When people in Ohio think about creating a will, they may think they can simply write something out on their own and be done with it. However, under Ohio Laws and Rules section 2107.03, there are certain formalities that must be met in order for a will in Ohio to be valid and enforceable.

Although oral wills are allowed in Ohio under certain circumstances, in general a will must be written. It can be handwritten or it can be typed out. Also, the will must be signed by the testator (that is the person whose will it is). Alternatively, someone else can sign the will in the presence of the testator while the testator is conscious and only with the express permission of the testator. Per law, “conscious presence” is defined as any part of the testator’s senses. However, if the testator’s hearing or vision is only sensed via some sort of distant communication, such as a telephone call or video conferencing, this does not count.

In addition, at least two other people must witness the signing of the will. These witnesses must be competent, they must have seen the testator sign the will or they must have heard the testator allow someone else to sign the will in his or her presence.

These requirements are not onerous, and they’re in place to ensure that the testator is creating the will through his or her own free will. However, if a person in Ohio who has questions about whether a will they created is valid and enforceable, or if a person wants to make sure they execute their will with the proper formalities, it can help to first seek advice of an estate planning attorney before moving forward.