Understanding intestate succession

| Jan 13, 2021 | Uncategorized

Most people in Ohio understand the need to delineate the dispersal of their estates. Yet even with this understanding, few have actually engaged in the process. Indeed, according to information shared by Forbes Magazine, almost half of all American adults over the age of 55 have not yet prepared a will.

Some might think that if they do not create a will, their heirs will get to determine the division of their estates. Yet that is not the case. When one dies intestate (without a will), the decisions regarding their estate’s administration fall to the state.

Ohio’s intestate succession guidelines

Section 2105.06 of Ohio’s Revised Code details the state’s intestate succession guidelines. Here it states that if one who dies intestate leaves behind a spouse (but no direct lineal descendants), their entire estate goes to their spouse. The same holds true if the decedent has descendants, and those descendants are also the children of the surviving spouse. If the decedent has one child that is not also the natural or adoptive child of the surviving spouse, then the spouse receives the first $20,000 of the estate plus one-half of the remaining balance. Their interest in the estate reduces to one-third of the remaining balance of the decedent has more than one child, none of which are also the children of the spouse. The interest amount remains the same if there is more than one descendant, and at least one is also the natural or adoptive child of the surviving spouse, and the spouse’s initial payment increases to the first $60,000 of the estate.

Succession order if there is no spouse

If the decedent leaves no spouse behind, the succession order of their intestate estate is as follows:

  • Descendants
  • Parents
  • Siblings (or their descendants)
  • Grandparents
  • Next of kin

If there is no surviving kin, their estate goes to the state.