Law Office of Philip A. King

Central Ohio's Probate and Estate Planning Law Office

5940 N High St   Worthington OH   43085
(614) 838-1188   Mon - Fri   8:30A - 5P

 

 

Message from Philip A. King, Esq. — Owner:  Whenever we can, we plan and prepare to make our families’ lives easier. We buy and maintain our homes and try to pay our bills on time. We save money for our kids’ educations and our retirements, and do everything we can to make sure that our families are safe, thriving, and happy.

But many heads of families get so caught up in the everyday that they forget the best preparation they can provide for the future—an estate plan. Estate planning—essentially making sure that most or all of your assets go swiftly to your family members after your death—is easier and less expensive than most people think. And it will make the difficult days and weeks after your passing so much more bearable for the family you leave behind.

By engaging in estate planning now, you can make sure that your family can limit or avoid the lengthy and expensive probate process. The Law Office of Philip A. King, LLC is an Ohio MBE-Certified law office based in Columbus, Ohio that can help you deal with these matters. As a Probate/Estate Planning lawyer, I can prepare estate-planning documents before you die that will automatically transfer your property to your beneficiaries after you die.

And if you have a relative who has recently died, I can handle the probate case to settle their bills and transfer their property to their heirs. Throughout the probate process, I will explain to you what to expect and all of your options – with the goal of getting you the closure you need. That’s why at the Law Office of Philip A, King, LLC, we proudly say – “you get the experience you need, the value you want, and the integrity you deserve.”

Legal Services:

  • Estate Planning (Asset Protection)
  • Probate (Estate Administration)
  • Wills
  • Codicils
  • Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts
  • Charitable Reminder Trusts (Unitrusts and Annunity Trusts)
  • Durable Power-of-Attorneys
  • Living Wills
  • Medical Directives
  • Transfer on Death Deeds – Real Estate
  • Transfer on Death Agreements – Businesses
  • Guardianships

Probate FAQs

What is Probate?

“Probate” is the legal process through which a deceased person’s assets (such as bank accounts, vehicles, real property, and investments) are transferred to others. County Probate Courts oversee the process. When a person makes a Will, it controls how his or her assets will be transferred. If a person dies without a Will, the probate law in Ohio will control how the assets will be divided. If there are no living family members, the assets go to the state.

The Probate Court appoints an executor or administrator for each estate, and that person is responsible for managing the estate. The executor or administrator will determine what assets the deceased person owned, pay any bills the person owes, and then distribute the remaining assets. These are called “probate assets.” Certain kinds of assets don’t have to go through probate. Any asset that goes directly to another person following someone’s death without having to go through the probate process is called a “non-probate asset.”

How long does it take for my family to get their money through Probate?

Even when the gross value of the estate (probate assets and certain non-probate assets) is small, the probate process can take a long time. During that time, the family of the deceased person must wait for the distribution of the person’s assets, even though life goes on and bills pile up. The process itself can also be costly. The executor or administrator is entitled to a percentage of the estate’s assets for the work he or she does and there will also be attorney fees paid from the estate. That’s money that won’t go to the person’s family members. There are nine basic steps to probating an estate:

  1. Filing of an application for authority to administer the estate, admit the will to probate, if one exists, and notification of probate
  2. Appointment of fiduciary
  3. Gathering assets and obtaining appraisals as required
  4. Filing an inventory and schedule of assets
  5. Paying creditors
  6. Filing estate and income tax returns and paying taxes, if any (as of January 1, 2013 Ohio no longer has a separate estate tax)
  7. Distributing remaining assets to beneficiaries
  8. Filing accounts
  9. Closing the estate

It can take months or years to complete these steps depending on the case. But, if the gross value of the estate is small enough, Ohio law allows you to file a summary release from administration or to apply to relieve the estate from administration to expedite the process.

Why might I want to limit probate?

That’s easy. You want to limit or avoid probate because (1) it can take a long time to administer even simple estates, and (2) it can take money from your savings and other assets – money that would otherwise go directly to your family. It’s also worrying for your family—the very people you have always worked so hard to protect and preserve from worry. By investing some time and money to set up these automatic transfers, spouses, parents and grandparents can help their family members avoid or limit probate after they pass away.

My family doesn’t have a lot of money and “estate planning” sounds expensive. Why do I need to have an estate plan?

Good question. Estate planning isn’t just for the rich. If you own a home, a car, or have bank accounts, estate planning allows you to protect and pass more of your assets along to your family. In fact, families with modest incomes and property can benefit as much from estate planning as wealthier families by preserving as many resources as possible for their loved ones.

It comes down to this: Wouldn’t you rather spend a relatively small amount of time and money now to make sure that your family worries as little as possible, and receives as much of your money as possible, after your death? Estate planning allows you to do that.

What if I’m sick for a while before I die and can’t make decisions for myself? Can estate planning help with that?

Absolutely. You can act now to select family members, friends, or other trusted individuals to assist you if and when you can’t make decisions for yourself. You can prepare a durable power of attorney for health care and a living will to establish the kind of medical care you want. You can also set up a legal power of attorney so that someone else can pay your bills and manage your financial affairs while you are ill. Again, by making those decisions now, you will give your family members the ability to make decisions for you when you can’t without having get a court-appointed guardian.

How Can I Avoid or Limit Probate?

As I mentioned above, some of your assets won’t have to go through the probate process if you take steps now to make sure that they will transfer directly to another person when you die. For example, you can:

  1. Make sure that your home or other real estate transfers to another person by preparing a particular kind of deed
  2. Put most or all of your assets in a “living trust,” which allows you to use and enjoy the assets during your life, but transfers them to your loved ones after your death
  3. Ensure that your retirement and other investment income will automatically be paid to your spouse, children, or charity

But it’s not enough to simply leave a letter or even a Will saying you want these things to happen. You will need to adhere to the legal processes that Ohio law establishes in order for these transfers to occur automatically. My office can help you make sure you do it according to the law.

One of my children has special needs and receives Medicaid. I’ve been told that I can’t leave any money to her in my will without affecting her Medicaid eligibility, and that scares me. What can I do to make sure she will be have enough money after I have died?

That is worrying. But there are steps you can take to help provide for your child with special needs after your death. You can establish a specific trust for her that won’t affect her ability to continue receiving Medicaid benefits. I can help you with that.

What happens when I meet with you?

We will spend some time talking about what you have and what you want to do with it. Once we have had that conversation, I can tell you what steps would help you prepare for your family. I can also tell you what it will cost to make those preparations. Think of me as a personal trainer for your estate: my job is to help you reach the estate goals you set for yourself.

What is my next step?

If you’re ready to discuss an estate plan or your relative has passed away, call my office at (614) 838-1188 or use this contact form to reach me. When we set up the appointment, my office will tell you what you need to bring to our first meeting in order to get you started.

 

 

Learn more by clicking my experience, my fees, and client and peer reviews.

The Experience You Need

When it comes to estate planning, it’s not “one size fits all.” There are a variety of options (living trusts, survivorship deeds, transfer on death documents, etc.) that can be tailored to your situation so you don’t buy a more expensive estate plan than necessary. That’s why you need an experienced estate planning lawyer to explain your options and help you pick the right plan for you. In fact, the Franklin County Probate Court strongly recommended that all fiduciaries hire an attorney rather than attempt to probate an estate on their own because of the complexity of the probate law and the legal issues that can arise in estate administration. While the staff at the Franklin County Probate Court staff is one of the friendliest and most helpful around, they cannot give you legal advice. So ask yourself – would you hire someone like you (who knew as much about probate and estate planning law as you do) to plan your estate or to handle a probate case?

Do you know...

  • What documents you need to prepare to transfer your property and money to your heirs without going through the probate process?
  • Who can witness the signing of your Will?
  • Whether having a guardian stops you from executing your Will?
  • Whether having a mental illness stops you from executing a Will?
  • What documents you need to file to open up an estate case?
  • How to open a probate case without a Will?
  • Who gets the decedent’s property if there is no Will?
  • How to open up the estate if you can’t find the original Will or it is destroyed?
  • Who has to receive notice of the probate case?
  • How to obtain waivers of service from the heir and beneficiary?
  • What to do if you don’t know the names and addresses of the decedent’s next of kin?
  • What to do if you can’t locate a named beneficiary?
  • Whether the estate qualifies for relief from a lengthy full administration?
  • What to do if someone wants to challenge your appointment as executor?
  • What to do if you can’t serve as the executor?
  • What to do if you are the executor but you live outside of Ohio?
  • What to do if the Will or court requires you to post a bond?
  • What your rights are as a spouse to certain property and amounts under Ohio law with or without a Will?
  • When a child, who is not the child of the surviving spouse, can receive an inheritance under Ohio law?
  • How to determine if the estate needs a tax ID number and how to get it?
  • How get authorization to rent the decedent’s property if the will does not give the executor that power?
  • What to do to stop the mortgage company from filing a foreclosure on decedent’s property?
  • Which creditors have to be paid and which creditors don’t?
  • How to prepare and file the Inventory and Final Accountings for the estate?

I know the answer to all these questions and many more. Whether it is estate planning to avoid probate or assisting you with a probate case, I will review your situation with you, explain what you can expect at every stage in the process, and identify your options. I will represent you zealously, and will act to protect both your legal rights and your personal interests, all with the goal of making sure that the outcome of your case is as favorable for you as possible. Call the Law Office of Philip A. King now at (614) 838-1188 to schedule your free consultation.

Attorney Philip King’s Legal Experience and Career Highlights:

  • Has over 15 years of trial experience
  • Litigated over 90 federal cases, over 100 state cases, and over 30 disciplinary cases in court
  • Won 7 federal trials
  • Litigated 4 class actions
  • Made 6 oral arguments before the Supreme Court of Ohio
  • Presides over administrative hearings as a Hearing Officer for 4 state agencies
  • Serves as an Adjunct Professor at Capital University Law School
  • Teaches as a Trial Advocacy instructor for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy
  • Lectures at Continuing Legal Education seminars on Legal Ethics across the state of Ohio
  • Serves a pro bono corporate counsel for the Christian Congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Ohio
  • Ohio MBE-Certified since 2014

The Value You Want

At the Law Office of Philip A. King, LLC, we believe in transparency and don’t require that you call us to find out what our fees are like other law offices do. We are happy to tell you our fees upfront because we know we have the value you want.

Estate Planning Fees

We offer fixed fees on all of our estate planning documents depending on the complexity of the document starting at $100:

  • Wills
  • Financial Power of Attorney
  • Medical Power of Attorney
  • Living Wills
  • Living Trusts
  • Transfer on Death Deed or Survivorship Deed

Depending on your needs, we can prepare a single document or more documents for additional savings.

What if I can’t afford to do everything at once?

That’s okay—you can decide which parts of the estate plan are the most important and we can focus your resources on doing those first. Then, if necessary, you can defer others matters until later. Together, we can set a strategy that will allow you to achieve your long-term planning goals on the timetable that works best for you. But remember: the more you plan and prepare now, the easier you will make things for your family later.

Probate Fees

For probate cases, we cannot offer fixed fees and have to charge by the hour. Why?

Before I can collect my attorney fees, the probate court must approve it. While other counties allow attorneys to charge attorney fees based on a percentage of the value of the probate and non-probate properties, the Franklin County Probate Court prefers that attorneys charge an hourly rate and provide an itemization of the time spent on the case as proof that the fee is reasonable.

What should you expect to pay then? Depending on the case, the probate court requires an initial deposit of $150-$275 to cover court costs as the case proceeds. Any unused portion of the deposit will be returned to the estate. We offer affordable rates that range from $90-$225 per hour depending on the task. We guarantee you our most affordable rate and charge in 6-minutes increments so you don’t pay for a full hour if we complete an assignment in less time. And don’t worry, these fees are not paid by the executor, administrator, or beneficiaries. These fees are paid from the estate’s assets at the conclusion of the case unless the court approves an earlier payment.

5 Tips to lower your attorney fees

  1. Do your research. If you’ve never hired a lawyer before, do some online research or talk to a friend who has hired an attorney about what they paid. This will help avoid the sticker shock when the lawyer quotes his fee and enable you to negotiate using what other attorneys charge as a comparison.
  2. Come prepared. Your initial consultation might be free but the meetings after that won’t be. If you have to return because you didn’t bring the information that you were asked to bring, expect to pay for it.
  3. Provide as much information as possible. For example – why pay your attorney to locate someone if you can get the person’s address and provide it to your attorney for free.
  4. Avoid unnecessary communication. Calling just to vent might seem like a good way to blow off steam but it’s an expensive way. Remember, the meter is running for all face-to-face meetings, phone calls, e-mails and yes even text messages.
  5. Review your bills thoroughly. Attorneys make billing mistakes too. Review your bill for mistaken charges and ask for a revised bill immediately.

The Integrity You Deserve

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