The loss of a loved one is a difficult situation. It’s common for people to experience anxiety based on not having the answers to their many questions concerning the decedent’s finances. Depending on an individual’s situation; this may require going to court and proving the will left by the deceased is valid. There could be inventorying as well as identifying a deceased’s property. An appraisal may need to be made of the deceased’s property. Distribution of property and assets in accordance with the dictates of the will or state law may need to take place.
Power of Attorney
Many people wonder if they can still use the power of attorney for their deceased spouse or family member. No, in Ohio the power of attorney no longer has any legal authority at the moment of a person’s passing. It can no longer be used to transact business in the name of the decedent. When a person passes away, the legal authority to act on behalf of the decedent goes to an executor appointed by a court or a designated administrator of the estate. A person is not an executor just because one is named in a will. A person must apply at the proper Probate Court and the Court, if a person is qualified to serve, will issue Letters of Authority. If a trust is involved, then the probate court does not appoint the person to act, the person is named in the Trust document.
Safety Deposit Box
Having access to this will be determined if the decedent is the only registered owner. If this is the case, a person will need to obtain a court order from the probate court showing they are the administrator or executor of the estate. Should the safety deposit box be registered in two names, the surviving owner will continue to have access to it.
When a bank account is only in the name of a decedent, it will be frozen by the financial institution where it is located once they are informed of the person’s passing. In order to gain access to a deceased’s frozen account, it will require a death certificate and Letters of Authority from probate court. A joint bank account with someone other than the decedent’s spouse will automatically be until the remaining person brings in a death certificate and will be given access to the funds in the account. Joint and Survivorship assets pass directly to a name person and are not probate assets.
Most assets held by a decedent at the time of death may be subject to probate. There are some assets that will not be subject to probate law. Property held jointly that has a right of survivorship in the ownership documents. Assets that may not be part of a probate are life insurance, as well as annuities, IRAs, pensions and other retirement plans. Deeds that are designed to transfer at death for real estate as well vehicles that have transfer at death in their titles. All assets in a Living Trust at the time a person’s death and more may not be part of a probate.
The probate process can be difficult and complicated. Many people may become confused by all the requirements and it is made more difficult if everyone is not getting along. This is a situation where a probate attorney can help. They will know how to file a will with the probate court, get an executor appointed, file necessary paperwork and make certain all legal requirements for an estate are met. They are also several notices that need to be sent out to the decedent’s heirs that are required to start certain deadlines.