Recent Changes In Ohio Probate Laws

Ohio House Bill 432 recently went into effect and made some changes to Ohio's laws that are worth noting.  Below are just a few highlights of this bill:
 
1.  Ohio law previously allowed a surviving spouse to receive two automobiles valued at $40,000 or less without taking the vehicles through probate.  Under the new law, a surviving spouse may now claim an unlimited number of vehicles having a total combined value of no more than $65,000.
 
2. The Ohio Transfers to Minors Act has been changed to allow distributions to a beneficiary to be deferred through a custodial account until age 25. (Previously, distribution was required to be made at age 21.)  This is a great way to protect young adult beneficiaries from quickly blowing through an inheritance.
 
3.  For our clients who serve as guardian of a ward through the probate court, there has been a very favorable change relating to the sale of the ward's real estate.  A guardian is now able to sell a ward's real estate without going through the process of a land sale, which is often a long and expensive court proceeding, if the ward's spouse and "all persons entitled to the next estate of inheritance" consent to the sale of the real estate.  More simply put, this means the ward's spouse and next of kin or beneficiaries under a will, if any, must consent to the sale of the real estate.