Summary release from administration lets small estates skip the probate court administration process. Probate court administration can take a long time and can be expensive. Applying for summary release from administration may save you time and money.
Eligibility for summary release from administration
There are two cases where you can apply for summary release from administration:
- You are the surviving spouse of the deceased person. To be eligible, the surviving spouse must be entitled to all of the "family allowance." You are not eligible if your spouse left behind minor children who are not also your children. The value of the estate must not exceed $40,000 plus up to $5,000 in funeral expenses paid or owed by the surviving spouse.
- You paid for the deceased person’s funeral. To be eligible, you must pay or be obligated in writing to pay the funeral and burial expenses. The value of the estate must not exceed $5,000.
How to apply
To apply for summary release from administration, you must complete a packet of forms and include supporting documents. Documents you need include:
- The original will, if there is one
- A certified copy of the death certificate
- The funeral bill or the paid receipt
- Auto title, bank account and stock certificate information, if applicable
- The market or book value of real property, motor vehicles, and other recreational vehicles
- Your probate court may require additional documents
The forms you will fill out will depend on whether the deceased person owned real estate, if they were over 55 and received Medicaid, and the requirements at your local probate court.
Use the Summary Release from Administration Form Assistant to get the basic packet of forms you will need. Check your local probate court's website to see if they require additional forms or documentation.
After you submit your application
The court takes about one to two weeks to process applications for summary release from administration.
If the court grants summary release from administration, the court’s order plus a certified copy of the summary release application gives financial institutions, corporations or other entities or people the right to transfer the decedent’s assets to the applicant.
If there is real estate, you must update the real estate records to show the new owner. Take any Certificate of Transfer issued by the court to the County Auditor’s Office, and then to the Recorder’s Office. There may be additional costs and forms to complete at the Auditor or Recorder’s office.
Apply for the homestead exemption if you qualify
Some homeowners use the homestead exemption to reduce their property taxes. It's generally for lower-income homeowners who are older or have a disability.
If the deceased homeowner had the homestead exemption:
- Don’t assume it will transfer to you. The homestead exemption is given to the person who applies and qualifies for it. It won’t necessarily transfer to you as the new owner or the surviving spouse.
- You still may qualify. If you are an older homeowner with a lower income or you have a permanent, total disability, you may qualify for the homestead exemption. Also, you may qualify for a greater reduction if you are a disabled veteran or the surviving spouse of a public service officer killed in the line of duty.
- Contact your county auditor. Contact your county auditor’s office to see if you can get the homestead exemption. You can find your county auditor using the directory from the County Auditors’ Association of Ohio. You may need to fill out an application and submit it to the auditor.