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How Important is a Will?

How Important is a Will?

When a person dies without a Will (intestate), this can lead to undesirable consequences. It is important to be aware of these issues and to safeguard your say in who inherits your property by consulting with an attorney to prepare a well-drafted Will.

Establishing a person’s heirs in Ohio

Ohio’s intestate succession laws step in with a regime for determining the heirs of a person dying without a Will for the distribution of these assets. The rules cover different scenarios, depending on which loved ones a person leaves behind when they pass away. Those first in line to inherit are people with the closest blood ties to the deceased, but in the absence of any next of kin, your hard-earned money could end up in the hands of the state.

The shortcomings of leaving no Will

The merit of Ohio’s intestacy laws is that they provide an organized and practical regime for distributing the deceased’s property where that person has not left a Will. However, the down-side to this default mechanism is that disagreeable consequences may follow.

  • Heirs you did not choose could inherit. Unlike a situation where you have a Will giving you the freedom to choose beneficiaries to inherit your property, here the decision is out of your hands — your precious assets and money may end up in the hands of a family member you are not on good terms with, a distant relative you have never met, or even the state coffers.
  • Friends and charities are blocked from inheriting. Intestacy laws make no room for leaving property to those you had a strong relationship with where no blood ties exist – if you wish to bequeath something to a devoted friend, or to leave funds to support your place of worship or to another charitable organization, this can be done through a Will.
  • Costs and delays are likely. Intestacy cases can result in time consuming and expensive legal proceedings — appearances may be necessary to address key issues including identifying the heirs and appointing an administrator to manage the estate.

The skilled estate planning attorneys at Fox & Associates C.O., L.P.A. have over 70 years of combined experience to help you navigate the Will-making process and guide you as you make decisions along the way. Contact us online or call our Dayton, Ohio offices today at (937) 204-1555.

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