When is probate and retaining an attorney required regarding settling an estate?

Mother then father passed away within 49 days of each other. I was the power of attorney and now executor of their Wills. Just recently found their life insurance policies. Mother’s listed father (now deceased) then myself and brother equally as subsequent beneficiaries of (2) policies totalling about $11,700. Father passed away under hospice care and his policy beneficiary was changed last year to “The Estate of (his name), about $4000 death benefit. There are: no vehicles in their names, typical household chattles and a home that has no equity in it (it has a reverse mortgage of which $104,000 is still owed, plus the county has appraised home at $58,000 for property tax purposes).

Asked on February 26, 2013 under Estate Planning, Ohio


Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

You need a probate/estate attorney to help you.  There is no way around this as the situation is complicated.

Your mother's life insurance company may pay you and your brother without an estate depending on their insurance contract language.  However, since your mother passed first, the proceeds may go to your father's estate.  The proceeds of his life insurance will definitely go to his estate.

Real estate is usually more complicated to deal with than cash.  However, Ohio has provisions for small estates that allow transfer of property without a full administration estate.  If the home lender will cooperate, you may be able to use this summary procedure.  Court approval will be required and you need a lawyer to assist with that.

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