The Requirements of a Simple Will in Ohio

A will is a document that states how a person’s property and other assets are to be distributed after he or she dies. In its simplest form, a will may be a single piece of paper. In more elaborate forms, wills may consist of video or audio recordings, although these methods are generally not recommended by estate planning attorneys. No matter the format, a will must meet certain requirements to be legally valid.

A simple will should present the relevant information in a straightforward manner. It must identify the maker of the will or testator, and the executor of the estate. It is the executor who will be responsible for clarifying both the financial obligations and the assets of the deceased, and how the elements of the estate will be transferred to the beneficiaries, who are the individuals destined to receive these items. The executor must be named while the testator is alive and able to make such decisions. There is also a need to identify an alternate executor and alternate beneficiaries if those originally named fail to outlive the testator.

In addition to the basic information, a will may contain specific instructions as to how an estate is handled. A will may specify certain age requirements before a beneficiary can collect anything or, on the other hand, it may give the executor the power to waive the original requirement and transfer gifts under certain circumstances. It may even give the executor the power to decide what assets are to be given to the different beneficiaries. A will can also provide for the payment of the person’s debts and funeral. If minor children are involved, a will can clarify who is to be responsible for their guardianship.

Wills are important to ensure that a person’s assets will be properly distributed and not go to other, perhaps unwanted, parties. A simple will should be enough for those without large estates or do not have either complex asset distribution requests or recommendations for reducing the tax burden on beneficiaries. It should also suffice in cases where the beneficiaries are not part of a mixed family or have little chance of losing any part of the estate to creditors.

A will can be revoked or rewritten at any time, but once finalized will not require any further action until the death of the maker.

Attorney Joe Budde is here to assist you with any questions you may have about setting up or adjusting a simple will. Please contact us today to set up your appointment.