Any property held solely in your name must go through Ohio probate, which can become a time-consuming, expensive process. On top of probate, your heirs are responsible for paying federal and state income taxes within a specific amount of time. Probate can take a year or more, depending on the situation. During this time, your family cannot access the inheritance they may need for expenses.
According to the Ohio Legislature, a broad range of statutes address who may inherit property and the process beneficiaries must follow. You may minimize court costs and move assets outside probate if you have an estate plan. This may help your family receive their inheritance faster.
Probate transfers on death
Probate is the legal process that verifies your last will and testament. It allows for the transfer of your assets to beneficiaries after your death. The probate court supervises the distribution of your probate property, which may include bank accounts, real estate, automobiles, jewelry and collectibles.
Non-probate transfers on death
A will alone cannot help you avoid probate. However, you can remove assets from the process by using estate planning tools. This enables the property to pass to your heirs directly, bypassing the court. Non-probate assets may include the following:
- Bank or brokerage accounts with payable on death or transfer on death beneficiaries
- Life insurance policies with a beneficiary listed
- Retirement accounts
- Property held in joint tenancy
Your heirs may receive their inheritance quickly and with fewer fees when you remove property from the probate process. A will cannot control the distribution of your assets the way trusts and other financial instruments can. Understanding your estate planning options is critical for ensuring the distribution of your property per your wishes.