What Everyone Should Know About Estate Planning

At Friedman Law LLC, we help people from all walks of life to plan their estates and build legacies that will provide for their loved ones and favorite charities for many years to come. We believe that estate planning is for everyone, and everyone should know the basics.

Estate Planning 101

Under Ohio law, when a person dies, all of his or her property is known as the person's estate. This can include everything from real estate and financial holdings to items with mostly sentimental value. Any outstanding debts are considered part of the estate, as well.

A probate court must determine how to distribute the estate. If the person left a will, and if the probate court determines that the will meets all the formal requirements, then the court distributes the estate, with the help of the will's executor.

Did you know: If you do not have a valid will, the court will use one-size-fits-all guidelines to distribute your estate.

If the person did not leave a valid will, the probate court distributes the estate according to Ohio's law of descent and distribution. Essentially, this means the court looks at the deceased person's family tree, finds the closest living relatives and distributes the estate to those people.

The process can take a lot of time, and that time means money, which comes out of the estate. As a result, the heirs receive less of their inheritance. In many cases, this system can also mean that the estate goes to distant relatives that the deceased hardly knew, while close loved ones are left with nothing.

More Than A Will

A will is an essential part of everyone's estate plan. A skilled estate planning lawyer can also help you with other essential documents, including a power of attorney and an advanced health directive. Unlike a will, these documents can go into effect while you are still living.

Did you know: Everyone should have a will, a power of attorney and a health care directive.

A power of attorney allows you to designate another person to make important legal and financial decisions on your behalf, should you become unable to do so. A health care directive allows you to designate another person to make important health decisions on your behalf, should you become unable to express your wishes. Typically, people choose a relative or a trusted friend.

Advanced Estate Planning

A trust is a more advanced type of estate planning document that can help you or your loved ones with many different goals. Trusts can be powerful tools for asset protection in wealthy families, but they can help in many other ways for all kinds of individuals, families and charities.

A special needs trust, for instance, can help take care of a loved one who is disabled. A charitable trust can provide a scholarship or help another charitable cause.

Get Started

It is never too early to start planning your estate. For skilled help with wills and trusts and more, 216-452-0922. You can also contact us at

Friedman Law LLC also helps with probate, special needs planning, elder law and guardianship. We work with clients throughout Northeast Ohio, including Lake, Geauga, Summit and Cuyahoga counties. Read our blog Ohio Probate and Guardianship for more information.