When Ohio residents die without leaving behind a valid will, state law may determine where their assets go. It can also depend on how they were owned at the time of death. For instance, jointly-owned assets of an individual who was married at the time of death will go directly to the surviving spouse.
Assets that were owned solely by the decedent would likely be passed down proportionally. The spouse would get up to half of those assets while the children would split the rest. If a couple has no children, the entire estate may go to the spouse or be split between the spouse and the deceased's parents and siblings. Individuals who are not married but have a child at the time of their death will see their assets split between their children.
Should an adult child have passed on, that child's children will get a share of their grandparent's assets. When an individual passes on with no spouse or children, assets generally go first to the parents. If the parents are deceased, assets may be split among siblings or other next of kin. In the event that none exist, the state may take an individual's assets.
Individuals who wish to create a will or trust may find it helpful to talk to an attorney who has estate planning experience. These types of documents allow people to gain greater control over to whom and how their property will ultimately be distributed. Trusts provide more flexibility in how distributions are made, which can be important in certain circumstances.