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Columbus, Ohio Inheritance Attorneys

Determining how a deceased person's property, assets and estate is distributed in Ohio is not only important to the family, but also to those who may be listed in their will, such as friends and other important people in their life. Whether you’re an heir, a family member, or someone who wants to start a will, it's important to know how inheritance law works in both Columbus and in the state of Ohio, and also in hiring a knowledgeable and experienced inheritance attorney.


When someone becomes deceased in the state of Ohio, their will and last testament will dictate how their assets will be distributed.

However, if someone dies without a will, then the inheritance laws of Ohio will be enacted (known as intestacy laws). These inheritance laws are enacted to help with a fair and orderly disbursement of the decedent’s assets to be inherited based on established family relationships (see below). Having an expert attorney based in Columbus or Ohio will ensure that you and your family members will receive their proper share of a deceased loved ones assets.


Ohio Inheritance Law

    Will: If there's a will, it will dictate the distribution of assets. Having an inheritance attorney draw up a will for you allows you to control who and how much of your assets are divided, and who will receive which assets, and/or how much property.

    Distribution of Assets: If there is no will, then a surviving spouse will take precedence, then children, parents, siblings, and then perhaps more distant relatives.

How much inheritance a person receives will depend on the specific relationship that person had to the deceased.

    Spouse: A spouse will inherit the most significant portion of an estate.

    Children: All children, biological or adopted, share equally unless specifically stated otherwise in a document, a will, or through legal action.

    No Spouse or Children: If there's no surviving spouse or children, then generally a decedents parents will inherit, who are then followed by siblings, and then by more distant relatives such as nieces and nephews, and even beyond.

   No Living Heirs: What if there are no living heirs? In that case the state of Ohio will inherit the deceased's property, assets, and their total estate. For this reason alone, if you have no living relatives, then make sure you have a knowledgeable attorney draw up a will for you so you can leave your assets to who you wish, whether it be friends, a charitable organization, or whomever you wish.


Inheritance Tax

There is no inheritance tax in the state of Ohio. This will include both in-state and out-of-state residents who have assets in Ohio including any property.


Dying With a Will

Your assets will be divided as you wish.

A will must be typed or handwritten.

A will must be signed by the decedent.

A will must be signed by at least two witnesses.

A will should name an executor for your estate, assets, and property.

Before any assets will be divided and dispersed, all of the decedent’s debts must be paid.


Practical and Honest Advice

For accurate guidance and representation when seeking legal assistance on estate planning, inheritance, or probate matters, consider scheduling a confidential consultation with the Columbus inheritance attorneys at Barney DeBrosse, LLC.

If you are involved in an inheritance dispute, then our attorneys have the expertise to both mediate and negotiate any issues you may be having.

Ohio Inheritance Law FAQ

What is the survivorship period for the state of Ohio?

Ohio requires at least a 120-hour survivorship period (five days).

This means that an heir must outlive the deceased by at least five days in order to be eligible for an inheritance from the decedent.


What is the difference between Intestate vs. Testate inheritance laws?

Intestate (leaving no will): If a person dies without a valid will, Ohio's intestate succession laws determine who inherits their assets. The law prioritizes spouses, children, and other relatives in a specific order.

Testate (leaving a will): A will allows individuals to designate how they wish their assets to be distributed. While wills offer flexibility, they must comply with legal formalities to be valid.


Children will inherit equally (in general), but what if a child has died before the recently deceased parent?

Then the deceased child's children will be part of the recently deceased parent's inheritance, although specific rules may apply.


Helpful Resources:

Inheritance Laws in Ohio

Descent and Distribution

Administering an Estate Without a Will (Ohio Bar)

Ohio Probate & Wills: Ohio Laws

Ohio Estate Planning Law: Ohio Laws

What Happens When You Don't Have a Will in Ohio

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