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How to handle a probate case in 

Stow, OH

If you are dealing with a probate issue in 

Stow, OH

, you probably have a lot of questions. This article sets out the basics on what to know and what to do if you find yourself dealing with a probate case. 

evident Editorial board
published
September 29, 2021

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What is probate?

Probate is the legal process that determines how someone’s estate is distributed after they pass away. The probate process can unfold either with or without a will, but the process is generally much smoother when there is a will in place.  

When there is a will, the process is all about making sure the terms of the will are carried out and that assets are distributed to the intended beneficiaries. When there is not a will, the deceased’s property will be distributed according to state laws. So if you have a probate case in

Stow, OH

, the process will be governed by New York laws. (Note that if there is not a will, the terminology in New York is that the estate is “administered” rather than “probated”).

Proper estate planning should always consider probate issues that may arise when administering your estate.

What is probate?

Probate is the legal process that determines how someone’s estate is distributed after they pass away. The probate process can unfold either with or without a will, but the process is generally much smoother when there is a will in place.
  
When there is a will, the process is all about making sure the terms of the will are carried out and that assets are distributed to the intended beneficiaries. When there is not a will, the deceased’s property will be distributed according to state laws. So if you have a probate case in 

Stow, OH

, the process will be governed by Ohio laws.
  
Proper estate planning should always consider probate issues that may arise when administering your estate.

How does probate work in 

Stow, OH

?

As mentioned, probate unfolds a little differently depending on whether there is a will. Most wills declare an executor, which is the person who acts as representative for the estate. If there is no  will, then the probate court will need to appoint an administrator to oversee the proceedings.
 
The probate process begins when the executor (or administrator) files a probate petition in court along with a copy of the decedent’s will and a certified death certificate. In 

Stow, OH

, paperwork required for this filing needs to include the following:

  • Date of death
  • Heirs-at-law in case the will is invalid (Heirs-at-law are the people entitled to receive the decedent’s property if they died without a will. Usually, this would be children or close relatives)
  • An estimate of the estate’s value 

Next, the judge verifies the will (if there is one) in court so that the terms of the will can be executed. Then, outstanding taxes, debts, and other costs are paid out of the estate. Once these steps are complete, the estate is then distributed to the beneficiaries as determined by the terms of the will (or by state law if there is no will). 

How does probate work in 

Stow, OH

?

As mentioned, probate unfolds a little differently depending on whether there is a will. Most wills declare an executor, which is the person who acts as representative for the estate. If there is no will, then the probate court will need to appoint an administrator to oversee the proceedings.
 
The probate process begins when the executor (or administrator) files a probate petition in court. In

Stow, OH

, paperwork required for this filing needs to include: 

  • Decedent’s date of birth
  • Decedent’s date of death (A copy of the death certificate may be necessary)
  • Decedent’s residential address 
  • Names and addresses of the beneficiaries 

Next, the judge verifies the will (if there is one) in court so that the terms of the will can be executed. Then, outstanding taxes, debts, and other costs are paid out of the estate. Once these steps are complete, the estate is then distributed to the beneficiaries as determined by the terms of the will (or by state law if there is no will).

Thresholds for avoiding probate in 

Stow, OH

New York law allows for simplified probate procedures for small estates. To be considered a small estate in New York, the following requirement must be met:

  • Property owned exclusively by the decedent is valued at $50,000 or less (jointly owned assets do not count toward the $50,000)

Thresholds for avoiding probate in 

Stow, OH

Ohio law allows for simplified probate procedures for small estates. To be considered a small estate in Ohio, one of the following qualifications must be met: 

  • The estate is valued at $35,000 or less
  • The estate is valued at $100,000 or less, and the decedent’s surviving spouse is entitled to receive all assets

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How long will my probate case take?

Several factors determine how long the probate process will take, but the size of the estate usually plays a big role. In general, small estates can usually be resolved in a matter of weeks or months. 

On the other hand, larger estates can take years – particularly if there’s a high number of assets to distribute and many terms to satisfy. Claims and contests filed in probate court also tend to extend the length of this process. 

Other factors that determine how long your case will take include the amount of debt or taxes that need to be paid, as well as the kinds of assets involved in the estate. For example, a probate case that requires ownership of a commercial real estate property to be transferred will take significantly longer than one without any real estate. 

What are my responsibilities if I’m the executor in a probate case in 

Stow, OH

?

The role of an executor is generally similar regardless of where a probate case unfolds. Here’s an overview of an executor’s responsibilities:

  • Identify: The executor must identify all of the deceased’s assets to be included in the estate. This also may involve appraising the assets. The value of the estate will be critical when dispersing the shares of the estate.
  • Pay: Any remaining debts or taxes left by the deceased must be paid out of the estate.
  • Notify: The executor must notify all beneficiaries named in the will. If you are the executor of an estate, be aware that failing to notify beneficiaries may create grounds for a lawsuit. 

What is a probate court, and where is the nearest one to 

Stow, OH

?

Probate courts are specialized courts that handle legal proceedings involving wills and the distribution of estates. These courts are sometimes referred to as Surrogate’s Court, Orphan’s Court, or Chancery Court. 

In New York, they are called Surrogate's Courts, and the probate proceeding takes place at the court in the county where the decedent resided when they died. The New York State Unified Court System website will help you locate the appropriate Surrogate’s Court. 

We've included details about local probate courts below in this article. Keep in mind that the relevant probate court is dictated by the relevant county, which may or may not be the "nearest" court to you.

What is a probate court, and where is the nearest one to 

Stow, OH

?

Probate courts are specialized courts that handle legal proceedings involving wills and the distribution of estates. These courts are sometimes referred to as Surrogate’s Court, Orphan’s Court, or Chancery Court.
 
In Ohio, each county has a probate court which is part of what in Ohio is called the “common pleas court.” The probate proceeding takes place in the court of the county where the decedent resided. Each of the 88 counties in Ohio has a common pleas court.
 
We've included details about local probate courts below in this article. Keep in mind that the relevant probate court is dictated by the relevant county, which may or may not be the "nearest" court to you.

How probate fees work

There are several kinds of fees involved in probate, which means costs vary a lot by case. In 

Stow, OH

, you can expect to pay the following fees:

Fee Explanation
Attorney fees These fees will vary across attorneys based on factors like experience, location, and the extent of representation necessary for your case. Some attorneys offer flat fee agreements, whereas others will charge an hourly rate.
Executor compensation New York executors are compensated according to the following commission rates:
  • 5% on the first $100,000 in the estate
  • 4% on the next $200,000
  • 3% on the next $700,000
  • 2.5% on the next $4,000,000
  • 2% on any amount over $5,000,000
Find more information on New York executor compensation here.
Executor / administrator bonds Several New York county courts may require executor bonds to ensure the executor performs their obligations according to the law. Beneficiaries can make a claim against the executor bond if the executor of the estate engages in potential fraud, errors, negligence, theft, or misrepresentation. The bond amount is usually based on the approximate size of the estate. 
Federal and state estate taxes New York is one of a handful of states with a state estate tax, meaning estates over a certain amount will be taxed at both the state and federal levels. 


A New York estate would face the state estate tax if the amount of the decedent’s federal gross estate plus the amount of any includible gifts exceeds $5,930,000, if the decedent died on or after January 1, 2021 and before January 1, 2022. Any estate valued at less than $5,930,000 will not be subject to this tax. See here for basic exclusion amounts for prior death dates. 


Federal estate tax returns must be filed for combined gross assets and prior taxable gifts exceeding $11,700,000 for 2021.
Court and filing fees Court fees range from a few hundred dollars to around $1,200 depending on the complexity of the estate and the number of forms that must be filed. Typically, the initial fee to petition the court to start the probate process is a few hundred dollars, although it’s based on the estimated size of the estate.
Certificate fees Common certificates you’ll need – such as the Letters of Administration, which grants someone the official authority to access and manage a decedent’s estate – may require a fee. These certificates can cost anywhere from $5 to $20 per copy. 
Appraisal fees If assets (such as antiques) have an unknown value and must be appraised, an appraisal fee will likely have to be paid out of the estate. 

How probate fees work

There are several kinds of fees involved in probate, which means costs vary a lot by case. In 

Stow, OH

, you can expect to pay the following fees:

Fee Explanation
Attorney fees These fees will vary across attorneys based on factors like experience, location, and the extent of representation necessary for your case. Some attorneys offer flat fee agreements, whereas others will charge an hourly rate.
Executor compensation Ohio executors are compensated according to the following commission rates:
  • 4% on the first $100,000
  • 3% on the next $300,000
  • 2% on any amount over $400,000
Find more information on Ohio executor compensation here.
Executor / administrator bonds Several Ohio county courts may require executor bonds to ensure the executor performs their obligations according to the law. Beneficiaries can make a claim against the executor bond if the executor of the estate engages in potential fraud, errors, negligence, theft, or misrepresentation. The bond amount is usually based on the approximate size of the estate.
Federal and state estate taxes Ohio no longer has a state estate tax (it was repealed in 2013). However, federal estate tax returns must be filed for combined gross assets and prior taxable gifts exceeding $11,700,000 for 2021.
Court and filing fees Court fees range from a few hundred dollars to around $1,200 depending on the complexity of the estate and the number of forms that must be filed. Typically, the initial fee to petition the court to start the probate process is a few hundred dollars, although it’s based on the estimated size of the estate.
Certificate fees Common certificates you’ll need – such as the Letters of Administration, which grant someone the official authority to access and manage a decedent’s estate – may require a fee. These certificates can cost anywhere from $5 to $20 per copy. 
Appraisal fees If assets (such as antiques) have an unknown value and must be appraised, an appraisal fee will likely have to be paid out of the estate. 

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Should I hire a probate lawyer near me?

Before deciding whether you should hire a probate lawyer near 

Stow, OH

, you should first consider whether you need to hire a lawyer at all. 

Here are a few of the factors to keep in mind when considering whether you need to hire a probate attorney:

  • Larger estates: Larger estates are usually more complex and can lead to a more complicated probate process as a result. Working with an experienced probate lawyer can lower the time and cost of settling the estate.
  • Complicated assets: Some assets make for a straightforward probate process, while others (like intellectual property or commercial businesses) can require more time and attention. A probate attorney can help manage, appraise, and sell these assets more efficiently.
  • Disputes: Wills can be contested, which significantly extends the length of the probate process. If this happens, an attorney can help settle the dispute or, if necessary, prepare a legal defense to protect the original terms of the will.

If you do need a probate attorney, it is not strictly necessary that you hire one near you. Probate, after all, is governed by state laws. That said, it may still be helpful to hire a probate lawyer near 

Stow, OH

 because they will be more familiar with the local courts and judges.

Stow, OH

 Probate Court Forms

Links to various probate forms in New York can be found here.

Stow, OH

 Probate Court Forms

Links to various probate forms in Ohio can be found here.

Note that the forms relevant to probate can be found in the top section, and many of the remaining forms relate to the various other matters that common pleas courts handle in Ohio.

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