Reminger to Present at Marvin R. Pliskin Advanced Probate and Estate Planning Institute

Reminger’s Probate, Trust, and Estate Litigation group is pleased to once again participate in the Marvin R. Pliskin Advanced Probate and Estate Planning Institute hosted by the Ohio State Bar Association.

Shareholder Jessica Forrest will present "Around Ohio in 30 Minutes: New Cases, Statutes and Rules" and examine Ohio law changes and provide an overview of recent case law decisions of note. Shareholder Paul Shugar served as vice chair for this year’s planning committee and will serve as chair for the 2023 seminar. If you are interested in attending the seminar either in ... Read More ›

New Rules Direct Guardians to Encourage Visitation with the Ward

Effective July 1, 2022, Ohio’s Rules of Superintendence have been updated with regard to guardianships. The new Rules focus on facilitating visitation and communication with a Ward.

Consider a common situation: an elderly parent names one of her children as her power of attorney (POA). Eventually, the parent requires placement in a long-term care facility. While in the facility, the POA directs the facility to exclude other children from any visitation or calls with the parent. The parent becomes isolated, lonely, and very dependent on the POA. The POA may use this opportunity to ... Read More ›

Ohio’s Rule Changes Focus on Efiling and Remote Practices

We have long known that Covid changed everything – remote work and zoom depositions are here to stay! Even Ohio’s Rules of Civil Procedure and Rules of Superintendence are changing to focus on making “the use of technology in the courts more prevalent and effective.”

Most of the new Rules are the result of the Task Force on Improving Court Operations Using Remote Technology (“iCourt”). Of much interest to attorneys as well as their assistants and paralegals is that courts are now be required to implement filing by “electronic means.”

The following Rules go into effect ... Read More ›

The Person Behind the Will: The Contest of the Will of Michael Posey

The subject matter at issue in probate litigation is almost always intrinsically human. We are dealing with a person who writes a will, an object of that person’s affection that receives the benefit under a will, and a person who, for lesser motives, preys upon the condition of the testator to gain an advantage under a will. To successfully pursue, defend, and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a will contest, the critical thing to understand is the person who wrote the will: why would that person execute this document?

A will, once executed, tells its own story. The ... Read More ›

In Brief: Ohio Estate & Probate Litigation Updates May 2022
Untangling incompatible beneficiary provisions, Ohio case law updates, free "Overcoming Disinheritance" e-book, and more.... check out our latest monthly e-newsletter, In Brief: Ohio Estate and Trust Litigation Updates, focused on estates, trusts, and guardianships and the disputes surrounding them. Read it here.
In Brief: Ohio Estate & Probate Litigation Updates April 2022

Breach of fiduciary duties, Ohio case law updates, free "Overcoming Disinheritance" e-book, and more... check out our latest monthly e-newsletter, In Brief: Ohio Estate and Trust Litigation Updates, focused on estates, trusts, and guardianships and the disputes surrounding them. Read the latest edition here.

Sign up here to receive our next newsletter straight to your inbox.Read More ›

In Brief: Ohio Estate & Probate Litigation Updates March 2022

Finder's fees, undue influence, free "Overcoming Disinheritance" e-book, and more... check out our latest monthly e-newsletter, In Brief: Ohio Estate and Trust Litigation Updates, focused on estates, trusts, and guardianships and the disputes surrounding them. Read the latest edition here.

Sign up here to receive our next newsletter straight to your inbox.Read More ›

Shana DeMooy Joins Reminger's Estate and Probate Litigation Team

We are pleased to announce the addition of Shana DeMooy to our Columbus office. Shana joins us as an associate attorney and focuses her practice on on probate estate and trust disputes, matters of undue influence and financial exploitation, and guardianships.

Prior to joining Reminger, Shana was an associate at a midsize Columbus law firm. Shana graduated magna cum laude from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, where she served as the Production Editor of the Journal of Criminal Law and Vice President of the Truancy Mediation Project. She also served as a Judicial ... Read More ›

Adam Fried and Timothy Gallagher Obtain Jury Verdict in Favor of Client in Undue Influence Will Contest Case 

After thirty months of hard-fought litigation, Adam Fried and Timothy Gallagher were pleased to obtain a defense verdict in favor of their client in an undue influence will contest case. Our client was accused by her twin sister of unduly influencing their mother to change her will. After four days of trial, the jury returned a 7-1 verdict in favor our client.  

This was Reminger’s fifth consecutive successful will contest representation at trial in the last four years. 

At Reminger, we have more than 100 combined years of experience guiding clients through Ohio's probate and estate ... Read More ›

In our new e-book, Overcoming Disinheritance: Decoding the Estate Plan to Find a Path Forward, Adam Fried reviews the anatomy of an estate plan to help you estimate the value of an estate and examine how inheritances can be diverted by bad actors. 

We are proud to announce that 6 of our Trust & Estate attorneys were honored as 2022 Super Lawyers and Rising Stars. Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.

Super Lawyers

  • Adam Fried (also recognized as a Top 50 Cleveland and Top 100 Ohio attorney)
  • Franklin Malemud
  • Russell Meraglio, Jr. 
  • Leon Weiss 

Rising Stars

  • Timothy Gallagher
  • Paul Shugar
In Brief: Ohio Estate & Probate Litigation Updates November 2021

Property deeds, year-end gifting, new attorneys, and more... check out our latest monthly e-newsletter, In Brief: Ohio Estate and Trust Litigation Updates, focused on estates, trusts, and guardianships and the disputes surrounding them. Read the latest edition here.

Sign up here to receive our next newsletter straight to your inbox.Read More ›

Consult Attorney When Considering a Financial Gift
Thinking about making a year-end financial gift? Barbara Janovitz, Chair of Reminger's Estate Planning Group, reviews the benefits of making your gift before December 31st, and commonly made gifting mistakes. Read the article from Cleveland Jewish News here.
If you have questions or concerns about your estate planning and planning options, please contact a member of Reminger's Estate Planning team.
Taylor Smoske Joins Reminger's Estate and Probate Litigation Team

We are pleased to announce the addition of Taylor Smoske to our Cleveland office. Taylor joins us as an associate attorney and focuses her practice on estate, trust, and probate litigation, and trust and estate administration.

Prior to joining Reminger, Taylor was an associate at a small estate planning firm, and served as Law Clerk to the Honorable Jeanette Rodriguez-Morick of the New York State Court of Claims and New York State Supreme Court, Bronx County, Criminal Term.

Taylor graduated from Brooklyn Law School, where she was a notes and comments editor for the Brooklyn Journal ... Read More ›

P. Nicholas Sebastiano Joins Reminger's Estate and Probate Litigation Team

We are pleased to announce the addition of Nicholas Sebastiano to our Cleveland office. Nick Sebastiano joins us as a shareholder, practicing in our Cleveland and Youngstown offices. His practice focuses on litigating trust, estate, and other probate cases, as well as disputes regarding non-probate transfers. Nick has extensive experience administering trusts, estates, and guardianships. Throughout his years of practice, Nick has represented families, individuals, and businesses in all types of disputes. Nick’s experience allows him to handle complex State and ... Read More ›

Reminger Named a Tier 1 Firm for Trusts & Estates by U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” in 2022

Reminger Co., LPA has been ranked in the 2022 “Best Law Firms” list by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers®.  Reminger had multiple practice groups ranked, including Cleveland Metropolitan Tier 1 Rankings for Litigation-Trusts & Estates Elder Law, and Trusts & Estates Law. 

Reminger lawyers have consistently been ranked by Best Lawyers; additionally, some of our Trusts and Estates practice group members have been named "Lawyers of the Year" for Cleveland.  

  • Adam Fried has been recognized as Best Lawyers Cleveland Lawyer of the Year ...
Be Careful What You Gift For

Daniel and Diane, a husband and wife, had lake front properties in their family for generations. They wanted to hand the properties down to their daughter Melissa and her siblings as an early inheritance. Daniel and Diane gifted individual lots to each of their children, titled in their child’s name alone. However, Melissa’s husband Patrick was upset that his name was not going to be put on the title. Melissa asked her parents to put Patrick on the title, which they did.

Sadly, Melissa’s marriage to Patrick ended and she filed for divorce. In the divorce, Patrick claimed that the ... Read More ›

In Brief: Ohio Estate & Probate Litigation Updates October 2021

Trustee breach of duty, Ohio House testimony, 2021 Ohio Legislative recap, and more.... check out our latest monthly e-newsletter, In Brief: Ohio Estate and Trust Litigation Updates, focused on estates, trusts, and guardianships and the disputes surrounding them. Read it here.

Sign up here to receive our next newsletter straight to your inbox.Read More ›

Adam Fried Testifies to the Ohio House Civil Justice Committee Regarding Remote Witnessing of Wills

On October 12, 2021, Estates, Trusts, and Probate Litigation Group Co-Chair, Adam Fried, testified to the Ohio House Civil Justice Committee in opposition of HB 339, a proposed legislation involving electronic wills. Adam was asked to join a task force that included members of the Ohio State Bar Association Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Section Counsel and the Ohio Probate Judges Association to study and comment on this proposed legislation involving electronic wills. The task force met weekly for several months and came out with firm objections to components of HB 339 ... Read More ›

2021 Recap: Ohio Legislative & Case Law Updates

Paul Shugar presented the below information on Legislative Updates on House Bill 7 and Other Statutory Law Changes as part of the 2021 Marvin R. Pliskin Advanced Probate and Estate Planning Seminar, hosted by the Ohio State Bar Association.

2021 Revise Probate Law, Guardianship Law, and Ohio Trust Code (H.B. 7)

Overview

After the Ohio House of Representatives passed H.B. 7 by a vote of 98-0 on March 3, 2021, the Senate passed the bill by a 32-0 vote on May 5, 2021. Governor Mike DeWine signed House Bill 7 into law on May 20, 2021, and it became effective on August 17, 2021. The new law made ... Read More ›

Reminger Estate & Trust Attorneys Recognized in 2022 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America®

We are pleased to announce that 10 of our Estates and Trusts lawyers have been included in the 2022 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America®. Lawyers on The Best Lawyers in America® list are reviewed by their peers on the basis of professional expertise and undergo an authentication process to make sure they are in current practice and in good standing. 

2022 The Best Lawyers in America® list: 

  • Jessica Forrest- Trusts and Estates, Litigation - Trusts and Estates*
  • Adam M. Fried- Trusts and Estates, Elder Law, Litigation - Trusts and Estates
  • Barbara B. Janovitz- Trusts ...
Trust Lawsuits Dismissed by both Ohio and Federal Courts on Res Judicata Grounds

Res judicata, literally meaning "a matter [already] judged," is a prudential doctrine that is meant to ensure the finality of judgments and conserve judicial resources by protecting litigants from multiple litigation involving the same claims or issues. When one court has already resolved the merits of a case, another court will not revisit them.

Recently, Reminger attorneys Russell J. Meraglio, Jr. Franklin C. Malemud, and Timothy J. Gallagher represented an attorney who was appointed by the Cuyahoga County Probate Court to serve as successor trustee over a trust.  The removed ... Read More ›

Free Britney!?: Can Britney Spears Free Herself?

Jessica Forrest wrote the article below, "Free Britney!?: Can Britney Spears Free Herself?", for the Akron Bar Association Examiner Magazine. 

Unless you have been under a rock or on a desert island, you have probably heard that 90s pop star Britney Spears has been under a conservatorship since 2008. Britney’s father, Jamie Spears, currently has control of Britney’s $60+ Million empire. Prior to 2019, he was also solely in charge of Britney’s personal decisions – including where she lived, her medications, and access to her social media accounts. That role is now filled by ... Read More ›

Estate and Tax Planning Alert: Potential for Reduced Federal Estate & Gift Tax Exemption Amounts

During the past few months, several bills have been introduced in Congress which, if passed, would result in significant changes to the current federal estate and gift tax system. Some of these bills appear to have support among many members of Congress.

While it is possible that none of the proposed laws will be enacted, given the unpredictable political climate, it seems best to consider estate planning strategies that you might want to employ or changes that you might want to make to your estate planning documents if one or more of the proposed bills passes this year.

One of the proposed ... Read More ›

Free Britney!?: The Conservatorship of Britney Spears

Free Britney!?: The Conservatorship of Britney Spears

From Michael Jackson, to Prince, to Whitney Houston… the death of a famous musician often triggers an interesting probate court case. As the world is now learning, we can also find interesting probate stories about our living pop stars.

Earlier this year, Hulu streamed a documentary by the New York Times: Framing Britney Spears. In case you weren’t paying attention in the late 90s and early-aughts, Britney Spears is a very famous and successful pop star – rising to national fame at only 16 years old. What many people did not ... Read More ›

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

June 15th is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Older people throughout the United States lose an estimated $2.6 billion or more annually due to elder financial abuse and exploitation. Elder abuse also creates health care and legal costs for our society. 

Our Estates and Trusts Practice Group is committed to providing compassionate and efficient legal service to elderly individuals and their families.

We are pleased to provide these resources to proactively avoid and protect yourself and your loved ones against elder financial exploitation.

ELDER FINANCIAL EXPLOITATION & ABUSE ... Read More ›

Ohio Probate Law Journal Article May/June 2021

Adam Fried, Adriann McGee, and Mary Kraft co-authored "Filo v. Filo: An Illustration Of The Mechanics Of The Rebuttable Presumption Of Undue Influence And Jury Instructions" for the Probate Law Journal of Ohio.

While the presumption exists to make it easier to prove undue influence claims, it should be remembered that the same facts used to rebut the presumption can also demonstrate to a jury that undue influence was not exercised. This article explores the mechanics of the presumption through the case recently decided by the 12th District Court of Appeals in Filo v. Filo.

Reprinted ... Read More ›

E-Book: Should I Challenge My Inheritance?

In our new e-book, Should I Challenge My Inheritance?, Adam Fried reviews the key considerations to make when deciding to dispute your
inheritance.

Read the online publication here: Should I Challenge My Inheritance? 

Download the e-book here: Should I Challenge My Inheritance?Read More ›

New Probate Legislation Expands Guardian Powers, Clarifies Spousal Rights

The COVID-19 pandemic slowed down our lives – and even brought many things like school and travel to a grinding halt. However, the work of probate legislation continued in Ohio’s State House.

On May 20, 2021, Governor Mike DeWine signed into law House Bill 7, a bill revising Ohio probate law that was written by the Ohio State Bar Association’s Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law Section. Many of Reminger’s estate planners, administrators, and litigators are active in this section.

The new bill takes effect on August 17, 2021. The changes touch on estate planning, estate ... Read More ›

Doing our Part to Support Elder Justice

Our firm pays special attention to the protection of our seniors. Financial exploitation of our seniors has been on the rise for some time. In 2010, the federal government passed the Elder Justice Act, which was the “first comprehensive legislation to address the abuse, neglect, and exploitation of older adults at the federal level.” Seniors may be exploited by those closest to them, even their own lawyers. You can read more about the red flags that we see in our practice that are tell-tale signs of exploitation.

When a scammer pressures a relative into paying money for a phony ... Read More ›

Adam Fried authored "Representing a Beneficiary or Heir in the Quest of Information Necessary to Assess Rights in an Estate or Trust: A Survey of Process and Procedure" for the Probate Law Journal of Ohio.

When unknown inheritance rights are involved, those who have been denied information to which they claim entitlement will turn to counsel to get what they want. Silence breeds suspicion, and against the potential that a disinheritance was caused by a bad acting fiduciary, few would-be inheritors—righteous in their indignation—will simply walk away without a fight. While the ... Read More ›

Fairness and Fees in Inheritance Disputes

Inheritance disputes are often motivated by principle and emotion. No matter how right a claimant thinks they are, the style and approach to their case may create financial risk in paying another’s attorney fees and/or depleting any inheritance the claimant otherwise would receive.  Choosing the right attorney will help you navigate this risk.

Inheritance claim litigation often involve claims to invalidate documents or transactions through declaratory judgment claims as well as the pursuit of breach of fiduciary duty claims.  Ohio follows the American rule which generally ... Read More ›

Say What You Mean: Don’t Bet the Farm on Imprecise Language

The great State of Ohio has more than thirteen million acres of farmland.[1] (Also, it appears none of those acres are devoted to buckeyes?!). The average age of an Ohio farmer is 55.8 years and 30% are 65 years or older.[2] Of Ohio’s 128,000 farmers, more than 70,000 are involved in estate or succession planning decisions.[3] These numbers suggest a lot of farmland will transfer ownership to the next generation during the coming two decades.

Two recent decisions demonstrate that estate planning language needs to be precise for farms; or, your beneficiaries could be in litigationRead More ›

Should I Challenge My Inheritance? Part Five: What to Consider When Selecting Counsel

Join Adam Fried, co-chair of Reminger’s Estate, Trust, and Probate Litigation practice group, for a five-part blog series exploring what makes for a good case or bad case to challenge inheritance rights. To read the full e-book, click here.

In part four, we reviewed economic considerations that go into a decision as to whether a claim of undue influence should be pursued. In the final part of this blog series, we will discuss considerations to make when selecting counsel for an inheritance dispute.

Part 5 - What to Consider When Selecting Counsel

A few years into my new job, more than ... Read More ›

Ohio Courts to Estate Creditors: We REALLY Mean Six Months!

As we have covered in our blog before, Ohio courts have been very clear: estate creditor’s must present their claims within 6 months of the decedent’s date of death. R.C. 2117.06. This has not stopped creditors, however, from arguing that they should be the exception to the bright-line rule. Their attempts continue to fail. The newest creative creditor arguments went up on appeal to the Ninth District and were batted right back down.

The matter of Saber Healthcare dba Bath Manor Nursing Facility v. David P. Hudgins, 2020-Ohio-5603, was argued on December 1, 2020… and just eight ... Read More ›

Should I Challenge My Inheritance? Part Four: Economic Considerations of Inheritance Dispute

Join Adam Fried, co-chair of Reminger’s Estate, Trust, and Probate Litigation practice group, for a five-part blog series exploring what makes for a good case or bad case to challenge inheritance rights. To read the full e-book, click here.

In part three, we reviewed red flags which can increase the likelihood of success in a challenged inheritance claim. Now, I will describe the economic considerations that go into a decision as to whether a claim of undue influence should be pursued.

Part 4 - Economic Considerations of Inheritance Dispute

In your heart, you believe your parent ... Read More ›

Should I Challenge My Inheritance? Part Three: Red Flags and The Misuse of Trust

Join Adam Fried, co-chair of Reminger’s Estate, Trust, and Probate Litigation practice group, for a five-part blog series exploring what makes for a good case or bad case to challenge inheritance rights. To read the full e-book, click here.

In part two, we looked at the problems with proof in establishing or defending against an undue influence claim. Now, we will review red flags, the existence of which can increase the likelihood of success in a challenged inheritance claim.

Part 3 - Red Flags and the Misuse of Trust

  1. Is the beneficiary a person in the trust or confidence of the donor? A ...
Should I Challenge My Inheritance? Part Two: The Problems with Proof

Join Adam Fried, co-chair of Reminger’s Estate, Trust, and Probate Litigation practice group, for a five-part blog series exploring what makes for a good case or bad case to challenge inheritance rights. To read the full e-book, click here.

In part one, we reviewed the elements of undue influence and discussed character and credibility of the potential challenger. Now, we will look at the problems with proof in establishing or defending against an undue influence claim.  

Part Two – The Problems with Proof 

Proving bad conduct, sufficient to overturn a will, is not always easy.  Most ... Read More ›

Should I Challenge My Inheritance? Part One: Disappointment, Disinheritance and Disputes – What Should I Do?

Join Adam Fried, co-chair of Reminger’s Estate, Trust, and Probate Litigation practice group, for a five-part blog series exploring what makes for a good case or bad case to challenge inheritance rights. To read the full e-book, click here.

Series Overview:

  • Part One – Disappointment, Disinheritance and Disputes – What Should I Do?
  • Part Two – The Problems with Proof
  • Part Three – Red Flags and The Misuse of Trust
  • Part Four – Economic Considerations of Inheritance Dispute
  • Part Five – What to Consider When Selecting Counsel

Part One – Disappointment, Disinheritance and ... Read More ›

No Exceptions: Ohio Supreme Court Holds that Voiding Statute Applies to all Wills Admitted to Probate
 

Today the Ohio Supreme Court reversed a Sixth District Court of Appeals decision that held Ohio’s “harmless error statute” permitted a witness to a will to inherit under that will. The Supreme Court accepted jurisdiction on the question of the applicability of R.C. 2107.15 voiding provisions, which prohibit a witness to a will from taking more than his or her intestate share under the will. The Supreme Court held that the voiding provision of R.C. 2107.15 “applies equally to essential witnesses to both formally compliant and remediated wills.”

The unique set of facts that ... Read More ›

FINRA Adopts Rule 3241 to Address the Ability of Associated Persons to be Named as Beneficiaries of or Executors, Trustees or Attorneys-in-Fact for Customers

On October 29, 2020 FINRA issued Regulatory Notice 20-38 announcing that Rule 3241 has been adopted in order to limit the ability of licensed personnel of FINRA member firms to be named as a beneficiary, executor, trustee of or have power of attorney for or on behalf of a customer.  In pertinent part, Rule 3241 provides as follows:

  • Registered personnel shall decline being named as a beneficiary of a customer’s estate (or receiving a bequest from a customer’s estate upon learning he/she was named as a beneficiary) unless (1) the customer is a member of the registered person’s ...
FINRA Adopts Rule 3241 to Address the Ability of Associated Persons to be Named as Beneficiaries of or Executors, Trustees or Attorneys-in-Fact for Customers

On October 29, 2020 FINRA issued Regulatory Notice 20-38 announcing that Rule 3241 has been adopted in order to limit the ability of licensed personnel of FINRA member firms to be named as a beneficiary, executor, trustee of or have power of attorney for or on behalf of a customer.  In pertinent part, Rule 3241 provides as follows:

  • Registered personnel shall decline being named as a beneficiary of a customer’s estate (or receiving a bequest from a customer’s estate upon learning he/she was named as a beneficiary) unless (1) the customer is a member of the registered person’s ...
Reminger's Estates and Trusts Groups Ranked by U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” in 2021

Reminger Co., LPA has been ranked in the 2021 “Best Law Firms” list by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers®.  Reminger had multiple practice groups ranked, including Cleveland Metropolitan Tier 1 Rankings for Litigation-Trusts & Estates , Elder Law, and Trusts & Estates Law. Firms included in the 2021 Edition of U.S. News – Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms" are recognized for professional excellence with consistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. To be eligible for a ranking, a firm must first have a lawyer recognized in The Best Lawyers in ... Read More ›

Beneficiary Designation Dispute Based on Recent Dementia Diagnosis Not Enough to Invalidate Beneficiary Designation for Lack of Capacity

A last will and testament is one way that a person can transfer assets upon death. That only applies to probate assets; that is, assets that are held in the name of the decedent only upon his or her death, or assets that are payable to his or her estate. It is becoming more common for people to own assets, such as life insurance, retirement accounts, and annuities, that can have beneficiary designations. You have probably heard about will contests and challenging wills. Did you know that you can also challenge beneficiary designations? And did you know that same reasons to set aside a ... Read More ›

Federal Judge Halts Trust Litigation

Ohio Probate Courts are uniquely familiar with issues facing Trustees.  That is why many Trust disputes are filed in, or transferred to, the Probate Court for resolution. However, some litigants try to avoid probate courts in trust disputes because of perceived advantages or differing rules in other forums. Reminger is familiar with these tactics and knows how to defend against them.

Recently, Reminger received a ruling in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, on behalf of the Trustee client, which halted trust litigation attempted ... Read More ›

Ohio Court Affirms Trust-Arbitration Award

On September 29, 2020, the Ohio Tenth District Court of Appeals affirmed a trust-arbitration award in Hughes v. Hughes, 2020-Ohio-4653.

This is one of the first, if not the first, trust arbitration cases to make its way through Ohio Courts. The Ohio legislature recognized arbitration  as an option for trust dispute resolution with the March 2019 enactment of Ohio Revised Code Section 5802.05.  Here, the parties commenced arbitration in July 2018, and the arbitration hearing took place in October 2018. The Arbitrator issued his decision that same month, and the award was carried out by ... Read More ›

Know What You Have: Codicil Cannot Amend an Earlier Trust

Most everyone owns property, but we find in our probate dispute practice that very few people have a detailed grasp of exactly what they own and how they own it. Many people forget or are simply unaware of what instruments and documents can be used to convey, transfer, gift, or bequeath their property to another. For instance, you could go to a lawyer, write a will and leave everything to your two children equally. The next day, you could into a bank and put your account in joint form with one of your children.  While your intent may be to add a child as a helper to manage your bank account, the ... Read More ›

Changes to Ohio’s Rules of Civil Procedure Effective July 1, 2020

Each year, Ohio’s Commission on the Rules of Practice & Procedure proposes amendments to the Rules of Procedure and Evidence affecting all courts in Ohio. In most counties, the probate court is a separate “division” with a dedicated judge. However, the complex and mandatory rules of civil procedure apply in probate court just like all other cases. The new Rules, effective July 1, 2020, will change how cases are initiated and proceed through discovery.

Ohio now offers a “waiver of service” option for all civil actions, similar to federal cases. Civ.R. 4.7. At the start of a ... Read More ›

Mediation: An Alternative Approach to Estate and Trust Controversies in the Time of Coronavirus

The impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic on our daily lives creates an opportune moment to address your estate/trust litigation dispute.  Whether because of the Ohio Supreme Court’s emergency orders extending deadlines and case management orders, or the recognition by litigating parties that there are far more important things in life than being locked in costly and difficult litigation, a unique moment is upon us to settle time consuming and costly disputes.  Often, however, an intermediary (mediator) is needed to help get the matter settled. Reminger’s estate settlement group is available to assist and serve in that role.   Read More ›

You Can Count on Reminger During These Uncertain Times

It goes without saying that COVID-19 has substantially disrupted our way of life. The attorneys in Reminger’s probate and trust litigation group are no different than anyone else, in that regard, and we sincerely appreciate your patience during these trying times. We hope that you are staying safe and we look forward to assisting you in person once again. Read More ›

Ohio’s Response to COVID-19 Impacting Probate/Trust Law and the Courts

While Ohio Courts remain open for essential business, several well-intentioned legislative and judicial steps have eased the judicial burdens during the Governor’s Emergency Order.  Many people still have questions about how the health crisis created by COVID-19 affects probate practices, including estate and trust administration and probate litigation.Read More ›

Estate Planning in Light of Coronavirus (COVID-19)

As we are all aware, these are challenging times. We are all focusing on our health, primarily, but also our financial stability.  Most of you are not thinking about your estate plan; however, during this time it is more important than ever to consider, at a minimum, healthcare directives and financial powers of attorney.  The Estate Planning Practice Group at Reminger is here and ready to assist you.

Healthcare powers of attorney allow you to name an agent to make healthcare decisions for you if you are not capable of making them for yourself.  The current healthcare power of attorney also permits you to nominate a guardian if one is ever needed and includes an authorization to release your protected health information to your designated agent.  If you become ill and require hospitalization, the hospital will ask if you have a healthcare power of attorney upon admission. Having this document in place ensures that your wishes will be followed in the event of a healthcare crisis.Read More ›

In re Estate of Shaffer – Does the Voiding Statute Apply to Non-Conforming Wills? 

A last will and testament is one of those rare documents in life where formalities apply to the execution. In Ohio, there are specific formalities that must be followed in order for a will to be deemed valid. For example, the testator – that is, the person making the will – must: 

- be an adult, at least 18 years of age 

- of sound mind, - free of undue influence or restraint. R.C. 2107.02. 

The will must be: 

- in writing, 

- signed at the end by the testator (or by someone else at the direction of the testator and in his/her conscious presence), 

- attested and subscribed in the presence of two “competent” witnesses or the testator must acknowledge his/her signature to the two competent witnesses at a later time. R.C. 2107.03. Read More ›

Adam M. Fried Scheduled to Speak at 2020 The Ohio American College of Trust and Estate Counsel Fellow Meeting

Adam M. Fried, Co-Chair of Reminger Co., LPA's Estate and Trust Litigation Practice Group, has been invited to lecture to the Ohio Fellows of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) on the subject of extrinsic evidence and fiduciary litigation. This presentation complements the one Adam gave previously to the Ohio Probate Judges Association at their annual conference in June 2019.Read More ›

Timothy Gallagher and Paul Shugar Author Article for January/February 2020 Issue of Probate Law Journal of Ohio

Timothy Gallagher and Paul Shugar authored "An Introduction to Trust Arbitration" in the January/February 2020 Issue of the Probate Law Journal of Ohio.Read More ›

Attorney Ethics Investigation Uncovers Financial Abuse

We have often written in our blog about the rise in financial abuse and exploitation of the elderly. Members of our practice group serve on the Board of Directors for Ohio Coalition of Adult Protective Services. We have presented on the topics of elder abuse and diminished capacity to better educate other professionals and the public at large about the special care and protection our seniors require.

Unfortunately, some vulnerable clients are not even safe from their own lawyers. Recently, the Ohio Supreme Court issued a two-year suspension (with one-year stayed) of the law license of James Bishop, II because he took advantage of his elderly estate planning clients, Isadore and Helen Urbanski.Read More ›

Franklin Malemud Authors Article for November/December 2019 Issue of Probate Law Journal of Ohio

Franklin Malemud authored "Hey Fiduciaries, the Ohio Trust Code is Still Your Friend" in the November/December 2019 Issue of the Probate Law Journal of Ohio.  Read More ›

Adam M. Fried Profiled in Ohio Super Lawyers Magazine

Adam M. Fried, Co-Chair of Reminger's Estates, Trusts, and Probate Litigation Practice Group, has been recognized by Ohio Super Lawyers Magazine in more ways than one this year.  Not only has Adam been listed once again as a Super Lawyer in their 2020 issue, Adam has also attained special recognition as "Top 50 Cleveland" and "Top 100 Ohio."  He also was profiled by the magazine in the article entitled "Don't Bother Looking for Hiccups in Adam Fried's Trial Prep."Read More ›

Reminger's Estates and Trusts Groups Ranked by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers in 2020 Best Law Firms List

Reminger Co., LPA has been ranked in the 2020 “Best Law Firms” list by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers®.  Reminger had multiple practice groups ranked, including Cleveland Metropolitan Tier 1 Rankings for Litigation-Trusts & Estates and Elder Law, as well as a Cleveland Metropolitan Tier 2 Ranking for Trusts & Estates Law.Read More ›

Adriann McGee Authors Article for July/August 2019 Issue of Probate Law Journal of Ohio

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.Read More ›

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late: Creditor Claims Strictly Interpreted (Again)

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.Read More ›

Timothy Gallagher Presents Continuing Legal Education for the Akron Bar Association Probate Law Section

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

Recent Case Helps Trust Beneficiaries Recover Attorney Fees in a Trust Dispute

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.Read More ›

Financial Abuse of the Elderly on the Rise: What Can You Do?

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.Read More ›

Arbitration of Trust Disputes

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.Read More ›

Ohio Probate Court Decision Demonstrates the Potential for Monetary Risk Associated with Role of Executor or Trustee

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.  Read More ›

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.  Read More ›

Acceleration and Release on Final Trustee Account

“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.Read More ›

Recent Case Highlights the Right of Persons to Intervene in a Guardianship Proceeding

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.Read More ›

Adriann S. McGee Named to Ohio Coalition for Adult Protective Services Board of Directors

Reminger Co., LPA is pleased to announce that Adriann S. McGee has been named to the Board of Directors for the Ohio Coalition for Adult Protection Services (OCAPS). OCAPS is a statewide coalition that strives to enhance the provision of services to adults at risk of abuse, neglect, and exploitation through education and advocacy.Read More ›

Elder Fraud Measure SB 158 Officially Passed by Both the Senate and the House 

The House unanimously passed the elder fraud bill (SB 158) after voting 81-1 to accept an amendment on the floor to add appointees by the House and Senate minority leaders as ex officio members to the Elder Abuse Commission. "We want to make sure we have many voices that can contribute," Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) said.

 Read More ›

Tags: Elder Law
Joseph S. Simms Joins Probate Litigation Practice Group

We are happy to announce that Joseph S. Simms has joined Reminger Co., LPA. Based in our Cleveland office, Joe brings to our team more than two decades of legal experience and unique insight into finance and business concerns that are often associated with complex estate and trust litigation disputes.Read More ›

Drastic Changes to VA Pension Benefits Going into Effect

On September 18, 2018, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) issued Final Rule Number 8320-01, RIN 2900-AO73, which goes into effect on October 18, 2018.  This Rule establishes new requirements for evaluating net worth, medical expense deductions, and asset transfers,and drastically changes the planning opportunities available for veterans and their surviving spouses.  Read More ›

Franklin C. Malemud Presents at National Trust Closely Held Business Association's 2018 Annual Conference

Franklin C. Malemud recently served as a speaker at the 2018 Annual Conference of the National Trust Closely Held Business Association (NTCHBA). Franklin and a colleague presented “Issues and Trends in Fiduciary Litigation from the Perspectives of the Planner and Litigator."  Read More ›

Adam M. Fried Presents at The Marvin R. Pliskin Advanced Probate and Estate Planning Seminar

Adam M. Fried recently presented at The Marvin R. Pliskin Advanced Probate and Estate Planning Seminar, sponsored by the Ohio State Bar Association's Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Section. More than 250 attorneys from across the state of Ohio attended the full-day Continuing Legal Education course.Read More ›

Paul R. Shugar to Present at 2018 Ohio Guardianship Association's 13th Annual Education Conference

Reminger Co., LPA is pleased to announce that Paul R. Shugar will be presenting at the 2018 Ohio Guardianship Association's 13th Annual Education Conference alongside attorney Kathryn Joseph on “Invasion of Independence in Guardianship: A Case Study. Lessons from the Case Involving the Exploitation of Dr. Charles Sifford.”Read More ›

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

The United Nations General Assembly has designated June 15th as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD). The event was established in order to put a global focus on the physical, emotional, and financial abuse of the older population. The goal is to help communities to recognize the signs of elder abuse and for governments to create policies to help protect the elderly from this type of behavior.Read More ›

Trustees Beware: The Fiduciary Exception to the Attorney Client Privilege and the Duty of Impartiality

Adam Fried will be presenting "Trustees Beware: The Fiduciary Exception to the Attorney Client Privilege and the Duty of Impartiality," at the Jewish Federation Council of Cleveland Professional Advisory Council's 46th Charitable Tax Seminar, held on Wednesday, June 6, 2018.Read More ›

An Overview of How to Use Electronic Discovery in Probate Litigation

Paul Shugar will be presenting "Don't Text and Unduly Influence: An Overview of How to Use Electronic Discovery in Probate Litigation" at the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association's Estate Planning, Probate & Trust Law Section Meeting and CLE, held on Tuesday, May 15, 2018.  Read More ›

Top Personal Representative Mistakes in Handling Distributions

Paul Shugar will be presenting "Top Personal Representative Mistakes in Handling Distributions" via a live teleconference in connection with National Business Institute on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 from 2 pm to 3:30 PM EST. Content covered includes:Read More ›

Adam M. Fried to be Featured on NPR's 90.3 WCPN "Sound of Ideas" Program on National Healthcare Decisions Day

Adam Fried is participating on a panel on NPR's "Sound of Ideas" program, broadcast on April 16th on 90.3 WCPN FM in Cleveland. The topic is "National Healthcare Decisions Day." Read More ›

Adam M. Fried to Present at Dayton Bar Association's 2018 Probate Law Institute CLE on March 9th

Adam M. Fried will be presenting "Erosion of Attorney-Client Privilege: Fiduciary Exception," at the Dayton Bar Association's 2018 Probate Law Institute. 

Fried's presentation is is part of a full-day 6.0 Continuing Legal Education program. The CLE will be held on March 9th from 8:30 am to 4:15 pm at Sinclair Community College, Building 12.Read More ›

Adam Fried and Franklin Malemud to Serve on National CLE Webinar Panel Addressing Trust and Probate Challenges

Adam M. Fried and Franklin C. Malemud have been invited to participate on a panel for an upcoming CLE webinar hosted by Strafford. Entitled "Trust and Probate Challenges: Minimizing and Litigating Claims of Undue Influence, Fraud, Capacity and Mistakes," this webinar will be held on Thursday, January 18th from 1 pm-2:30 pm EST. The format will offer an interactive Q&A session as well.Read More ›

Adam M. Fried Invited to Present on Attorney-Client Privilege at Upcoming Ohio State Bar Association Webinar 

Trustees Under Attack Through the Erosion of the Attorney Client Privilege: Recent Case Law Development and the Fiduciary Exception to the Attorney Client Privilege  

Ohio State Bar Association "Quick Webcast" Program

December 13, 1:00 PM EST

1.0 CLE hour / 1.0 Professional Conduct hour 

The attorney client relationship between trustees, executors and their attorneys can be complicated. The relationship is more complex when disputes develop and claims are raised against the fiduciary. From the pitfalls of conflicts of interests as identified in Cincinnati Bar Association v. Robertson to the question as to whom the attorney owes a duty when representing a fiduciary who, in turn, owes duties to the beneficiaries will be discussed in this one-hour program.Read More ›

Timothy J. Gallagher Joins Reminger Co., LPA’s Cleveland Office

Reminger Co., LPA is pleased to announce that Timothy J. Gallagher has joined our Cleveland, Ohio office.

Tim focuses his practice on legal matters involving probate, guardianship, trust, and estate administration. Tim represents trustees and executors of estates, creating flexible plans to meet their needs. Tim's experience in the area of probate and trust administration includes the drafting of estate plans for both individuals and families, and assisting them through the probate process. He also advises institutions on a variety of trust administration issues.Read More ›

U.S. News and World Report and Best Lawyers Release 2018 "Best Law Firms" List

Reminger Co., LPA has been recognized in the 2018 “Best Law Firms” list by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers®.  A number of practice groups were ranked, including a Metropolitan Tier 1 Ranking for Cleveland for "Litigation-Trusts & Estates" and "Elder Law," and a Metropolitan Tier 2 Ranking for Cleveland for "Trusts & Estates Law."Read More ›

Reminger Co., LPA Sponsors Ohio State Bar Association's Marvin R. Pliskin Advanced Probate and Estate Planning Seminar

Reminger Co., LPA is proud to have served as a sponsor for the Marvin R. Pliskin Advanced Probate and Estate Planning Seminar, held in conjunction with the Ohio State Bar Association in Columbus, Ohio on Friday, September 15, 2017.Read More ›

Finally, Confirmation that Finality and Protections are Available to Trustees Under the Ohio Trust Code  

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”:Read More ›

Adam M. Fried Invited to Speak at the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law Annual Meeting

October 26 - 29, 2017 - Denver, Colorado

Adam M. Fried has been invited to speak at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, which will be held October 26th through October 29th, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency Denver at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, Colorado. Adam's presentation, entitled "Attacking Forensic Psychiatric Testimony," will be lead in tandem with forensic psychiatrists Stephen Noffsinger, M.D. and Sherif Soliman, M.D., and law professor Carolyn Dessin, J.D.  This 1.45 hour workshop will include role-playing, writing exercises, and other hands-on training.  Read More ›

Four Reminger Attorneys Named 2018 Best Lawyers for Litigation-Trusts & Estates, Trusts & Estates

Twenty-four Reminger attorneys were included on the 2018 Best Lawyers in America© list, including 17 from our Cleveland office, four from our Columbus office, two from our Sandusky office, and one from our Cincinnati office. Of that group, four were honored in the category of Litigation-Trusts and Estates, and Trusts and Estates.Read More ›

Adam M. Fried Named 2018 Best Lawyers® Lawyer of the Year Litigation – Trusts and Estates, Cleveland

Reminger Co., LPA is proud to announce that Adam M. Fried has been honored as "Best Lawyers® 2018 Lawyer of the Year” for Litigation - Trusts and Estates, Cleveland.

Adam received the recognition from Best Lawyers in America, a respected legal publication that selects its outstanding attorneys by conducting peer-review surveys in which thousands of leading lawyers confidentially evaluate their peers. Read More ›

Forcing the Production of Information in Probate Litigation When You Have Been Disinherited

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.Read More ›

People Considering a Will Contest Must Move Quickly

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?Read More ›

When Should I Get a Last Will and Testament?

Lexis Nexis claims that 55% of American adults do not have a last will and testament or some kind of an estate plan. This means that more than half of American estates have their personal assets pass via intestacy - without a will and pursuant to the statutory scheme of the state where they live.Read More ›

Ohio Court of Appeals Affirms Statutory Protections for Trustees

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.Read More ›

Case Law Precedent for an Award of Attorney Fees in Excess of Compensatory Damages for a Trustee’s Failure to Account

Following up on the recent blog post on basic principles of trust reporting, the Fifth District Court of Appeals released a timely analysis involving a trustee’s failure to account and an award of attorney fees against the trustee for their breach of duty in McHenry v. McHenry, (5th Dist.), 2017-Ohio 1534.  The decision, originating out of the Stark County Probate Court is significant for two reasons:  (1) it provides a thorough analysis of a trustee’s duty to account even in the face of trust language relieving the trustee of his duty to account; and (2) the court awarded attorney fees in excess of the value of the compensatory damages, pursuant to its authority under R.C. 5810.04.Read More ›

Presenting Creditor Claims Against Estates After Ohio Supreme Court’s Decision in Wilson v. Lawrence

The Ohio Supreme Court provided more guidance regarding how creditors present their claims against estates with its ruling in Wilson v. Lawrence, Case Nos. 2015-2081, 2016-0180, 2017-Ohio-1410.

The main issue the Supreme Court addressed is to whom a creditor claim must be presented. Pursuant to R.C. § 2117.06, a creditor must present its claim against the estate within six months following the decedent’s death.Read More ›

Ohio’s New Laws Governing the Management of Digital Property After Death

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. Read More ›

As a Trust Beneficiary, What Are Your Rights to a Trust Accounting?

You are a trust beneficiary. 

You have no idea what is in the trust, what has been spent out of the trust, and what will be spent out of the trust. 

Must the trustee open his books to you? What rights do you have to receive this information? Read More ›

Understanding Disinheritance: The Structure of an Ohio Post Mortem Dispute

Great wealth, in the trillions of dollars, will be transferred from one generation to the next as our population ages.  While most estates proceed as intended, there will always be greed and dysfunction among a small percentage of American families; so much so, that business for attorneys skilled in the pursuit or defense of estate disputes will be plentiful, as the number of disputes centered on challenges over the rights to a decedent’s assets will explode in the years to come. Read More ›

The Emotional Charge of Guardianship: a Point of View from an Independent Guardian

A parent of young children feels incredible stress and sadness when their children fight.  When healthy, the parent is capable of breaking up the fight or at least standing in between to force peace or at least stave off war.  But when parents age and their ability to take care of themselves diminishes, the power shifts.  Read More ›

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