Do It Yourself: Ohio Last Wills & Trusts

by April Kohl
    A will needs to be signed before witnesses in order to be valid.

    A will needs to be signed before witnesses in order to be valid.

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    Anyone who wants his property to go to a particular person, or group of people, when he dies needs a will; otherwise the state will distribute the assets according to state law. While an attorney can draft a will on your behalf, this is not a legal necessity and you can write a simple will yourself using a do-it-yourself template for relatively little outlay.

    Ohio Will Requirements

    The state of Ohio allows anyone 18 years old or more to create a will, but it also recognizes the rights of a minor who has been lawfully married to write her own will. Ohio law requires that a testator be of sound mind when the will is signed before two witnesses. This means the writer must not have been declared incompetent by a court at the time the will was created.

    Trust Basics

    A trust is formed when a person, called the “grantor,” transfers property into the keeping of another person, known as the “trustee,” for the benefit of one or more third parties, known as “beneficiaries.” Ohio allows the formation of revocable trusts where the grantor transfers his property to the trustee's keeping but retains the ability to change or revoke the trust and to keep the benefit of the property during his lifetime.

    Creating a Trust

    While a trust does not have to be formed in writing, having a written document will assist in validating the trust if problems arise later. The document creating a trust has no set form but should state your wishes as grantor clearly, along with the identity of both the beneficiary and the trustee. You should also explain how the trust is to function. Sign the document before two witnesses or a notary public.

    Considerations

    Creating wills and trusts can be very difficult, especially where the estate is large and complex. Hiring an attorney who specializes in wills and estate law to draft the will and create the trust on your behalf can help avoid the pitfalls that might result if you did it yourself.

    About the Author

    Based in the United Kingdom, April Kohl has been writing since 1992, specializing in science and legal topics. Her work has appeared on the Second Life News Network website and in British Mensa's "LSQ" magazine. Kohl holds a Bachelor of Science in physics from Durham University and a diploma in English law from the Open University.

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