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It is never easy to navigate losing a loved one.  One of the many things you must address is transferring their assets, either to the persons entitled to receive them by law or entitled to receive them under the deceased’s Will.  Where do you even start?  Here is some guidance.

First, realize that nothing needs to happen right away.  Take care of the funeral arrangements and give yourself a moment to mourn.  Then, you can start addressing how to handle asset transfer.  Remember you cannot do anything until you receive the death certificate. 

Terms You Should Know

Power of Attorney:  Whether it was put in place for finances or healthcare, a power of attorney terminates when the person dies. You cannot use a power of attorney for anything after the death of the person.  Any authority you held under that document is now expired. 

Will:  This is the document that gives someone the authority to handle the affairs of the deceased and distribute the assets as determined in the document.  This document is not in effect until the person who created it has died.  The person named as Executor in the will is the only person who has the authority to gather and distribute the assets of the deceased. 

Executor:  The person named in the will as the designated person to gather and distribute the assets of the deceased. 

Administrator:  If there is no will in place, this is the person who has applied to and been appointed by the court to gather and distribute the assets of the deceased according to the laws of the State of Ohio and under the authority given by the State of Ohio.

Beneficiary:  The person who is named in the will to receive assets from the deceased.

Heir:  A person entitled to received assets of the deceased under the laws of the State of Ohio.  Also, the next of kin of the deceased, either in downward descendants or as acknowledged under the laws of descent and distribution of the State of Ohio. 

Procedure:  Whether or not there is a will, any asset that does not transfer under a named beneficiary has to go through “probate.”  Probate is shorthand for applying to have the estate, or assets of the deceased, transferred by operation of law through the court system. In Ohio, the court that has that authority is the Probate Court. 

Important Documents

Application to Administer Estate/Application to Probate the Will:  This is the application to ask the court to assume authority over the assets of the deceased and appoint the Executor (will) or Administrator (no will) to distribute the assets and make the required reports of the distributions to the court.

Letter of Authority:  The document that shows the authority provided to the Executor or Administrator by the court to gather and distribute the assets. 

Inventory:  This is a report to the court of the assets of the deceased and their value. 

Account:  A report at the termination of the probate of the estate, or periodically, that reports to the court who received the assets of the deceased. 

Contact Moseman Law Office in Mentor, Ohio

There are time frames and supporting documents to be filed with all of the items listed above.  The best way to smoothly navigate the probate process is to hire experienced legal counsel to help you.  Moseman Law Office has experienced legal counsel.  Call us at 440-255-0832.