Ohio: Every Legal, Medical, and Estate Planning Document You Need

Here's a complete guide to every critical medical, legal, and estate planning document and relevant state law for Ohio. Download these forms and get started with Pillar to organize all of your most important documents in one safe, secure, easy-to-use online storage solution

February 2, 2021

If you or the person you are caring for lives in Ohio, then you need to know many important forms, documents, resources, and specific state laws. This is a complete list of medical, legal, and real estate planning documents that you need to organize the most important documents and plan for any opportunities that come with living in Ohio in the future.

Essential Ohio Medical State Laws & Forms

How to Get Your Medical Records in Ohio

Ohio has some unique laws when it comes to medical records. For example, under Ohio law, if your healthcare provider keeps paper medical records, they own and have the right to keep the original medical records. You only have the right to view and obtain a copy of it.

Ohio's regulations also don't specify the responsibility of physicians to keep medical records. However, the licensed medical institution must keep medical records for at least 6 years from the date of discharge.

When children reach 18 years of age, they have the right to view, obtain a copy and modify their medical records. Also, you typically no longer have the right to obtain and modify your child's medical record just because you are the child's parent in Ohio. You can get more information on how to do this here.

Ohio Advance Directive Laws

Ohio law states that if you are under 18, you do not need parental consent, and you can agree to receive certain medical treatments. For example, minors can agree to diagnose or treat any sexually transmitted diseases without parental permission. When you agree to this treatment, you have the right to obtain and modify your medical records related to the treatment.

Therefore, Ohio allows you to set the following terms in advance:

Learn more about your rights when it comes to your medical records

Ohio Organ Donor Registry

You can become an organ donor in Ohio by registering at Donate Life Ohio or the next time you're at the DMV.

Essential Ohio Legal and Estate Planning Documents & Forms

Does Ohio Have an Estate and Inheritance Tax?

Ohio is one of the 38 states that does not have an inheritance tax. However, you may still be subject to federal estate tax on an inheritance. It's also worth noting that while Ohio does not levy estate taxes, Ohio residents may have family members in states that impose estate taxes. Alternatively, Ohio residents can inherit retirement accounts, which may involve inheritance taxes or state and federal income taxes.

Ohio's Trust Law and Probate Law

Creating a trust in Ohio can prevent your assets from entering the costly and lengthy probate process. You can also create a living trust to help your family avoid probate while distributing your assets according to your wishes. Learn about how to establish a trust in Ohio.

Read more to learn the biggest differences between a will and a trust

Ohio Digital Estate Planning Laws

Like many states, Ohio has adopted RUFADAA statutes when it comes to "digital assets"  online bank accounts, social media accounts, and email accounts. Learn more about how to transfer ownership of your digital assets here.

Ohio Probate Laws

Probate is a legal process for managing assets and certain property of the deceased, even if they have a legal will. It largely involves verifying the validity of the will (if any); determining and collecting the property of the deceased, paying any valid claims, taxes, and fees for the estate, and distributing the remaining assets to those who have the right to receive the assets. The probate process in Ohio typically takes between 9 and 12 months.

Any time property is owned by the deceased's full name (also known as the deceased), probate will be required. Regardless of the value of the estate, in Ohio probate is required. There are also several types of so-called non-probate properties, which go beyond Ohio probate.

Less commonly, probate is necessary when a person is incapacitated without a power of attorney, and a relative needs to petition to become the guardian of the incapacitated person.

Ohio provides a simplified probate procedure called "small probate." An estate is eligible for petty probate if the following conditions are met:

  • The value of the probate estate does not exceed $35,000 or
  • The value of the probate estate is $100,000 or less, and the entire estate belongs to the deceased's surviving spouse.

For example, suppose a person and his spouse jointly own a house worth $300,000, have a joint bank account with the spouse, own a vehicle, and have an IRA and 401(k), then the life insurance policy specifies his spouse as the beneficiary, and Personal property worth $25,000 (such as clothes, books and jewelry, small estate probate) would be an option. The house and bank account will be transferred directly to the surviving spouse. The surviving spouse will receive life insurance and retirement account benefits as the designated beneficiary. The surviving spouse can transfer the vehicle to his or her name through a simple Ohio BMV process, while the personal property can go through a small probate process.

How to Get A Death Certificate in Ohio

The following is the information needed to obtain a death certificate in Ohio, including qualifications, fees, required information, where to submit the application, and the application link that needs to be filled in.

Download the application form for a death certificate here


There are no restrictions on who can obtain a certified death certificate in Ohio.


The cost for a death certificate in Ohio is $21.50, which includes a certified copy of the death certificate. Each additional copy of records ordered at the same time is also $21.50. A check or money order should be paid to "Ohio." Cash payment is not accepted unless requested in person. The fee is not refundable.

If you request a certificate from the county's vital statistics office where the death occurred, the application fee may vary. Please contact the county for information about its costs. Here's a a list of local and associate registrars with the Ohio Bureau of Vital Statistics.

Request by Mail:

Forward the completed application form and appropriate fees to:

Ohio Department of Health Income Office
1st Floor, 246 North Street
Post office 15098 box
Columbus, Ohio 43215-0098

You can also send the request to the county where the death occurred.

In Person Request:

You can apply in person to the Office of Vital Statistics, Ohio Department of Health, at:

225 Nelson Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215

How to Organize Your Most Important Documents

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