KJK Partner Susan Friedman Discusses Creating and Updating Your Will with Cleveland Jewish News – KJK

KJK Partner Susan Friedman Discusses Creating and Updating Your Will with Cleveland Jewish News – KJK

By Meghan Walsh | Cleveland Jewish News

Having an updated will in place can be helpful for a person’s family and friends to know and ensure their wishes when they die.

Barry Cohn, senior vice president/investments and branch manager at Stifel in Pepper Pike, and Susan Friedman, partner at Kohrman, Jackson & Krantz in Cleveland, discussed the benefits of creating and updating a will, what to include in it and who to consult.

“When the person reaches the age of majority and starts to accumulate assets of his or her own,” that is when they should start to consider writing a will, Cohn explained.

In their will, people should identify who will inherit their property, such as personal possessions; who will inherit the rest of their assets such as investments, real estate, cash and bank accounts; and who will raise their minor children if necessary, he advised.

Life cycle events such as marriage, divorce, having children or grandchildren, or financially supporting a parent are events in which a person may want to consider meeting with their estate planning attorney to update their will, he said.

“An attorney that concentrates in estate planning matters” is the best person to seek out to assist with making and updating these plans, Cohn said.

Questions a person may want to ask upon meeting with their estate planning attorney are what the best way to transfer assets upon death is, whether it makes sense to jointly own assets with another person such as a spouse, if the attorney can help complete beneficiary designation forms for accounts such as 401(k)s and IRAs, whether the attorney can help them prepare a new deed for real estate if necessary, and whether the attorney thinks the person needs additional documents beyond a will such as a revocable trust, power of attorney for property, power of attorney for health care and a living will, he suggested.

“Each person’s circumstance can be different, which is why discussing such matters with a qualified attorney and other financial professionals is important,” Cohn added. “Almost all adults need a will, but most also need additional documents to have an effective life and estate plan.”

Any person over the age of 18 can create a will, Friedman said. A good time to start thinking about this would be after college when a young person begins working and accumulating savings and other assets – especially if it is important to the person to designate who receives their assets upon death.

Also, it is extremely important to have health care and financial power of attorney documents prepared in case you are unable to make decisions for yourself due to incapacity,” she explained.

Friedman said that an individual needs to name an executor and an alternate executor to carry out their wishes after they are deceased. They also need to name beneficiaries and amounts or percentages for each beneficiary to receive.

“Assets include all property, personal and real — meaning bank accounts, investment accounts, tangible property, cars, boats, real estate, etc.,” she noted. “The beneficiary might be individuals, but it also might be a trust. If a trust is utilized, there are additional decisions and issues which need to be addressed.”

Marriage, the birth of a child, children becoming adults, the death of a spouse or the sale of a business are some of the life events in which one should consider updating their will, Friedman said.

When initially speaking with an estate planning attorney, a person should describe their personal, family and financial goals, and inquire about ways in which utilizing estate planning documents will best meet their needs, she suggested.

“Don’t compare your plan or documents to those of family or friends,” Friedman advised. “Everyone’s situation is different and it is important to choose an attorney who will listen to you and address your needs and goals.”

Read the original article, as published on their website, here.


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