Will contests are not the only types of litigation in probate court. Sometimes, disputes arise between creditors, beneficiaries, and executors. In these cases, parties may need to hire lawyers to pursue or defend against lawsuits. A good probate attorney can explain your legal rights in these cases.
Embezzlement or Concealment of Assets
Estate administrators have legal access to all assets in the name of the deceased. This not only means the accounts but also the property. In some cases, a party fails to disclose to administrators about property owned by the dead. If the family discovers that a party is attempting to keep probate assets as their own, they may file a concealment action. A concealment lawsuit seeks damages against the wrongdoer. This litigation can quickly become complicated.
If probate courts discover embezzlement of assets, they may initiate concealment proceedings themselves. Embezzlement is a serious issue for creditors too. In these situations, the actions may not only be brought against the person obtaining the assets, but also the estate administrator.
If embezzlement or concealment occurs, courts may order the assets retrieved and placed back into the estate. This allows individuals entitled to take under Ohio law to obtain the funds. Courts take embezzlement and concealment actions seriously. Individuals suspecting these facts should gather necessary paperwork and evidence in order to demonstrate their case
Actions Against Executors
Estate Executors and Administrators owe fiduciary duties to the estate and to its beneficiaries. Specifically, they must act with the same skill and caution as a reasonably prudent person. Failing to act this way or without good faith can lead beneficiaries or probate court to accuse administrators of breaching this duty. This can cause the removal of executors and administrators. A good executor knows their role and their duties under Ohio law.
Others may also allege poor decision making and self-dealing against executors. This may lead to the removal as executor or administrator. Likewise, an executor must act in good faith towards all beneficiaries. Therefore the executor must carry out the terms of the will and Ohio law to protect the rights of those entitled to receive benefits from the estate.
Probate courts have jurisdiction to hear fraud actions involving estates. For example, estates and beneficiaries may bring actions against others suspected of intentionally defrauding the deceased into transferring their property to others before death. Likewise, fraudulent actions may involve disputes with creditors of the deceased. Courts take matters involving fraud seriously. Because of this, courts require complaint filers to specifically state the grounds of fraud. This means not only how the fraud occurred, but when, where, and how the defrauded relied on actions. If you suspect fraud, it is highly recommended to contact a lawyer.
Family members may find themselves disputing the debts of creditors. When this occurs, it is important that they open an estate in probate court. Without an estate, parties do not have standing to dispute claims against the deceased. When this occurs, an estate may wish to employ an attorney in order to fight the debt or resolve it on favorable terms. Litigation involving creditors may occur either in probate court or another court.