You may file a last will and testament in Ohio for safekeeping or to initiate probate -- the legal proceeding used to settle the final affairs of a deceased person. Filing your will with the court prior to your death will keep the document safe and avoid questions about the validity of your signature after your death. Ohio law requires the filing of the original will with the probate court.
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Filing Your Will for Safekeeping
Review your will a final time. Make sure all of your desired provisions are in the document. Check for mistakes in your directions. Verify you and at least two witnesses over the age of 18 have signed the will, as required under Ohio law. Make a copy of the will for your records.
Visit the Ohio probate division of your County Court of Common Pleas. Visit the official website of the Supreme County of Ohio & The Ohio Judicial System to use the court directory to locate the court in your area. Bring your state identification and your original will with you.
File your will for safekeeping. The court may require a filing fee; the amount varies by county.
Filing a Will for Probate
Locate the death certificate of the deceased. Get a certified copy of the death certificate if you do not have the document. Visit the official website of Ohio Department of Health, Vital Records to see the options available for requesting a copy of the certificate.
Visit the probate division of the County Court of Common Pleas with jurisdiction over the county in which the deceased was a resident. Request the Application to Probate Will and the Waiver of Notice of Probate forms, court instructions and the filing fee schedule. You need a Wavier of Notice of Probate for each heir.
Fill out the Application for Probate in full. The form varies by county, but the required information throughout Ohio probate systems includes the names and residences of all legal heirs; the name, last address, birth and death date of the deceased person; and the name and address of the executor in the will.
Complete the Wavier of Notice of Probate forms. Have each heir sign a waiver. The wavier contains wording indicating that the heir is not contesting probate or the executor's appointment.
Locate all filing fees on the fee schedule for each of your documents. Add the figures together. Check the filling fee schedule for accepted payment methods. Prepare your payment method in the amount you calculated.
Return to the court probate division. File the will, the Application for Probate, the death certificate and any waivers you have. Bring your state identification and the filing fee payment with you.
Tips & Warnings
- Contact an attorney if you are uncertain about probate procedures.
References & Resources
- Montgomery County, Ohio: Estate
- Belmont County, Ohio: Purpose of Probate
- Muskingum County Probate Court: Probate Services
- Hamilton County Probate Court, Ohio: Standard Probate Forms
- The Supreme County of Ohio & The Ohio Judicial System
- Ohio Department of Health: Vital Records (Birth, Death, Marriage, and Divorce)