Estate Planning Attorneys
KJK’s Estate, Wealth & Succession Planning attorneys assist individuals and businesses with a variety of matters ranging from basic estate plans to more complex business succession arrangements. With convenient offices in Cleveland and Columbus, We employ a multi-disciplinary approach involving clients’ accountants, financial advisors, insurance agents and other professional advisors to achieve the client’s overall planning objectives.
Many factors impact how an estate plan can help you and your family to maintain as much of your wealth as possible. The members of our wealth planning group use a variety of sophisticated planning devices to preserve and protect the assets of Ohio families while minimizing the income, estate, gift and generation skipping transfer taxes.
Estate Planning Services
- Asset Protection
- Tax Minimization and Complex Planning
- Business Succession Planning
- Charitable Gift Structures
- Bargain Sales
- Charitable Gift Annuities
- Charitable Lead and Remainder Trusts
- Direct Charitable Gifts
- Elder Law
- Long-Term Care Planning
- Medicaid Planning
- Nursing Home Contract Review & Negotiation
- Estate & Trust Administration
- Family Office Services
- Estate, Trust & Probate Litigation
- Private Foundation Formation & Management
- Special Needs Planning
- Special Needs Trust
- Considerations for special needs care givers
What We Do
Comprehensive Estate Planning
Estate Planning is about helping our clients find solutions to manage their wealth in a way that assists them in achieving their familial, professional and philanthropic goals. At KJK, this means finding balance in the following areas:
With today’s litigious society, asset protection planning is becoming more and more important. Clients in “high risk” industries – doctors, accountants and attorneys, etc. – are particularly in need of asset protection as lawsuits are not uncommon in their careers.
However, asset protection also includes tax minimization and complex planning, and is therefore not just for those “high risk” clients. Possibly the most overlooked clients in need of asset protection are business owners and those who sign personal guarantees.
Business Succession Planning
Our team helps business owners ensure that success of their company outlasts them. To do this, it’s necessary to have a thorough succession plan outlining who will run the company, how to handle stock and how the day-to-day aspects of the company should be handled. When a key member of a company passes away without creating a succession plan, the future of the company is unpredictable at best. A succession plan for the business is just as important as a personal estate plan.
Establishing a Family Estate Plan
Having a will in place allows you to decide where your assets will go once you are no longer here. A will enables you to name an executor to administer your estate once you pass. Likewise, you can designate specific beneficiaries to inherit your assets; these are often spouses or children.
Having a well-drafted will is paramount for people with children, especially if those children are minors. A will allows you to appoint a legal guardian to look after your children in the event of an untimely death.
While it may seem easy to draft your own will, the process is always best left to an experienced estate planning attorney who can provide sound counsel and make recommendations based on your wishes. In addition to traditional wills, if a trust is part of your estate plan the attorneys at KJK can help you draft a pour-over will that transfers any assets to an established trust. A pour-over will helps ensure your assets pass to your beneficiaries in the most private manner possible eliminating the need for a lengthy probate process.
SPECIAL NEEDS PLANNING
Providing care for a loved one with special needs can present unique challenges concerning care requirements and individualized needs. In addition to daily care, decisions involving financial management and emergency support are critical to ensuring the safety and reliability of any basic care plan for your loved one.
Learn More About Special Needs Planning
Tax Minimization & Complex Planning
We assist our clients with the integration of their philanthropic objectives in their overall estate plan while achieving the maximum income, gift and estate tax benefits through the use of direct charitable gifts, charitable gift annuities, bargain sales and charitable lead and remainder trusts. Those with high net worth have a lot at stake when it comes to estate planning. Not only do they need to plan for the care of their family in the future, they also need to consider the tax implications they face. There are many factors involved in crafting an estate plan that allow the clients and their family to personally maintain as much of their wealth as possible. The members of our wealth planning group are able to apply a variety of sophisticated planning devices designed to preserve and protect a family’s assets while minimizing the income, estate, gift and generation skipping transfer taxes associated with the lifetime and/or testamentary transfer of wealth. Our experienced attorneys can employ advanced tax minimizing techniques such as installment sales to intentionally defective grantor trusts, grantor retained annuity trusts (GRATs), irrevocable life insurance trusts (ILITs), qualified personal residence trusts (QPRTs), limited partnerships and limited liability companies.
Planning for the Future:
KJK’s Elder Law attorneys guide clients and their families through the often difficult and overwhelming process of planning for the long-term care of an elderly loved one. Whether planning for mom and dad or other close family members or friends, ensuring that a loved one’s medical and financial needs are taken care of is crucial.
Annual Estate Plan Review
KJK understands that change happens, including when it comes to your assets, needs and goals. We provide our clients with a complimentary estate plan review every year to assess your current plan and ensure you’re securing your legacy for the future.
More than just a law firm:
Family Office Services
High-net-worth individuals need extra protection when planning their estate, as they are often the targets of creditor claims and lawsuits. We offer personalized family office services for such clients to help them shield as much of their wealth as possible while minimizing income, estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer taxes.
Things to Consider:
Power Of Attorney
A power of attorney (POA) allows you to appoint an individual to managing your affairs should you become incapacitated. A power of attorney operates during your lifetime. We can assist you in preparing the following documents:
Durable General Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney allows you to designate an individual to handle your financial, business and legal matters if you are unable to do so yourself. This type of power of attorney is generally applied when a person is mentally or physically incapacitated and cannot manage their own affairs. A general power of attorney allows the specified individual to pay bills, manage assets and investments, and file tax returns, among other financial matters. Most importantly, a durable power of attorney eliminates the need for a guardianship.
Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will
A health care power of attorney allows you to name an individual to make health care decisions on your behalf, including giving and receiving medical information, hiring and firing healthcare workers, and selecting nursing homes. A healthcare power of attorney has agency over treatment options, including the ability to remove an individual from life support. Your living will allows you to delineate your healthcare wishes toward the end of your life. You can state your preferences on artificial life support and in what case to end treatment, including do not resuscitate orders (DNR) and feeding tube removal. Having a healthcare power of attorney is critical to eliminate the need for a guardianship.
Frequently Asked Questions
About Wills & Trusts
Do I need a will?
A properly drawn will assures you that, upon your death, your probate property will be distributed as you intended. A will is also the mechanism for choosing the executor and commonly provides for the nomination of a guardian where there are minor children. A will also can dispense with the requirement of a bond, for which an executor or administrator might otherwise have to pay. If you do not make a will, your probate property will be distributed according to Ohio laws under the Ohio Statute of Descent and Distribution.
Do I need a trust?
Yes, almost always yes. Even a simple revocable trust offers many benefits, like avoiding the cost of probate. But in our view, the most important benefit of a trust is to protect the beneficiaries – particularly kids – from: themselves and others. Without a trust, parents most valuable asset, usually the proceeds of a life insurance policy, retirement account, or a home will immediately go to a child on that child’s 18th birthday. This is where protecting the children from themselves and others comes in. Everyone can imagine how quickly an 18 year old might blow through a big chunk of cash (i.e., Vegas, substances, cars). A revocable trust typically gives descendants an allowance for regular living expenses as determined by the trustee; then when the descendants reach certain ages, the trust permits the descendants to withdraw principal from the trust for any purpose. This is usually done in tranches so that the descendants don’t blow all the money the first time they have access to a large sum of money.
Are my retirement accounts protected from creditors?
For the most part, yes. All ERISA plans – like 401(k) and 403(b) plans, pension plans, SIMPLE IRAs, Simplified Employee Plans (SEP), employee stock ownership plans and profit-sharing plans – are fully protected from creditors in a bankruptcy, regardless of the dollar value. IRA accounts are protected up to $1,362,800. College savings plans, aka 529 plans, are also up to maximum allowable contributions from creditor claims. There are some exceptions to these, like divorce and child support.
If I die, how do I ensure a bad person doesn’t persuade my widow not to disinherit my children?
In its simplest form, a “QTIP” trust is designed to provide for a widow and then any remaining assets when the widow passes are supposed to go to the decedent’s children. Another thing couples can do to protect their widows and descendants from bad actors is to appoint a “trust protector” to oversee the trustee (who is usually the widow). This ensures that a bad actor doesn’t pressure the widow to spend money on the bad actor instead of the widow or descendants.
Estate, Wealth & Succession Planning
Kevin J. Lenhard
Erika F. Apelis
Samir B. Dahman
Jon J. Pinney
Kevin T. O'Connor
Peggy S. Beistel
Kyle D. Stroup
“I have had, on two separate occasions, hired [Erika] to do estate planning and incorporation work. She’s professional, accessible, prompt and thorough. She answered all of our questions in detail and made us feel confident that we were being well represented.”
– Bob & Janet Lash
ESTATE PLANNING CLIENT
I could not be more satisfied with the services that Samir provided. He is extremely detailed, professional, intelligent, and very knowledgeable. Without the additional effort and inquiries he conducted, I have no doubt my case would not have been resolved in the format he achieved.