Cleveland Estate Planning and Litigation Attorneys

We help individuals, entrepreneurs and business owners plan for the future.

Competent estate planning ensures that seniors, parents, and adults prepare wills and trusts that provide a financially solvent and emotionally supportive future for spouses, children, and friends. Good estate planning directs which people get which assets and can provide for charities and nonprofits as well. Wills can appoint guardians for children so they are cared for if their parents are gone. Powers of attorney and medical directives can help the disabled function and address support and other medical issues.

Proper estate planning is a must for businesses and business owners, too. Business succession issues that are detailed in estate documents and business documents like partnership agreements can dictate who will manage and who will own a company when the principals are gone. Our estate planning and litigation lawyers are experienced in drafting the right documents to match your goals and desires. We work to minimize litigation but advocate for executors and heirs when estates have not been properly managed or wills have been incompetently drafted.

The benefits of professional estate planning

Our estate planning attorneys review all the concerns of each person we represent. These concerns include identifying a person’s assets, such as real estate, personal property, bank accounts, business ownership interests, stocks, bonds, and anything of value. Other concerns include saving on inheritance and estate taxes, trying to eliminate the need for probate, minimizing the likelihood of disputes between children and heirs, and providing for those who cannot take care of themselves, including the possibility that our client may become incapacitated.

We represent individuals, families, businesses, banks, foundations, and nonprofits in the following types of death planning matters:

  • Will drafting. Wills should identify the estate assets, the beneficiaries, and which beneficiaries get which assets. Wills should appoint an executor or several executors to manage the estate. If there are minor children, wills should designate a guardian for the minor and should also provide financial assistance for the care and well-being of the minor.
  • Trust creation. Our Cleveland trust lawyers explain the variety of trusts and the pros and cons of each. Common trust types include special needs trusts, which provide for relatives and others with physical and emotional disabilities. Pour-over trusts may help married couples avoid or reduce taxes. Personal injury trusts and generation-skipping trusts can also help minimize taxes. Express trusts can control when beneficiaries are paid.
  • Succession planning. Many business owners want family members to be able to run their small business when they are deceased. Large businesses need to make sure the business can continue if a large stockholder dies or a key management officer or director can no longer give advice. Our lawyers create strategies and documents that help clarify:
    • Who owns the business
    • Who can run the business after the decedent passes away
    • The value of the business
    • How disputes are handled
    • The tax consequences
    • How the business can be protected from creditors
  • Drafting powers of attorney. We draft powers of attorney documents that can help seniors manage their affairs by appointing someone to make deposits, get prescriptions, or provide other types of living assistance. Powers of attorney can be used for financial, health, legal, and business matters. Our lawyers review the various types of powers of attorney, such as those that continue after a person becomes incapacitated or terminate upon recovery.
  • Writing living wills and medical directives. These documents can help guide family members and doctors through end-of-life decisions and handling medical emergencies.

Our firm advises on other estate matters, such as the advantages and disadvantages of gifting assets. We also connect our clients with tax and other administrative professionals when needed.

Estate administration

We guide executors and administrators after a person has died. This includes handling the probate of the will, the appointment of the personal representative, the collection of the assets, meeting the local and state rules, paying creditors, paying the proper taxes, and distributing the assets. Our Cleveland estate administration attorneys also represent beneficiaries when the estate is not being managed correctly.

Probate litigation

Probate is generally concerned with the validity of the will, the appointment of a personal representative to administer the estate, and the whereabouts and value of the estate. Our lawyers represent both the representatives and challengers to the will. There are four main arguments made to contest the validity of a will that has been probated:

  • The decedent did not have the testamentary capacity, sound mind, to prepare a will.
  • Fraud or undue influence by or on behalf of a beneficiary
  • The will did not meet minimum Ohio content standards.
  • The will was not properly witnessed.

If you are responsible for a will or challenging the validity of a will, our experienced probate litigators can explain your remedies.

Estate litigation

We strive to advise clients in a way that will avoid litigation after they are gone. However, when estate disputes do occur, we fight for those who have been wronged. We handle the following types of estate litigation contests, among others:

  • Improper claims by creditors or tax departments
  • Poor management of the estate
  • Failure to distribute assets

If your estate issues must be resolved through litigation, you need to be represented by an attorney with a significant understanding of estate litigation and administration.

Get peace of mind about your estate planning needs today

We understand the concerns individuals and business owners have about how they will manage old age, emergencies, and death. We have a strong tradition of taking the time to listen to the emotional, physical, and financial concerns of our clients. To review your estate needs with a trusted attorney, please call (216) 573-6000 or fill out our contact form.