It is important to understand Ohio inheritance law when you are making your estate plan. You need to think about how the laws on inheriting money and property are going to impact gifts that you wish to make to your loved ones. In particular, this becomes important if you plan to leave any money or property to someone who may be under the age of 18 at the time when they inherit.
Leaving something to a child raises complicated issues, because the child cannot just inherit the cash or property when you pass away. Someone will need to manage the inheritance for the child. It is up to you if you want to determine who that person is, or if you want to leave it to the state to decide.
You need to know what Ohio inheritance law dictates will happen to an inheritance if left to a child, and then you need to decide if you want those default rules to apply to a gift you make or if you would prefer to instead create your own instructions for how the money left to a child is supposed to be managed.
Ohio Inheritance Law for Minor Children
Under Ohio law, if you just leave money or property to a minor without providing any special instructions or making any special plans for that money, the court is going to need to appoint a guardian. The probate court will appoint someone who is in charge of managing the money for the child. The property guardian who is appointed to manage the child’s inheritance is going to need to provide accounting information to the court and will have a fiduciary duty to manage the funds appropriately for the child.
Once the child turns 18, the child will be given his or her full inheritance with no strings attached. The child will be put in charge of managing all the money and property left to him, even as he or she may still be young and uncertain of how to manage the money wisely.
These default laws can be problematic for lots of reasons. You may not want a young 18 year old to just be handed a large inheritance; you may not have wanted the person chosen as property guardian to be involved in managing the money; and you may not want the court’s involvement in how the money is spent. If you don’t want these default laws to apply to you, you need to explore other options.
Making Plans to Leave Money to a Minor
One option that you have is to leave money to a child under the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act. This Act is based on a uniform law and has been adopted by Ohio and by other states throughout the United States.
The Act streamlines the process of naming someone to act as guardian for the money or assets left to a child, and can make it possible to put someone in charge of managing the money even after the child has reached age 18. In Ohio, for example, you could specify that the money is to be managed for the child until he or she is 21 or older.
You can leave money to a child under this act simply by specifying in your will that you are leaving a gift of $[X] dollars to [Chosen Guardian’s name] as custodian for [Minor Child’s name], under the Ohio Uniform Transfers to Minors Act to age 21.
If you wanted even more control over the inheritance, including the ability to impose conditions on the child’s use of the money, you could also create a trust with the help of an Ohio lawyer.
Getting Help from An Ohio Inheritance Planning Lawyer
Zimmer Law Firm can help you to make smart choices when it comes to leaving money to a child, or when it comes to leaving money and property to any family members or charitable organizations. Our legal team knows Ohio inheritance law and can explain to you the impact of gifts you can provide. We can also help you to understand what impact an inheritance will have on your heirs or beneficiaries and how the law will treat the gift you have given.
To find out more about making a comprehensive estate planning that takes Ohio inheritance law into account, download our estate planning checklist. You can also give us a call at 513.721.1513 to speak with a member of our legal team about the compassionate and knowledgeable legal representation we can offer. Call now to get started.