Planning your estate is one of the best ways to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes after death. Although Ohio law does not allow testators to completely disinherit certain individuals, such as spouses and children, testators can choose which assets go to these family members and can also leave other property to friends, trusts, and charities. Although there are not a lot of legal requirements when it comes to creating a will, compliance is critical, as those who fail to record their document in writing or who do not have it witnessed by two disinterested parties could have their will thrown out, in which case, their estate would be distributed according to Ohio’s law of intestacy. To ensure that your own estate plan is not deemed irrelevant because of a failure to comply with statutory law, please contact a member of our Avon Lake wills and estates legal team today.
Properly drawing a will ensures that upon the maker’s death, his or her property will be distributed according to that individual’s particular wishes. Technically, drafting a will is not necessary, although those who do not will have their assets distributed according to the Ohio Statute of Descent and Distribution. Wills also give testators the ability to choose an executor who will administer their estate and the opportunity to name a guardian over any minor children. However, drafting a will does not keep a will from going through probate, which is a legal proceeding, in which:
Although all assets, with the exception of jointly held property, trusts, and certain types of bank accounts must go through probate, creating a will can help the probate process go more smoothly, efficiently, and at less cost.
Probate courts are responsible for handling all assets considered “probate property,” which includes all of the property held in a decedent’s name that is not transferable upon death. Generally, probate proceedings take place in the county where the decedent lived, although if a decedent owned real estate in other states, probate proceedings may have to be initiated in those areas, as well. If a decedent left a will, all assets that fall under the category of probate property will be administered according to the dictates of the person’s will. Otherwise, the court will distribute it in accordance with state law.
However, assets that are not considered probate property are not a part of probate proceedings, which means that they can be distributed immediately. Non-probate property includes:
These types of assets pass directly to beneficiaries or successors in interest without having to go through time-consuming and potentially expensive probate proceedings.
To speak with an experienced Avon Lake wills and estates attorney about your estate planning needs, please call Kryszak & Associates, Co., LPA at 440-934-5330 today.