I Am Single and Do Not Have Kids.  Do I Need a Will?

I Am Single and Do Not Have Kids. Do I Need a Will?

Arguably, you may need a Will more than most people.

Beneficiaries of your estate. If you die without a Will (also known as dying intestate), then your probate estate will be distributed according to state law. Under such a scenario in Ohio, the intestate succession statue directs that your probate estate be distributed evenly between your parents. If your parents have predeceased you, then your estate will be distributed equally among your siblings. If you have alternate people or charities who you would like to receive your estate, then you should have a Will directing as such.

The Burden of Probate. Regardless or your marital and parental status, a Will does not avoid the need for probate administration, which is the process by which the probate court grants a person – referred to as an Executor or Administrator – the authority to transfer your probate assets to the beneficiaries of your estate.  Having a Will can, however, expedite the process and reduce the cost of administering your probate estate.

A Will generally grants your Executor the power to do what is necessary to transfer your probate assets to your beneficiaries.  If you do not have a Will that grants the Executor these powers, then he or she will have to request approval from the probate court before taking any actions. For example, if you owned real property that needs to be sold so that the proceeds can be divided among the beneficiaries and do not have a Will, there are numerous forms and requirements that must be met and approved by the probate court before the property can be sold. Not only does this create additional attorney fees but it also extends the time it takes to complete the probate administration.

The cost to post bond is another expense that can be avoided by having a Will.  If you do not have a Will that waives bond for the Executor, then the person appointed to administer your estate would most likely have to post bond with the probate court, which could be problematic if the appointed person has bad credit.

These are only a few reasons why having a Will is essential.  As your estate planning attorneys, we can not only help you prepare a Will, we can also advise you on how to avoid probate entirely through the use of beneficiary designations or a trust.

Ann M. Seller is an associate at Kohnen & Patton LLP specializing in estate planning. For more information regarding your estate planning needs, contact Ms. Seller at 513-381-0656 or aseller@kplaw.com