When a person dies without a will, the probate estate is described as “intestate.” Each state has different laws that decide what happens to a person’s estate if no will is present to divide property among heirs.

You might assume it would be a fairly straightforward decision, but with many blended families, or if the deceased is not survived by a spouse or children, dividing the estate becomes a much more complicated matter.

Below are  just a few examples of the different types of situations that might arise if the deceased has no will in the state of Ohio.

Spouse and Descendants

If the deceased has a spouse, and all the deceased’s descendants are shared with that spouse, then the spouse will inherit 100% of the estate. However, if all of the children are from a previous relationship, the distribution of the estate is more complicated.

The surviving spouse will then receive the family allowance of $40,000, the first $20,000 of the remaining estate and either one half (if there is one step child) or one third (more than one step child) of the balance.  In addition, where the surviving spouse is the natural or adoptive parent of one or more of the children, the spouse will receive an additional $40,000.

Parents and Siblings

If the deceased has no spouse and no children, the estate then is given to the parents. If the parents are also deceased, the estate then splits between siblings. If there are no siblings and no parents, the state of Ohio will then look to the lineal descendants of grandparents

If there are absolutely no surviving relatives to be found, the estate will then become the property of the state of Ohio.

Distribution of Property

In intestate scenarios, it is probable that property will need to be liquidated if the remaining heirs disagree on distribution.  If all beneficiaries agree, the property can be split up however they desire.

Here is an example:

  •       The estate is valued at $500,000
  •       There are two children and no spouse, so the two children each receive half of the estate.
  •       There is a house that one of the children wants to keep; its estimated worth is $150,000.
  •       The first sibling would get the house and $100,000 of assets and/or cash, and the second sibling would get $250,000 of assets and/or cash.

In a situation such as the above, both heirs would have to agree. Don’t leave your family in a predicament and cost them time and money and distress.

In Central Ohio, Port legal is the premier estate planning and probate law firm. We can ensure your estate is properly handled in the manner you see fit.

Contact our team today to schedule a consultation and get advice about planning your estate.