Do you own anything in your name alone? Perhaps you have a checking account or savings account. Maybe you own a house or a car. If you specify in your will who you would like this property to go, you may think that upon your passing, these items will automatically transfer to those you have specified. However, anything you own that is in your name alone and is controlled by your will, must go through the probate process (see Ohio Revised Code 2107.11).

The probate process can be lengthy. This is because your creditors (if any) have six months to come forward and make a claim against your estate. Your estate is simply your “stuff” which includes things such as your bank accounts, house, and car. Further, your beneficiaries are also allowed to argue against your will. The attorneys involved will take a chunk from your estate in attorney’s fees. Every time paperwork is filed or a court date is set, there are fees paid to the court from your estate. And, the probate process is public. Once everything is filed with the probate court, anyone can look up your personal information. People will be able to see the names and personal information of those whom you left any of your “stuff” to.

One other thing to know is that if you have real property, such as a house or a timeshare, in more than one state, a separate probate will have to be filed for each state in which you have property in.

Did you know that probate can be avoided? If you would like to explore the options of avoiding the probate process, call our office to set up an initial consultation!