An Overview of the Ohio Probate Process

Ohio’s probate process looks similar to many other states. An executor or administrator of the estate will be appointed to organize and go through all of the estate’s assets. If the estate has less than $100,000 in value, there may be expedited options to close the estate through probate, otherwise, larger estates may need to go through the entire formal probate process.

If an estate did not have a will or proper succession plan set up, some of its assets may have to go through the probate process. The typical Ohio probate process takes about nine months once the executor or administrator is appointed. Creditors have six months to file a claim against the estate, but if the estate owes state or federal tax, finishing probate could take much longer.

When Is Probate Needed?

Typically, the only assets that need to go through probate are the ones that he or she owned in his or her name. Everything else can probably be transferred or passed forward through succession. Some of these assets include:

  • Assets held in a trust
  • Assets owned in “joint and survivorship” or “survivorship tenancy,” which automatically pass to the surviving owner
  • Proceeds of an insurance policy payable to a named beneficiary
  • Real estate subject to an Ohio transfer-on-death “designation affidavit”, which transfers ownership of the property upon your death to a beneficiary you previously named

Probate for ‘Very Small’ and ‘Small’ Ohio Estates

If the estate is worth less than $5,000 or the amount of funeral expenses, whoever is obligated to pay or has paid those expenses can ask the court for a summary release from probate. Additionally, the surviving spouse can ask for a release from administration if:

  • The surviving spouse inherits everything and is legally entitled to a family support allowance
  • All of the deceased spouse’s assets are worth less than $45,000

For “Small” estates and those where the surviving spouse inherits all probate property and the value of the estate is no more than $100,000, the estate could be settled in 2-4 months through a simplified process.

From there, the court will issue a “Letters of Authority” document, which appoints the executor or administrator. That person will then have to organize and delineate the deceased’s assets along with keeping detailed records of the whole process. The executor or administrator will also have to work through any outstanding tax burden the estate may owe (it’s worth noting that in 2013, Ohio repealed its estate tax).


If you’ve been assigned to an estate that has complex asset or property issues, the process can be instantly overwhelming and beyond stressful. An experienced probate attorney like Richard P. Arthur, Attorney at Law can help make sense of it all and build a path towards an expedient and satisfactory resolution. Call 937-254-3738 today to learn how he’s advised Dayton and Trotwood clients through the Ohio probate process.