Ohio Law has written a will for those people who die without one. The law is called the Statute of Decent and Distribution. If you have no will, then you have died intestate. This law outlines who receives your estate. The answer depends on the makeup of your family tree.

When a person dies without a will their personal property and real estate is distributed as follows:

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Before we start with the rules, the definition of per stirpes must be defined.** “Per stirpes” **means “by representation”. If any heir dies, before the decedent in question and is survived by children, they move up the family tree and take their parent’s spot. For example, the heirs of an estate are A, B, and C. If A and B are living and C predeceased the decedent, but leaves two children Y and Z, they take C’s place. Thus, the estate would pass one-third to A, one-third to B, and one-third shared by Y and Z. This concept of **per stirpes** is contained numerous times below.

(A) **No spouse with children**. The whole estate is divided between or among the living children **per stripe**.

(B) **Surviving spouse and children where the children are from both parents**. The whole estate goes to the surviving spouse.

(C) **Surviving spouse and one stepchild of the surviving spouse.** The surviving spouse receives the first twenty thousand dollars plus one-half of the balance of the estate and the remainder to the stepchild **per stirpes**;

(D) **Surviving spouse and two or more stepchildren of the surviving spouse.** The surviving spouse receives the first sixty thousand dollars if the spouse is the natural or adoptive parent of one, but not all, of the children, or the first twenty thousand dollars if the spouse is the natural or adoptive parent of none of the children, plus one-third of the balance of the estate to the spouse and the remainder to the children equally, **per stirpes**; For example, if the spouse has at least one child from the decedent, they get $60,000 plus one-third. If not, then the surviving spouse gets $20,000 and one-third. The children would share two-thirds;

(E) **Surviving spouse no children or grandchildren. **The surviving spouse receives the whole estate;

(F) **No spouse, children or grandchildren**. The estate goes to the deceased person’s parents or surviving parent;

(G)** No spouse, children, grandchildren or parents. **The estate passes to the deceased person’s brothers and sisters, whether of the whole or of the half blood of the deceased **per stirpes**;

(H) **No brothers, sisters, nieces, or nephews**. The estate would pass one-half to the paternal grandparents of the deceased equally, or to the survivor of them **per stirpes**, and one-half to the maternal grandparents of the deceased equally, or to the survivor of them** per stirpes**;** **

(I) **No grandparents.** The estate would filter out one-half to the aunts, uncles or cousins on one side **per stirpes** and one half to the other side** per stirpes**. If none of these people exist, then to the next of kin of the deceased;

(J) **No next of kin**. The estate passes to the step children **per stirpes**.

(K) **Nobody**. The estate passes to the State of Ohio.