Written by attorney Monte Kenneth Snyder

Last Will and Testaments in Ohio, What You Need To Know

Why should you write a last will and testament? A will is a legal instrument in which you may direct where and how your possessions are distributed upon your death, provide for the payment of your last bills, and provide for the administration of your estate. It is your blueprint regarding how you want your last affairs to be ordered. You create the blueprint. The typical will is composed of some basic parts:

  • Executor’s Powers of Administration
  • Bequests & Devises
  • Designation of Executor’s, Executrixes, and Guardians
  • Directives to the Executor on the payment of the Estate’s expenses and the distribution of bequests
  • A signature and attestation page at the end, where you sign your will and it is witnessed by at least two individuals of legal age.

Every citizen of the State of Ohio has a will, either one you create as outlined above, or one the State has created for you, via statute. If you die without executing your own personal will, the State has a substitute waiting for you in statutory law, which the local probate court will supervise the administration of on your behalf after you die. Both the personal Last Will and Testament and the alternative statutory code one accomplish the same objective, settling your last affairs on this Earth, both economic and social in nature [ex. guardian designation of your minor children]. Your assets and bills are accounted for, your creditors paid, and any surplus distributed to your designees as you directed. Any final taxes are paid to the State, if any are owed. How do I write a will and what should I include in it? You should have a fairly well developed idea of the following when you first consult with your Attorney:

  • The names and addresses of your first and second choices for Executor or Executrix. This is the person who will be charged with administering your estate upon your death, that is, carrying out your instructions as you have written in your will.
  • The names and addresses of your choice for Guardian of your minor children. [who will have legal authority and responsibility for your minor children should both parents be deceased]
  • The names and addresses of your beneficiaries of your worldly assets and a description of which assets each is to be given upon your death.
  • At least a general idea of the authority you wish to give your Executor or Executrix in carrying out your last instructions. This may be guided by the extent and type of business you are engaged in, whether it is ongoing, etc. Specific instructions may be tailored to suit your needs.

Your attorney will review the above with you, perhaps have you fill out a brief questionnaire to flesh out areas you haven’t thought of or need more work, and advise you as to the best course of action to meet your needs. Once you are satisfied with the basic outline, he will draft your personal blueprint to serve as your Last Will and Testament. When all is prepared to your satisfaction, a brief formal ceremony will be held where you will sign your will before at least two witnesses, declaring same to be your Last Will and Testament.

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