An owner of an Ohio roller skating rink passed away in January. The rink’s employees took to Facebook to let people know of the news, as well as how much the owner cared for the rink. Not long after, the rink he opened in 1971, was forced to close its doors. Western Rollarama, a roller skating rink in Green Township, Ohio, took to Facebook to make this sudden and sad news, stating the property is “stuck in probate.”

The Ramifications of Probate Court Limbo

Because the rink is in probate, it cannot operate until a people can agree on a settlement. According to Lisa Anderson, the niece of late owner Larry Roell, a majority of Larry’s heirs are in favor of seeking out a buyer. So while Western Rollarama’s fate remains in the air, families and people looking for a fun night out will have to search elsewhere. Furthermore, Western Rollarama employees are now in a position where they need to find a new job.

From the looks of it, Mr. Roell would have benefited by naming his niece the heir of the roller skating rink. Anderson seems to have a closer connection to the rink than the heirs who have interest in finding buyers. She also knows that the community has been a strong supporter of the rink, being on-site to see people having a good night out. Now, she’s just hopeful that whoever buys the rink will preserve the property.

What can be Done to Avoid Such a Fate?

This is why it’s good to review all of your assets and properties. Certain types of assets such as the business of the Rollarama, which is an Ohio Limited Liability Company (LLC) require special planning.  An owner of an LLC is called a member, and a members’ interest in an LLC is considered personal property.  In Ohio, personal property must be transferred through probate court if no special provisions have been made.

Was it possible to avoid the Rollarama being “stuck in probate” and having to close its doors?  Well yes, a careful estate plan utilizing a trust would have allowed the LLC to continue operation under the guidance of a trustee.  By assigning the member’s interests to a trust, a trustee can continue to operate the business as if the owner never passed.  This allows the business to remain open and continue generating income during the pendency of sale or distribution of the ownership while maximizing profits for the estate beneficiaries.

At The Probate ProSM, we will sit down with you and go over all of your estate assets and provide you with options for planning. On top of that, we will make sure that your estate assets are preserved, protected and distributed in accordance with your desires. Our goal is to make sure you are satisfied. If you or someone you know needs estate planning services, call The Probate ProSM at 1-877-YOUR-FIRM today.