Joint ownership of property doesn’t always address all the issues when one spouse dies. That’s why it is so important for Ohio residents to make sure they have all the documents they need during their estate planning. Joint property is not a replacement for a will since property can be owned jointly between spouses as well as children and family members who have survivorship rights.
Joint ownership doesn’t just include real estate; it can also include items like jewelry, art and other collectibles. These are the types of items that must be addressed in a will since Ohio’s intestate laws would kick in if a person dies without a will. These intestate laws decide which beneficiaries receive property when a person dies without leaving a will or if the will is deemed invalid. If a person does not want assets to pass on to unintended heirs, he or she must have a will.
If joint owners die at the same time, Ohio’s intestacy laws would govern property distribution when estate documents don’t exist. Without proper estate planning documents, the issue of taxes cannot be addressed, and the estate may be on the line for additional taxes and penalties. A will — along with other estate planning documents — allows a testator to control how much is inherited and when.
A will also addresses other matters such as guardians for minor children and instructions and funds for care of any pets. An Ohio estate planning attorney may be of help to plan an estate that complies with a client’s wishes. Individuals need to have wills and other estate documents that meet their specific needs.