Located a short drive from Columbus, OH, we pride ourselves on providing you with the quality representation that you deserve. We have been practicing Estate Planning and Litigation for Columbus residents since 2010. Additionally, with over 150 years of combined legal experience handling the estate planning and litigation needs of our clients, we are committed to providing them with the exceptional representation that they deserve. As a prospective client of ours, we would be more than happy to get you started in the right direction and devise the best plan of action for your unique needs. Whether you need legal counsel in estate litigation, you want to draft a will or trust, or you are currently dealing with the probate process, Heban, Murphree & Lewandowski, LLC, is here for you.
According to Wikipedia, Columbus is the state capital and the most populous city in the U.S. state of Ohio. With a population of 892,533 as of 2018 estimates, it is the 14th-most populous city in the United States and one of the fastest-growing large cities in the nation. This makes Columbus the second-most populous city in the Midwest (after Chicago, Illinois). It is the core city of the Columbus, OH Metropolitan Statistical Area, which encompasses ten counties. With a population of 2,078,725, it is Ohio's second-largest metropolitan area.
What is Estate Planning?
Estate planning is the act of preparing for the transfer of a person's wealth and assets after his or her death. Assets, life insurance, pensions, real estate, cars, personal belongings, and debts are all part of one's estate. Estate plans must be written, signed, and notarized by the person who owns the estate.
How Estate Planning Works in Columbus
Many people think they don't need to do any sort of estate planning, and they think that the existence of a simple will does the job. However, wills are simply legal documents that express the decedent's intentions for burial and to whom he or she wishes to pass money and property (the estate) when he or she dies. A judge has to allow the transfer of that money and property from the decedent's accounts to the beneficiaries' accounts. This procedure is known as probate, and it opens the door for relatives or third parties to contest your will and for a judge to misinterpret your wishes, both of which can tie up an estate in court for years.
Furthermore, probate fees can cost thousands and thousands of dollars. There are executor fees, court fees, recording fees, and attorney fees. In many cases, these fees must be paid as the estate is probated, meaning that the heirs will need to come up with the money fairly immediately upon the person's death. A will also does not alleviate the problem of estate taxes.
What is Estate Litigation?
Estate Litigation is the specialized practice of law involving the resolution and, if necessary, litigation of trust, estate, and protective proceedings.
Estates Litigation proceedings encompass a variety of matters including conservatorships, guardianships, will contests, claims or defense of claims of breaches of fiduciary duties by trustees and other fiduciaries (e.g., self-dealing, conflicts of interest, breach of trust), accountings, petitions for court instructions, issues of trust modification and reformation, allegations or protection from allegations of undue influence or fraudulent conveyances, and interpretation, advocacy, or defense of testamentary capacity and decedent’s intent.
The practice of Trusts and Estates also includes litigation prevention matters including review and consultation of the policies, practices, and proposed actions of corporate, charitable, and individual fiduciaries against national or state standards for acceptable fiduciary conduct, such as the Uniform Prudent Investor Act, Uniform Principal and Income Act, and malpractice standards.
All of these proceedings take place under the auspices of state Probate Codes and the nuanced procedures of the probate and surrogate courts – the statutory authority and venue under which nearly all trust, probate, guardianship, and conservatorship matters are adjudicated.