Finding legal assistance in AR and OH?
August 8, 2023 6:49 AM   Subscribe

I have legal questions specific to Arkansas and Ohio on family trust documents created in the 1970's

I am working with my trust attorney in the state of Maine on how (if possible) to understand certain aspects of family trusts that are under management at Regions and PNC banks respectively. My family Trust attorney in Maine where I live has told me the only way to move forward is to get information from an attorney in Arkansas and Ohio on the possibility of decanting or non-judicial settlements on these trusts.

The trusts were created in the 1970's by my grand mother in law and now my sister and I are the sole trustees. We have no connection to the managers at either bank and have found dealing with them to be quite difficult.

I have no connection to any legal help in either state and it feels a bit daunting to start looking, I thought I might get some feedback here first.

Thank you
posted by silsurf to Law & Government (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You should first ask your attorney in Maine for any referrals to any trusts lawyer in or anywhere near those venues. If you trust your Maine lawyer, that lawyer should hopefully be trustworthy to help find you someone good local to those venues. It's a little surprising that your Maine lawyer hasn't done this yet, but perhaps you need to ask directly.

Assuming that does not work, I would try to find other referral sources such as through family or professionals you know.

I would also check the trust documents to see if you can figure out who the lawyer/firm is who prepared the trusts and see if you could contact them.

If none of that works, then I think your best bet is probably searching bar associations in those states for trusts/wills/estates lawyers and cold calling some, which is no fun, but will develop some options with some legwork.

I suspect that finding a lawyer in either state (AR or OH) will move the ball - i.e., don't make it more complicated by trying to find two off the bat - focus on the one state that is most important, if there is a way to distinguish them.
posted by Mid at 7:10 AM on August 8 [1 favorite]

PS - lawyers that specialize in a field like trusts/estates are usually members of specialized bar associations with members all over the country, so your Maine lawyer should have resources for finding other similar specialists in the other states - or they should have colleagues that have those resources. It's your lawyer's job to help you find help in other venues if they think it is needed. If your lawyer isn't helping with this even if you have asked, that's not a good sign regarding your current lawyer -- i.e., they should have a network, and they should be happy to help you find someone (while billing you for the service of course).
posted by Mid at 7:28 AM on August 8 [1 favorite]

What Mid said.

Also, ACTEC is the national level lawyer networking group that the most successful/smartest (in theory) estate planning attorneys belong to. They have a "find a lawyer" page. Start there for referrals and call a few - if your case isn't big enough for them, they will know attorneys who handle smaller matters.

It's a great start that you've distilled the question you need to ask - call (or email) and ask it just like you did in your mefi question, (without a half-hour exposition on all the case facts) and most will be happy to steer you toward a lawyer who can help you. You probably want to check the boxes for "General Trust and Estate", "Trust and Estate Administration" and "Fiduciary Litigation".

It might take a bit of a chain of referrals, but you should eventually be able to find the right attorney - this is a common issue facing a lot of folks these days.
posted by bluesky78987 at 7:47 AM on August 8 [2 favorites]

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