Ohio residents may want to skip probate as it can be a long and expensive process. However, it may be avoided by creating a joint tenancy arrangement, which can allow an asset to pass solely to a survivor. This may be used on assets such as an investment or bank account, and it may override provisions put in a will or other estate plan documents.
One of the potential downsides to joint tenancy is that the other person may have access to funds within an account. This means that the other person could take money out of the account for any purpose whether it coincides with the original owner's wishes or not. Furthermore, if the joint tenant goes bankrupt or otherwise fails to pay creditors, money inside of a bank or other type of account could be seized by creditors.
A spouse may also have a claim on that money if the other person named on the account gets divorced. In the event that this person dies before the original owner of the asset does, it could still pass according to the terms of a will or state law. This may mean that it doesn't go to a person or entity that an individual feels may make best use of that asset.
The use of a will may resolve or eliminate certain inheritance issues. Using a trust or opting for joint tenancy may also make it clear to whom an asset is supposed to go. It may also make it harder for anyone to challenge this decision as there is no need to go through probate if joint tenancy conditions are present. An attorney may be able to help an individual decide if this is an appropriate tool for his or her planning needs.