Legal-Ease: Unmarried people without wills

Lee R. Schroeder is an Ohio licensed attorney with Schroeder Law LLC in Ottawa. He limits his practice to business, real estate, estate planning and agriculture issues in northwest Ohio. He can be reached at or at (419) 523-5523. This article is not intended to serve as legal advice, and specific advice should be sought from the licensed attorney of your choice based upon the specific facts and circumstances that you face.

Ohio law provides rules for people who die without wills. These rules are referred to as the “statute of descent and distribution.” The rules for the distribution process for people without wills is completely different depending upon the marital status of the deceased. If someone dies without a will, even if they’re in a serious relationship or engaged, the significant other will get nothing under Ohio law.

Unfortunately, some people pass away before having completed their respective last wills and testaments.

Generally, “will” and “last will and testament” mean the same thing. Wills must be in writing. Wills must be signed at the end of the will by the person who is “making” the will. At least two people must physically “witness” the will being signed. If someone is unable to sign his or her will, that person may instruct (not ask or simply consent) to someone else signing the will for that person, in the will maker’s presence.

Learn more about wills and the Ohio laws that govern distribution of assets when a will is not in place in Lee’s article in the Lima News here: Legal-Ease: Unmarried people without wills

Source:, “Legal-Ease: Unmarried people without wills,” by Lee R. Schroeder, April 16, 2016

Posted in Estate Planning.