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Out of State Representation in Ohio

Ohio Out-of-State Representation

Ohio law places some restrictions on out-of-state heirs and property during the probate estate-settlement process.

Settling estates and disposing of real property becomes more complex for out-of-state residents. While we encourage anyone going through the probate or estate-settlement process to seek the counsel of an experienced probate attorney in Cleveland, such professional legal advice is particularly true for out-of-state residents. 

Common issues that arise involving out-of-state residents include: 

  • Executors or administrators who live out of state. 
  • Heirs who live out of state. 
  • Disposing of real property in Ohio as an out-of-state resident. 
  • Disposing of property in another state as an Ohio resident. 

Out-of-state executors, administrators, trustees and heirs

Ohio law mandates guidelines and restrictions for out-of-state residents involved in the probate or estate-settlement process. 

For executors who are named in a Last Will and Testament or other estate-planning document, the law permits an out-of-state resident to be named only if the person is a spouse, blood relative, or adopted relative of the deceased, or lives in a state that allows non resident executors.  

In cases where the decedent does not name an executor, the court will appoint an administrator to supervise the estate settlement, including an accounting of all assets, payment of debts, and distribution of assets to rightful heirs. Ohio law requires an administrator to be an Ohio resident in most cases. 

Local probate courts may have additional rules in cases involving out-of-state fiduciaries, including trustees.  These restrictions aim to ensure compliance with Section 2109.21 O.R.C, which governs appointment of out-of-state fiduciaries, and to ensure assets remain in Ohio until an estate is settled. Restrictions may include: 

  • A requirement to employ an attorney licensed in Ohio. 
  • Placement of decedent’s assets into a custodial depository in the county of record. 
  • Having a co-fiduciary who is a resident of the state. 
  • Appointment of a co-trustee.
  • Additional bonding or insurance requirements.

Liquidation of out-of-state property owned by an Ohio decedent, or Ohio property owned by an out-of-state heir, will generally require an ancillary probate process in the county where the property is located. If an out-of-state decedent dies intestate (without a Will) owning Ohio property, and an heir seeks only to transfer title, an "affidavit for transfer of real estate inherited" or “certificate of title transfer” may be filed in some cases in order to transfer title of the property. 

Rights of Out-of-State Heirs

While Ohio laws may seem complex when it comes to real property owned out-of-state or by an out-of-state decedent, the law is designed to make sure such property, or the proceeds from the sale of such property, are distributed to rightful heirs. Thus, the law does much to protect heirs in this regard. The best way to simplify the process is with an estate plan. Properly titled, real property can move from an heir to a decedent without ever needing to go through the probate court process. 

However, like many areas of law, it is incumbent upon an heir to assert those rights. Consulting with an experienced Cleveland probate attorney as early as possible in the process is the best way to protect your rights. 

Daniel McGowan represents clients in probate and estate matters throughout the Cleveland area, including Lakewood, Rocky River, Fairview Park, Shaker Heights, Cleveland Heights, South Euclid, East Cleveland, Linndale, Brooklyn, Parma, Brook Park. Newburgh Heights, Cuyahoga Heights, Brooklyn Heights, Warrensville Heights, Maple Heights, Garfield Heights, Bratenahl and Euclid.

Call 216-242-6054 today for a free and confidential consultation.

Law Offices of Daniel McGowan, LLC is a full-service law practice, with extensive experience in the areas of litigation and trial practice, elder law, and probate law and trust law. The information on this website, however, is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. Each legal situation is unique and you should consult with a reputable attorney regarding your specific circumstances.
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