Last Will and Testament Attorney
A last will and testament makes the handling of an individual’s death much quicker and more accessible and ensures their assets are distributed as the individual intends. Without it, the individual’s assets are handled through probate, and the county court will decide how to distribute those assets by the laws of intestate succession in Ohio.
Distribution Through Probate
Any involved party, a family member, or even a creditor can start the application process to distribute assets upon the individual’s death. This application requires the individual’s death certificate and a bond to be paid.
The county court will hold a hearing and appoint either the applicant or someone else they deem appropriate to act as the Administrator of the Estate. This person will report the individual’s assets to the court and assume control of and distribute the individual’s assets when the court decides. The Administrator must report how they paid any debts and distributed assets. When the assets have been distributed, the estate is closed, and the Administrator is no longer needed.
Distribution With a Will
The distribution process with a will is similar to probate, but the will designates who the individual chooses to be their Executor (the person who will handle their estate). The Executor does not have to request a court order or pay a bond.
The Executor pays any debts and distributes assets as the individual stated in the will and reports their activities to the court. When that has been done, the estate is closed, and the Executor is done with their duties.
A will should be made with the help of an Last Will and Testament Attorney. This will ensure that the will is clear and effective and that estate taxes have been considered. Wills also need to be updated when there are significant changes in your assets or when estate laws have changed. If they aren’t, there may be confusion about how to handle the will, and the court will have to decide how to proceed.
Property is not always owned by one person alone. Spouses and siblings often share ownership. When one of the owners dies, the property may or may not automatically pass to the individual’s beneficiaries. Both situations have their own advantages and disadvantages. It is best to speak to an attorney to determine what is best and how to ensure your desired outcome can be achieved.
What If There Are No Beneficiaries?
If an individual dies without a will or the beneficiaries named in their will are also deceased, the court will follow the laws of intestate succession. Assets first pass to the individual’s heirs. If there are no heirs, the assets “escheat” or become the property of the state.
Who Needs a Will?
Many people die without a will because they don’t believe they need one. They may feel their assets are not sizable enough for a will, that the process will be too simple to need a will (they have one obvious heir), or that their assets are already covered in a living trust.
Having a will makes the distribution of assets faster and easier and even protects assets from excessive estate taxes.
Can You Write Your Own Will?
Yes, anyone of sound mind can write their own last will and testament, but there is no guarantee it will be effective. Without the knowledge of estate laws and applicable taxes, the will could be ineffective. It may be discarded, and assets may go to probate or taxes, or other unforeseen considerations may influence the amount of and distribution of assets. To be sure your assets are distributed as you intend, you should consult a Last Will and Testament Attorney and update your will as needed.
Contact Moseman Law Office
If you are concerned about how your assets will be distributed, you should speak with an estate attorney. They will help you determine the most effective course to see that your assets are distributed in your best interests and those of your beneficiaries. Choose Moseman Law to create or update a last will and testament or to handle the probate process. Contact our experienced Last Will and Testament Attorneys today.