Are Wills in Ohio Public Record?

By Marie Murdock

Many people are concerned when they make a last will and testament that their wishes remain private. Generally, only you and your attorney -- as well as persons you authorize to view its contents -- will ever see the will prior to your death. After your death, however, your will generally becomes public record when it is recorded or filed for probate in an Ohio probate court.

Many people are concerned when they make a last will and testament that their wishes remain private. Generally, only you and your attorney -- as well as persons you authorize to view its contents -- will ever see the will prior to your death. After your death, however, your will generally becomes public record when it is recorded or filed for probate in an Ohio probate court.

Prior to Death

You may choose to place your original will in a safe deposit box for safekeeping, with only your designated executor allowed access to retrieve the will upon your death. Ohio also allows you to deposit your will with your local probate court for safekeeping. The will is not viewable by the public while it it deposited with the court, and only you may withdraw the will while you are alive. Upon deposit, you will designate on the will’s wrapper the name of the person to whom the court may deliver it after your death.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan

Presenting the Will

The executor named in your will should present the will, along with the required petitions and other documentation, to the probate court to begin probate proceedings after your death. Once the will is admitted to probate, the public may view its contents along with any court orders and other filed court documentation.

Parties in Interest

Once probated, your will may convey any real property you owned prior to your death. Therefore, it is often necessary for a title examiner to view the will’s contents to determine the disposition of your real estate in order for a title company to insure any related transaction such as a sale of the property. Also, any heirs, whether or not they were devised property under the will, have the right to view its contents as they have a direct interest in the probate proceedings.

Trusts

Some people choose to establish a revocable or irrevocable trust prior to their death. Their will may merely state that all of their property is devised to their pre-established trust. The contents of a trust agreement are generally not public record; therefore, this method of estate planning may prevent the disposition of estate property from being known by the general public.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan
Getting a Copy of a Last Will and Testament in Tennessee

References

Related articles

What Documents Do I Need to Bring to Prepare a Last Will & Testament?

You can help your attorney prepare your last will and testament by bringing certain documents with you when you and your attorney meet. These documents will help ensure that your will covers all necessary topics and contains correct information, making it more likely your desires will be carried out after you die.

Ohio Laws on Wills

Ohio laws on wills are set out in Chapter 2107 of Title 21 of the Ohio revised code. A will is a legal document that sets out an individual’s wishes regarding his property and family after his death. For a will to be valid, the individual -- known in this context as a testator -- must be at least 18 years old, and be of sound mind and free to make his own decisions.

Where Are Last Will & Testaments Recorded?

Whether you're looking for a deceased relative’s last will or are just curious as to when wills become public record, most states have similar procedures for filing wills for probate after death, even though the names of the public offices may differ slightly.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help.

Related articles

How to Get Copies of Last Wills & Trusts

If you are curious as to what may be contained in someone’s will and/or trust agreement, the ease of accessing ...

Are Probated Wills Public Record in the State of Alabama?

Alabama's law regarding public access may pose a challenge if you want to keep your estate matters private after your ...

How to Store Wills

Your will specifies how your assets are going to be divided among your beneficiaries after your death, and names your ...

How to Pass Financial Information to Heirs Upon Death

The period immediately following the death of a loved one is often emotionally overwhelming for family and friends. In ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED