In the wake of the death of a loved one, probate can seem like a nuisance or an added stress that your family does not need. However, when it comes to real estate, probate can be remarkably simple in Ohio.

If there is only a transfer of the real estate from the decedent to the heirs, and no other assets, a shortened procedure called Real Estate Only can be used. It applies where:

  1.     Six months has elapsed since the time of death.
  2.     There are no other assets in the estate.
  3.     There are no creditors with claims to the estate.

Where the three conditions apply, the real estate is deeded to the persons designated in the will or by the Ohio Statute of Descent and Distribution, through a Certificate of Transfer issued by the probate court. This transfer is subject to any existing mortgages or certified liens.


Ohio Statute of Descent and Distribution

In the case of person passing away without a will in Ohio (intestate), this statute gives the state a procedure to follow in terms of figuring out who will receive the assets.

First, the estate will go to the surviving spouse, and the children of the decedent from prior relationships. If there is no surviving spouse, the assets belong to the children. If no children, then to the parents of the deceased, next to siblings, and finally to lineal descendants of the grandparents.

Where no blood relatives can be found, the property falls to the State of Ohio.


There is a packet of forms which must be filled out for Real Estate Only.  When the forms are properly completed, take it with an original death certificate and paid funeral bill to the county probate court.  If everything is in order, the court will issue the Certificate of Transfer which acts as the new deed. It then needs filed with the county Auditor (tax purposes) and Recorder (land records.)

If six months have not passed, the real estate can still be transferred if certain other conditions are met through a normal full estate probate procedure. However, this process is a bit longer and more involved.

Estate planning is not something most people want to think about. It is easier on your loved ones in the event of your passing to have already outlined the division of your estate. Port Legal has over 30 years of experience helping people plan their estates and through the process of probate. We also have expertise in elder care law, as well as probate and real estate law, so we can handle any need that may arise with the estate of your loved one.

Call our offices today to schedule a free consultation and see what the next steps you need to take in your estate planning, real estate, and probate needs.