Wills and Estates – Small Estates – Ohio
Small Estates General Summary: Small Estate laws were enacted in order to enable heirs to obtain property of the deceased without probate, or with shortened probate proceedings, provided certain conditions are met. Small estates can be administered with less time and cost. If the deceased had conveyed most property to a trust but there remains some property, small estate laws may also be available. Small Estate procedures may generally be used regardless of whether there was a Will. In general, the two forms of small estate procedures are recognized:
1.Small Estate Affidavit -Some States allow an affidavit to be executed by the spouse and/or heirs of the deceased and present the affidavit to the holder of property such as a bank to obtain property of the deceased. Other states require that the affidavit be filed with the Court. The main requirement before you may use an affidavit is that the value of the personal and/or real property of the estate not exceed a certain value.
2.Summary Administration -Some states allow a Summary administration. Some States recognize both the Small Estate affidavit and Summary Administration, basing the requirement of which one to use on the value of the estate. Example: If the estate value is 10,000 or less an affidavit is allowed but if the value is between 10,000 to 20,000 a summary administration is allowed.
Under Ohio statute, where as estate is valued at less than $100,000, an authorized party, (please see below for details on who can administer an estate under this statute), may file a request with the court that the estate be resolved without the regular process of administration. If the court finds the request valid under the below statute, the court may enter an order relieving the estate from administration and directing delivery of personal property and transfer of real estate to the persons entitled to the personal property or real estate.
Ohio requirements are set forth in the statutes below.
§ 2113.03 Release from administration.
Volume of Ohio Laws: 147
Bill Number: House Bill 366
Effective Date: 3-18-99
(A) Subject to division (D) of this section, an estate may be released from administration under division (B) of this section if either of the following applies:
(1) The value of the assets of the estate is thirty-five thousand dollars or less.
(2) The value of the assets of the estate is one hundred thousand dollars or less and either of the following applies:
(a) The decedent devised and bequeathed in a valid will all of the assets of the decedent’s estate to a person who is named in the will as the decedent’s spouse, and the decedent is survived by that person.
(b) The decedent is survived by a spouse whose marriage to the decedent was solemnized in a manner consistent with Chapter 3101. of the Revised Code or with a similar law of another state or nation, the decedent died without a valid will, and the decedent’s surviving spouse is entitled to receive all of the assets of the decedent’s estate under section 2105.06 of the Revised Code or by the operation of that section and division (B)(1) or (2) of section 2106.13 of the Revised Code.
(B) Upon the application of any interested party, after notice of the filing of the application has been given to the surviving spouse and heirs at law in the manner and for the length of time the probate court directs, and after notice to all interested parties by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the county, unless the notices are waived or found unnecessary, the court, when satisfied that division (A)(1) or (2) of this section is satisfied, may enter an order relieving the estate from administration and directing delivery of personal property and transfer of real estate to the persons entitled to the personal property or real estate.
For the purposes of this section, the value of an estate that reasonably can be considered to be in an amount specified in division (A)(1) or (2) of this section and that is not composed entirely of money, stocks, bonds, or other property the value of which is readily ascertainable, shall be determined by an appraiser selected by the applicant, subject to the approval of the court. The appraiser’s valuation of the property shall be reported to the court in the application to relieve the estate from administration. The appraiser shall be paid in accordance with section 2115.06 of the Revised Code. For the purposes of this section, the amount of property to be delivered or transferred to the surviving spouse, minor children, or both, of the decedent as the allowance for support shall be established in accordance with section 2106.13 of the Revised Code.
When a delivery, sale, or transfer of personal property has been ordered from an estate that has been relieved from administration, the court may appoint a commissioner to execute all necessary instruments of conveyance. The commissioner shall receipt for the property, distribute the proceeds of the conveyance upon court order, and report to the court after distribution.
When the decedent died testate, the will shall be presented for probate, and, if admitted to probate, the court may relieve the estate from administration and order distribution of the estate under the will. An order of the court relieving an estate from administration shall have the same effect as administration proceedings in freeing land in the hands of an innocent purchaser for value from possible claims of unsecured creditors.
(C) Any delivery of personal property or transfer of real estate pursuant to an order relieving an estate from administration is made subject to the limitations pertaining to the claims of creditors set forth in divisions (B) and (C) of section 2117.06 of the Revised Code.
(D) The release of an estate from administration under this section does not affect any duty of any person to file an estate tax return and certificate under division (A) of section 5731.21 of the Revised Code and does not affect the duties of a probate court set forth in that division.
(E) This section does not affect the ability of qualified persons to file an application for a summary release from administration under section 2113.031 [2113.03.1] of the Revised Code or to file an application for the grant of letters testamentary or letters of administration.