Probate Litigation Attorneys
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.
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.
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.
“Keep in mind – beneficiaries are like cats and they will bite you for no good reason.” 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.
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.”
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:
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?