August 2021 Changes To Ohio Probate, Guardianship, and Trust Law

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On August 17, 2021, Ohio HB 7, the Ohio State Bar Association’s Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law section bill revising some of Ohio probate, guardianship, and trust law will take effect.  The bill revises several sections of Ohio probate law, guardianship law, and the Ohio Trust Code.  Two key changes are highlighted in this article.

Ohio Guardians, With Probate Court Approval Can Create Estate Plans For Wards

Section 2111.50 of the Ohio Revised Code was amended to confer additional powers upon the court and Ohio guardians with respect to guardianship wards, effective on August 17, 2021.  Ohio guardians, with court approval, will be able to:

  • Create, amend, or revoke revocable trusts of property of the estate of the ward that may extend beyond the minority, disability, or life of the ward
  • Change beneficiaries of insurance policies, retirement plans, individual retirement accounts, and annuities

 

These powers can only be done after notice is given and a hearing is conducted.  Notice is required to be given to all of the following as applicable:

  • The heirs at law and next of kin of the ward
  • The beneficiaries under an existing will or revocable trust of the ward
  • The beneficiaries of any insurance policies, retirement plans, individual retirement accounts, and annuities owned by the ward
  • The beneficiaries under any proposed revocable trust and the proposed beneficiaries under any changes in the designation of beneficiaries of any insurance policies, retirement plans, individual retirement accounts, or annuities as described in division (E)(2)(d)(iii) of this section [section 2111.50]
  • To any other persons the court orders

 

Therefore, while a guardian can now obtain authorization to change a ward’s estate plan, the new 2021 law has built in considerable due process protections, requiring notice and a hearing before the Ohio probate court exercises its discretion to allow changes to a ward’s estate plan.  This is a significant change that Ohio probate and trust litigators will keep a close eye on.

The version of section 2111.50 in effect until August 17, 2021 can be found here.

An Ohio Surviving Spouse Can Take an Automobile Without Reduction Of Family Allowance

Section 2106.13 was also amended ever so slightly to expand the rights of an Ohio surviving spouse.  The section now allows for the surviving spouse to take an automobile without reduction of the surviving spouse’s family allowance.  The new language reads:

If the surviving spouse selected more than one automobile under section 2106.18 of the Revised Code, the allowance for support prescribed by this section shall be reduced by the value of the automobile having the lowest value of the automobiles so selected.

The version of section 2106.13 in effect until August 17, 2021 can be found here.

To see all of the changes contained in Ohio HB 6, you can access the complete text of Ohio HB 6 here.

Complete Guide to Ohio Probate

Ohio Probate Basics
Wills and Will Contests
Ohio Spousal and Family Rights