Q: Can I file probate claim if I'm the only child of record, but I live in another state?
If my father passes without a will, I'm worried that I will not be able to do anything because I live in PA. His sister and i are the only remaining, close blood relatives. My aunt lives in Ohio. Would it fall to her or me?
A: If he is not married and you were his only child (i.e. he had no other living or deceased children) then you are entitled to his entire probate estate, if he had no will.
However, certain assets may have passed directly to your aunt or others, if they were named on his bank account or life insurance as beneficiaries.
More information is needed.
Nina Whitehurst agrees with this answer
1 user found this answer helpful
A: I would like to expand on this a bit. If there is no Will, Ohio places additional restrictions on who is permitted to serve as the administrator of the estate. While you will have the ability to file an application to probate his estate, you will not be permitted to serve as the administrator of the estate as an out of state resident. The way to solve this is to have your father complete a Will.
Your question is a good one. When you say you will "not be able to do anything" it's partially correct. You will be able to get probate started, however you will not be the one to manage assets, settle debts and distribute the inheritance. That must be done by a resident of Ohio, unless a Will is completed.
As the other attorney indicated, your father may be able to set up his estate so that much avoids probate entirely. However, you cannot set everything up that way. Assets that do not have a paper title (household goods, e.g.) will need to be probated for ownership to transfer legally from one person to another.
I highly recommend having your father sit down with an experienced estate planning attorney to review your family's situation in detail and design a plan to save your family time, money and avoid arguments in the future.
Best of luck.
Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.
The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.
Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.