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New estate laws in Ohio

Next year, there will be some changes to Ohio's transfer-on-death affidavits and deeds for real estate. Under the old law, there was always a chance that someone could overlook this after a divorce and property could transfer inadvertently to their former spouse.

In many areas, Ohio law presumes that if you divorce, you do not want the transfers present in a will drafted during your marriage to take effect. Ohio revokes a bequest to a spouse made in a will drafted prior to a divorce. This is designed to prevent your former spouse from receiving a distribution at your death that would likely have been unintended.

The new law assumes that if you had real property that carried a transfer on death deed or affidavit, you probably do not want the property to transfer to your former spouse upon your death. A transfer on death affidavit can be useful if you want to avoid probate but do not have sufficient assets to require the use of a trust. The change, which will take effect in 2017, will prevent unintended transfers.

Reproductive technology has made it possible for children to be conceived and the fertilized eggs or embryos frozen. This allows for the potential of children born after the donor has died. The Ohio legislature made statutory changes that will affect estate planning for families with frozen eggs, sperm or embryos. The changes will require that if you want a child born more than a specified period of time after your death to inherit from you estate, you will need to explicitly include provisions in your will that indicate that intent.

If you die without a will, they must be living at the time of your death or born within 300 days of your death to receive an intestate share. If you have a trust, you similarly should specify your wish to include children born more than 300 days after your death to be a trust beneficiary. The law, however, would prevent a child from becoming a trust beneficiary if they were born more than five years after your death.

If you are using assisted reproductive technology, you should have your attorney review any estate planning documents and have them update them in light of these changes.

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