At Roberson Law, we understand that this is a difficult time for you and your family. Our caring, compassionate, and experienced team is ready to assist you through the process of handling your loved ones' estate. We work closely with the probate court to ensure that all of the necessary documents and estate tax returns are filed so that the transfer of assets goes as smoothly as possible. Our 30 years of experience providing services in Probate and Estate Administration are available to clients in all counties and probate courts in Ohio.
Roberson Law understands that all too often people hesitate to retain help during these trying times due the fear of the costs associated with the process. At Roberson Law, we take a different approach to charging for the services of Probate and Estate Administration. We don't use the court approved fee guideline that calculates the Attorney fees by taking a percentage of the estate assets, we charge by the hour for our services, thus getting compensated for the actual time our experienced team spends working on the estate. Our approach almost always results in a substantial savings, which allows more of the estate assets to be shared by the loved ones.
For those wishing to obtain a Guardianship for a child or a mentally ill adult, we have the knowledge and the experience to handle the guardianship proceedings every step of the way. From assisting with bill paying and accounting for the Ward's funds to preparing the necessary guardianship documents that are required to be filed with the probate court, our caring staff can ease the burden by taking care of these items while the loved ones provide the care needed to support the Ward.
Contact us to schedule an appointment to allow us to help you through the complexities of these processes.
What is Probate?
Probate is a legal proceeding to determine the decedent’s assets, their value, and the method of distribution to heirs. Probate takes place in the probate court of the county where the decedent resided. The probate court is the division of the county common pleas court that is responsible for adoptions, guardianships, marriage licenses, and managing estates after a person dies. Probate is necessary to protect the decedent’s assets for the estate heirs, creditors, and beneficiaries. Probate enables (1) paying the decedent’s debts, taxes, and administration expenses; and (2) distributing the remainder of the decedent’s estate to its beneficiaries.
Probating an estate requires appointing a person to conduct the administration of the estate. If there is a will, this person is usually named in the will and called an executor. If there is no will, this person is appointed by the probate court and called an administrator. The executor or administrator may be a person, bank, or trust company.
The executor or administrator handles the following tasks: protecting the decedent’s property; receiving payments and income due the estate; collecting debts, claims, and notes due the decedent; determining the names, ages, residences, and degree of relationship of all heirs; investigating the validity of all claims against the estate and paying all outstanding obligations including federal, state, and local estate and income taxes; planning for federal and state taxes; carrying out the instructions of the probate court pertaining to the estate; and distributing the assets of the estate to the beneficiaries. The probate court judge supervises the work of the executor or administrator.
These actions require preparing and filing numerous legal documents, publishing notices, attending court hearings, appraising the assets, completing income tax and possibly gift and estate tax returns, inventorying and accounting for funds, and transferring assets to beneficiaries. The average estate administration usually lasts no more than one year, although an extraordinary case involving a contested will or complicated tax litigation may take several years.
The process of probating an estate involves many steps and often has complexities that require strict attention to detail. Our experienced staff at Roberson Law can provide you the piece of mind needed to insure that the administration of the estate is being handled correctly and ease the burden on the heirs during this difficult time. Contact our caring and compassionate staff to find out how we can help.
What is Guardianship?
A guardian is a person, association, or corporation appointed by the probate court to manage the personal and financial affairs of an incompetent adult or a person who is under age eighteen years. An incompetent adult is a person who is (1) so mentally impaired as a result of a mental or physical illness or disability, or mental retardation, or as a result of chronic substance abuse, that he is incapable of taking care of himself or of his property, or fails to provide for his family or for other persons for whom he is charged by law to provide, or (2) confined to an Ohio penal institution.
A guardianship is initiated when a person interested in the ward's situation applies to the probate court to be appointed guardian. (The word "ward" refers to the person for whom the guardianship is needed.) The interested person must be a resident of Ohio and preferably a resident of the county where the guardianship is being administered. After the interested person has applied to the court for appointment, at least seven days notice of the time and place of the hearing on the appointment of a guardian must be given to the allegedly incompetent person and his or her next of kin to enable them to respond to the application. Before the hearing, an investigator from the probate court will investigate the circumstances of the alleged incompetent and file with the court a report of the investigation. At the hearing, clear and convincing evidence is required to prove that the appointment of a guardian is necessary.
A guardian of the estate generally must purchase a bond, which is a type of insurance policy that protects the ward's estate from losses. If the guardian misuses the ward's estate, the bonding company will repay the ward's estate for the amount of the loss.
After a guardian is appointed, the guardian must file with the probate court within three months of his or her appointment an inventory of the estate of the ward. In addition, the guardian must file a yearly account of the ward's finances and a report on the ward's condition.