Allison Harrison
August 3, 2022

What Happens to Your Assets in Ohio if You Die Without a Will

Understanding Ohio's Descent and Distribution Statute

When you pass away without a will, or without specific designations for transfer upon death, Ohio’s laws automatically kick in to determine the fate of your assets. The Ohio descent and distribution statute governs this. The statute lays out a clear hierarchy for asset allocation. For instance, if you are married with children and your spouse has already passed away, your children will inherit your assets. In contrast, if you’re unmarried and childless, the statute traces your lineage upwards, allocating your assets to your parents, their descendants, and further up to your grandparents and beyond. The hierarchy continues until we find eligible heirs.

Why Having an Estate Plan is Important

However, there’s an important caveat to remember. If no heirs are located, your assets will escheat, meaning they will be transferred to the state. This is a situation most people would prefer to avoid. To ensure the distribution of your assets according to your personal wishes, you need to have an estate plan in place. An estate plan will allow you to dictate specifically how your assets are handled and distributed after your passing. It’s about taking control and making sure your legacy is handled the way you envision. For help in crafting a plan that fits your unique needs, consider reaching out to a Columbus estate planning attorney today.

Consequences of Dying Without a Will in Ohio

Not having a will in Ohio can lead to unforeseen and often complex legal and financial consequences. Without your directives, family disputes over asset distribution can arise. This may lead to potential legal battles. Additionally, your assets might face unforeseen tax implications, diminishing the value of your legacy. Most importantly, dying without a will means losing control over who inherits your estate.

Steps to Creating an Effective Estate Plan

Although it may feel overwhelming, beginning the estate planning process is crucial for preserving your legacy and honoring your wishes. The first and most important step is consulting with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney. They can guide you through drafting a will, setting up trusts, and creating other vital documents such as powers of attorney and healthcare directives. By taking these steps, you not only secure your assets, but also provide peace of mind for yourself and your loved ones.