Estate Planning

Overview

Many of our clients share one trait: they have worked hard and invested carefully to provide financial security for their families. They have turned to Walter | Haverfield for estate planning advice because they know what they leave is only half the story. The other half is how they leave it — with minimum tax obligation, maximum administrative efficiency and peace of mind.

Our Estate Planning attorneys help clients make the right lifetime planning decisions by following a systematic process of detailed information-gathering and analysis. Once this is concluded, we present all reasonable alternatives to the client so that he or she can reach an informed decision, in concert, if so desired, with family members and other advisers. Finally, we prepare all the necessary documents and ensure they are properly executed.

Because our firm provides a broad range of legal services to family-owned or otherwise closely-held businesses, we are intimately familiar with the estate-planning issues that business owners face, including asset liquidity, business valuation, transfer of ownership and management control, and the integration of personal and company-sponsored plans.

Evidence of our expertise is found in the leadership positions we hold in such organizations as the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association's estate planning section, and our involvement in the Cleveland Society of Estate Analysts and the Estate Planning Council. We publish widely in national publications and teach estate planning at local law schools. Our attorneys are sought after as speakers at national and local seminars for other professionals.

Experience

The Estate Planning group’s experience and services include the following:

  • Consult and handle estate and wealth planning for owners and operators of closely held and family businesses
  • Counsel families in the design of wills, trusts and other personal planning documents
  • Develop complex strategies to minimize transfer taxes for high net worth families while achieving family goals
  • Experienced in sophisticated planning techniques including GRATs, generation skipping strategies, sales to defective trusts, limited partnerships, life insurance planning, and charitable strategies
  • Preparation of financial powers of attorney
  • Preparation of various types of trusts to minimize estate tax
  • Utilization of gift planning to benefit beneficiaries and estates
  • Funding of trusts
  • Utilization of non-probate planning to facilitate the transfer of assets
U.S. News - Best Lawyers® 2015 “Best Law Firms” rankings
  • Metropolitan Tier 2: Trusts & Estates Law

According to U.S. News - Best Lawyers®, firms included in this year's listing "...are recognized for professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. Achieving a tiered ranking signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise." This year's ratings were based upon the largest number of participating firms and the highest number of client ballots since these rankings were initiated - more than 17,000 attorneys provided nearly 600,000 law firm evaluations, and almost 7,500 clients also participated in the evaluation process. U.S. News - Best Lawyers® explained that, "Ranked firms, presented in tiers, are listed on a national and/or metropolitan scale. Receiving a tier designation reflects the high level of respect a firm has earned among other leading lawyers and clients in the same communities and the same practice areas for their abilities, their professionalism and their integrity."

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