Probate is the court’s supervised process in which the assets of a deceased person are identified, debts and obligations are satisfied and the remaining assets are transferred to beneficiaries which have been designated by the deceased individual pursuant to his or her Will. In this process, the heirs/beneficiaries of the deceased individual are made known to the court and are notified of the probate proceedings. Additionally, during the probate process, creditors are permitted to file claims against the estate as to indebtedness due and owing. The probate process involves the appointment by the court of an Executor if the decedent had a Will at the time of his or her death or the appointment of an Administrator in the event that no Will existed.
The duties of the Executor and Administrator are essentially the same although the Executor has more powers which are conveyed to that individual pursuant to both Ohio statutes and the provisions of the individual’s Will. At the conclusion of the probate process, after all debts and probate expenses have been paid, the net remaining cash assets or items of property are distributed to the heirs of the estate. The Executor or the Administrator is required to prepare and file an accounting of all of the assets received in the probate process and an itemization of all expenditures and satisfaction of the debts of the decedent, together with the distribution of the remaining assets to the heirs. The accounting is submitted to the Probate Court for review in order to verify, to the heirs and the creditors, that the Executor or Administrator has made a proper distribution of assets, has protected the creditors, and has made the appropriate distribution to the heirs.