The first step to open probate is to file the will. There is a presumption that the will is valid. A list of all of the people named in the will and a list of all of the people who would inherit under Ohio Law if the will was contested and found not to be invalid is also filed with the will. These people have an interest or standing in proving that the will is valid or not depending on which side the heir or potential heir might be on.
To be valid, the will must be:
- in writing
- testator must be at least 18 years old
- testator must be of sound mind and not coerced
- signed at the end by the testator
- two witnesses must attest the will
As an example, I am a child of the decedent and have been excluded from my dad’s will. I file a will contest, because I believe my dad was not competent at the time he signed his will. If I am successful and the will is thrown out by the Court, then I inherit a share of his estate as an heir at law.