What Can and Cannot be Included in a Will

July 23, 2022  

A will is an essential estate planning document. Every adult in Ohio should have a valid will. There are certain requirements that a will must satisfy to be valid in Ohio. For example, under Ohio Revised Code Chapter 2107.04, a will is not enforceable unless it is in writing. The contents of a will—meaning what is written within it—also needs to be legally acceptable. Here, our Ohio estate planning lawyers explain what you can (and cannot) include in a will. 

What You Can Include in a Will in Ohio

A last will and testament is a core estate planning document because it is a legally enforceable way to leave your family with your final wishes and instructions for handling your estate. Here are some of the most important things that you can include in a will in Ohio;  

  • The Name of Your Executor: You should appoint an executor to handle your estate, including opening the probate process. Your will is the appropriate place to appoint an executor. 
  • Name Heirs for Personal Property: Your will is also the best way to make provisions for your remaining personal property and personal assets. You can name heirs and decide who gets what. 
  • A Guardian for Minor Children: If you have young children, it is important to make provision for them, potentially including naming a guardian in your will.  

What You Should Not or Cannot Include in a Will in Ohio

A will is crucial—but it is not a comprehensive estate plan. There are certain issues that you cannot and should not include in your will. Here are three things to avoid putting in your will in Ohio: 

  • Property/Assets Already Covered by a Trust or Beneficiary: Some property can be passed outside of probate, using estate planning tools other than a will. If you put assets in a valid trust, avoid including them in your will. You do not want to create confusion. 
  • Your Power of Attorney: A will is not used to name a power of attorney in Ohio. A power of attorney is an important part of a comprehensive estate plan, but it should be set up with a separate legal document.  
  • Impermissible Conditions on Property: Are you trying to leave money or property with restrictions or conditions? Be sure to consult with an experienced estate planning lawyer. In Ohio, there are limitations on the restrictions that you can put on inheritance using a will.  

Get Help From an Ohio Estate Planning Lawyer Today

At Kryszak Law Firm, Co., LPA, we are experienced, effective advocates for people and families. If you have any questions about what can and cannot be included in a will, our team is here as a resource. Contact us now for your fully confidential initial estate planning consultation. Our firm serves Lorain County and communities throughout Northern Ohio.