Intestate succession is what happens when an individual dies without setting up a will. The state of Ohio, through probate proceedings, will ultimately divide the estate that belongs to the individual and distribute it to heirs in accordance with state intestacy laws.
How does intestacy work in Ohio?
According to intestate laws in Ohio, the spouse will inherit 100 percent of the deceased person's assets, unless the deceased has children (or descendants of children) from a previous spouse. In the case of one child (or descendants of a child) from a previous marriage, the spouse will inherit the initial $20,000 of the estate and then split the remaining estate with the child (or descendants of the child) from the other marriage equally.
If multiple children from another marriage (or the descendant's of the children) are living, the spouse will receive the initial $20,000, then a third of the remainder. The children from the other marriage (or their descendants) will divide the remaining third.
If no spouse is living, then the children of the deceased will divide all of the assets. If no spouse or children (or descendants of children) are living, then the parents will inherit everything. If no parents, spouse or children (or descendants of children) are living, then the siblings and their descendants -- or aunts, uncles and grandparents -- will inherit and divide everything.
Which assets are immune to intestate succession in Ohio?
Some assets will be immune to the Ohio intestate succession process because the beneficiaries are predetermined, separately from the will. Assets that are not affected by the presence of a will or lack thereof include:
- Property that has been deposited into a trust
- Proceeds from life insurance policies
- Assets contained within retirement accounts like 401(k)s and IRAs.
- Investments contained within a transfer-on-death account
- Bank accounts with a payable-on-death designation
- Property owned with another party via a joint tenancy
The above-described assets will not be included in the probate process because, according to Ohio law, the succession for these assets is already resolved. In fact, even if a will does exist that attempts to bequeath these kinds of assets to a party in conflict with the beneficiary designations, the previous arrangements set for these assets will supersede anything referenced in the will.
Learn more about Ohio intestacy laws
When someone dies without a will, if you're a potential beneficiary under intestacy rules, you may need to step forward to defend your intestacy inheritance rights during probate. Make sure to understand your legal inheritance rights if you're facing a situation like this.