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COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT PROBATE

The Law Office of Gregory L. Williams May 26, 2022

Approximately 70% of estates in Franklin County, Ohio, are administered with the benefit of the decedent’s will, which is much higher than the national average of 30%, according to the Franklin County Probate Court. Establishing a will is one key step in your estate planning process, but it’s not the only one. It is important to be knowledgeable about the best route for your family when it comes to your estate.

At my firm, The Law Office of Gregory L. Williams, I strongly value helping both my clients and their families. I am passionate about preparing my clients for what the future might bring. At The Law Office of Gregory L. Williams, I am proud to represent clients in Columbus, Ohio, and throughout Central Ohio.

Common Misconceptions About the Probate Process

There are many rumors about how the probate process works. However, many of these stories are untrue or only partially true. It’s helpful to know what’s a common misconception – and what’s the truth – when it comes to the probate process.

If I have a will, my estate won’t go through probate.

All estates will go through probate whether or not the deceased had a will. Probate is the only way a judge can release the estate to the beneficiaries. 

The probate process gives the executor of the estate, who is also known as the personal representative or the administrator, the authority to pay any outstanding debts and distribute your assets.

Probate means that the state will take all my assets.

You may have heard that the probate process takes all your assets and transfers them to the county or state where you live. However, this is almost never the case. 

It is rare for the government to take a deceased person’s assets and turn them over to the state. Typically, the probate process will turn the estate over to the deceased person’s spouse, then children, then other relatives. The order of who will inherit varies. Speak with a knowledgeable Ohio probate attorney to learn more.

The probate process takes years to finalize.

Another common misconception is that it will take years before the probate process is finalized and the estate is turned over to the beneficiaries. However, this is usually not the case. 

In cases where the deceased does not have any debts and has a moderately-sized estate, the probate process could be settled within six months after the estate administrator is appointed. 

In scenarios where the estate has been set up correctly, the probate process can be finalized in around a year. On the other hand, if the estate planning has not been handled properly, if there are family fights, or if it’s a very large estate, then the probate process can take longer. Generally, the probate process can be efficiently completed.

Estate taxes will consume most of my estate. 

While you may think that taxes will eat up your assets and estate, this is typically untrue. In general, unless the estate is worth millions of dollars, the estate tax (also known as the death tax) will most likely not apply. 

Speak with an experienced Ohio probate attorney to learn more about exemptions for the Ohio estate tax and federal estate tax.

I don’t need an attorney to go through the probate process.

It may seem like an attorney is not necessary for going through the probate process; however, a knowledgeable attorney can be incredibly helpful as you navigate this complicated legal matter. An attorney can provide guidance for each legal consideration, support when it comes to disagreements with family, and assistance with the best choices to make under Ohio law. 

Find the Skilled Legal Guidance You Need

An experienced probate attorney like myself can help you prepare your estate for probate. I want you to be confident that you have done everything you can to care for your family after your passing. I am proud to represent clients in Columbus, Ohio, and throughout Central Ohio at The Law Office of Gregory L. Williams. Contact my firm today to schedule your consultation.