How to Contest a Will in Ohio

By Anna Assad

You can contest a will in Ohio if you believe the will is invalid under state laws. A will contest is a challenge by an interested party to the estate, such as an heir or beneficiary, to all or part of the will's provisions. Ohio permits will challenges if the deceased person was unduly pressured or coerced into the will, was mentally incompetent or did not understand the provisions when the will was made. You can contest a Ohio will if fraud was involved or if the document wasn't executed properly.

Step 1

Establish your legal standing. You can contest the will if you are a legal heir who was omitted or an heir or beneficiary who was given a smaller share than you believe you are due. File proof of your identity and relation to the deceased person, such as your birth certificate, a family tree or your state identification, with the Ohio probate court if necessary.

Step 2

Get evidence for your will contest. The burden of proof is on you, so you must get as much evidence of your challenge basis as possible. Get copies of medical records for the decedent if you are alleging she was not mentally sound at the time of the will's preparation and signing, as required under Ohio laws. Consult the decedent's physician; the physician may be called to testify in a competency contest. In cases of fraud or undue influence, make a list of persons who witnessed examples. Locate and review the decedent's correspondence, as communications may offer possible proof of coercion or pressure.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan

Step 3

Locate an official document containing the decedent's signature if you are questioning the signing of the will. Look for a document that was acknowledged in front of a notary public, like a home mortgage. Ohio permits the testimony of a handwriting expert in contest cases, and the person will need a sample recognized as authentic by the court.

Step 4

Speak to the persons on your witness list before filing in court to establish the information you believe each person has. A witness can harm your case if he offers testimony that contradicts your position. Advise each witness you are taking the case to court; the persons must be present at hearings.

Step 5

Visit the Ohio probate court conducting the estate proceedings. Request the paperwork necessary to initiate a will contest. Complete the papers and follow all given instructions. File the papers in court and take the copy of your motion given to you by the clerk.

Step 6

Serve a copy of the motion on all parties in the case in the manner dictated by the Ohio court. Interested parties include all heirs and beneficiaries, the executor and the Ohio attorney general's office in some cases; check with probate court if you are not sure about the interested parties. You may be required to personally serve the papers or use certified mail, return receipt requested. Ask a person not a party to the case to personally serve papers for you or hire a professional service. Obtain completed and signed affidavits of service from personal servers; get blank affidavits from the probate court if needed. Keep your mailing receipts if mail service is used.

Step 7

File your proof of service with the Ohio probate court. Attend all hearings and bring any evidence to court with you. Follow all directions issued by the court.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan
How to Contest a Will in Oregon
 

References

Related articles

How to Write a Will in Ohio

A will lists your final instructions for the distribution of your assets and personal belongings after your death. The executor you select is responsible for fulfilling your provisions, but he must first go through probate -- the proceedings used to validate a will -- to gain legal authority. A will made by an Ohio resident that is not prepared and executed in accordance with Ohio laws is not valid for probate in the state. The distribution of your belongings is dictated by Ohio laws if your will is not accepted for probate.

Laws Pertaining to Contesting a Will in Arizona

Probate is the legal proceeding used to validate a will and give legal authority to the executor, the person overseeing the estate and transfers to heirs. A will being offered for probate in Arizona may be contested, or challenged, by a person with an interest in the estate, such as a child of the deceased person.

How Do I Legally Change My Name in Ohio?

Name changes for an adult in Ohio are made in the probate court of the county the person lives in. You must file an application to have the case heard by the court. Ohio state laws require a hearing be held on the matter, and the court can deny your name change if you don't give an acceptable reason. Name changes that are for fraudulent purposes, such as to evade legal authorities, are not permitted in Ohio.

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

Related articles

How to Contest Wills in New Jersey

You can challenge the validity of a will being offered for probate in New Jersey if you are considered a person with an ...

How to Contest the Executor of a Will

An executor is a person who handles the financial affairs of an estate, including the distribution of assets to heirs, ...

How to File a Last Will & Testament in Ohio

You may file a last will and testament in Ohio for safekeeping or to initiate probate -- the legal proceeding used to ...

How to Contest a Will Because of Mental Capacity

You may contest a will if you're an interested party, such as an heir or beneficiary of the deceased person, known as ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED