Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Ohio

Q: Is there a penalty if no one steps up to go through probate court for someone who just passed away? There was no will.

The only asset was a bank account (no house, no car, no physical property of value) and the debts are known to be greater than the amount in the bank account and there was no will. There are younger adult children and they don't see the point in spending the time, money, and energy going to court since they don't stand to inherit anything, but want to make sure there is no penalty of any kind for not filing anyways.

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3 Lawyer Answers
Aaron Epling
Aaron Epling
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Hilliard, OH
  • Licensed in Ohio

A: No!!! Don't give up. Ohio has a statute of limitations on claims against an estate. The person who paid the funeral or the next of kin could wait 6 months and get a court order to release the money. It is usually a fairly simple process. You could also get an attorney to do all of it for you with no money up front.

Nina Whitehurst agrees with this answer

1 user found this answer helpful

Moshe Toron Esq
Moshe Toron Esq
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Cincinnati, OH
  • Licensed in Ohio

A: There is no penalty for not stepping forward and filing.

1 user found this answer helpful

C. Lawrence Huddleston III
C. Lawrence Huddleston III
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Columbus, OH
  • Licensed in Ohio

A: Assuming the family members are not co-signed or otherwise responsible for parental debts, there is no obligation to do anything at all. Creditors could open the estate, but almost certainly won't bother.

As Mr. Epling suggests, if the account has sufficient value to be worth some minor aggravation on someone's part, you can revisit the decision 6 months after death when the creditors no longer matter. But if there are any automatic bill pays coming from the account, it may be exhausted by then.

1 user found this answer helpful

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