What Happens When Someone Dies Without a Will in Ohio?

Intestacy law - The Law Office of David B. FerrellWriting a Last Will and Testament (often referred to as a Will) is a way to help ensure that your money and belongings are distributed according to your wishes following your death. However, many people pass away without having drafted this important estate planning document. Because the laws regarding distribution of property and assets following death are different in various states, the specifics of how your estate is distributed if you die without a will can also vary depending on where you live.

In Ohio, when someone dies without a will, this is referred to as “dying intestate.”  The Ohio probate court in the county where the decedent (the person who died) lived will process the administration of their estate. Most people appoint an estate executor in their will – if there is no will in place, the probate court will assign someone to execute the estate (usually the decedent’s spouse or next of kin.) The person selected must also be an Ohio resident. The estate executor is responsible for distributing the decedent’s property and paying their debts according to Ohio probate laws.

When there is no will in place, a person’s assets will be distributed according to Ohio intestacy law. In general, any assets would be split between a surviving spouse, if there is one, and any children of the decedent. If the decedent has no spouse or children, the estate would go to any surviving parents and/or siblings.  Ohio’s intestacy laws are complex – more information can be found on the Ohio State Bar Association’s website.

Taking the time to draft a will long before you anticipate passing away is an important part of the estate planning process. However, to be legally enforceable, an Ohio will must meet certain guidelines. Contact our office if you’d like to arrange a free consultation to discuss any of your estate planning needs.

About David Ferrell

For over 30 years, David B. Ferrell has practiced excellence in the areas of probate, estate planning, DUI, and divorce law. David Ferrell is dedicated to providing each client with personal service, trustworthy advice, and expert representation. David B. Ferrell's Google+ Profile

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