Full Estate Administration vs. Release from Administration

When a loved one dies, it’s hard on the entire family. Dealing with funeral arrangements and entertaining distant friends and acquaintances takes a toll on spouses and children of the deceased. Taking care of the deceased’s property and affairs can be confusing and add stress to this situation. What are the options available to you if a loved one passes away?

In Ohio there are two basic avenues to open a probate estate and wrap up the deceased person’s affairs. The first option is to do a Release from Administration. This is appropriate in situations where the fair market value of the probate assets is $35,000 or less and there is no surviving spouse, or if there is a surviving spouse and the gross estate is $100,000 or less. If there is a surviving spouse and they are entitled to 100% of the family allowance provided by statute, the spouse has paid or is obligated in writing to pay for funeral expenses, and the gross probate estate does not exceed $45,000 the estate may qualify for a summary release from administration. This is an abbreviated version of the release from administration. The release process can be much quicker than a full estate administration, but the timeliest part of the process is ensuring all creditors have come forward and their information is known.

If the deceased’s estate does not qualify for a release from administration, a full estate administration will be required. In this situation, the estate will be divided into probate and non-probate assets. If there is a will and an executor is named, that person will be responsible for contacting an attorney and handling any matter arising during the probate process. If there is no will or no executor has been named, the court will appoint an administrator to fill this role. The main goal of the full estate process is to distribute property according to the decedent’s wishes or to apply the state statutes of descent and distribution to effectively release all property held by the decedent.

The probate process can be cumbersome and confusing for those not familiar with Ohio law and the probate system. It is important to contact an attorney you trust to help you through this process as efficiently and smoothly as possible. At Dailey Law Offices, we offer free initial consultations and can talk through your individual situation. Contact us today to schedule your appointment at our Hilliard or Delaware office.

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