What do we do if my father passed away with a home-drafted Will that was signed and witnessed but not notarized?

All money accounts were in proper legal order (TAD). However his home,though paid off, was simply listed in the will as to be divided between his children. My sister and I grew up with my dad, but their is also a step-sister. We have no idea where she is, who she is (other than a name), or if she is even alive. The house and assets are now in probate. Can we rent or live in the house. Dads pick-up is 13 years old. Can we sell it or drive it? What do we do since his will seems to be unacceptable.

Asked on March 1, 2015 under Estate Planning, Ohio


Christine Socrates / Christine Sabio Socrates, Atty at Law

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Your father's will may be valid if properly witnessed, a notary stamp is not required in Ohio.  If the will is declared invalid, then the his estate would pass under the laws of descent and distribution and will exclude the siblings if they are not a natural or adopted child of the decedent.  The executor of the estate will determine when the assets should be sold or distributed. 

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