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Probate and Estate Administration

Probate Administration Attorney in Cleveland

At its simplest, the probated estate of a decedent can be settled in six months or less. However, there are many issues that arise that are best handled by an experienced Cleveland probate attorney. After all, the work of the probate court is to finalize settlement and disbursement of an estate; the time to settle disagreements in your favor is during the process, not after the court has completed its work on an estate. 

If the total value of all property in the decedent's name is $35,000 or less, the estate settlement can be streamlined. Where the decedent’s spouse is entitled to receive all of the estate’s assets, the amount that can be relieved from formal administration is increased to $100,000.

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. 

In many cases, disagreements begin at this early stage. In fact, cases can be largely won or lost based on who is named an estate executor or administrator as this person will wield power second only to the judge when it comes to paying estate debts and distributing assets. 

Contesting Probate Estates

Many common issues arise during settlement of an estate, which are best handled by an experienced Cleveland probate attorney, including: 

  • 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

Out-of-Court Estate Assets

One of the most common areas where Cleveland probate lawyers see fraudulent transfer of assets and other issues of illegitimacy is in the disbursement of out-of-court assets. Not all assets are required to be disbursed under the watchful eye of the court. In fact, it’s possible, and quite common, to settle an entire estate without ever going through the probate process. 

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.

Consulting with an experienced probate lawyer in Cleveland as early as possible is the best thing you can do to protect your rights. 

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.
700 W. St. Clair Avenue,
Suite 400
Cleveland, OH 44113
(216) 242-6054

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