Ohio, like the majority of states, recognizes the tort of intentional interference
with expected inheritance (IIEI).
In the darker and more unfortunate corners of estate law, one doesn’t need to look far to find family squabbles, double-crossing, and intrigue leading to probate litigation. Accordingly, in a majority of states, including those in Ohio, the courts have a term to describe those who would throw a monkey wrench into an inheritance. It is the tort of “Intentional Interference with Expected Inheritance,” or IIEI for short.
The tort of IIEI was been recently recognized in California. In fact, of the 42 states to consider the tort, 25 states have adopted it. While that is a majority, vast stretches of the country still have no specific legal context for the types of unfortunate fights that cripple so many families and level so many estates.
Still, it should be noted that the vast majority of estate difficulties giving rise to IIEI issues result from unplanned estates. I recommend reading the analysis of the recent California case in a Forbes article titled “California Joins Majority Of States In Recognizing Tort -- Intentional Interference With Expected Inheritance.” This case is yet one more example of a will never being committed to paper. In that case, the would-be planner had very specific concerns to address in the form of a same-sex relationship. However, due to his lack of estate planning, his partner was disinherited due to the prevarications of a family member and certain legal defaults.
In general, the teaching point here is the saying that “failing to plan means planning to fail.” This age old expression applies whether you live in Cincinnati, or any other city around the country. Planning your affairs is the best way to avoid such litigation.
If you have any questions about any of the information contained in this blog, see my estate planning website or contact Cincinnati attorney David H. Lefton at
513-399-PLAN (7526) or by email at email@example.com.
Reference: Forbes (June 30, 2012) “California Joins Majority Of States In
Recognizing Tort -- Intentional Interference With Expected Inheritance”