Law Articles

Summary Release From Administration

Joanie was very close with her Uncle Felix.  Uncle Felix never married and had no children of his own. He treated Joanie as a daughter.  Uncle Felix took care to list Joanie as the transfer-on-death beneficiary on his savings accounts.  Likewise, he recorded a transfer on death affidavit with the local recorder so his house would transfer to Joanie upon his death.  He understood these assets would be treated as non-probate assets upon his death and therefore could transfer to Joanie easily without having to go through a probate court administration.

When Uncle Felix passed away, Joanie paid for his funeral and burial expenses totaling $10,000.  Joanie used the funds she received from Uncle Felix’s bank accounts.   However, when Joanie was working with the bank clerk, she discovered that Uncle Felix had $1,500 in his checking account.   Uncle Felix failed to list a beneficiary on the checking account.  The bank clerk explained that the bank could not release the funds without the proper papers from the local probate court.  Joanie initially thought a full probate estate administration would be necessary.  She was pleasantly surprised when her family’s attorney explained there was a simple way of releasing the funds.  It is called a Summary Release from Administration.

There is a statute in the Ohio Revised Code (2113.031) Summary release from administration which expedites small estates when certain condition are met:

  1. the applicant has paid or is obligated in writing to pay the decedent's funeral and burial expenses;
  2. the decedent's estate does not exceed the lesser of five thousand dollars or the amount of the decedent's funeral and burial expenses;
  3. there are no pending estate proceedings for the decedent's estate; and,
  4. there are no known assets of the decedent's estate other than the assets described in the application (which does not include assets released directly through transfer on death designations on accounts or titles).
Funeral and burial expenses include those charges listed on the bill of a funeral director or which are approved by the probate court.  The statute also provides the same procedure for the decedent’s surviving spouse except the amount of assets which may be released is currently $45,000.  There is no requirement that the applicant is listed in decedent’s last will and testament.  No executor will be appointed.  There is no requirement to notify the decedent’s next of kin. There is no obligation to pay any other creditors of the estate.

A Summary Release from Administration is not only used to release funds in bank accounts. It can also release motor vehicles, trailers, stocks, bonds, or even real property provided the value does not exceed the maximum amount under the statute.  The applicant must provide the probate court with a sworn statement listing the known probate assets of the decedent along with a paid receipt for the funeral expenses or a contract showing the obligation of the application to pay those expenses.

If the probate court finds that all the requirements are satisfied, it will issue an order that directs the delivery of the decedent's personal property to the applicant together with the issuance of title.  
  • After the requirements are met, it relieves the decedent's estate from any further administration.

So, in Joanie’s case, she will be able to claim the $1,500 in Uncle Felix’s checking account provided there are no other assets which have to go through probate court.  

"If you are in need of a Summary Release from Administration in Ohio, we would be happy to help. Please feel free to request more information about our legal services and find out how to get started with setting up an appointment for our one of our lawyers sit down with you to review the specifics of your case."

Contact an Attorney in Medina, OhioMichael Laribee is a partner in the Medina, Ohio law firm of Laribee & Hertrick, LLP. This article is intended to provide general information about the law. It is not intended to give legal advice.  Readers are urged to seek advice from an attorney regarding their specific issues and rights. To contact an attorney at Laribee & Hertrick, LLP, request more information about our legal services today.


©2020 - Laribee & Hertrick, LLP - Custom Web Design Services by INSYTE eCommerce