Is The Deceased’s Second Family Entitled To Any Inheritance?

On Behalf of | Jun 4, 2023 | Will Contests

In the unfortunate event of a person’s death, questions regarding inheritance and the rights of family members often arise. One common concern is whether the deceased’s second family is entitled to any inheritance. This is where effective estate planning comes in; it’s instrumental in determining how a person’s assets will be distributed upon their death. 

Estate planning involves creating a legally binding document, such as a will, that outlines the deceased’s wishes regarding their estate. It allows individuals to specify who should inherit their assets, including their second family. Proper estate planning can help prevent disputes and provide clear guidelines for property division, minimizing potential conflicts between family members.

The Second Family Can Inherit If The Deceased Included Them In The Will

A will is crucial when determining the distribution of a deceased individual’s assets. It outlines their wishes and designates beneficiaries who will inherit specific estate portions.

Suppose the deceased had a second family and included them in the will. In that case, they would be entitled to their designated share of the inheritance. However, the situation becomes more complex if the will does not mention the second family or is invalid.

Intestate Laws Give The Second Family Leeway 

In the absence of a valid will, the distribution of assets is governed by intestate succession laws. According to Ohio’s intestate law, all legal spouses and biological or legally adopted children are given priority in inheritance claims. 

On top of that, suppose the surviving spouse is the natural or adoptive parent of the deceased. In that case, they’re entitled to the first $20,000 plus a third of the estate balance. In addition, the deceased surviving spouse and children are also entitled to a $40,000 allowance deducted from the estate before inheritance allocation. 

“What if there’s no mention of the second family in the will?” you may ask. Well, in that case, the surviving spouse can elect against the will and receive their inheritance according to Ohio’s elective share statute. Essentially, the deceased is treated as having died without a will, in which case, the intestate laws apply. 

Due to the complexity of inheritance laws and the potential conflicts that may arise, it is crucial for families to seek legal advice when distributing the deceased’s assets. By carefully considering various legal factors, you can help ensure the process is smooth and peaceful. 


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