Baker, Baker & Baker LLC

Attorneys at Law

55 Public Square * Suite 1330 * Cleveland, Ohio 44113


Probate Law

A "simple will" is called that for a reason, and perhaps an idealistic one. A will should be simple to explain. It is simply a legal instrument with which to inform others of your wishes at a time when you are unable to personally express them. Just because a will is simple, or should be, does not make the task any less important. When a person's legal affairs are not in order, there can be contentious squabbles over inheritances, quarrels over custody of a minor child, or estate tax burdens punishing innocent parties.

These are consequences you most assuredly want to avoid.

Preventing Probate

The transfer of assets to your heirs through the probate process is often the least convenient, most costly option available. The process of a court determining the validity of a decedent's will and overseeing completion of the deceased's wishes is inefficient and slow.

While many estates are administered without controversy, issues that are typically contested in probate include:

  • Competence of the deceased when the will was signed
  • Improper execution of the will
  • Duress, or undue influence by another person
  • Inadequate consideration to a surviving spouse

Most probate issues can be avoided with the kind of thorough estate planning we recommend at Baker, Baker & Baker LLC. Sometimes, unfortunately, even when individuals are armed with the most careful estate planning possible, probate is unavoidable. When there is a challenge to estate assets that could adversely affect you, you need experienced and skilled probate attorneys representing you and your family's interests.

Probate Simplified

The probate process represents a court-supervised transfer of an asset to a living person. Who receives the asset depends on whether the decedent left corresponding instructions in a will or - if no will is found - the applicable statutes that serve to identify default recipients.

This simplified description of probate may make it seem easy; as with many aspects of law, it usually is not. A number of people may have interests in the probate estate: creditors, family members, beneficiaries, a surviving spouse, attorneys and the personal representative for the estate. Because of the protected interests involved, the steps necessary to complete the will contest process can be lengthy and costly. It is our goal to ease the burden on you and your family, as you suffer through estate administration while still grieving over the loss of your loved one.

The most critical phase of the probate law process comes with the passing of a family member. Our collective goal - that of our probate attorneys and our survivor clients - should be to locate the deceased's will and their assets, to prevent any dissipation of the estate.

Will or No Will?

If a will exists, we help you identify and contact the named executor. You should make arrangements to have the original will filed with the clerk of the court within 30 days of the decedent's death, so that the estate administration process can begin.

If there is no will, an administrator should be nominated by the decedent's heirs and approved by the court, beginning the probate process. The administrator may be an individual or a corporate entity.

The administrator, or executor, should hire an attorney to file the necessary probate pleadings, secure assets, and prevent any dissipation of the estate. At Baker, Baker & Baker LLC, our skilled attorneys will deftly attend to all of these details, be they major or minute. We can even serve as the administrator or executor if requested or prudent.

No two probate actions are exactly alike. Usually, the larger the estate, the more in-depth and exhaustive the process. Estates of modest value can be probated in much less time. We can explore these contingencies when we speak with you.

In certain situations, it is essential that a will be contested. If you have questions or concerns about how to contest a will, get in touch with a lawyer at our firm as soon as possible.

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