Allison Harrison
May 31, 2023

Expert Guide to Avoiding Probate and Protecting Assets in Ohio

A commonly asked question our firm often gets is “How do I protect my assets and avoid probate for my next of kin when I pass?” A few steps can easily be taken to avoid the probate process and protect your assets from defaulting to your estate. 

Transfer/Payable on Death Beneficiaries for monetary accounts:

A Transfer on Death or Payable on Death Beneficiary is regularly used on any monetary accounts (checking accounts, savings accounts, life insurance plans, money market accounts, etc.) to allow the owner of the account to designate beneficiaries of their choosing to allow the accounts to pass to them without the need of probate. Though each financial institution and company will have its own process or procedure, it will ideally only require presenting a death certificate of the original account owner to release the funds to the named beneficiary or beneficiaries. 

Transfer on Death Affidavit for real estate:

In Ohio, a Transfer on Death Affidavit can be filed within the County where the property is located, naming a beneficiary or beneficiaries to which the property should be transferred upon the original owner’s death. If two individuals jointly own a property, it is designated to only transfer upon both named owners' deaths. Just like with monetary accounts, more than one beneficiary can also be named as the transfer on death for real estate.

Transfer on Death Beneficiary Designation for Vehicles:

In Ohio, a Transfer on Death Beneficiary Designation form can be filled out and filed with the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, naming a beneficiary or beneficiaries to which the vehicle should be transferred upon the original owner’s death. Similar to the designation for all real estate, this can be accomplished if there is a single owner or joint ownership of a vehicle, whereas both named owners must be deceased for the transfer to be made. Again, as with the other two types of assets we already discussed, you can name one or more beneficiaries to whom you wish to transfer vehicle ownership. 

Remaining Assets:

Items individuals often overlook when working towards avoiding probate are all the goods and assets located within your home. That could include things of all kinds such as watch collections, china, furniture, clothing, jewelry, the list is endless. These items can all be addressed in your will so that your wishes on the division of the assets are handled to your desire upon your passing. All items can be lumped together and transferred to one beneficiary or a division of the assets can be made to as many designees as you desire.

With proper planning and the assistance of our office, we can ensure that these steps are properly taken to make every effort to avoid probate. Planning ahead and taking these steps will take the burden off your beneficiaries to allow for a smooth transition of your assets upon your passing.