Elderly couple resting on a bench in the park


StachlerHarmon Attorneys at Law April 29, 2022

With the rate of divorce and remarriage continuing to grow, it should come as no surprise that older people are also taking part in this trend. Of course, everyone should be able to find love and remarry at any age, but when we remarry later in life, there are certain considerations that may affect children you have from a previous relationship. One of the most common concerns comes from the adult children of these new couples who may be worried about what the remarriage will mean for their inheritance. For help answering these questions or any related concerns, StachlerHarmon Attorneys at Law can help. From our offices in Dayton, Ohio, we’re able to help those throughout the area, including the Warren, Greene, Clark, Miamisburg, Butler, and Preble Counties. Call us today to learn about your options. 


When someone passes away without a will, it’s known as “dying intestate.” Typically, a will outlines the wishes of the deceased regarding to whom their property and assets will go. When there is no will, the laws of intestate succession must be followed. This means that the decedent estate will go through the legal process of probate. Here, a judge will assign an administrator of the estate who will oversee the surveying and inventorying of all assets, notify and pay off creditors, and then will be responsible for distributing the assets to the correct heirs.

Each state has their own laws on inheritance rights, and these will change depending on whether the deceased was currently married and whether they have any children either with their current spouse or from a previous marriage. To avoid these difficult issues with inheritance, parents should start estate planning as soon as possible to ensure their family is taken care of and that their wishes are followed after they pass. 


In Ohio, if someone has children and dies without a spouse, their assets go immediately to the children. If the deceased has children and their current spouse is not the parent to those children, specific rules are in place. If the deceased has one child, their spouse will inherit the first $20,000 of the assets, receive half of the assets, and the rest goes to the ch

ild. If there’s more than one child, the spouse will receive the first $20,000 then receive ⅓ of the remaining assets and the rest will go to the children. If the spouse is the natural parent to at least one of the children, they will receive the first $60,000 and then inherit ⅓ of the remaining assets. 

It’s important to note that not all assets will be distributed this way, only those that would normally go through a will. There are a number of assets that will be exempt from intestate succession rules, such as any property you’ve placed in a living trust, funds from retirement accounts or IRAs, property owned with someone else in joint tenancy, and any vehicles, securities, or real estate that are held in a transfer-upon-death account. Since these assets would not normally have to pass through probate, they will automatically transfer to the named beneficiary or co-owner. 


There are other factors that may affect a child’s inheritance rights. If your parent has drawn up a will, it is up to them who they include and exclude from their assets, and it’s completely within their right to choose to exclude one or more of their children. If a parent does choose to disinherit a child, they must state this explicitly in their will. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. 

For example, if a child was born after the parent wrote their will, they would have been unintentionally excluded, and they’ll usually have equal rights to inheritance as their siblings. In other cases, if a will is invalidated, the terms within the will will be ignored. In this case, all children—regardless of whether or not they were named in the will—will have equal rights to inheritance. Lastly, there are cases when all children will have the right to reasonable support after a parent passes away while the will is in probate. For adult children, this is often for a short time (typically less than a year), but if the child is still a minor, they will likely have rights to remain supported in the family home until they reach the age of majority. 


Estate planning and inheritance administration can be a complicated and long affair. And, family members and loved ones are often moving through the grieving process and may need help with probate or determining their rights. If you’re in the Dayton, Ohio, area, have recently lost a loved one, and have questions about your rights to inheritance, call us at StachlerHarmon Attorneys at Law today to schedule a consultation.