What happens if I don't make a will?
When a person dies without a will, or dies "intestate" as the law calls it, the property of the decedent is distributed according to a formula fixed by law. In other words, if you don't make a will, you don't have any say about how your property will be distributed. In Ohio, for example, if a man dies without a will, leaving 2 or more minor children, the wife would take a fixed sum of money and 1/3 of the remainder of the estate. The widow or other suitable person would need to be appointed guardian of the children by the Probate Court and would need to give the Court a surety bond. When each child reaches age 18, his or her share of the guardianship estate would be required to be made fully available to the child, regardless of his or her maturity level. Such proceedings could cost a lot of money and could create legal problems that might have been avoided had the husband made a will.

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1. Can life insurance take the place of a will?
2. Who will manage my estate?
3. May a person dispose of property in any way by making a will?
4. Does a will increase probate expenses?
5. What happens if I don't make a will?