Regardless of how much property they may own, Ohio adults should have a last will and testament. Having a will is necessary, even if one owns only a vehicle or a checking account. Having a vast estate is not a requirement for completing a will. Wills are intended for loved ones who are left behind and so that there will be someone who can properly distribute whatever the decedent owned. Dying without a wills means that a loved one will have to verify his or her relationship to the deceased person, attend probate court and be appointed the administrator.
Wills are important because they detail what should happen to assets that are not addressed in other ways, such as with trusts. If a person dies unexpectedly, having a will facilitates the transfer of property to the intended beneficiaries. The will does not nullify the probate process, but rather serves as the instructions for probate.
Estate plans should be continuously updated to take into account changes in family status, such as a divorce or the birth of a child or grandchild. Wills are essential for individuals who are married, particularly if there are certain types of assets that were brought into the marriage. A will could ensure that children from an earlier marriage will receive the assets in accordance to one’s preferences, without probate disputes or conflict among surviving family members.
An attorney who has estate planning experience may assist clients with taking the appropriate steps to ensure that that their assets are properly distributed according to their wishes. The attorney may draft and review wills, establish certain types of trusts and prepare health care and financial powers of attorney to protect a client’s interests.