Frequently Asked Questions 

If I do not have a will when I die, does the State get all my property?

No. However, Ohio does have a statute that directs how your property will be distributed. The Ohio statute is found at http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2105.06. Basically, the statute starts with the closest relation and moves along the family tree until a relative is found. Finally, a step-child could inherit if there is no blood relation. If no blood relation or step-child, the property will escheat to Ohio.

Should I take the blood alcohol concentration test or refuse?

Each case is different. Currently, the limit for blood alcohol level is .08. For an average male 6′, 170 lb., three drinks would put you over the limit. (One drink equals a 12 oz. beer, a 5 oz. glass of wine, or 1.5 oz. of 80 proof liquor.) If you were below .08 and you refused, you would hurt yourself because there is a one-year license suspension for your first refusal.

If you know you are over .08 and you have no priors, it may be beneficial for you to refuse because your lawyer may be able to negotiate a reduction. If you have a prior alcohol-related offense and you refuse, the look-back period is twenty years. If there is a prior within that twenty-year period, the penalties double. The mandatory three days for a first offender becomes six; the mandatory ten days for a second offense becomes twenty. The best advice is don’t drink and drive.

Do the provisions of my will control over other beneficiary designations?

No. If you designate a person as a joint owner with survivorship rights, pay-on-death (bank account), transfer-on-death (investment account, real estate or motor vehicle) or other named beneficiary on an asset (life insurance or retirement plan), the designated beneficiary receives that property upon your death, in spite of what the will may indicate.

How do I protect my personal assets?

There are several methods to protect personal assets. Generally, if you are engaged in a business enterprise, we recommend that you set up a limited liability company or a corporation to protect your personal assets. Also, we recommend the use of a trust to protect personal assets and remain in control of your assets beyond your death.

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