Ohio residents who suffer from physical disabilities have the same rights to prepare an estate plan just like anyone else. Provided that a person is of sound mind and is not being taken advantage of, a disabled person can create a last will and testament that is as legally enforceable as any other will. This is because Ohio law offers other means to certify a will other than affixing a personal signature to it.
The challenge some people with disabilities face is being able to sign papers. Whether by disease, ailment or amputation, there are some individuals who lack the ability to make a legible signature. In such cases, Ohio law provides a different way for people to authenticate a will. Instead of the testor signing the will, another person is permitted to sign the will at the direction of the testor.
To ensure that a will is authentic, Ohio law requires that it be signed in the presence of two or more witnesses of competent mind. This requirement holds true if a testor has a will signed by another party. The witnesses, who should be older than seventeen, will view the person signing the will and hear the testor authenticate the signature on the document. State law also clarifies that this action should be witnessed in person and not through an electronic medium like an online streaming service or a phone call.
Some people may have questions about oral wills, or wills that are not written down but spoken by a testor. Ohio law does provide for oral wills but under strict circumstances, if a person is in “the last sickness.” The law states that two witnesses, described as competent and disinterested, must write down and subscribe the will. Generally, an oral will is for people who are close to death and cannot sign a will by hand. It should be emphasized that the testor must be of sound mind to dictate an oral will and cannot be restrained or coerced into making the will.