05 Oct Probate Process Considerations for Domestic Partners
At death, a will names an executor and directs how the deceased’s property is to be distributed. A county probate judge oversees estate administration, ensures the validity of a will, notifies and confirms all legal claimants to property and resolves ownership disputes.
In the absence of a will, the court distributes the deceased’s property according to Ohio law. Without proper estate planning documents, a domestic partner has no legal standing in probate proceedings. Biological family members take legal priority pursuant to the law of descent and distribution. The law prioritizes relatives starting with children, parents and siblings.
Not having estate planning documents opens the door for family members to fight for control not only of children, but also the deceased’s finances, potentially leaving a domestic partner with nothing. Estate planning documents can minimize the risks of a successful challenge from family members who may not approve of the relationship.
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