Probate Litigation Attorneys
Reprinted from Probate Law Journal of Ohio, with permission of Thomson Reuters. Copyright © 2017.
Years after the initial enactment of the Ohio Trust Code and articles published in this journal1 the Tenth District Ohio Court of Appeals in Zook, et al. v. JP Morgan Chase Bank National Association, et al., 10th Dist. No. 15AP-751, 2017-Ohio-838, conﬁrmed the viability of options under the Trust Code that afford trustees a path to ﬁnality in trust administration not subject to continuing court jurisdiction. Speciﬁcally, the Zook court conﬁrmed what readers of this journal and those familiar with the Trust Code already “know”:
Can a disinherited person force the production of information necessary to substantiate the efforts required to pursue a challenge to a Will, beneficiary designation, or Trust?
Isolation and manipulation of a loved one by those who are intent on deriving benefits from an estate are frequent realities in estate litigation cases. Undue influence, the process by which a person’s mind is subjugated so that the decision-making is actually that of the perpetrator, is almost always done behind closed doors. The byproduct of isolation and conduct perpetrated in the dark is lack of information. Family members are left with only questions and no answers.
The loss of a loved one is a devastating event, and can be a chaotic and confusing time for those left mourning. The making of phone calls to family and friends, the preparation of funeral arrangements, and the handling of other post-death matters must be addressed. But what do family members do when they find out that something suspicious has happened with their loved one’s last will and testament?
Ten years after the first enactment of the Ohio Trust Code, in Zook, et al. v. JP Morgan Chase Bank National Association, et al., 10th Dist. No. 15AP-751, 2017-Ohio-838, the Tenth District Ohio Court of Appeals gave insight into protections under the Ohio Trust Code afforded trustees against beneficiary claims and a provided a roadmap for a beneficiary to challenge such protection.
When Ohio House Bill 432 and Ohio Revised Code Chapter 2137 became effective on April 4, 2017, estate fiduciaries were given new tools for managing a decedent’s digital property.
From social-media profiles, to email accounts, to Apple and Amazon digital libraries of music, movies, and media, more and more people are dying with digital assets stored in various clouds. Upon Chapter 2137 becoming effective, executors, administrators, and trustees can request a catalogue of the decedent’s digital assets with various providers and access to the same.