Probate and Estate Planning

Probate law includes administration of decedent Estates; guardianships of minors and incompetent persons; adoptions; and name changes.

When a person passes away in Ohio, his or her estate is comprised of the assets owned at the time of death.  An estate case is opened in Probate Court to accomplish distribution of the person’s assets and payment of debts (if any).  Estates may be filed whether or not the person had a will at the time of his or her death.  If the person had no will, Ohio law sets forth how the assets are distributed amongst the decedent’s heirs through the process of descent and distribution.  Some estates require a full administration, while others may be handled through a process known as relief from administration (release of assets).   Estate administration can be complicated, so it is always advisable to use the services of an experienced attorney to assist with the process.

The guardianship process allows an individual to be named to handle the affairs of a minor or an incompetent person (known as a “ward.”)  Guardianship proceedings are started by the filing of an Application for Guardianship, and the Probate Court holds a hearing to determine whether the person needs a guardian.  The two main aspects of guardianship are guardianship of the person (decision making, including medical decisions), and guardianship of the estate (management of the person’s assets, if any).  Guardians are entrusted with taking care of the best interests of the ward.  The Court oversees the guardian’s care, the guardian’s accounting of assets and expenditures, and must approve any financial expenditures made on behalf of the ward.  An experienced attorney can assist the guardian with filing the appropriate paperwork with Probate Court and representing the guardian in Court proceedings.

Ms. Yoder has several years of experience in all aspects of Probate law and estate planning, including preparation of trusts, wills, living wills, durable powers of attorney for healthcare, general durable powers of attorney, and transfer on death affidavits.

“After the death of my mother in the Cleveland area, I called Kim to help me navigate through the process of settling her estate.  Kim expertly advised me on procedures dealing with probate.  On my behalf, Kim secured documents so I could easily access my mother’s accounts.  She also made sure required paperwork with the court was filed in a timely manner.  I found Kim to be professional as well as personable.  She was easily accessible by phone or e-mail.  If I had any questions, she responded to my inquiries as soon as possible.  I appreciated her knowledge and friendly manner.”  Elaine – New Albany, Ohio

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