What if there is no will when someone dies?

On Behalf of | Sep 20, 2022 | Probate Litigation

Ideally, after someone dies, the family will access the will, and the executor will carry out the wishes the deceased laid out in it.

Yet, sometimes no will is forthcoming. What then?

Make sure you have looked everywhere

If you believe your loved one made a will, then consider who might know. If they always used the same legal firm, try asking them. If they mentioned having a safe-deposit box in their bank, ask the bank manager. If the deceased was a hoarder, be prepared to trawl through boxes of stuff in the garage.

Check if they made other arrangements

Not everyone uses a will. Some people pass their assets via alternative means such as trusts or beneficiary designations to avoid probate. It may be there are no, or very few, assets left to worry about.

What if you know there is no will or cannot find one?

If you conclude the person died without ever making a will, the law would conclude they died intestate. When that happens, a probate court decides who gets what. Or rather, they are tasked with enforcing state laws on the matter.

What do Ohio intestate laws say?

Here is how it would usually work:

  • The spouse gets everything if there are no children or grandchildren
  • The spouse gets everything if all remaining children and grandchildren are theirs

When children or grandchildren t do not belong to them, the split alters depending on how many are involved. Typically as the spouse, they get a greater share.

If your parent remarried shortly before they died, you may feel unhappy about having to share their estate with their new spouse. You may even suspect that the new spouse destroyed the will that would have left you everything, knowing they stand to gain if there is no will. If so, you will need legal help to present a challenge to the probate court.


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