SIDNEY — The Shelby County Probate Court’s responsibilities include the probating of wills, trusts and estates, the guardianships of minors and incompetent adults, adoptions, will contests, name changes, marriage licenses, civil proceedings, disinterment, minor settlements, structured settlements, mental illness, wrongful death and litigation related to these types of cases.
Judge Jeffrey Beigel has submitted the following report:
The Probate Court was busy with a caseload consistent with the prior year. In 2020 the year started out with 515 pending cases and marriage licenses from 2019, with an additional 359 new cases then filed and 287 marriage licenses issued. At year end the Court maintained an active docket of 554 pending cases and marriage licenses in process, with 612 cases and marriage licenses being completed and disposed of in 2020. Pending cases include 265 estates, 180 guardianships of incompetents, 32 guardianships of minors, five adoptions, five civil actions, 17 trust matters, 36 marriage licenses, and other miscellaneous cases.
The court deposited $47,380.63 of collected revenue into the General Fund which was a slight increase compared to 2019.
The court successfully met the challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic and instituted a wide range of protocols for public and staff safety and to ensure the continuity of Court operations. Based upon grants and other funding the Court established video conferencing and off-site systems for remote access to the Court for hearings, work-from-home scheduling and marriage license applications.
Overall the operational changes to the Court were significant and the staff is commended for meeting the challenges in a professional manner that ensured consistent and timely services to the public.
The annual in-person trainings to assist Guardians in complying with their education requirements was put on hold until late 2021 and Guardians were granted an extension of time to complete those requirements as needed.
In late 2019 the court established a Court Angel Program consisting of trained volunteers to visit guardians and wards to provide enhanced supervision to ensure the care of the ward. Based upon the necessary in-person contact involved, that program is now expected to resume in late 2021.
In November the court promoted National Adoption Awareness Month and also received, along with the CASA and Shelby County Children Services, recognition for those efforts by the Shelby County Commissioners.
As a member of the Ohio Judicial Conference’s Probate Law & Procedure Committee I regularly attended meetings to keep abreast of, and provide input on, proposed legislation, trends and issues that may affect our local court.