Can a Child Be Legally Disinherited in the State of Ohio?

When someone passes away, that person’s true intentions and relationship status are made clear. On occasion, a family that has been at odds with one another comes together during this difficult time. The death of a loved one can often bring the family closer together. Contrarily, a family that has been very close might become aggrieved after learning the wishes of the decedent’s Will. It is a terrible feeling when some surviving family members of the decedent have been disinherited. When someone has been disinherited, they have been written out of the decedent’s Will, and they will receive nothing from the decedent’s estate. If you or a loved one have been disinherited from a loved one’s Will, investigating the circumstances surrounding the signing of the decedent’s Will is critical in determining if recourse is available.

Ohio Does Not Prohibit Disinheritance of Family Members

Should someone pass away “intestate,” (without having written and executed a will), Ohio Probate Laws direct the Court on how to divide the decedent’s property. These Ohio Probate Statutes will generally give the property to the decedent’s closest family members. That is why it is so important that a person creates a will with specific instructions on how to divide their property and to whom they leave their assets and property. For example, if someone passes away without a surviving spouse but they have three children, Ohio’s Probate Statutes would typically divide the decedent’s estate equally between the three children. However, the decedent could draft a will and legally leave all of their property to one child and nothing to the other two children. The decedent could also leave their assets and property to a charity and leave nothing to their children. In Ohio, as long as the decedent created a will, they can disinherit anyone.

Challenging the Decedent’s Mindset in Disinheritance Cases in Ohio

The key legal term to understand in a disinheritance case is “Of sound mind.” If the decedent drafted or signed their Will while not “of sound mind” and they disinherited family members, the Court might decide the Will is not valid, and the Court could treat the case as if they passed away without a will. Moreover, suppose there is evidence that the decedent suffered from mental impairment or a medical condition that prevented the decedent from comprehending what they were doing or accurately perceiving facts. In that case, the Court could invalidate the Will. For example, suppose a decedent drafted and signed their Will disinheriting their children due to a mental condition that made them believe their children had already passed away when they did not. In that case, the Court could invalidate the Will.

In Ohio, being “of sound mind” also requires Wills to have been created without duress or coercion of the decedent. A Will written under the threat of financial or physical harm will not be honored by the Court. Likewise, should the decedent be promised something in return for disinheriting someone, the Will could also be invalidated.

Were You Disinherited? Dawes Legal, LLC May Be Able to Help

While a person is free to disinherit their children or others through a will, Dawes Legal, LLC can help determine if a decedent’s Will was truly the product of a sound mind and a person free from duress or undue influence. Contact Dawes Legal, LLC at (614) 733-9999, and let us evaluate what legal courses of action you may have if you have been disinherited.