COLUMBUS – The Ohio House of Representatives passed House Bill 7 today, legislation sponsored by State Representatives Brian Stewart (R-Ashville) and Diane Grendell (R-Chesterland) that enacts several changes to Ohio’s probate and trust laws.
Key provisions of House Bill 7 include:
· Amending existing name change procedure to make the process faster, more efficient and at a lower cost to applicants by eliminating hearing and publication notice mandates and granting probate courts more discretion to determine the best way to administer each action on a case-by-case basis
· Modifying the treatment of a non-charitable trust by enabling modifications and further clarifying procedurally the removal or replacement of a trustee
· Allowing probate courts to appoint appropriate non-profit corporations organized under the laws of this state to be guardians of the person
· Improving the position of a surviving spouse when taking ownership of one or more of a deceased spouse’s automobiles
· Permitting elected judges the discretion to order the referral of a case to a private judge, rather than mandate it upon request of the parties, outlining procedure for termination
· Permitting specially trained mental health nurse practitioners to testify and provide opinions on civil commitment hearings at both the initial phase and at extension hearings
“Every probate matter follows the death of an Ohioan and improving the probate process will help their families who are left behind,” said Stewart. “This is a bipartisan, ‘nuts and bolts’, good-government bill and it’s been a privilege to work on it.”
House Bill 7 has support from several esteemed organizations, including the Ohio Supreme Court, the Ohio Judicial Conference, Ohio Association of Probate Judges, the Ohio State Bar Association, the Ohio Association of Domestic Relation Judge and Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association.
The legislation passed with a vote of 96-0 and now heads to the Ohio Senate for consideration.