Lititz, PA asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Ohio

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?

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

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

Andrew Popp
Andrew Popp
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Ravenna, OH
  • Licensed in Ohio

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.

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