Creating an Ohio Will is an important step in planning the distribution of your estate (assets including real and personal property) following your death. Ohio wills allow for any children, your spouse, other family members, and pets to be provided for after your death. LegalZoom works with the testator (or the person making the will) in creating valid Ohio wills and in assigning a person (called the executor in most states) to administer an Ohio last will and testament after the death of the testator.
Basic Requirements for: Ohio Last Will and Testament:
Age: The testator must be at least 18 years old.
Capacity: The testator must be of sound mind (capable of reasoning and making decisions), memory, and not under restraint.
Signature: An Ohio last will and testament must be signed or by some other person in the testator's presence and at his express direction.
Witnesses: Two or more witnesses, at least 18 years old, are required.
Writing: An Ohio last will and testament must be in writing to be valid.
Beneficiaries: An Ohio last will and testament may make a disposition of property to any person.
Other recognized will types:
Handwritten wills are valid, provided that they meet the same requirements of a typewritten will.
Oral wills are valid concerning personal property (not real estate) when made during the last sickness of the testator and reduced to writing. Two witnesses who do not receive property in the will must sign the will and attest that the testator was of sound mind and memory, and not under restraint.
Distribution of Property:
Wills are legal documents that outline the intentions of decedents concerning their property and assets following death. The decedent's property is passed in accordance to the will. Your estate consists of assets and property including bank accounts, homes, land, furniture, automobiles, and securities (stocks and bonds). In general, Ohio laws allow you to dispose of your property as you wish.
Other Purposes of Wills:
Our Ohio wills form allows you to nominate a person who will act as guardian for your minor children.
Our Ohio wills form also allows you to name a person (the executor) in charge of administrating your will.
Notable exceptions to the ability to distribute property:
A will may not change the beneficiary of a life insurance policy.
Right of surviving spouse:Though your will may exclude your spouse, the surviving spouse may still take a share of the estate as provided by Ohio laws.
Providing for Pets
Currently, Ohio does not have a statute that would recognize pet trusts. However, it seems possible to designate a beneficiary of your pets to ensure their care after your death. Legalzoom's Ohio wills form gives you this choice of providing for your pets.
Changing and Revoking
Changing a Will
An Ohio will and testament may be changed whenever the testator desires.
An Ohio will and testament can be changed through a codicil, which is a document stating additions or changes to the original will. Codicils must be executed in accordance with Ohio probate laws.
Revoking a Will
An Ohio will and testament may be revoked by any of the following methods:
By the testator by tearing, canceling, obliterating, or destroying it with the intention of revoking it.
By some person, at the request of the testator and in the testator's presence, by tearing, canceling, obliterating, or destroying it with the intention of revoking it.
By some person tearing, canceling, obliterating, or destroying it pursuant to the testator's express written direction.
By some other written will or codicil created following Ohio laws.
Probate and Estate Taxes
In Ohio, probate is a legal process for starting the transfer of property when the testator dies. Probate procedures validate the Ohio last will and determine ownership of the property.
Probate provides payment for debts owed by the estate, but also ensures the estate collects any debts owed to it. Once debts and expenses are paid, probate ensures the remainder of the estate goes to the designated beneficiaries according to the Ohio last will.
The Ohio Bar Association lists several tasks that occur during probate proceedings:
Receiving payments due to the estate, including interest, dividends and other income.
Collection of debts, claims and notes due.
Investigation of all claims against the estate and payment of outstanding obligations including federal, state and local estate and income taxes.
Carrying out the instructions of the probate court pertaining to the estate and distributing the assets of the estate to the heirs.
Generally, estate taxes must be paid when the value of the estate exceeds $338,000. The executor or administrator of the estate should file both Ohio and Federal estate tax returns to take care of any estate taxes in connection with an Ohio last will.
It is extremely important to make an Ohio will if you want to control the distribution of your estate. If you die without a valid will, you are said to have died "intestate" and your property will be distributed according to strict Ohio state laws.
For example, if you die without a spouse but with children, then the children will share the estate in equal shares.
If you make an Ohio will, your valid will prevents the laws of intestacy from deciding the distribution of your estate.