Most people have heard of Byrd and Melanie Billings, the Florida couple who were murdered in their Florida home, and left behind 12 special needs children. Byrd Billings left no will or trust, but Melanie Billings left a will. Unfortunately, the Court found that the will was invalid under Florida law because it was not executed properly (it was not signed in front of two witnesses). (Slain Couple Leaves Behind Twelve Special Needs Children and No Valid Will, Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog, October 12, 2009.) Now, Florida intestacy law will determine how the Billing’s assets are distributed and a Court will determine who will serve as the children’s guardian.
If you have no will, the state of Ohio has intestacy laws that will determine how your assets are distributed, and the Court will determine the guardian of your children. If you would like to make these decisions instead of the state, have a will prepared and properly executed. In Ohio, a properly executed will be signed at the end by the testator (person who made the will) and witnessed and signed by two competent witnesses.