Legally Speaking...Wills Not Sufficient

J. Norman Stark, Attorney

Wills do not provide tax benefits.  A Last Will and Testament is legally insufficient to protect assets; Living Trusts do so!  It is a common misconception to rely upon a Will to protect and transfer estate assets, without taxes, costs, and time. 

Under the Probate laws of each state, upon the death of a Testator (maker) of a Will, the Probate Court acquires legal jurisdiction to administer the disposition of estate assets.  The probate laws require preparation of formal court filings of the Will within a specific time period after death, appointment of Executor, attendance at hearings, defend challenges to the Will, creditor claims, and to prepare and pay the taxes and costs, frequently in excess of 10% of the estate value. Transfers of title to real property ("real estate") to heirs or beneficiaries may be delayed for more than a year or longer.

Modern estate planning provides a valuable legal solution - the Living Trust, as an effective, efficient, and desirable alternative to a will.  Living Trusts can protect estate assets, provide for efficient and trouble-free transfer of property and estate control by Successor Trustee(s), with significant protection for surviving spouses, heirs, minor children, and designated beneficiaries of the decedent.  The benefits of a properly prepared trust include:

Avoid probate upon incapacity, disability, or death.

Avoid probate administration, required with Wills.Avoid probate Will contest litigation, taxation, time, and expense.

Avoid lengthy delay in distribution of assets, and inheritances to loved ones.

Avoid inequities from transfer-on-death accounts.

Protect spouse, children, family and other descendents.

Provide for issues with second and subsequent marriages; protection for children.

Individualized planning for children.

Plan federal and state estate tax minimization.

Comedian W.C. Fields quipped: "If there's a will, prosperity can't be far behind."

Your Attorney can  advise and assist you in creating and funding your Revocable Living Trust.
"Where experience counts. count on my experience"

J. Norman Stark, Attorney

Architect Emeritus 9Ohio) A.I.A., N.C.A.R.B.

1109 Carnegie Avenue    Cleveland, Ohio 44115

(216) 531-5310 x7100

J. Norman Stark

J. NORMAN STARK , Attorney-at-Law Architect EMERITUS (A.I.A., NCARB) REGISTERED LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT (OH) Circuit Civil Court Mediator (Cert. FL,, OH) 1109 Carnegie Avenue • Cleveland, Ohio 44115 U.S.A. • (216) 531—5310 x7100 • FAX (888) 833-5860 Email: ABOUT J. NORMAN STARK. J. NORMAN STARK, is an Attorney-at-Law (OH Bar), Architect Emeritus, (AIA, NCARB) Registered Landscape Architect (OH), Interior Architectural Designer, and Senior Appraiser (ASA). He is a Mediator, Arbitrator and Litigator with more than 41 years of professional experience. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design (BFA), Kent State University School of Architecture (B. Architecture) and Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State University (Juris Doctor). Mr. Stark is the author of LEGAL ACTION© and CONSTRUCTION LAW BRIEF© and co-author of CONSTRUCTION CLAIMS INVESTIGATION WORKLIST©. He has also participated as a featured guest speaker-lecturer in many state, national and international conventions in legal, business and technical construction industry seminars. Mr. Stark is the co-author and Attorney-commentator of "On the Dotted Line - - - - -a Capsule Look at Law " ©, previously featured daily, on Radio Station WCLV-FM 95.5; with M.C.D. Stark, co-author, Producer and Director. A Corporate Member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Architects Society of Ohio (ASO), Professional Member of the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI), and Senior Member, American Society of Appraisers (ASA), Mr. Stark has been an active member of several business, industry and technical associations. With more than 40 years of professional architectural practice, he holds current professional registration as an Architect Emeritus in Ohio, and nationally with the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). Appointed by former Ohio Governor, now Senator, Hon. George V. Voinovich, Mr. Stark served as the Architect-Attorney Member of the Ohio Board of Building Standards from 1997 to 2001. ((more)) ABOUT J. NORMAN STARK, ATTORNEY AND REGISTERED ARCHITECT, (Cont’d.) Mr. Stark has served as Chair of AAA National Arbitration Panels, and as Arbitrator in Court-Appointed Arbitration, as well as a Mediator. He has been called upon to serve as an expert witness for the State of Ohio, and for counsel and business entities in facility planning, design, intellectual property, and construction-related matters. He has served as Counsel to Federal, State, and local governments, institutions, industries and professions, including architects, engineers, general contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers. He has also served as a Construction Manager on active construction projects, and has assisted in troubled project workouts, including appraisals and construction contract management. With a professional and personal interest in environmental law, Mr. Stark is also the inventor and holder of two U.S. Patents, one Canadian Patent and one in Mexico. He is the current holder of exclusive U.S. Trademark registration for METLCAP, a service and technology for the environmental treatment and remediation of the eight RCRA hazardous metals wastes. A Member of the American Bar Association (ABA), and Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Associations (“CMBA”), Mr. Stark has been an active Member of the National and Ohio Association for Justice (“OAJ”), formerly the Ohio Association of Trial Lawyers (OATL), and the ABA Forum on the Construction Industry. He is actively engaged in personal and business law matters, real estate, construction law, consulting, and management. He also provides consultation, litigation support and expert witness testimony in construction-related cases. His principal office is in Cleveland, Ohio. * * *

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Volume 5, Issue 8, Posted 4:51 PM, 09.04.2014