In order to be valid, a last will and testament must meet certain requirements in Ohio. This is a very important step in the estate planning process: it does you no good to have a will if it is not considered valid by Ohio courts.
How is a will deemed valid? The following criteria must be met:
- The person who made the will must have been at least 18 years of age when the will was created
- The person who made the will must be of sound mind (able to reason and make decisions)
- The will must be written and signed (with some exceptions)
- The will must have been witnessed by two people who do not receive anything in the will
Recently, a judge in Ohio added some clarification to these guidelines.
The Chronicle-Telegram reports that Lorain County Probate Judge James Walther ruled that a will written and signed on a tablet computer was valid.
According to the article, Javier Castro dictated his last wishes from his hospital bed to his two brothers. One of the brothers, Miguel Castro, wrote down his wishes on a tablet. Javier Castro signed the will later that day, with both of his brothers witnessing.
Had Walther ruled the will invalid, Javier Castro’s estate would have gone to his parents.
In his decision, Walther said that Javier Castro’s will met the legal requirements of a will in Ohio. Walther noted that Ohio law does not specifically address how the courts should handle electronic wills and recommended that this be fixed: “I can only think that this is going to be utilized more and more, so it would be good to have some guidance.”
The Ohio State Bar Association recommends that you seek an attorney’s help to make sure that the will is properly executed. If you have questions about creating a will, please don’t hesitate to let us know.