If you are an Ohio resident who is doing your estate planning, one basic document you will need to draft is your will. Every adult should have at least this basic document to direct how they desire their estate to be distributed.
However, wills are legal documents, and as such, must conform to the laws of the state of Ohio. The elements of a valid will, according to the Ohio Revised Code, are detailed below:
- Age of majority – To execute a will in Ohio, the testator must be at least 18 years of age. The exception to this rule is that a minor who has legally married may draft a will.
- There is no duress – A testator must draft or codify their will of their own volition, without any pressure from others.
- Be of sound mind – Those who have not been declared officially incompetent by the courts are considered to be of sound mind. But illness and the aging process can strip adults of their sound minds, so this could affect the legality of the will.
- Be written out in longhand or typed – Holographic wills are written and signed by the testator and are legal in Ohio.
- Be witnessed – Two witnesses must watch the testator sign and date their will and sign their names to the document.
In some cases, oral (nuncupative) wills may be acceptable. But the standards are stricter and higher for these types of wills, and they are more easily challenged in court. Learning more about your estate planning options allows you to tailor your plans accordingly.