Like many Ohio residents, you may understand the importance of having a will, but you might not have written yours yet. Perhaps you believe you are too young to start your estate planning, or the thought of creating your will may be uncomfortable. For whatever reason, it is never too early to write your will, and you should not think of it as unpleasant. If you do not have a plan in order, your wishes might not be carried out as you would like.
Dying without a will is called dying intestate. As the Ohio Revised Code explains, your property will go through the probate process if you do not have a will, and a probate judge will decide to which family members your assets will go. Depending on your family situation, some people may be awarded property you would not have wished them to receive. For example, if you die intestate in Ohio, your assets will go to the following family members in certain situations:
- Your children inherit your estate if you are not married.
- Your spouse inherits if you have no living children or parents.
- Your spouse inherits if you have children together.
- Your spouse inherits some of your estate and your children receive the rest if either you or your spouse, or both of you, have children from previous relationships.
As you can see, distributing your assets among your loved ones can get complicated if you have a blended family. If you are divorced or separated or if you remarry, it is especially important to update or create your will. The information in this post is not meant to replace the advice of a lawyer.