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Requirements for Creating a Valid Will in Ohio

Requirements for Creating a Valid Will in Ohio
September 1, 2018 Shannon Dawes

When creating a will in Ohio, you will need to understand the state’s requirements for will formation to make sure you end up with a completely valid document. In the blog below, Dawes Legal, LLC, discusses the requirements for a valid will under Ohio law.

The general requirements for forming a valid will in the state of Ohio are:

  1. The testator must be at least 18 years of age or older;
  2. The testator must be of sound mind and memory and not experiencing duress or undue influence from another person;
  3. The will must be in writing;
  4. The testator must sign the will;
  5. The testator’s signature must be witnessed by two disinterested parties; and
  6. The will must be signed by the two witnesses.

By themselves, these requirements can seem confusing, but the state had specific intentions behind each element. “Testator” refers to the person who is creating the will or the person for whom the will is being created. People who are younger than 18 years are not legally allowed to create their own wills because they are not adults who can appropriately consent to devise property upon their passing.

When people form wills, the state wants to make sure they have sound enough mind to make important decisions. The state wants to protect people who are too elderly or too sick to make such decisions about the end of their lives and their property. The state also wants to make sure people do not exert improper influence over a testator in an effort to receive money or property.

In Ohio, with very few exceptions, all wills need to be in writing. Ohio does allow “holographic” wills, which means you can actually handwrite your own will in the state. As long as your handwritten will meets the other requirements, it will be valid. Most people, however, choose to type their wills so that every provision is perfectly clear and legible.

When the will is complete, one of the best ways to be sure a testator created, authorized, or otherwise consented to that will is to require the testator’s signature. That is why this step is necessary for people in Ohio. The signature must also be witnessed by two people. The witnesses to a person’s will must be disinterested, meaning they do not stand to gain anything from the will. Their signatures add another layer of authenticity to a will. Allow interested parties to witness the will would defeat the purpose of their participation. In the event of a question about the will’s validity, interested witnesses would very likely say whatever is necessary to allow them to receive their inheritances.

Even when you know the basic requirements for creating a will in Ohio, it is important to hire a skilled attorney to make sure you include everything necessary. Contact Dawes Legal, LLC, at (614) 733-9999 to start your will today.