In Ohio, a will is only considered valid if the testator who created it was at least 18 years old at the time of its execution, was of sound mind, was not under any undue influence, and complied with the state’s formal requirements for execution, which include signing and attestation by two witnesses. Failing to comply with these requirements could result in a will being thrown out by the court, which could have devastating consequences for beneficiaries and heirs who were provided for in that document, as probate courts follow a strict formula when distributing assets when there is no will to dictate their transfer. With so much at stake, it is important for those who are considering creating a will to first consult with an experienced LaGrange, Ohio wills and estates lawyer who can advise them on the proper procedures.
Many people create a will and never feel the need to change it. However, it is also not uncommon for someone to get married, have a child, or get divorced and decide to amend his or her estate plan to reflect these major changes. Fortunately, changing a will is perfectly legal and is not even that difficult. It is important, however, for testators to take steps to revoke their old will, which can be done by tearing, obliterating, canceling, or destroying the document, as long as the testator had the intention to revoke it in doing so. Even if a testator is unable to physically revoke the will, he or she can:
In fact, in the case of an annulment, divorce, or dissolution of marriage, if a testator entered into a separation agreement in which he or she and the former spouse agree to settle questions about property rights and inheritance, all appointments made in a prior will to the former spouse or any provision nominating a former spouse as an executor, guardian, or trustee will automatically be revoked. The only exception to this rule is when a testator expressly changes his or her will to reflect otherwise. However, if a testator fails to take steps to change the beneficiary, the property that would have gone to the former spouse will pass to the testator’s next of kin. For this reason, amending a will is often preferable to allowing an automatic revocation, as it gives the testator more control over the distribution of his or her assets.
To speak with an experienced LaGrange, Ohio wills and estates attorney about revoking an old will and drafting a new one, please contact Kryszak Law Firm, Co., LPA by calling 440-934-5330 today. A member of our legal team is standing by to help you through each step of the estate planning process.