While most people do not like to contemplate the end of their lives, the reality is that doing so is one of the best ways to ensure that one’s family is provided for in the event of a death. Those who fail to take this step risk having their assets distributed according to the state’s intestacy laws, which may not reflect a person’s actual wishes. For help creating a will, or otherwise beginning the estate planning process, please contact a member of our Elyria, Ohio wills and estates legal team today.
Although most people associate wills and other testamentary documents with leaving property to family members, they can actually serve a number of other purposes, including:
However, to be considered valid, wills must comply with certain formal legal requirements, including that:
The best way to ensure that these requirements are fulfilled, is to make sure that an experienced attorney supervises the drafting and signing of the document.
A person who passes away and who does not have a will or trust in place will have his or her property distributed according to state law, which gives property first to a person’s closest relatives, including surviving spouses and children. In the event that a decedent does not have a surviving spouse or child, his or her grandchildren or parents will receive the assets. If none of these individuals survive a decedent, then the assets will be made available to siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and finally, a spouse’s relatives. Once this list has been exhausted, the state will collect the decedent’s assets. By drafting a will, a person can ensure that his or her property goes to whomever they wish, whether it be a family member, close friend, or charitable organization.
Ohio residents should not be wary of creating a will out of fear that they may later change their mind about to whom they want to leave their assets , as testators are permitted to amend their wills at a later date. This is especially common after the birth of a child, a divorce, or a marriage, at which point, a testator can change a portion of the will or throw out the old will in its entirety. Both options require compliance with the same rules regarding signing, witnesses, and testamentary capacity.