Category: Estate Planning & Probate

What is a Pet Trust?

For many people, a dog or cat is a member of the family. Just like human family, a person may want to provide for animal family members in the event of the owner’s death or disability. Thanks to a relatively recent change to Ohio law, a Pet Trust can do just that.

Ohio law permits the creation of a trust for the care of an animal, commonly known as a Pet trust. The trust can provide for the care and support of any animal that is alive during the trust maker’s lifetime.

The trust maker generally would appoint a caregiver and a person, called a Trustee, who would make sure the terms of the trust are followed.… Read the rest

What Can You Do When A Guardian Isn’t Doing His Job?

Thanks to changes in Ohio law, there is now a clear procedure for wards and family members of wards seeking court intervention when a guardian  isn’t meeting the requirements of his job.  Every county probate court is required to have procedures in place to evaluate guardian complaints and if the complaints merit it, set the same for hearing.  The court may also schedule the relevant parties for mediation.  In more extreme cases, an action may be needed to remove the guardian.

To find out more about a guardian’s responsibilities, the wards rights and the options available to wards … Read the rest

5 Reasons Why an Executor Should Hire a Lawyer


  1. Filing Requirements. There are rigid filing requirements that an executor must meet when administering an estate. The court will not advise an executor on how to file documents. It will be up to the executor to figure it out. Failure to make timely filings may result in an executor’s removal and the removed executor being ordered to pay the resulting attorney and court fees.
  1. An executor is bound by the terms of the Last Will and Testament and Ohio law when making distributions to beneficiaries. An executor who erroneously makes distributions, in the amount paid or the person paid, could
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How Do I Make Changes to My Will?

Under Ohio Law, a Will, or a modification of a Will, known as a Codicil, must meet the same execution requirements. That is, it must be signed by the testator at the end with two individuals witnessing your signature.

Not uncommonly, individual will come into the office with their old original Wills marked up with changes that they want made. The markings can create a big problem. It can effectively invalidate the old will and not having met the execution requirements, not qualify as a codicil, leaving the person with no valid will.

If you want to make changes to your Will, the preferred method is to… Read the rest

Where Should I Keep my Will? Does it Need to Be Filed Anywhere?

There is no requirement that a Last Will and Testament be recorded anywhere once it is made to be effective. Instead, should a probate estate need to be opened upon your death, that is the time when the Will would need to be filed with the probate court in the county where you resided when you died.

Generally, I recommend that a client keep his Will in a fire safe in his home, and ensure that loved ones know where it is and can access when the client passes away.

It is never a good idea to keep the Will in a safety deposit box in the client’s name only because an estate would need to be opened to get access to the… Read the rest