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Ohio Trusts: Do You Need One If You Have a Will?

September 27, 2017 by Greg Port, J.D., M.B.A.


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Having a trust in the state of Ohio keeps your loved ones out of probate court. Instead of your family experiencing a lengthy probate court process to gain access to your assets and distribute them as you intended, a living trust takes the hassle of probate court out of the equation.

What is a Trust?

A trust arranges an individual's assets into a single entity. A trustee is placed in charge of the trust and he or she holds the legal title of the entity. You can remain the trustee over your own trust, which hands you total control over the property held in the trust.

Do I Need a Trust if I Have a Will?

If you have a only a will, after you pass away your property must go through probate court proceedings. Your assets will only be released to your family or designated heirs after this court proceeding which could last many months.

With a trust, you don't have to worry about delays that often occur when going to probate court. 

Ohio has a rather complex probate process, and you can bypass this lengthy legal process with a trust.

Having a living trust in place before passing avoids this complication and unnecessary heartache.

Do I Need a Will if I Have a Trust?

Yes, you still need to put a pour-over will in place for any property doesn't make it into your trust.

For example, if you acquire new property before your death, and you were unable to add it to your trust, or simply forgot, a pour-over will can ensure these assets are still protected by designating these assets be poured over into your trust.

For more on pour-over wills, please visit our blog post: What is a Pour Over Will and When Do I Need One?

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How to Avoid Ohio Probate Court

If you want to avoid probate court, you will need a will and a trust. Ohio law dictates that only estates that meet one or more of the following requirements are eligible to bypass probate court:

  • The estate belongs to a trust
  • Someone other than the deceased owns the assets of the estate
  • No assets of the decedent need passing on
  • Assets to the beneficiary are payable upon death or transferable upon death
  • Survivor tenancy or joint and survivorship (like a jointly held bank account)

A pour over will and a living trust can help your loved ones avoid legal difficulties upon your passing.

For the benefit of your wishes and your loved ones, it is extremely important to protect your assets with proper estate planning in the state of Ohio. 

If you'd like to learn more about establishing a trust and setting up a will, please feel free to setup a free consultation by clicking here

Our consultations are completely free of charge and intended to equip you to make the best decision.


Topics: Estate Planning, Trusts, Wills, Succession Planning, Ohio Estate Planning, Ohio Estate Planning Lawyer

Greg Port, J.D., M.B.A.

Written by Greg Port, J.D., M.B.A.

Port Legal founding attorney, Gregory Port has over 30 years experience. He has provided strategic corporate law representation in Central Ohio to clients since 1990. Gregory Port is a lawyer actively practicing in the areas of probate, estate planning, and real estate. His experience and core values are the cornerstones of Port Legal as a specialized advocate for your interests.