In re Estate of CentorbiAnnotate this Case
Josephine Centorbi died intestate in 2007. At the time of her death, Ms. Centorbi received Medicaid benefits. Ms. Centorbi’s sister, Dianne Fiorille administered the estate, and acting without counsel, applied to relieve the estate from administration. When she filed the application, Ms. Fiorille did not check the box on the form to attest that the decedent was over 55 years old and received Medicaid assistance. In addition, as administrator, Ms. Fiorille failed to file some other forms necessary to notify both the probate court and the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS) of the decedent’s death. The probate court granted Ms. Fiorille’s application to relieve the estate from administration on the same day it was filed. Two years later, ODJFS learned of Ms. Centorbi’s death. It filed an application to vacate the probate court’s order, but its application was denied. The probate court held that because Ms. Fiorille indicated that no notice was required (in the form of the omitted check box), ODJFS’s application was time barred. The appellate court affirmed the probate court’s decision. The Supreme Court found that failing to check the box on the initial relief-from-administration form tolled the statute of limitations. Without the check, the Medicaid program had not been officially notified of the decedent’s death. The Court reversed the appellate court’s decision and remanded the case to the probate court for further proceedings.