Areas of expertise

Probate & Estate Administration

When administering a person’s final affairs, there are clear step-by-step procedures, whether your loved one has a will or not. It is important to have an attorney you can trust to help you through the process. The Probate attorneys at Carlile Patchen & Murphy LLP’s Family Wealth & Estate Planning Group have recognized experience with Probate Courts across Ohio.

Our lawyers are experienced in all areas
of probate law, including:

The Probate attorneys in our Family Wealth & Estate Planning group help guide executors, trustees, family members and beneficiaries in fulfilling their responsibilities to the decedent, while protecting the involved parties’ rights throughout the entire probate process.

Download the Probate Checklist

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Estate Administration

When families are faced with the loss of a loved one, the experience of working with one of our skilled probate lawyers will alleviate concerns about how to administer an estate plan or trust. If a person passes away with any assets in their name that were not previously designated to be transferred to another party by a prior method of estate planning, then those assets are deemed probate assets. These assets must be transferred through proceedings in the Probate Court before they are distributed to the rightful creditors, heirs or beneficiaries. The attorneys in our Family Wealth & Estate Planning group help guide executors, trustees, family members and beneficiaries through the probate process. Entrusting our lawyers to manage the details and complexities of estate administration allows you to focus on family and friends in a time of need.

Read more about Estate Planning and Trust services.

Disputes and Litigation

Disputes can arise among family members or other beneficiaries concerning a decedent’s estate. We represent creditors, fiduciaries, beneficiaries and next of kin in probate and trust disputes, including wrongful death claims, interpreting the terms of wills and trusts, breaches of fiduciary duty, resolving disputes as to ownership of property, and representing the rights of a surviving spouse, a beneficiary or a creditor. We will work aggressively to achieve your goals while being sensitive to family relationships and attempting to avoid litigation, if possible.

An alternative to costly and timely litigation is mediation. In a mediation, the various parties agree on a mediator (who also can be appointed by the Probate Court, if need be) and then present their sides of the relevant issues in a (typically) one-day mediation. Many mediations result in the parties reaching a mutually agreeable settlement of their issues, which allows the estate to be settled with no further delay or acrimony. Our probate lawyers are experienced in participating in these types of mediations, as well as serving as mediators.

Read more about Alternative Dispute Resolutions.


Mentally or physically disabled adults and minors that inherit funds or lose a parent – may need a guardian. Our lawyers often assist families in seeking the appointment of a guardian in Probate Court, when necessary. We assist families with the ongoing administration of the estate of the person under guardianship. We also guide guardians throughout the process to ensure the guardian is compliant with the guardianship rules required by law.

Read more about Special Needs and Elder Law.

Step-parent Adoption

The attorneys in the Family Wealth & Estate Planning Group at Carlile Patchen & Murphy LLP are honored when we have an opportunity to help our clients with step-parent adoption proceedings. A minor or an adult child may be adopted. 

Unlike other areas of the law, in Ohio, a person must be represented by an attorney during an adoption proceeding. We first discuss if someone is a “fit candidate” to adopt a child. We then determine the necessary steps to file an adoption petition. Once the petition is filed and a hearing date is set (a Court hearing is required), the adopting parent must be fingerprinted and undergo a background check. An adoption assessor will conduct a home study and visit the adopting party’s residence to make sure it is a safe and healthy environment for the child. A home study is necessary for all adoptions of minor children.

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