For most families in Ohio, the death of a parent or unmarried adult sibling brings more than sadness and loss. The loved one’s passing also begins the legal process of settling the person’s estate. The legal term for this is probate, and it involves executing a will, dividing property among survivors, and paying off the deceased person’s remaining taxes and debts.
Hiring a caring Columbus, Ohio probate attorney can greatly ease the burden placed on the deceased person’s executor or estate administrator. Hiring a Columbus probate litigation lawyer will also become necessary if provisions of a will or decisions by a probate court judge are contested.
Estates wind up in probate for one of two reasons. Either the deceased individual left a will, or the person who died did not leave a will. This explanation sounds contradictory, but only because it omits any mention of revocable trusts, which are estate planning documents that have the force of binding contracts and do not go through probate.
When a person leaves a will, the role of the probate court is usually limited to recognizing the executor and ensuring that all the terms of the will are carried out appropriately. Still, even when the will raises no legal issues and the estate is uncomplicated, the probate process typically takes six months.
Dying without a will often makes probate more complicated. In such a circumstance, a probate judge settles the estate according to the laws of Ohio. Neither the deceased person’s wishes, nor the interests of family members, will play a role in determining what the probate judge rules. This can set the stage for challenges to the distribution of property and financial assets, as well as the assignment of taxes and debt.
Consulting with a Columbus probate attorney who helps family go through probate will, if nothing else, ensure that all the necessary paperwork gets completed and each deadline is met. Much of the probate process involves filling out and filing forms. It is easy to feel overwhelmed, especially when one is grieving and dealing with the other facts of death such as funerals, handling insurance matters, canceling accounts, and notifying government agencies.
A Columbus probate attorney will also prove indispensable if terms of the will or decisions by the probate judge get contested. Many people and organizations can have legitimate claims to the funds and property of a person who died. State laws gives those parties rights to press their claims in legal actions that operate like civil lawsuits. In addition to handling points of law, a skilled probate lawyer will work to keep cases over a deceased person’s estate from becoming too personal and ruining lifelong relationships.
No one like going to court, but the probate process makes that as inevitable as death and taxes. Let the Columbus probate attorneys with the Jones Law Group work to ease the burden on you and your family. Call us at (614) 545-9998 or request an appointment online by filling out this contact form.
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