John R. Harrison


John protects the rights and the assets of seniors and people with special needs. He works with families to develop estate plans, to protect their wealth, and to ensure that their wishes are fulfilled over the long-term, including serving as trustee or guardian when family cannot fill that important role. He also helps his clients with probate and trust litigation, and the maintenance of public benefits.

Notably, John served as lead counsel in the Ohio Supreme Court case that guaranteed the rights of wards under guardianship, which led to counsel being appointed at court expense in review hearings of those who cannot afford their own lawyer (McQueen v. Cuyahoga County Probate Court, 135 Ohio St.3d 291, 2013 Ohio 65). He has also been named to The Best Lawyers in America© for Trusts and Estates and Litigation – Trusts and Estates in Cleveland.

Education & Admissions


  • University of Michigan

    (B.A., 1990)

  • The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law

    (J.D., with honors, 1995)

    Order of the Coif


  • State of Ohio
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio



  • Has over 25 years of experience handling all aspects of trust and estate planning and administration.
  • Guides individuals and families with elder and special needs challenges through estate planning, Medicare, Medicaid, guardianship, probate, and other matters, including contested probate and fiduciary litigation.
  • Formulates various estate planning arrangements including asset protection and probate avoidance techniques for clients tailored to their specific needs.
  • Counsels individuals and families in structuring various methods of achieving financial goals and the distribution of wealth, while minimizing the imposition of federal estate, gift, and generation skipping transfer taxes.
  • Consults with business owners to structure and implement business succession plans.
  • Assists both corporate and individual fiduciaries in connection with the administration of trusts and estates.

Publications & Presentations

Client Alerts


  • “What’s a Grandparent To Do?” Co-Author, Currents Magazine (November 2021)
  • “An Ohio Perspective on #FreeBritney,” JD Supra (July 2021)
  • “Gifts for the People – Proposed Drastic Changes to Federal Gift Tax Law,” JD Supra (April 2021)
  • “Advising Clients with Diminished Capacity,” Currents Magazine (October 2020)
  • “An Introduction to Medicaid Planning for Long-Term Care Costs,” Co-Author, Estate Planning (January 2020)
  • “Five-Year Look-Back Medicaid Planning – The Dos and Don’ts,” Co-Author, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Journal (June 2018)
  • “Catch 22: Medicaid Planning Issues with Third Party Trusts,” Co-Author, Probate Law Journal of Ohio (November/December 2017)
  • “Ohio’s New Medicaid Lien Adjustment: A Statutory Process with a Second Chance to Get it Right,” Ohio Trial (Winter 2016)


  • “Medicaid Issue Spotting: General Practice and Estate Planning Attorneys,” Ohio State Bar Association’s Medicare and Medicaid Forum (October 2022)
  • “Terminating Irrevocable Trusts and Trust Planning – A Primer for Planning for Beneficiaries with a Disability,” The Rossdale Group (August 2022)
  • “Getting to Know a Trust,” National Business Institute Webinar (December 2021)
  • High Stakes Guardianship: Best Practices for Corporate Fiduciaries,” Ulmer & Berne LLP Webinar (October 2021)
  • “Trusts From A to Z,” National Business Institute Webinar (May 2021)
  • 2021 Estate Planning Update,” Ulmer & Berne LLP Webinar (May 2021)
  • “The Probate Process From Start to Finish for Paralegals,” Institute for Paralegal Education (November 2020)
  • “The Life of a Trust,” National Business Institute Webinar (September 2020)
  • “Terminating Irrevocable Trusts, Tax Implications, and Trust Administration,” Rossdale Group Seminar (August 2020)
  • “Fixing a Special Needs Trust – It Has to Be Simple, Right?” Co-Presenter, Ohio State Bar Association Elder Law Institute (March 2020)
  • “Medicare and Medicaid Liens and Medicare Set-Asides,” Co-Presenter, Ohio State Bar Association Medicare and Medicaid Forum (June 2019)
  • “Navigating the DODD Waiting Room: The Ball is in Your Court,” Ohio State Bar Association Ohio Special Needs and Elder Law Planning (March 2019)
  • “Medicaid Estate Recovery: Polishing Your Crystal Ball,” Co-Presenter, Ohio State Bar Association Elder Law Institute (March 2019)
  • “Medicaid: Maximizing Excluded Assets,” National Business Institute Webinar (March 2019)
  • “When Good Intentions Go Bad … Agents of the General Durable Power of Attorney,” Co-Presenter, Ohio State Bar Association Elder Law Institute (March 2018)
  • “Advanced Directives and POAs: Hot Issues,” Ohio State Bar Association Elder Law Institute (March 2017)



  • Ohio State Bar Association (Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate Law Section; Elder and Special Needs Law Committee)


  • Milestones Autism Resources (Vice Chair, Board of Directors, 2022-present; Board Member, 2017-present)
  • Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) Foundation (Former Board Member)


  • Named to The Best Lawyers in America, Trusts and Estates; Litigation – Trusts and Estates (2020-2023)
  • Received The Gold Star Award, the highest award from the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, to honor AmeriCorps VISTA team efforts to provide legal services for formerly incarcerated persons