Top 5 Questions About Wills in Ohio

Posted in: by Victor Kademenos

Since people often pass away or become incapacitated suddenly and without any warning, drafting a competent and thought-out will can be of great assistance to your family when it is finally time to distribute your assets. However, people often do not like to think about death, and they put off writing their will. This can be a great disservice to your loved ones. Wills must be considered by those who wish to properly provide for those who will survive them, and an experienced Ohio wills and probate attorney can help you create a will that is ideal for you and your family.

While the basic concept of a will is commonly understood, many questions arise about how a will can be properly created and executed. The estate planning attorneys at Kademenos, Wisehart, Hines, Dolyk & Wright Co., L.P.A. have helped many clients successfully create wills that properly provide for their loved ones, and we can help you determine what is best for you and your family. To speak with an experienced attorney, call us today at (419) 625-7770.

What Happens If I Die Before Making A Will?

Dying without a valid will is legally referred to as dying intestate, and your assets will be divided by a court-appointed administrator according to Ohio’s intestate laws. These laws have general rules of who receives your belongings and property if you did not have a will at the time of your death. Assets are distributed to the living spouse and amongst the children, and then to grandchildren and distant relatives.

You will have no specific say in how your estate is divided if you die without having written a will. You may want to give a specific item or some money to a charity, friend, or church after you die, but this will be ignored by the court that is dividing your belongings, because there is no written proof that you wanted your belongings divided that particular way. When there is no will, the court strictly follows Ohio intestate laws, and does not pay attention to wishes you had that you failed to put in a valid will.

How Can I Make A Valid Will?

A will is considered valid when it is signed by the person to whom it pertains, in addition to two other parties who are not beneficiaries of your estate. Your attorney can help you properly and clearly write out your wishes, and then make sure your will is properly signed by your witnesses.

What Is Probate?

Probate is the legal proceeding during which a will is verified and read after a person dies. Supervised by a court, probate distributes assets in accordance with the will. Probate proceedings are lengthy, but can be much faster if the deceased person’s will and estate planning measures help the court reduce disputes and other challenges.

Probate distributes, but there are exceptions to what must pass through probate court. They include, but are not limited to:

  • Property held in a trust
  • Payable on death accounts with named beneficiaries
  • Property held with another as joint tenant with the right of survivorship

How Much Does Probate Cost?

Probate costs for lawyers, accountants, and court fees vary due to the specific needs of each estate. The average probate cost in Ohio is about five percent of the value of the estate. However, this cost can be greatly reduced or eliminated if the deceased person’s estate held items that do not need to go through required probate.

Is Probate Private And Confidential?

No, probate court proceedings are all public. Many people do not want all of their probate information being publically accessible. Fortunately, an experienced Ohio estate planning lawyer can help you keep your information private. This often means reducing or eliminating the use of a will.

Kademenos, Wisehart, Hines, Dolyk & Wright Co., L.P.A. help our clients distribute assets to their heirs by encouraging them to:

  • Create a proper trust. Trusts remain private, and since they can survive past the death of their creators, they can be used as a guide to give assets to those who survive them. As estate planning lawyers, we have years of experience in creating trusts.
  • Give gifts away while you are still alive. Many people with large estates choose to give gifts to their heirs while they are still alive. This can be confidential and hassle-free, but it is important to speak with your lawyer before giving large gifts so as to understand any possible tax consequences that may follow.

A Wills & Probate Lawyer Can Help You Properly Create Your Will

Creating a proper will can be of great importance to you and your loved ones. Because of the severity of creating one of these documents, it’s understandable that you may have questions about how to draft your will, what to include in it, or what other alternatives might be best for you. Our attorneys have years of experience helping clients create wills that make asset distribution easy and fair for those who survive the decedent.

Contact Kademenos, Wisehart, Hines, Dolyk & Wright Co., L.P.A. to speak with an experienced will and probate lawyer. Call us today at (419) 625-7770.