Experienced Ohio Probate Litigation Attorney
I have provided legal representation in the unique area of probate litigation for more than 30 years.
Many probate attorneys focus on estate administration, and the drafting of wills and trusts, but few handle will contests and trust contests. Drafting a will or trust and contesting a will or trust are two entirely different matters, requiring different skill sets.
Probate litigation is a niche area of the law requiring special knowledge of both probate law and litigation law. There are many unique rules (indeed minefields) applicable to will contest and trust contest cases that do not apply in any other area of litigation.
Some attorneys hold themselves out as having expertise in will contests, trust contests, etc., but you should ask them about their willingness to try your case to a jury. An attorney who is willing to try your case to a jury has more bargaining power with your opponent. When choosing an attorney to handle your case, ask him how many cases he has actually tried to a jury. I recently tried 3 separate cases to a jury. As to my jury trial experience, look at some of the examples attached.
The financial exploitation of elderly people is increasing since our population is becoming older.
I have been involved in settling, mediating, trying, and appealing hundreds of probate litigation cases throughout Ohio, both representing plaintiffs and defendants.
My probate litigation practice includes:
- Will contests - where I challenge or defend the validity of a will
- Trust contests - where I challenge or defend the validity of a trust
- Farm inheritance disputes - where I challenge or defend a will, trust, or deed involving a farm
- Second marriage disputes - where there is a dispute between a second spouse and the children of a prior marriage
- Beneficiary designations - where I challenge or defend change of beneficiary designations on deeds and financial accounts involving banks, brokers, life insurance policies, annuities, retirement accounts, etc.
- Pre-death gifts and transfers - where I challenge or defend questionable asset transfers made during a person's lifetime
- Trust/Will constructions - when there is confusing or conflicting language, I ask the Court to interpret the language in the will or trust.
- Breaches of fiduciary duty - when trustees, executors, persons holding a power of attorney, guardians or other individuals who abuse their position by acting in their own personal interest instead of the best interest of the asset owner or beneficiary
- Concealment of assets - when someone has taken or hidden assets that rightfully belong in an estate
- Inheritance enforcement - when someone is attempting to enforce their rights, usually under a will or trust
- Inheritance disputes or estate disputes - these are additional terms used to describe the probate disputes above
Operating on a contingency fee system
A serious probate dispute often requires dozens or even hundreds of hours of work which can be beyond the client’s ability to afford. I take many cases on a contingency fee basis, or a blend of a contingency fee and an hourly rate.
Under a contingency fee arrangement, I am paid a percentage of the amount recovered but I am not paid a fee if there is no recovery. My extensive experience helps me evaluate the worthiness of a case, giving me the confidence necessary to risk taking a case on a contingency basis. Few other attorneys in Ohio handle will contests, trust contests, or related cases on a contingency fee basis.
A blended fee arrangement is part contingency and part hourly; this allows me to substantially reduce my hourly charge.
The goal is to make legal services available to persons who cannot afford to pay an attorney on strictly an hourly basis.
Finding effective resolutions in a peaceable fashion
Probate litigation cases are often traumatic to the client, especially when a child is excluded from a parent’s will or trust. Emotions run high. I make every effort to calm the passions rather than fan the flames. If settlement is your ultimate goal, it can be more effectively accomplished by reducing emotions on both sides.
If you would like to discuss ways I can help you, please contact me online or at (419) 244-3006.
I keep flexible hours and can speak to you in the evening or even weekends, if necessary.
I serve clients in cities such as Toledo, Sylvania, Perrysburg, Rossford, Bowling Green, Wauseon, Napoleon, Findlay, Lima, Fremont, Port Clinton, Norwalk, Tiffin, Van Wert, Troy, Sidney, Dayton and Columbus, as well as counties such as Lucas, Wood, Fulton, Henry, Williams, Defiance, Ottawa, Erie, Sandusky, Hancock, Allen, Pauling, Putnam, Van Wert, Mercer, Darke, Auglaize, Wyandot, Champaign, Green, Seneca, Miami, Montgomery and Franklin. I have also served clients in other Ohio cities and counties.