It is never too early to begin planning for how your assets will be divided at the time of your death. At Signil Law Firm we work with our clients to develop a Will, that helps ensure your desires are carried out after your demise.

Death is one of the most challenging experiences families deal with. Not only is there emotional pain from the loss of a loved one, but many times there are major financial decisions that need to be made, with differences of opinion between family members regarding those decisions. Developing a will significantly minimizes the opportunity for family disputes concerning your assets.

Wills are ideal for clients with both large and small estates. Regardless of your current economic situation, we encourage you to contact our office to discuss drafting a will.

In addition to creating wills, we also encourage our clients to plan for periods of physical and/or mental incapacity. A Living Will and Healthcare Power of Attorney are excellent tools in preparing for times of physical challenge when you are not in a physical or mental position to make medical decision on your own behalf. We encourage you to contact our office for a free consultation regarding Living Wills and Healthcare Power of Attorney.

Below are some common questions we receive regarding Wills, Living Wills and Healthcare Power of Attorney.

Common Question Related to Wills

Who are the parties involved in creating and executing Wills?
  • a. Testator - a person who has written a will
    • Devisees – when a testator’s will disposes of property, the person(s) who take the property are devisees, not heirs
  • b. Testate – a person who dies with a will
  • c. Executor - person appointed by the testator to oversee and carry out the terms of the will
Who are the parties involved if a descendant (deceased person) does not have a will?

a. Intestate – a person who dies without a will

b. Heirs – an intestate decedent’s property passes to that person’s heirs. Heirs is a term that is often used wrong. A living person cannot have heirs. To be an heir you must be a descendant of a person who died without a will, and be entitled to property from that descendant.

Who can create a will?

In the state of Ohio to create a will you must be 18 years of age or older and be of sound mind and memory. ORC 2107.12

Do I need witness(s) and how old can the witness be when creating a will?

Generally, a will needs to be signed by two witness who were in the “conscious presence” of the testator at the time of drafting the will. ORC 2107.03. There are some exceptions to the basic rule, but generally two witness are required.

Witness have to be at least 18 years old. Id.

I have heard the term Probate, what does that mean, and what does that have to do with Wills?

a. Officially, probate is the process of proving a will. When a person dies with a will, the executor must go to a probate court and prove that the will was valid. This also includes paying debts, distributing assets, etc. Often this is a streamlined and simple process.

b. The process can become complicated when the validity of the will is challenged, or questions arise as to how distributions will be made. We strongly encourage you to contact our office for a free consultation if a will is being contested.

So if I die without a will, I die Intestate, are there other instances where Intestacy comes into play?

There are several scenarios that can create Intestacy some of the common scenarios include:

  • Dying without a will
  • A will denied probate due to improper execution
  • A will does not dispose of all property
What impact will Intestacy have on my assets?

In the above-mentioned scenarios, the state of Ohio has established a process and order of priority for distributing assets. This process is known as Intestate Succession. This process can become very complicated based on a variety of factors. Please contact our office for a free consultation if you have a family member that has died without a will.

One of the main benefits of creating a will is not having your assets distributed via the default state rules, which many times may not align with your desires.

What is a Living Will?

A living will is a detailed statement that describes what type of medical treatment and care you desire to have, if you become physically or mentally unable to make decisions on your own.

Signil Law Firm assists clients with creating Living Wills.

What is a Healthcare Power of Attorney?

Healthcare Power of Attorney is a document that gives someone the authority to make healthcare decisions on your behalf.

Signil Law Firm assists clients with creating Healthcare Power of Attorney.

This was a high-level overview. We encourage you to contact our office for a free consultation regarding Wills, Living Wills, Healthcare Power of Attorney and to answer questions about what happens if a family member dies without a will.