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teamWill Contest Sample Cases

Here is a synopsis of some of the cases I have handled:

  • Recently tried 3 separate cases to juries in an 11-month period.
  • Filed a jurisdiction brief in the Ohio Supreme Court.
  • In a jury trial, a mother changed her will which only included three of her nine children. She also made the three children the beneficiaries of many annuities, a life insurance policy and a bank account. In representing the six excluded children in Fremont, Ohio, a jury returned a unanimous verdict in our favor.
  • A father gets remarried; as he declines, the new spouse gets on more and more assets; this was a trust contest and inter vivos (life time) transfer case involving beneficiary changes on substantial assets. After extensive discovering and asset tracing, I obtained close to a seven figure settlement for the three children
  • A mother’s prior will mostly treated her three children equally, but her final will left all assets to one child.  I challenged the will on behalf of the two excluded children.  After five days of trial in Dayton, Ohio, the jury invalidated the final will.
  • The decedent had three children; one has a power of attorney which she used to transfer her mother’s farm, condo, and cash to herself and her sister; after a lot of asset tracing, we were able to reach a satisfactory resolution for the excluded son.
  • A sister supposedly made a cash “gift” to her brother (who was controlling her bank account) and she also paid for a home primarily for the brother’s son and daughter-in-law with a mother-in-law apartment.  I challenged these transactions and after a six day trial in Toledo, Ohio, the jury set aside these “gifts”.  I also won this case on appeal.
  • A 95-year-old mother brought an action to declare the validity of her will during her lifetime (a “pre-death will contest”) which excluded one of her three children.  I represented the mother.  After a three day trial in Bowling Green, Ohio, the mother was found competent and her will was upheld.
  • A trust officer became the beneficiary of his client’s estate plan.  My clients challenged the will and trust.  A jury in Toledo, Ohio invalidated the documents.
  • A husband, who had three children by a prior marriage, prepared a will giving one-half to his second wife and the other half to his children.  After his death, the second wife challenged this will and also attempted to have a later dated will forged.  The case was ultimately settled to the satisfaction of our clients, the children.
  • A testator had a will leaving assets to our clients.  The testator’s sister asked a new attorney to prepare a new will naming the sister as the sole beneficiary.  I settled this case in Wapakoneta, Ohio for a seven figure sum to the satisfaction of our clients.
  • I defended a religious organization in a will contest case.  After an unfavorable jury verdict, I got the verdict reversed by the Ohio Supreme Court.
  • The second wife of a decedent became the sole beneficiary of a will which excluded his two children from a prior marriage.  I represented the two children, challenged the will in Tiffin, Ohio and settled the case for a seven figure amount.
  • A mother had three children.  She signed a will within a week of her death leaving most of her assets to only one child.  I represented the other two children in contesting the will.  A jury in Lima, Ohio found in favor of our two clients by voiding the will.
  • An elderly lady set up two POD (payable on death) accounts.  The bank lost one of the POD signature cards.  In a bench trial, I convinced the judge that her intent was to name my client as the POD beneficiary.
  • A farmer had a trust leaving his farm to our client, his grand-nephew, so that his farm would continue in the family name.  The farmer’s trust was amended shortly before his death, excluding the grand-nephew.  We obtained a seven figure settlement in Findlay, Ohio to the satisfaction of the grand-nephew.
  • A grandson talked his grandmother into selling him her farm at a low price.  I represented the grandmother’s three children and was able to settle the case in Fulton County, Ohio by obtaining a fairer price.
  • A mother signed a will giving all assets to her son and entirely excluding her daughter, her only other child.  I represented the daughter and successfully challenged the will.  A jury in Toledo, Ohio rendered a verdict invalidating the will.
  • A son took control of his father’s affairs.  Promissory notes which the son owed to the father were cancelled and the son received other benefits to the harm of his two siblings.  We represented the siblings and were successful in setting aside beneficial transactions to the son in a two week jury trial.
  • A mother drew a will excluding her son and leaving assets to her son’s children.  We represented the son.  After several days of trial, the case was settled to our client’s satisfaction.
  • A farmer had an estate plan leaving his substantial farm to his two nieces.  A last minute change to the will gave the farm to outsiders.  We settled the case in Sidney, Ohio to the satisfaction of the clients.
  • A younger man convinced an elderly woman to deed her home to him and to make other “gifts” to him.  We represented the woman’s nearest relative, her grandson.  After several days of trial, we settled the case to the client’s satisfaction.
  • A father had one child, a daughter, who was my client.  She was the sole beneficiary of his will.  Shortly before the father died, he married his girlfriend.  The father then changed his will, giving all assets to his new wife.  I challenged the will in Troy, Ohio and settled the case to the satisfaction of the client.
  • A father had two children, one ran the family business and the other had been in a special home for handicapped children for most of his life.  The children’s mother died and the father remarried.  Within three years, the new wife gained control of virtually all of the substantial family assets, including the family business.  I represented the children.  I challenged the new will, trust amendment and inter vivos transfers.  I achieved a seven figure settlement to the satisfaction of the clients.
  • A father had two children and named one as his successor trustee.  After his death, the successor trustee refused to provide any documents, including a copy of the trust, a list of assets, etc., even though the sibling was a 50 percent beneficiary.  I obtained copies of the documents and resolved the dispute by having a neutral trustee appointed.
  • A brother signed a new will leaving all of his assets to one of his three siblings.  My clients, the other two siblings, contested the new will and a jury rendered a verdict invalidating the will.
  • A sister gained control of her father’s assets through a power of attorney and also became his successor trustee.  She used her position of trust to her advantage and her brother’s (our client’s) harm.  I worked out a settlement satisfactory to the client.
  • A 90-year-old grandmother signed a will while she was in the psychiatric ward of a hospital, leaving all assets to one of her two grandchildren.  In representing the other grandchild, I challenged the will in Columbus, Ohio and was able to settle the case to the client’s satisfaction.
  • There was a last minute amendment to a father’s trust, cutting out his only child.  Representing the child, I contested the trust amendment in Mt. Vernon, Ohio.  After mediation, we achieved a substantial settlement which was satisfactory to our client.
  • A father had two children.  He cut them out of his will and left all assets to his brother.  I contested the will and achieved a seven figure settlement for the two children.
  • A farmer had a trust for nieces, nephews and farm animals.  Some of the beneficiaries filed a trust construction.  I defended the trustee in Defiance, Ohio and achieved a resolution satisfactory to my client.
  • A father gave all assets to his second wife, cutting out his children.  I represented the children and recovered a seven figure settlement for my clients.
  • A father remarried and notwithstanding a prenuptial agreement, he made life time transfers to his second wife and made her the dominant beneficiary of his will and trust to the harm of his only child.  I contested the will, trust and inter vivos transfers and achieved a satisfactory resolution for my client a few days before the trial was to begin in Dayton, Ohio.
  • I defended a will contest filed in Fremont, Ohio.  This case was settled to the satisfaction of the will beneficiaries after I filed a motion for summary judgment.
  • One of the decedent’s 17 nieces and nephews was named the sole beneficiary under the decedent’s will.  An audio tape of the will signing cast doubt on the decedent’s competency.  I represented the 16 other nieces and nephews and contested the will in Fulton County, Ohio.  I mediated the case to a satisfactory resolution.
  • A father left all assets under his will to one of his two children.  I represented the beneficiary in defending the will contest and achieved a resolution satisfactory to my client.
  • I tried a trust construction case for five days where the issue was the trustee’s duties of loyalty and impartiality to the other trust beneficiaries.  I defended a son who was accused of using his father’s trust assets for his benefit and settled the case to the son’s satisfaction.
  • I contested a will which was signed while the testator was under guardianship.  The case was in Columbus, Ohio.  It was settled to my client’s satisfaction.
  • A father transferred all of his real estate to his two sons and signed a new trust which largely benefited his sons and excluded his daughter.  I challenged the transactions on behalf of his daughter.  After prevailing in the Ohio Supreme Court, I settled the case to the daughter’s satisfaction.
  • An elderly and marginally competent woman signed a will excluding her children and leaving her assets to her church. In defending the church, I reach a settlement with the children.
  • An inexperienced young lawyer drew a trust for a dying man; in his rush to complete the trust, he omitted some key beneficiaries. I helped achieve a settlement between the man’s children and his grandchildren.
  • In a Wrongful death case, I achieved a settlement for one of a mother’s three children who she had raised, even though my client was her child by blood.
  • I have been successful in admitting to probate a photo copy of a will as a “lost will.”
  • I had case in Zanesville, Ohio, we defended a will and deeds to our client, one of a number of children; after extensive mediation, we settled the case favorably to our client.

Defending charities, others

I have defended businesses and charities including:

  • The Salvation Army
  • St. Jude’s Hospital
  • Shriners Hospital
  • First Presbyterian Church of Perrysburg
  • Watch Tower Society
  • Huntington National Bank

Appeals

I have appealed or defended appealed cases on a number of occasions, including three cases in the Ohio Supreme Court.

Trust disputes

I am increasingly involved in cases where children are named co-trustees for their parents’ trust and they are not getting along.  I have also been involved in cases where one of several children is named trustee and the trustee fails to keep his siblings informed or uses the trust assets for his own benefit.

Lost, spoliated or destroyed wills

I have both obtained admission of and successfully opposed admission of lost, spoliated or destroyed wills.

Additional cases

I have successfully proved concealment of asset cases and argued for or against the removal of executors or trustees. Additionally, I have made a number of arguments supporting or opposing attorney fees in will and trust disputes.

Contact a dedicated Ohio probate litigation lawyer

The Law Office of Richard Kolb, LLC represents clients across Ohio in a range of litigation matters relating to wills. Many of my clients live hundreds of miles away. Call 419-244-3006 or contact me online to schedule a free initial consultation in person or by phone.