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What Happens to Your Estate If You Die Without a Will in OH?

What Happens to Your Estate If You Die Without a Will in OH?

When an Ohio resident dies without a will, or intestate, the laws of intestate succession are used to determine who will inherit the estate. The law that defines how the probate assets of an intestate estatewill be distributed to the decedent’s heirs after all claims, expenses and taxes have been paid.

Based on the Ohio laws of intestate, the following individuals may inherit from the estate if certain conditions are met (ranked in order):

  1. Surviving spouse, if no biological or adopted children
  2. Children and/or grandchildren, if no surviving spouse
  3. Parents, if no spouse or children
  4. Brothers and sisters, if none of the above surviving
  5. Grandparents, if no surviving siblings
  6. Next of kin (e.g., cousins) if no grandparents
  7. Stepchildren, if no biological family remaining
  8. The state of Ohio, if no familial connections whatsoever

While this is a basic guideline, the actual specifics of how an intestate estate is divided among survivors and by what percentages are much more in-depth. For example, if a spouse and one child of the decedent are living, and the surviving spouse is not the biological or adoptive parent of this child, then the first twenty thousand dollars, plus one half of the balance of the estate, will go to the spouse and the remainder will go to the child.

The best thing you can do for your family is to make sure a plan for settling your affairs is in place well in advance of your death. This includes having a clear will that expressly determines how your estate should be divided and who should receive what. However, if you find yourself in need of resolving issues stemming from the intestate estate of a loved one, contact one of our estate planning and probate attorneys to help you work out your inheritance situation.

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