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Probate, Estates & Trusts

Estate & Wealth Planning 

Estate and tax planning, wealth planning, probate planning, and asset protection are no longer tools available for only the wealthiest families. In today’s complex world of ever-changing tax and probate laws in Ohio and beyond, all families need to carefully plan for the future to avoid the hardships these tax and probate laws might inflict. This is especially true when the family’s assets include a business interest.  

Helping clients navigate these laws in order to minimize tax liabilities, protect the family’s assets from claims of creditors, and minimize the delay and expense of the probate administration process are our primary objectives for our clients. 

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Will & trust litigation  

Even in situations where there was advance planning and preparation of appropriate estate planning documents—such as a will, a trust, or a power of attorney—disputes may still arise. The Akron and Canton estate planning lawyers at Plakas Mannos represent family members, estate representatives, and other beneficiaries in litigation resulting from those disputes.  

Plakas Mannos has fought to protect the rights of numerous clients in a wide variety of probate and estate litigation matters including the following:  

  • Life insurance claim disputes  
  • Will and trust contests  
  • Concealment actions  
  • Trust interpretation issues  
  • Joint and survivorship account disputes  
  • Beneficiary designation disputes  
  • Power of attorney abuse actions  
  • Breach of fiduciary duty claims  
  • Guardianship and conservatorship proceedings  
  • Determination of heir proceedings  
  • Wrongful death claim dispute proceedings  

Whether these claims take place in the County Probate Court or the United States District Court, our attorneys are prepared to protect your rights.  

Probate attorneys in Canton & Akron  

When clients are faced with probate administration following the death of a loved one, we believe that the most important service we can perform is to help the family through a very difficult time by alleviating the administrative burdens imposed by the probate process.   

Plakas Mannos provides counsel to assist you in expediting the probate administration process. Because our primary concern is always the protection of your family’s assets, we work diligently to obtain your goals while easing the family’s burden at a difficult time.  



If I designate one of my children as a beneficiary on an account to avoid probate, is that child required to distribute that account according to my will after I die? 
No. If you designate an individual as a death beneficiary on an account, that individual becomes the legal owner of that account upon your death regardless of what your will or trust provides. Deciding who you wish to be a death beneficiary or joint and survivorship owner is a very important decision for you to make only after you consider your estate plan and your objectives for that plan.  
If I create a trust, will that protect my assets if I have to be admitted to a nursing home for long term nursing care? 
Not necessarily. There are many types of trusts, many of which will not afford you any protection against creditors or allow you to become eligible for Medicaid benefits in the event of a long-term nursing home stay.  The right planning can help you and your loved ones be ready for the potential need for long term nursing care. 
If my assets go through probate at the time of my death, how much does the probate court tax those assets? 
The Probate Courts of Ohio do not levy any tax on estates of deceased persons. The State of Ohio does not have an estate tax of any kind for any person whose date of death is after January 1, 2013. Planning your estate with the goal of avoiding probate is primarily done to avoid the need for court involvement, is more efficient and more private, and can save the legal expenses typically associated with probate administration.  
If I do not agree with the terms of a person’s will or trust, or I think they are unfair, is that grounds to contest the will or trust? 
No. In order to successfully challenge a will or trust, you have the burden to prove, with evidence, one of the following:  
  • That the person executing the will or trust lacked mental capacity at the time he or she executed the will;  
  • That the person executing the will was under duress, undue influence, or was coerced to execute the will or trust; or 
  • That the person was defrauded into executing the will or trust  
Do I have to pay taxes if I inherit something from someone? 
Typically, no. An inheritance is not considered income to the person receiving the inheritance unless the asset itself is a tax-qualified asset such as a retirement account or an annuity. Therefore, as long as the inherited asset is not a tax-qualified asset, there are no income taxes owed by the person inheriting those assets.  


However, there may be a federal estate tax that is levied upon the estate (not the person inheriting the funds) if the total estate exceeds the federal estate tax exemption. The federal estate tax applies to very large estates.  

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An estate planning lawyer speaking with a married couple
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From our clients

Hear what our previous clients have to say about their experiences.


"Clear, concise, knowledgeable, accessible and very responsive. Highly recommended."

When Only the Best Will Do

Helping families plan for and cope with a family member’s death and lifetime protection of family assets involves not only careful consideration of tax and probate laws in Ohio and at the federal level, but also involves careful consideration of the family’s future goals.   

Our attorneys will assist you in evaluating and achieving those goals by providing counsel regarding wills, trusts, powers of attorney, business succession planning, guardianships, living wills, lifetime gift programs, and charitable giving.   

Additionally, our attorneys’ experience in wealth planning and estate and trust litigation will aid you in crafting estate plans that will minimize future disputes.  

Fill out the form below to find out how we can assist your family with estate and wealth planning.   

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Meet the Probate, Estates & Trusts Team