuff). Since you only die once, your heirs will have to do this only once for your estate so the odds are they won’t really know how to go about doing this. Does anyone really like to file papers with a court? Well, actually yes, lawyers do. So your heirs will most likely seek out a lawyer to file the papers for them because courts can be intimidating and difficult to navigate unless you have done it before. Having an attorney complete the Probate process for you can be expensive.

But back to the process…If you have a will, the Executor or Fiduciary named in the will is responsible for: Making sure that all your property is account for and taken care of; Collecting any money due to you from anyone (stocks, insurance, etc.); Figuring out exactly who your heirs are (maybe there were some deaths or births since you prepared your will); Paying any legal debts owed by you at the time you passed (credit card bills, loans, taxes – such as Federal Estate Taxes, etc.); and distributing your assets (a.k.a. “stuff”) according to your will and or the direction of the Probate court.

Not exactly the type of situation anyone person would want to find themselves in while grieving for the loss of a loved one. This is why most people hire a Probate Attorney.

In the event you don’t have a will and pass away, the Probate court will appoint an Administrator and the process will begin from there just as if there had been an Executor or Fiduciary with a few differences.

The end result is that your assets will go through a sometimes lengthy process and be distributed either according to your will or the direction of the Probate court. Also of note is that the Probate court process results in a public record meaning that all of the assets distributed become known to the public.

Our intention at Donald Law Office is to avoid the Probate process if at all possible and in all most all circumstances we can structure your Estate Plan to avoid the Probate process. However, if you find that you do need to open a Probate estate, we are here to help.



Business Hours

Beginning January 1, 2020 our new office hours will be:
Monday: 9:00am - 4:00pm
Tuesday: 9:00am - 5:00pm
Wednesday: 9:00am - 4:00pm
Thursday: 9:00am - 5:00pm
Friday: 9:00am - 4:00pm

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Contact Us

719 West Market Street, Baltimore, Ohio 43105

(740) 400-4194

Fax: 740-400-4195


Coronavirus Update!!


Yes we are still operating, but . . .
Our doors are locked in an effort
to protect everyone, including you, our staff,
and all of our families.
we are asking that all clients
please call or email our
office to set up an appointment.

Contact Us 

  • Phone – 740-400-4194 
  • Fax – 740-400-4195 
  • Email – 

Will Contact You 

  • Within 48 business hours 
  • We wills schedule a phone call or video conference with you. 
  • We will schedule in person appointments ONLY as necessary.



At Donald Law Office, we treat every person we meet as though they are a member of our families. Our number one priority right now is the safety and health of our families, and as a part of our extended family, this includes you and your family as well.

The only thing that is certain right now for most people is that things are changing rapidly, and change brings about the fear of the unknown. One of the ways to combat fear is to retake control. Now is the time for decisive action. First and foremost it is essential that you follow the recommendations put in place by Governor DeWine’s office and understand what actions you can take to help protect your family including those recommended by the CDC.

We understand that this virus is causing many people to ask the tough questions that they might have ignored before. Questions such as; who is going to make financial, legal and healthcare decisions for them should they become sick?

At Donald Law Office we stand ready to assist you with addressing these questions and many more. Our challenge is how do we help you achieve the peace of mind you need and deserve, but also do so in a responsible way. We recognize that as an elder law firm we have a unique responsibility to our families as many of our clients are part of the most vulnerable population when it comes to this virus.

Everyone at Donald Law Office is still working to support you. Last week we took some initial steps to ensure your safety and continuity of services to our community. Those steps included conducting all appointments possible by phone, a deep cleaning of our office, and disinfecting all surfaces after every appointment.

However, as more information becomes available we are aware that many people who are not exhibiting signs of the illness can still spread the illness. You don’t know if we have it, and we don’t know if you have it. You don’t know if the person who came into our office before you had it. What we do know is that we can help by limiting your exposure to any potential carriers. To facilitate that, we believe that the time has come to extend our preparedness and to take additional measures to ensure your safety.

Effective Monday, March 23, 2020, we will be implementing the following additional measures:

  1. We will continue to operate unless ordered to close by the government.
  2. We will continue to be able to fully support all of our clients and new clients during this period.
  3. Be aware that it is possible that during these reduced onsite staffing times, that your call will not be answered immediately, but PLEASE leave a message. We WILL call you back.
  4. Unscheduled client visits (including new walk-ins) will need to use our new protocols outlined below in #5. This is for your protection, the protection of our staff, and the protection of our other clients.
  5. As an alternative to coming into the office (i.e. walk-ins), we are asking that all of our clients and potential clients call our office (740-400-4194), or email ( our office to schedule an appointment for a phone call or video conference.
    1. We do not want to expose you to any unnecessary risks.
    2. PLEASE do not come to our office unless instructed to do so by a staff member.

Eventually, we are going to return to some semblance of normalcy.  Between now and then our office is here to support you and your families in your estate planning needs. It is more important now than ever that you have your affairs in order. As we have said all along, you need to have a plan in place to address what you are going to do if you or a loved one becomes ill or injured. The Coronavirus is just the most recent threat.

In closing, we want to reassure you that we do not foresee a situation where we will discontinue services.

We hope and pray that none of you or your families become ill from the Coronavirus.