Legal-Ease: Who’s your daddy?

Lee R. Schroeder is an Ohio licensed attorney at Schroeder Law LLC in Putnam County. He limits his practice to business, real estate, estate planning and agriculture issues in northwest Ohio. He can be reached at or at 419-659-2058. 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.

When asking clients about their children for estate planning purposes, men often joke that “these are the children…that I know of.” While that’s almost always intended to be funny, sometimes it is actually true.

In the state of Ohio, a man’s biological children may have rights to inherit from the deceased man. But biological children are not always the same as a man’s legal heirs. In Ohio, if a man dies without a will but with children, biological offspring will only inherit through Ohio’s “no will inheritance structure” if the man had demonstrated awareness of the child’s or children’s existence before his death.

When I conference with clients for their estate planning, I always need to know the clients’ family information. When asking men how many children they have, they sometimes joking respond, after citing their children’s names, with the phrase, “that I know of.” Of course, that statement is almost always intended to be a joke, but that joke sometimes proves true.

A year ago, the news was filled with the names of numerous people who claimed they were the sons and daughters of the music icon Prince, who had died weeks before without a will.

Read more about intestacy and how inheritance works for biological children when a will is not present in Ohio in Lee’s article in the Lima News here: Legal-Ease: Who’s your daddy?

Source:, “Legal-Ease: Who’s your daddy?,” by Lee R. Schroeder, June 24, 2017

Posted in Estate Planning.