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Requirements for a valid will in Ohio

Drafting a will remains among the more effective ways to implement your wishes for your property disposition after you pass. Ohio wills must meet several technical requirements in order to be valid.

Although fill-in-the-blank will forms proliferate all over the internet, they may not always meet requirements or properly reflect your wishes. A lawyer can advise you as to what provisions would best convey your disposition and draft an effective document.

Writing and witnesses

Generally, an Ohio will must be written down. You need to sign your will in the presence of two witnesses, and those witnesses also need to sign it. The witnesses may not benefit under the provisions of the will.

Persons able to make a will

To make a valid will, you must be over the age of 18 and possess mental capacity. The law generally defines capacity in this context as the ability to understand what your property consists of, who are your natural beneficiaries and the meaning of your dispositions. In some cases, a person deemed mentally incapable for one kind of legal purpose may nevertheless possess adequate capacity to make a valid will.

Thinking ahead

If you know that you include a potentially controversial provision, such as disinheriting a child in favor of a non-related person, you may wish to protect your will from future challenges. This may include getting a specialist's evaluation of your mental capacity.

Changing your mind

You can revoke your will by drafting a new valid will at a later date or by destroying the old will. If you destroy your will, you need to communicate your intent to thereby revoke it, to distinguish your act from accidental destruction.

Choosing an executor

Your will may include a provision appointing an executor to manage the carrying out of its terms. If you do not appoint an executor, the probate court usually appoints an administrator to fulfill this function. Appointing an executor lets you choose the person you deem best suited to implementing your wishes.

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