What is probate?


May 31, 2024

By:  David H. Steele

Simply put, probate is the name given to the court process for the transfer of a deceased person’s interest in real property and personal property to their heirs, either by the terms of a Will, or by statute.  Both Kentucky and Ohio have procedures to determine how real and personal property passes when someone dies.  When there is a bequest to a specific individual or entity under the terms of a Will, the transfer of that item to the intended recipient is known as “testate.”  If there is no Will, the transfer of a decedent’s interest in their property is referred to as “intestate.”  In Kentucky, as well as Ohio, there is no waiting period for an interested party of a decedent to begin administration of an Estate.  The administration, whether in Kentucky or Ohio, is held in the county in which the decedent made their home prior to their passing.

In Kentucky, the probate process begins in the District Court for the particular county where the decedent resided; whereas, in Ohio, each county has its own specific Probate Court that handles probate cases.  Both the Ohio Probate Courts and the Kentucky District Courts have their own forms to be filled out to initiate a probate case.  These forms require identifying information about the deceased, including the individual’s name, address, date of birth, and the date of death of the decedent.  In Ohio, at the time of application to administer the Estate, there must be proof presented of the decedent’s death, either in the form of a death certificate or an obituary.  In Kentucky, there is no such requirement to produce any documentation of the decedent’s death before a probate case can be started.  If there is a Will, then it would name an Executor, and that person would generally oversee the administration of the Estate to make sure that the terms of the distribution of the decedent’s property are complied with.  If there is no Will, then the individual who oversees the distribution of the decedent’s death is referred to as an Administrator.  The Administrator is appointed by the Court upon the application by an interested party.

At the beginning of the probate process, it is important to identify the assets of the deceased, and whether there is a Will, or not.  Always check for safety deposit boxes, bank accounts, retirement accounts, personal property, tools, motor vehicles, and real estate.  If there are any assets that are located out of state, then those items must go through the probate process in the state where they are located.

This Blog is not legal advice and is not intended to be legal advice.  Should you have any questions regarding the subject matter, please contact David H. Steele, Esq., at Ziegler & Schneider, P.S.C., (859) 426-1300, for additional information.

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