your resource for probate dispute matters

Our seasoned team of Estate and Trust litigators routinely handles disputes that involve probate, estate and guardianship matters. Learn more about the complex arena of probate, trust, and estate litigation by perusing our Estate and Trust Dispute Resource Center of Ohio microsite. Follow the blue navigation bar on the top of the page to read our blog posts, legal insights, law updates, representative cases, helpful resources, and more. 

Blog Posts

Adriann McGee authored "Revisiting Ohio's Harmless Error Statute - Saving Grace or Unintended Loophole" in the July/August 2019 Issue of the Probate Law Journal of Ohio.

Since the seminal case of Wilson v. Lawrence, 150 Ohio St.3d 368, 2017-Ohio-1410, Ohio courts have consistently held that, pursuant to R.C. 2117.06, creditors have a strict six-month statute of limitations to present their claims against an estate. This means that creditor’s claims are not properly presented if they are not served upon the court-appointed fiduciary within six months after the decedent’s date of death. A recent case confirms that it is not enough to apply to be a fiduciary to satisfy this strict deadline – you must actually be appointed by the Court.

Timothy Gallagher recently presented a 45-minute CLE for the Akron Bar Association Probate Law Section.

A primary factor many consider when looking to hire an attorney to pursue a Trust dispute is the cost of representation (i.e. attorney fees and out of pocket litigation expenses).  In deciding whether to hire an attorney, prospective clients almost always ask: “If I win, can I get my attorney fees paid?” Under Ohio law, the short answer is often “no”. However, a recent case interpreting a statute enacted in 2007 will help Trust beneficiaries recover attorney fees and litigation expenses in a Trust dispute.

Between 2013 and 2017, financial institutions have reported to the federal government over 180,000 suspicious activities targeting older adults, involving a total of more than $6 billion. In 2017 alone, banks and other financial institutions filed approximately 63,500 reports with the U.S. Department of Treasury regarding suspected financial exploitation of older adults. That number has continued to rise. The full report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau can be found here. These are only the reported figures. A 2017 World Health Organization study determined that 1 in 6 adults over 60 was the victim of some form of exploitation or abuse. Because of the feelings of shame and embarrassment that inevitably comes from being duped, and because of other circumstances where the person may not even know he or she is being exploited, these numbers are most likely low.

One advantage of using a trust for estate planning is privacy. The probate process is generally all a matter of public record for any inquiring mind. Trusts, though intended to be more private, can become public when disputes arise that pull the administration into court. But a new Ohio law is changing that.

Happy days! You just learned that your favorite uncle appointed you trustee of his trust and nominated you as his executor of his will.  The honor (he trusted you enough to install this mantle upon you), the power (you get to make decisions that affect beneficiaries’ lives), the riches (you get an income taxable fiduciary fee)–not so fast!  While there is certain honor in taking on that role, the office’s mantle carries tremendous responsibilities and risk. 

We recently created a video highlighting the Estates, Trusts, and Probate Litigation practice group at Reminger. It was a good exercise because it gave us the opportunity to explain, in simple terms, what we do for our clients and to show you the legal team you get when you hire us.  

“Keep in mind – beneficiaries are like cats and they will bite you for no good reason.”[1]  Serving as the trustee of a trust can be challenging because a trustee’s administrative responsibilities are, at times, layered with complicated family or beneficiary dynamics.  While there is no way to guarantee a problem-free administration or termination of trust, Ohio law provides a method to expedite the process to complete distribution while providing protections for the trustee against future claims of the beneficiaries.

Recently the Ninth District Court of Appeals made a ruling in the matter of In Re: Guardianship of Bakhtiar, which allows persons interested in the welfare of another the ability to intervene in guardianship proceedings if the party who is intervening can demonstrate an interest relating to the property or transaction that is the subject of the action.