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Probate

Probate Attorney in Cleveland

The Law Offices of Daniel McGowan, LLC is a full-service law practice, with extensive experience in the areas of litigation and trial practice, elder law, and probate and trust law.  Daniel McGowan has built a reputation for being accessible and for his thoughtful and innovative manner in solving probate problems and other civil disputes. 

Under Ohio law, Probate is a legal proceeding to administer certain kinds of property owned by someone who has died. This generally includes seeing that claims, expenses and taxes are properly paid, and that the remaining estate is distributed to those entitled to receive it under the terms of the decedent’s Last Will and Testament, or under Ohio law. 

Probate property is defined as all property in a decedent’s name that is not transferable upon death. It is distributed in accordance with the Will of the deceased or, if decedent died without a Will (intestate), in accordance with Ohio law. 

While the probate process usually occurs in the county in which the decedent died, property that is owned out of state may require additional probate proceedings. Cleveland estate planning attorneys can often structure an estate to bypass the probate process through the use of trusts and other estate-planning measures. Other non-probate property includes property the decedent and another person held as joint tenants with right of survivorship; property held in a trust; accounts that are payable on death (POD) or will transfer on death (TOD) to a named beneficiary; and insurance or retirement benefits that are payable to a named beneficiary.

However, most estates governed by a simple Last Will and Testament (or estates where a decedent left no Will) are administered through probate court. 

Ohio Probate Court Process

Probating an estate requires that a person be appointed to conduct the administration of the estate to safeguard decedent’s property and make sure it is properly distributed after all verified debts are paid. If there is a Will, this person is usually named in the Will and is called an executor. If there is no Will or no person is named in the Will, this person is appointed by the probate court and is called an administrator. 

The executor or administrator may be an individual, a bank or a trust company. Common probate tasks include: 

  • Caring for the decedent's property;
  • Collecting payments due the estate, including interest, dividends and other income;
  • Collecting debts, claims and notes due the decedent;
  • Determining the names, ages, addresses and degree of relationship of all heirs;
  • Determining the names, ages and addresses of all beneficiaries, if there is a Will;
  • Investigating the validity of all claims against the estate and paying all outstanding obligations;
  • Planning for all relevant estate and income tax returns when required and making the required payments;
  • Carrying out the instructions of the probate court pertaining to the estate and distributing the assets of the estate to the heirs.

Probate Litigation in Ohio

There are many issues involving the settlement of an estate that can require probate litigation. Some of the most common include: 

  • Trust Litigation
  • Allegations of Fraud
  • Challenges to Wills and Trusts
  • Contesting a Will 
  • Incapacity, Incompetence, and Undue Influence
  • Inheritance Disputes
  • Concealment of Probate Assets
  • Appointment and Removal of Fiduciaries
  • Breach of Fiduciary Duty
  • Financial Abuse or Exploitation of the Elderly
  • Abuse of Powers of Attorney
  • Appointment and Removal of Guardians
  • Guardianship Disputes
  • Settlement of Estates Involving Family Businesses

The Law Offices of Daniel McGowan, LLC, represents clients in probate and estate matters throughout the Cleveland area, including Lakewood, Rocky River, Fairview Park, Shaker Heights, Cleveland Heights, South Euclid, East Cleveland, Linndale, Brooklyn, Parma, Brook Park. Newburgh Heights, Cuyahoga Heights, Brooklyn Heights, Warrensville Heights, Maple Heights, Garfield Heights, Bratenahl and Euclid.

Call 216-242-6054 today for a free and confidential consultation.

Law Offices of Daniel McGowan, LLC is a full-service law practice, with extensive experience in the areas of litigation and trial practice, elder law, and probate law and trust law. The information on this website, however, is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. Each legal situation is unique and you should consult with a reputable attorney regarding your specific circumstances.
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700 W. St. Clair Avenue,
Suite 400
Cleveland, OH 44113
(216) 242-6054

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