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As previously outlined, estate planning laws are state specific. We always refer to the “tools” in our “tool box” and the variations among the states. Ohio has two tools that are extraordinarily helpful in avoiding probate that may not necessarily be available in other states.

1. Transfer on Death Designation Affidavit (ORC 5302.23) Ohio allows real property owners to name a beneficiary for the owner’s interest in the real property through a Beneficiary Designation Affidavit. If the owners hold title “joint with right of survivorship” the interest in the real property will not pass until both owners are deceased. The Beneficiary Designation Affidavit is recorded at the county recorder’s office. At the owner(s) death(s), the beneficiary files an Affidavit of Confirmation with the Auditor and Recorder’s office and the property transfers without a probate administration.

2. Transfer on Death Beneficiary Designation for Vehicle/Watercraft/Outboard Motor/ APV and motorcycle (ORC 2131.13) An individual with sole ownership or two persons with joint ownership with right of survivorship can designate a beneficiary to receive the owner’s interest in the vehicle at the owner’s death. The owner(s) take their title (it must be a clear title) with the clerk’s office along with BMV Form 3811 and request the clerk place a beneficiary on the title. The beneficiary designation is added to the title and the owner receives a new title. At the owner’s death, the beneficiary brings the title and the death certificate to the clerk’s office and the clerk will transfer the title without a probate administration. To access the Ohio TOD form for vehicles, select this link:

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