I live in Ohio and am married. My spouse does not have a will. We own a house, She says I don't need to worry because I am her beneficiary on everything (life insurance, retirement benefits, etc.) What will be the legal ramifications if she passes away without a will?
1 Answer from Attorneys
The short answer, it all depends. Doing a will is simply a document a good estate planning attorney provides as a part of the PLANNING. With good planning, you MAY be able to reduce or eliminate going through probate. In my opinion, you always want a will. This fact is borne out by the fact the US Military (of which I retired from as a JAG) spends a lot of time ensuring every single service member has a will or has the opportunity to have one drawn up at no cost to them and their family, with reviews done about once every 3 years. This is a considerable expense for the military to provide this service, but its' importance more than justifies the expense.
Setting all of that aside. The basic point is, you want to ensure you have good estate planning done, to include a will. The will may be a "fall back" document and never used, but if it is needed and not present, the expense and consequences are usually very significant when compared to the expense of obtaining a will.