When a spouse dies, the surviving individual is not automatically liable for his or her remaining debts. Generally, an Ohio resident is only liable for a spouse's debt if it was jointly held or if there was some sort of guarantee made on the balance. However, a surviving spouse may be indirectly liable for a debt because creditors could seize any assets that were supposed to transfer to that person. The living spouse would then receive a portion of that inheritance or nothing at all depending on what was owed.
When an Ohio resident passes away without a valid will, the state will take on the responsibility of making one. This process is known as intestate succession, and its purpose is to distribute a decedent's assets in a way that resembles the average estate plan. Even if existing evidence makes it clear that a decedent wanted their wealth to be distributed in a certain fashion, no exceptions to the intestate succession process will be made.