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 75.5 also should be reviewed.

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

  1. Certified copy of the decedent’s Death Certificate (the Deputy Clerk will make a copy and return the certified copy to you);
  2. Copy of the your Driver’s License or Government issued picture ID (if filed without an attorney);
  3. Paid funeral bill with proof of who paid the funeral bill;
  4. 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.  There will be an additional Twenty dollar ($20.00) filing fee if the will is admitted;
  5. If you are filing the Will “For Record Only”, you will need to present the original will and the Application to File Will For Record Only (DCPC Form 2.0R).  There is an additional Five dollar ($5.00) filing fee for this filing;
  6. If you have any Titled Vehicles to transfer, you will need to file DCPC Form 9.3A or Form 9.C for each vehicle, provide a copy of the auto title (if available), and provide either a print out of the vehicle’s value from the Internet or an appraisal from an auto dealer.  There is an additional five dollar ($5.00) charge per vehicle;
  7. Copies of documentation, or appraisals, establishing the value of all bank accounts, contracts, or other assets for which release is requested. 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.  A motion to dispense with the real estate appraisal is not required when using the County Auditor's valuation.  If you do not have the date of death valuation for an asset, you will need to complete and file the Motion for Authority to Obtain Release of Information;
  8. Complete a Medicaid Recovery Acknowledgment form;
  9. The base court cost deposit is Eighty-eight dollars ($88.00); and
  10. Complete the Probate Forms listed to the right that are applicable. 

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

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

  1. Certified copy of the decedent’s Death Certificate (the Deputy Clerk will make a copy and return the certified copy to you);
  2. Copy of Driver’s License or Government issued picture ID;
  3. Certified Marriage Abstract, if filing as the Surviving Spouse;
  4. Paid funeral bill, with indication of who paid it;
  5. Waivers from any family members who would also have the right to inherit under the Ohio statute of descent and distribution;
  6. If you have any Titled Vehicles to transfer, you will need to file a DCPC Form 9.3A or Form 9C for each vehicle, provide a copy of the auto title (if available), and a print out of the vehicle’s value from the Internet or an appraisal from a car dealer.  There is an additional five dollar ($5.00) charge per vehicle;
  7. Copies of documentation, or appraisals establishing the value of all bank accounts, contracts, or other assets for which release is requested. Absent the date of death valuation for an asset, then also a Motion for Authority to Obtain Release of Information;
  8. Complete a Medicaid Recovery Acknowledgment form;
  9. The base court cost deposit is Eighty-eight dollars ($88.00), cash or check only; and
  10. Complete the Probate Forms listed to the right that are applicable.

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

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 week, depending on whether the Court directs that newspaper publication of the Notice of the Application be made in the case.

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?

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.

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

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 strongly recommends that all Applicants seek legal counsel.  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.

Additional information