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Holcomb & Hyde LLC May 6, 2021

Many Ohio residents have heard about inheritances, and many times, they’re pictured as being a lump sum check of money. In reality, passing down assets is not always that easy. Understanding how assets get passed down and what’s involved in the process can allow you to be more familiar with how inheritance actually works in real life.

What Is an Inheritance?

Inheritance, contrary to common belief, can include any asset such as cash, stocks or real estate that is received by a surviving beneficiary of a deceased person. Inheritances are determined by what is specified in the deceased person’s will. When they sit down to go through the estate planning process, they can list out beneficiaries that they want to receive their assets.

They have the option to simply leave a list of beneficiaries who are to evenly split all the assets. Or, the grantor may specify which beneficiary gets what specific assets. Either way, a person’s will must be entered into the probate process before any of the assets are transferred to beneficiaries.

How Does the Probation Process Work?

After a person passes, their will is entered into probate. This means that the probate court will essentially review the bill for authenticity. During this process, an executor will be authorized. This can be a person that was chosen by the deceased person, or the court will appoint one. The executor is in charge of paying off the deceased person’s remaining debts and legally transferring assets to their beneficiaries as outlined in the will.

While many people believe that inheritances are passed on when a deceased person dies, that’s an overgeneralization. The reality is that a person’s estate will have to go through the probate process, and some of those assets that were marked for inheritances may be used to pay off the deceased person’s debts before they are handed on to the beneficiary.