600 E. Smith Road, Medina, OH 44256

Medina County Probate Attorneys

Summit County probate court lawyer

Lawyer for Probate Litigation In Wayne County and Summit County

When someone dies, there are a variety of legal concerns that must be addressed. If the deceased person had a valid will, the executor of their estate will need to file the will in probate court and manage the distribution of their assets to their beneficiaries. This can be a complex process, especially if the will is contested, and representation by a skilled attorney is essential.

At The Law Office of Whitney K.S. Miller, LLC, our lawyers have over 21 years of combined experience, and we understand the issues that must be addressed and resolved during the probate process. If you have been named as the executor of a loved one's estate, we can work with you to ensure you meet your legal requirements, or we can provide representation during probate litigation.

The Ohio Probate Process

Following a person's death, an interested party can file an application to administer the estate in the probate court in the county where the deceased person (known as the "decedent") lived. This application is typically filed by the executor named in the decedent's will, but if they did not have a will, the application can be filed by an interested party (such as a potential beneficiary), and an administrator will be appointed by the court. 

The executor or administrator will file the will in probate court, and the court will issue Letters of Authority that give the executor or representative legal authority to manage the estate. The executor will create a complete inventory of the estate's assets, and they must file this inventory with the court within three months after being appointed. Creditors will have six months after the will was filed to make claims against the estate.

After the executor has made payments to creditors and paid any outstanding taxes (including applicable estate taxes), they will file a petition to close the estate, and after the estate is closed, its assets can be distributed to the beneficiaries. This distribution will be done according to the terms of the will, or if there is no will, assets will be distributed to the decedent's relatives according to Ohio law.

Certain types of assets may be excluded from the probate process, including:

  • Assets held in a trust
  • Joint tenancy assets or community property with the right of survivorship, such as a house co-owned by spouses, which will pass to the surviving owner
  • Assets with beneficiary designations, such as retirement accounts or life insurance policies
  • Accounts or property designated as "payable on death" or "transfer on death"

Probate Litigation Involving Contested Estates

In some cases, disputes may arise between beneficiaries over the terms of a will, or beneficiaries may believe that an executor has mismanaged the estate and failed to correctly follow the decedent's wishes. In these cases, litigation may be necessary to resolve these concerns.

If an interested party wishes to contest a will, they must do so within three months after receiving notice that the will has been filed in probate court. A will may be found invalid for a variety of reasons, including:

  • The person making the will (known as the "testator") was not of sound mind.
  • The testator was under undue influence by an interested party, such as a relative or caretaker who coerced or manipulated them into changing the terms of their will.
  • The requirements for creating a valid will were not met, or the will that was submitted was a forgery.

Contact a Wadsworth Estate Administration Lawyer

If you have been named as the executor of an estate, our attorneys can help you understand your legal requirements and work with you to complete the probate process efficiently and effectively. If you are concerned that your loved one's will is invalid, or if you believe that the executor has breached their fiduciary duty, we can work with you to determine your legal options and help you make sure your family member's wishes are carried out correctly.

Contact our Medina County law office at 330-725-4114. We offer free consultations in most cases. We assist clients in Wadsworth, Akron, Wooster, Orrville, Brunswick, Barberton, Rittman, Fairlawn, and surrounding areas.

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