Protecting your family and the property you own during your lifetime in Medina, North Canton, or Wooster, Ohio is important. Equally as important are the steps you take to make certain that your family is cared for and your assets are distributed according to your wishes after you pass. A will, or a last will and testament, can do this for you.
What is a Will?
A will prepared at the Law Office of Parker & Erb, LLC is a written document by which you can designate how your real and personal property are to be distributed after your death. A properly written and executed will permits you to control your estate including:
- Designating a representative, known as an “executor,” carry out your wishes as stated in the will
- Naming the people, charities, or organizations to whom you wish to leave your money and assets
- Designate a guardian for minor children and a trustee to be in charge of money and property left to children
Property in Medina, North Canton, and Wooster that you can control through a will includes anything you own in your name at the time of your death. This includes a house, car, money, stocks, and other items of real or personal property.
Certain items, such as life insurance policies or property you own jointly with another person, might not fall within the control of a will. For example, jointly owned property in which the death of one of the owners results in title to the property automatically passing to the surviving joint owner cannot be disposed of through a will.
Life insurance policies are contracts between a policy owner and the insurance company. The insurance company agrees to pay the proceeds of the policy to a beneficiary named in the policy by the policy owner. A designation in a will in Medina, North Canton, and Wooster cannot alter the terms of the agreement between the policy owner and the insurance company to pay the insurance to the named beneficiary upon the death of the insured. An exception to this might be where the beneficiary dies and a new beneficiary was not named. In that situation, the insurance proceeds are payable to the estate of the insured and would be distributed according to the terms of the deceased person’s will.
Legal Requirements of a Will in Medina, North Canton, and Wooster
At the Law Office of Parker & Erb, LLC, the drafting and execution of a last will and testament is handled so as to comply with Ohio laws. The requirements for a valid will in Medina, North Canton, and Wooster include:
- Under most circumstances, the will must be typed or handwritten
- The person making the will must be at least 18 years of age or older
- The maker of the will must be of sound mind and must do so of their own free will
- The will must be signed by the maker, also known as the “testator,” in the presence of at least two witnesses who must be at least 18 years of age and must sign it in the presence of each other and the testator
If a person is unable to sign the will, the law in Medina, North Canton, and Wooster, Ohio permits another person to sign it provided it is done at the express direction of the maker. The witnesses to the will must hear the instructions from the maker to the person signing the will.
Dying Without a Will
State law in Medina, North Canton, and Wooster provides that if you die owning real or personal property, but without a last will and testament, your estate will be distributed to your relatives by a representative named by the court. The law designates the order in which relatives are entitled to share in your estate starting with your spouse and your children.
If you do not have a spouse or children, the law designates your parents, your brothers and sisters, and continues on through cousins until a relative is found to whom to give your assets. In rare instances where no relatives can be found, the law gives the property to the state.
The benefit of having a will prepared by the Law Office of Parker & Erb, LLC is that you can control who gets your estate and whether it is given directly or through a trust. You also have the right to set conditions on a person’s receipt of a share of your estate. For example, you can leave a portion of your estate to a relative with instructions that it is to be held in trust and managed by the trust you name. You can designate that the trustee will use the money to pay for the individual’s education expenses, for their support or for any reason you include in the will.
Getting Advice from a Medina, North Canton, and Wooster Attorney
Having a last will and testament can provide you with the peace of mind knowing that your estate will be distributed according to your wishes. It is important that your will conform to the law in Medina, North Canton, and Wooster, Ohio for it to be valid and enforceable after your death.
At the Law Office of Parker & Erb, LLC, we take the time to review your estate plan with you and guide you through the process of incorporating your wishes into a last will and testament that complies with the legal requirements under Ohio law. After we draft your will, we supervise its execution so you have the peace of mind knowing that it was done properly.