WARREN - A 61-year-old Howland man says he hopes his testimony later today in Probate Court serves as a caution for children assigned to handle their elderly parents' estate.
''I thought putting everything in a trust was supposed to protect the money left to you by your parents and avoid action in probate (court),'' said Rudolph Joseph Setinsek, who was removed as the trustee of his dad's trust.
The case was allowed to go forward Tuesday after the Ohio Supreme Court denied an attempt by Setinsek's attorney to have Probate Judge Thomas A. Swift removed from the case.
Swift and other attorneys involved in the case categorically denied points brought up in affidavits of disqualifications filed by attorney David Engler.
Both of Setinsek's parents were found incompetent by more than one expert. His father, who amassed assets through mobile home park dealings, has since died, and his mother is in the care of a nursing home.
In July 2010, the court removed Setinsek as successor trustee for ''serious breaches of trust.'' The court said Setinsek was unable to give an accurate accounting of the amount of assets in his family's estate, including money and property. And he was unable to explain expenditures and give an accurate total that remains in the trust.
Setinsek, who stands to inherit money along with his two daughters, takes issue in his affidavit with the court ordering costs of an investigation by a retired FBI and retired IRS agent being paid out of his inheritance. He questioned a $12,877 bill turned in for less than two hours of work by Guardianship Adult Protective Services, which was appointed by the court.
Engler also questioned the appointment of Jeff Hovanic to replace Setinsek as the overseer of the estate, citing conflicts by the Warren Municipal Court bailiff and Champion Township trustee, whose wife also works for Swift in Probate Court.
Engler also took issue with Hovanic being represented by attorney Mark Finamore, who also represents Champion.
But in court Tuesday, Swift vouched for Hovanic, saying that as a trustee he oversees a budget of more than $3 million and that has served in at least a half-dozen past probate cases.
Engler said the various appointments of attorneys and investigators by Swift will cost his client more than $100,000 and he was legally prevented from appealing the removal and re-appointment of Hovanic after nothing was found misspent.
Testimony Tuesday though centered on whether the purchase of a $160,000 piece of property in Myrtle Beach, Va., out of the estate by Setinsek was proper.