Release From Administration 

Under RC 2113.03, a surviving spouse may inherit the entire estate, without administration, if the value of the gross estate is $100,000.00 or less.

If there is not a surviving spouse, the heir(s) may be entitled to inherit without administration provided the gross estate has a value of less than $35,000.00. In either instance, relatively minimal relief proceedings are required to be filed with the probate court.

The guidelines for the determination can be found on the Application to Relieve Estate from Administration, Form 5.0. Also, the frequently asked questions set forth below should be considered as the applicable dollar limits may be reduced for decedent’s dying in particular years. Loc.R 75.3 also should be reviewed.

Items necessary to file a Release from Administration with a Will:

  • Paid funeral bill with proof of who paid the funeral bill;
  • If you are probating the Will, you will need Waivers from those listed on both sides of the Form 1.0, or give Notice of Admission of the Will to them and then file the Certificate of Service of Notice of Probate of Will (Form 2.4) with proofs of service or waivers;  
  • If you have any Titled Vehicles to transfer, you will need to file an Application for Transfer of Motor Vehicle for each vehicle, and provide either a print out of the vehicle’s value from the Internet or an appraisal from an auto dealer;   
  • You may elect to use the County Auditor’s market valuation as the estate valuation for the real estate instead of having a fair market value appraisal.  Then the value should be annotated as the “auditor’s valuation” with a copy of the County Auditor’s property record card identifying the parcel and the owner(s) attached;  
  • Complete Standard Probate Form 7.0 (Medicaid Estate Recovery Program);
  • The base court cost deposit can be found in Appendix A of the Local Rules of Court; and
  • Complete all other requirements outlined on the Court’s Checklist found below.

Items necessary to file a Release from Administration without a Will:

  • Paid funeral bill, with indication of who paid it;
  • Waivers from any family members who would also have the right to inherit under the Ohio statute of descent and distribution;
  • If you have any Titled Vehicles to transfer, you will need to file an Application to Transfer Motor Vehicle for each vehicle, and a print out of the vehicle’s value from the Internet or an appraisal from a car dealer;
  • Complete Standard Probate Form 7.0 (Medicaid Estate Recovery Program);
  • The base court cost deposit can be found in Appendix A of the Local Rules of Court; and
  • Complete all other requirements outlined on the Court’s Checklist found below.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

When can the Release of Estate from Administration Process be used?

A Release of Estate From Administration proceeding may be filed if the decedent’s creditors will not be prejudiced and if a full estate administration has not already been opened for the decedent, provided that:

  1. The value of the decedent’s probate estate (the fair market value of the assets that require administration by the Probate Court) is $35,000 or less if there is no surviving spouse and the death occurred on or after November 9, 1994; or
  2. There is a surviving spouse who is the sole beneficiary of the decedent’s estate and the gross value of the estate is $100,000 or less and the death occurred on or after March 18, 1999.

Smaller dollar limits apply for deaths in earlier years (see FAQ “Maximum Limits” below).

Often, it is felt more expedient to proceed with a full administration because of the delay that can result from the requirement that the initial filing must include all of the creditors of the estate and also reflect the amounts due each of them.  This information may not be readily available in the period immediately after death.

If an estate that otherwise qualifies for release also has contentious or complicated issues it is generally more appropriate to pursue a full administration rather than a release. Insolvent estates should not be handled through the release process.

How long does the case take?

The Release from Administration generally can be completed much more quickly than a full administration. There may be a delay in the commencement of the release case while the information establishing the creditor’s information is collected. The timing of the filings and the completeness of the forms and documentation are wholly within the control of the Applicant. Once the complete Application to Relieve is filed and the supporting documentation pertaining to ownership, values, family, heirs and next of kin is provided, the Entry Granting Release from Administration will generally be approved within one to two weeks.

Is there a limitation on the type of assets that may be released?

No.  The Court may release from administration any asset over which it has jurisdiction.

Does using the release process save estate taxes?

The Ohio Estate Tax filings are not required for decedents dying after December 31, 2012.

No. Estate taxes are not determined by the process followed for the administration of an estate, or even by whether the assets are transferred through probate proceedings or through a non-probate mechanism for a transfer (designation of beneficiary, joint, or survivorship ownership).  Estate taxes arise from the decedent having an ownership interest in an asset at death and then the tax liability is calculated based on the total value of the decedent’s estate, the beneficiary of the assets, the relationship to the beneficiary or heir to decedent, and the amount of the decedent’s debts.

 

What are the maximum limits for release for deaths in earlier years then described in FAQ 1.

If no surviving spouse at death:

  1. Assets are $15,000 or less and decedent died on or after January 1, 1976 and prior to October 20, 1987, or
  2. Assets are $25,000 or less and decedent died on or after October 20, 1987 and prior to November 9, 1994.

If there is a surviving spouse at death who is entitled to everything and:

  1. Assets are $50,000 or less and decedent died on or after April 16, 1993 and prior to September 14, 1993, or
  2. Assets are $85,000 or less and decedent died on or after September 14, 1993 and prior to March 18, 1999.

Does the Applicant need an Attorney?

Due to the technical aspect of the legal process, the language, and the permanency of the outcomes, the Probate Court recommends that all Applicants seek legal counsel, but it is not required. Good legal advice will hasten the probate process, prevent costly mistakes, and lessen the chances that the Applicant will be faced with suits by other heirs, creditors or family members. Deputy Clerks of the Probate Court are prohibited by Ohio law from assisting in the preparation of the required forms.

Standard Probate Forms 

For all Standard Probate Forms click here.

For Checklists and Forms exclusive to Shelby County Probate Court, see the forms section below.

COURT CHECKLIST AND FORMS

Estate – Release From Administration Checklist

Fee Waiver Affidavit And Order

Confidential Disclosure of Personal Identifiers (Form 45D)

Affidavit Finding One And The Same Person

Entry Finding One And The Same Person

Application / Entry for Transfer of Motor Vehicle

Application / Entry for Transfer of Watercraft, Mobile Home, etc.

Authority to Transfer Title of Motor Vehicle

Affidavit to Transfer Title of Motor Vehicle (for Surviving Spouse)

Application / Entry Extending Time For Filing

Report of Distribution

Application To Reopen And Qualify Fiduciary

Entry Granting Application To Reopen Estate And Qualify Fiduciary

Reopened Estate - Report Of Distribution

Resignation Of Fiduciary

Entry Accepting Resignation Of Fiduciary

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