Trusts & Estates


Individuals and fiduciaries must be able to count on their trust and estate attorneys to counsel them in all aspects of estate planning and administration. Our clients include grantors and testators, beneficiaries, individual and corporate fiduciaries, other lawyers, and charitable institutions. Services cover a broad range of areas, including:

  • Formulating appropriate and effective estate plans to execute the distribution of assets among and for the benefit of a client’s beneficiaries
  • Establishing entities, including trusts, partnerships, LLCs and corporations, to assist in transferring assets efficiently with the least tax costs possible
  • Assisting clients in arranging their affairs to protect assets from attack by creditors or other third parties
  • Designing programs to allow a client to transfer assets currently among his/her desired recipients with sufficient controls and protection for the benefit of the beneficiaries to prohibit attack by creditors or disgruntled spouses
  • Coordinating efforts of client’s professionals, including accountants, insurance agents, investment advisors and others
  • Establishing business succession plans to facilitate the continuation of business entities without fear of excessive taxes or disposition issues
  • Assisting heirs with the handling of a decedent’s affairs at his/her death, including tax filings and various administrative issues
  • Designing various charitable entities to assist an individual and his/her family in carrying out their charitable desires during life and at their death; this includes assisting in the formation of private and public foundations, supporting organizations, donor advised funds, charitable trusts and related vehicles
  • Coordinating efforts among the tax and non-tax lawyers of Ulmer & Berne to achieve overall planning goals
  • Prosecuting or defending claims brought for or against our clients regarding the interpretation and enforceability of various estate planning documents and techniques
  • Serving as expert consultant and witness for other professionals in connection with trust and estates disputes, both in court and in private mediation proceedings

Representing William Lawrence, the executor of the Estate of Joseph T. Gorman, Ulmer attorneys Matthew T. Wholey, Daniela Paez, and James A. Goldsmith prevailed before the Ohio Supreme Court in Wilson v. Lawrence, a case that clarifies the strict requirements for the presentation of claims against a decedent’s estate. The ruling is important for creditors, executors...

The University Hospitals Diamond Advisory Group was created to inform legal, financial, and other wealth advisory professionals about philanthropic opportunities within the University Hospitals health system. Appointed Chair of the Diamond Advisory Group, Ulmer’s James A. Goldsmith now leads a group of more than 170 legal, financial, real estate, and insurance...

The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently released proposed regulations concerning the valuation of business and investment interests for purposes of gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer taxes.  The regulations relate to the interpretation and implementation of Internal Revenue Code (“Code”) section 2704.  Code section 2704 provides special gift,...

Ulmer & Berne is ranked in 39 categories in the 2016 U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” rankings. Among these, the firm earns U.S. News – Best Lawyers highest rankings in 21 categories. The firm also ranks nationally in 16 categories. Firms included in the 2016 “Best Law...

Ulmer & Berne announces that James A. Goldsmith, partner and Chair of the firm’s Trusts & Estates Group, has been named one of Northeast Ohio’s 100 Most Connected in Cleveland for 2015 by Crain’s Cleveland Business. Crain’s Cleveland Business has taken a data-driven approach to determining Northeast Ohio’s most connected...

Ulmer & Berne LLP welcomes Stephanie M. Glavinos as counsel in the firm’s Cleveland office. Ms. Glavinos brings over a decade of legal experience to Ulmer & Berne’s Trust and Estates Practice Group, which recently earned the highest ranking available from U.S. News – Best Lawyers’ “Best Law Firms.” Ms....

March 2013 – The Ohio Legacy Trust Act is part of Ohio House Bill 479, commonly known as the Ohio Asset Management Modernization Act (the “Act”), which was signed into law by Governor Kasich on December 20, 2012 and which will take effect on March 27, 2013. With the passage...

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