The estate planning process is intended to make sure that the process of transferring assets to heirs can go smoothly after a death. Unfortunately, sometimes there are disagreements or problems when someone passes away, as his or her family could become involved in a fight over what happens to money and property. Just recently, Mansfield News Journal reported on one Ohio estate dispute that lasted for more than four years.
When a dispute arises over how to transfer the assets of a deceased, this can result in costly legal expenditures that reduce the entire value of the estate and harm all of the potential beneficiaries. A fight between family members can also undermine family ties at a time when people should be turning to each other to come together, cope with their grief, and move forward.
It is imperative that you do everything you can to create a solid plan for how your assets will be transferred so your family does not devolve into fighting after you are gone. You should consult with a skilled legal professional to ensure that the estate planning process is done right, that the correct legal tools are used, and that there are no questions about the validity of the estate planning documents that you create.
The Zimmer Law Firm provides invaluable assistance during the estate planning process. We’ll assist you in making a rock solid plan so your heirs know exactly what will happen when you have passed away. Our experienced attorneys can also provide representation to executors, heirs, and potential heirs in the event that a disagreement does arise during the probate process. To learn more about all of the ways that we can help you, give our Montgomery Ohio estate planning lawyers a call now.
Court Dispute Over Ohio Man’s Estate Lasts Four Years
According to the Mansfield News Journal, the four year fight over an estate began with the death of the president and CEO of a manufacturing company. The man died from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident at the age of 65. He left behind a will, in which he named his business partner as his executor. He also left behind four daughters, all of whom were named as heirs in his will.
The probate process began in 2009. Appraisers estimated the value of his estate at no less than $4.74 million based on the inventory conducted in 2010. Assets included properties, farm equipment, business inventory, bank deposits, and vehicles.
In 2012, three of the four daughters filed a civil action against the person who had been named as the executor of the estate. The daughters claimed that the executor had interfered with the estate and failed to carry out the wishes of their father to recapitalize his business assets. The three daughters asked the court to order equal distribution of the trust part of the deceased’s holdings, which had stock shares worth more than $16 million. The three daughters also sought $7 million in compensatory and punitive damages from the executor for alleging failing to live up to his duties in managing estate assets.
The fourth daughter, however, said that her sisters were making baseless accusations and were engaging in a “fishing expedition.” She indicated she had been involved with the business and served as an officer, and that her father had never intended for the recapitalization of his business assets. She also said that her father had rejected a proposal while he was alive which was similar to what her three sisters were proposing the executor should have done after his death.
Today, the probate court case from 2009 is still pending. The lawsuit brought in 2012 was finally dismissed by the daughters, four years later. The three daughters reserved the right to reopen the case within a one year period. In the meantime, the heirs wait to inherit and money has been wasted on legal fees.
How Montgomery Estate Planning Lawyers Can Help Avoid Disputes
Avoiding this type of ongoing dispute is essential so that families are not divided, so estate assets are not wasted, and so property can be transferred quickly after a death has occurred. It is imperative to ensure that you make your wishes very clear and that you do everything possible to facilitate the seamless transfer of assets upon your death.
A Montgomery estate planning lawyer at The Zimmer Law Firm can provide invaluable guidance with creating your plan and can provide representation to executors and heirs during probate to make sure that a comprehensive estate plan is carried out. Give us a call at 513.721.1513 or join us for a free seminar to learn more about how we can help.