Distribution of Assets from Decedent’s Estate

A question that I am commonly called upon to answer, What happens to a decedent’s assets after he passes away?

That question has a number of qualifying considerations and those qualifiers seriously impact the potential answers; however, in an attempt to shed some light on an otherwise foggy area, I’ll provide a brief overview of the standard estate and distribution of assets therefrom.

The priority of claims are set forth in R.C. 2117.25. R.C. 2117.25(A)(1) explains the assets in an estate go first to pay the probate court for court costs, then attorney and fiduciary fees, and the cost of maintenance of estate assets.

Next, R.C. 2117.25(A)(2) provides that up to $4,000 can be used to pay for the decedent’s funeral expenses.

In the event that the decedent leaves behind a surviving spouse or minor children, R.C. 2117.25(A)(3) provides that $40,000 is setforth as the next priority claim to provide support.

After the family is taken care of, R.C. 2117.25(A)(4) provides that the next priority are debts arriving under the laws of the United States (think tax debts, student loans, etc.).

After that, the next set of priority creditors are those related to the decedent’s last sickness (A)(5), the funeral director and other funeral expenses (A)(6), and expenses of last continuous stay in a nursing home (A)(7).

After those, the State gets back in line with the Medicaid Recovery Program.  Then there is a $300 allowance to any person who provided the decedent with manual labor.

Finally, after those are paid, general claims of the estate are allowed.

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