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Estate Planning for New Parents

Posted on in Estate Planning

Medina estate planning lawyerOne of the most exciting times in a person’s life is the birth of a child. There are so many changes and wonderful moments to cherish as you marvel over your new baby and the last thing you are probably thinking about is drafting an estate plan. Many people are under the mistaken impression that estate plans are just for senior citizens, but the truth is that every adult should have an estate plan in place. This is especially true for new parents. Regardless of your marital status, having the legal documents in place that express your wishes for the care of your child should something happen to you is an often overlooked but critical issue for parents to address.

Drafting a Will

A will an essential part of any estate plan, but it is particularly important for parents of minor children. Your will is where you name the person you want to be the legal guardian of your child, the person to whom you will entrust the care of your child if you are unable to care for him or her yourself. If you do not have a person named as a legal guardian, the court will do it and the person they choose may not be the same individual you would have chosen.

Setting Up a Trust

While wills are the place to specify to whom you want to give your personal items such as heirlooms and jewelry, it may not be the right vehicle to specify how you want your larger assets distributed. In fact, many estate planning attorneys recommend that clients set up trusts as a way to pass on assets to beneficiaries. Trusts do not have to go through the probate process as wills must. This protects your last wishes and lessens the chance that your beneficiaries will have to deal with someone contesting the will. 

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Summit County Child Support AttorneyThere are many issues that must be decided in an Ohio divorce. If the couple has children, child support may be included in that list. Unfortunately, child support can become a very contentious issue even though which parent will pay and the amount of support are determined by the court. There is often resentment by the paying parent over being legally required to pay. Understanding what child support is actually used for may be able to alleviate some of that resentment.

Child Support in Ohio

Under the laws of Ohio, child support is calculated using the income shares model. Under this method, the court looks at both parents’ gross income and determines what amount of that combined income was dedicated to the child’s care before the parents split up. Economic tables are used by the court to estimate the monthly cost of raising a child and then the paying parent pays a percentage of that amount based on their proportional share of both parents’ combined income.

According to Ohio law, income that can be counted towards a parent’s gross income includes:

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Wadsworth Burn Injury LawyerOne of the staples of the Fourth of July weekend is the traditional fireworks celebrations. Many Americans attend community events, but there are also millions of families across the country that put on their own firework displays. Unfortunately, while firework shows can be exhilarating to both old and young alike, they can also be dangerous. National data shows that the number of injuries and deaths that are firework-related has increased by approximately 25 percent over the past 15 years.

Firework Injury Statistics

According to statistics compiled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), more than 11,500 people were injured in accidents involving some type of firework. Nine people were killed. According to the report issued by the CPSC, the number of victims could have actually been higher except many public events were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There were 15,600 victims who sought treatment for firework-related injuries in 2020.

Six of those fatalities occurred in incidents where there was some type of misuse of the pyrotechnics and one death was the result of a malfunctioning mortar launch.

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Protecting Your Estate Plan

Posted on in Estate Planning

Wadsworth Estate Planning LawyerMany people work hard all of their adult lives, saving for the future and for their families. When the time comes to finally retire, they may have saved a significant “nest egg” and are secure in the knowledge that their family will be taken care of should anything happen to them. However, there are important issues that people often do not even consider when they are thinking about their estate plans. This is where a skilled estate planning attorney can help.

Estate Planning Considerations with Adult Children

When you sit down with your attorney to work out your estate plan, you will likely be surveying things based on the current situation. For example, your adult children may be happily married with children of their own and you likely consider their spouse as one of your own children.

But what happens if – after you pass, and your adult child has inherited that significant amount of money you have left them – they and their spouse decide to divorce. Will their spouse get half of that nest egg in the divorce settlement?

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Brunswick Drunk Driving Defense LawyerDivorce equals stress. There is no way around it. People going through divorce are often dealing with overwhelming stress while navigating not only through the emotional and financial woes of ending a marriage, but also navigating through the family court system.

The last thing a person dealing with this major life event needs to worry about is being arrested and charged with OVI. Unfortunately, it happens, far more often than you would think. Even more unfortunate is not only are there criminal charges to deal with, but an OVI charge can also impact divorce proceedings in a number of ways.

Adds Even More Emotional Stress

Even if you are going through a “friendly” divorce, there is still so much to deal with, no matter how well you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse get along. But throw in an OVI charge and the fragile truce between you and your spouse could collapse over the negative impact this charge can have on you and the relationship you have with your spouse, your children, family, and friends.

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Wayne County Divorce AttorneyIn most divorces, property division is a matter of two honest people trying to unwind a set of shared assets. There may be contentious issues, but people usually play by the rules. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. There are times when one spouse attempts to conceal assets from the other in order to keep them for themselves rather than divide them up in the divorce. In these situations it can be helpful for the other spouse to understand some common strategies for finding hidden assets, so that they can be on the lookout for them. These strategies tend to be about cash flow manipulation, and they fall into two basic categories. Spouses hide assets either by concealing their income or making their expenses look bigger.

Concealing Income

Income concealment is when a spouse makes it appear as though they have less money coming in than they actually do. There are a number of ways that they can do this. One common method is through coordination with their employer. For instance, a spouse due for a raise or a bonus can talk to their boss and attempt to defer payment until after the divorce process ends. At that point, since the two are no longer married, that spouse gets to keep all the extra income for themselves.

Spouses can also use policies provided by the IRS to conceal some income. The IRS allows people to have their tax refunds deposited into an individual account, even if the refund is from a joint tax return. Spouses looking to hide these assets may take advantage of this to hide the refund in an account under their own name.

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Wadsworth Estate Planning LawyerWhen people begin the process of estate planning, they often have many questions about what course of action would be in their best interest, or in the best interests of their surviving family members and loved ones. One frequently asked question asks what the difference is between a simple will and a living trust. Is one option a better choice than the other? The answer to these questions really depends on your particular situation, but for most typical family situations a good choice is to use a living trust to transfer your property upon your death.

When you prepare a will as your sole means of transferring your property upon your death, your will must go through the probate court, which can be complicated, and your surviving family members could end up fighting over your will once you are gone. However, using a revocable living trust, which an Ohio estate planning attorney can prepare while you are still alive, can help your family avoid probate after you pass on. Individuals who are looking to exercise more control over their property may find that a living trust is a useful estate planning tool.

Advantages of Establishing a Living Trust

Below are just a few of the advantages of using a living trust over a will:

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Wadsworth Estate Planning LawyerAn executor is in charge of administering an estate after an individual passes away. Estate administration can involve many different responsibilities, including managing any investments owned by the decedent and paying any outstanding debts. An executor also is responsible for distributing the remaining assets in the estate according to the decedent’s wishes stipulated in their will and other estate planning tools. The decedent usually names who they want to serve as executor in their will.

Role of an Executor

The first task as executor of an estate is usually locating the decedent’s will. The executor will also need to obtain several certified copies of the death certificate in order to provide to financial institutions, insurance companies, and certain government agencies.

The executor is also responsible for notifying all creditors, as well as anyone who is named as an heir in the will. He or she is also tasked with coming up with a complete inventory of all of the estate’s assets, debt, income, and expenses.

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Wooster Personal Injury LawyerBeing injured in a car accident can leave a person with medical debt, lost wages from time off work, vehicle damage, and other financial losses. Typically, the at-fault driver’s insurer is responsible for covering at least some of these costs. Unfortunately, recovering financial compensation after a crash is often a stressful, complicated process. Countless factors can influence the case, and insurance companies are often uncooperative. If you or a loved one were hurt in a car crash in Medina, Ohio, consider the following options for pursuing financial compensation.  

Pursuing a Settlement with the Insurance Company

Covering accident-related costs is the primary purpose for which auto insurance companies exist. However, getting the compensation you deserve from the insurance company can be complicated by questions regarding liability, damages, and other issues. A personal injury lawyer can help you gather evidence such as traffic camera footage and witness statements and use this evidence to support your claim. Your lawyer can also handle settlement negotiations with the insurance company for you so that you can focus on recovering from your injuries.

Seeking Compensation Through Your Own Insurance Company

Car insurance is required in Ohio. Unfortunately, some people choose to drive without insurance or without enough insurance to cover accident-related costs. If you were struck by a driver who is uninsured or underinsured or you were the victim of a hit-and-run, you may still be able to get compensation. Your best option may be to file a claim with your own insurance company through your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

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Wayne County OVI Defense LawyerDrunk driving convictions can lead to significant consequences – both criminally and personally. The criminal penalties associated with drunk driving increase if the defendant has previously been convicted of operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI). First-time OVI offenders in Ohio are subject to fines of up to $1,075, a maximum driver’s license suspension period of three years, and three days to six months in jail.

If someone receives a second OVI within ten years of the first OVI, he or she may face penalties including fines up to $1,625, a maximum seven-year driver’s license suspension, and ten days to six months in jail. The driver may also be required to complete alcohol addiction treatment. The penalties are harsher if the driver’s blood alcohol limit was above 0.17 percent. If you have been charged with a second or subsequent OVI charge, it is important to start building a strong defense.

Defense Strategies for Drunk Driving in Ohio

Being charged with OVI or DUI does not necessarily mean that you will be convicted of the charge. As with any criminal charge, the prosecution must prove that you committed the crime “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Your lawyer may use many different strategies to cast doubt on your guilt. He or she may argue:

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Brunswick Estate Planning LawyerA crucial part of the estate planning process involves the management of money and assets to ensure that a person will be able to provide for both themselves and their family members. Trusts can be one of the most useful tools for doing so. Assets that are held in a trust will be owned by the trust itself, and a trustee will manage the trust and distribute the assets according to specific instructions. Passing assets to beneficiaries through a trust can often be done much more quickly, efficiently, and privately than by leaving property to loved ones in a will. There are multiple types of trusts available, and understanding the best ways to use these tools can ensure that a person’s and family’s needs will be met.

Common Types of Trusts

  • Revocable living trusts - With these trusts, the settlor who creates the trust will be able to change the terms of the trust if need be, and they may also act as the trustee, ensuring that the assets will be managed and distributed correctly. The settlor may also be a beneficiary, allowing them to make use of certain assets to meet their own needs while they are still alive, while ensuring that a successor trustee will distribute the remaining assets to other beneficiaries after their death.

  • Irrevocable trusts - In some cases, it may be beneficial to completely remove assets from the settlor’s control, while providing instructions for how assets will be used. This may ensure that assets will not be subject to estate taxes, and it can also protect assets from claims by creditors.

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Brunswick Divorce AttorneyDuring the divorce process, a couple will need to address ownership of multiple types of marital assets. The equitable division of marital property will provide both spouses with a fair share of the money and assets they acquired during their marriage. While the division of some types of assets may be straightforward, other types of property can present complications, and spouses may encounter contentious disputes as they address these issues. Family businesses are one type of asset that can sometimes be difficult to address, but by understanding their rights and options, spouses can make decisions that will provide them with the financial resources they need going forward.

Is a Business Considered Marital or Separate Property?

A family business will be part of the marital estate if it was founded or acquired while a couple was married. In these cases, business assets will need to be considered alongside other marital assets and debts. If a business was owned by one spouse before the couple was married, it will usually be considered separate property, and that spouse will be able to maintain sole ownership of business assets. However, a business owned by one spouse may become commingled with other marital property, such as if the couple invested marital funds in the business. A spouse will be able to maintain ownership of any business assets that can be traced back to separate property, but other business assets may need to be divided between the spouses.

Options for Dividing Business Assets

In many cases, one or both spouses may wish to ensure that a family business can continue operating, especially if the business is the primary source of income for either spouse. Spouses may be able to address ownership of a business through one of the following options:

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Summit County Drug Possession LawyerWhile a person can face serious penalties for any type of criminal charges, cases involving controlled substances will often lead to some of the most serious consequences. A conviction for drug possession can lead to large fines and a lengthy prison sentence, and a person may also face other consequences, such as probation and the requirement to receive substance abuse treatment and take regular drug tests. Those who have been accused of drug-related offenses can work with a criminal defense attorney to determine their best options for avoiding or minimizing their potential penalties.

Possession of Controlled Substances in Ohio

A person may be charged with drug possession if they are accused of knowingly obtaining, possessing, or using a controlled substance without legal authorization (such as a prescription for a medication). Controlled substances are grouped into five “schedules” based on whether drugs are considered to be dangerous and addictive and whether they have any accepted medical uses. Schedule I drugs are generally the most addictive substances, while drugs in Schedules II-V may be used for medical purposes in some situations.

Possession of substances in Schedule I or II, with the exception of heroin, cocaine, LSD, marijuana, fentanyl, or hashish, is considered to be aggravated possession of drugs. The minimum charge for this offense is a fifth-degree felony, and a conviction may result in a prison sentence of between six months and one year, although first-time offenders may qualify for community control sanctions such as probation. However, if a person was accused of possessing at least the “bulk amount” of a drug, they may be charged with a third-degree felony, and a conviction can result in a prison sentence of between nine months and three years. Bulk amounts will vary depending on the type of drug. For example, the bulk amount of Schedule 1 opiates is 10 grams or 25 doses, while the bulk amount of Schedule II hallucinogens is 30 grams or 10 doses.

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Wayne County Personal Injury AttorneyMany people keep dogs as pets and treat them as members of their families. However, dogs do not always behave as expected, and even if an animal had always acted in a friendly manner, it may bite or attack someone. Dog bites can inflict multiple types of serious injuries, including severe cuts and bruises, broken bones, and puncture wounds that damage muscles, tendons, ligaments, or internal organs. In some cases, dog bites can result in permanent scars, and a victim may also experience emotional trauma that affects their ongoing well-being. 

Dog bite victims can sometimes be placed in a difficult position, especially if they are attacked by a dog that is owned by a friend or family member. When an attack occurs in a public place, at someone else’s home, or when a dog is in the care of someone other than the animal’s owner, victims may be unsure about their options. By understanding how the personal injury laws in Ohio address dog bites, victims can make sure they take the right steps to receive compensation for their injuries and damages.

Liability for Dog Bite Injuries in Ohio

“Strict liability” applies to dog bite injuries in Ohio. This means that when a dog bites or attacks someone, the victim may seek compensation for the injuries and property damage they have suffered, and liability will not be affected by whether a dog had previously bitten someone or exhibited aggressive tendencies. 

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shutterstock_1520254223.jpgNearly everyone who goes through a divorce will have some concerns about their ability to provide for themselves once their marriage has been terminated. However, this can be an even larger worry if you are a stay-at-home parent. If you have chosen to put raising your children ahead of your career, this may have made you financially dependent on the income earned by your spouse, and depending on how long you have been out of the workforce, you may struggle to find and maintain employment following your divorce. In this type of situation, you will likely be wondering whether you can receive spousal support that will allow you to meet your needs and provide for your family.

Addressing Spousal Support in an Ohio Divorce

There is no guarantee that spousal support will be awarded to a spouse during the divorce process. These situations are handled on a case-by-case basis, so if you believe that you need financial support from your spouse, you will need to demonstrate that this support is needed and that your spouse has the ability to provide you with spousal support. When determining whether spousal support is appropriate, a judge will consider factors such as:

  • The income of both spouses, including any income earned through marital property allocated to a spouse during divorce

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medina county OVI lawyerEveryone should understand that driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal. However, people sometimes make mistakes, and even if a person believes that it is safe for them to drive, they may be pulled over by a police officer and arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. For those who have never been in this situation, the thought of facing criminal charges can be very frightening, and they will want to understand the potential consequences they could face for a first-time DUI/OVI conviction.

First-Time DUI/OVI Penalties

While drunk driving is commonly referred to as driving under the influence or DUI, the state of Ohio uses the term OVI, which is an abbreviation for operating a vehicle under the influence. A person may be charged with OVI if a chemical test shows that they had a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher, and Ohio law also specifies the amounts of multiple other types of drugs that will cause a person to be legally intoxicated.

A first OVI offense is a first-degree misdemeanor. A conviction will result in a mandatory jail sentence of at least three days (72 consecutive hours), and the maximum prison sentence is six months. However, a judge may choose to suspend the mandatory three-day jail sentence and require the offender to attend a drivers’ intervention program that will address issues such as traffic safety and drug and alcohol abuse. Participation in an intervention program may also be ordered alongside a jail sentence.

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wooster estate planning lawyerWhen a person dies, the executor or administrator of their estate will file their last will and testament in probate court. During this process, the executor or administrator will oversee the deceased person’s final affairs, including performing an inventory of their property and assets, making payments to creditors, and distributing their assets to the beneficiaries named in their will. In some cases, disputes may arise among the deceased person’s beneficiaries regarding the distribution of assets. However, a will can only be contested in certain cases, and the parties in these types of disputes will need to work with an attorney to address the validity of their loved one’s will.

Grounds for Contesting a Will

Disagreements between a person’s heirs may arise when a person believes that they should receive certain assets or because they do not believe that the will accurately reflected the testator’s wishes (the person who created the will). If a person wishes to contest a will, they must do so within three months after being notified that the will has been filed in probate court. A will may be contested based on:

  • Lack of testamentary capacity - When signing their will, a person should have a full understanding of the extent of the assets they own and the decisions being made about the distribution of their assets to their beneficiaries. If the testator was not of sound mind or did not fully understand the terms of their will, the will may be invalidated. For example, if a person had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia before they signed their will, they may not have had the testamentary capacity to understand the decisions being made.

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medina car accident lawyerGetting into a car crash can turn your life upside down. Car accident victims are often left with painful injuries that prevent them from working and fulfilling other duties. They may also be left with significant medical bills, vehicle repair or replacement costs, and other expenses. If you or a loved one were hurt in an accident, you may want to consider filing a personal injury claim. A personal injury claim may allow you to recover monetary damages for the financial losses and non-economic harm you suffered because of the accident.  

Do I Have a Valid Claim?

 All personal injury claims involve the following elements:

  • Duty – the other party owed you a “duty of care.” Ohio drivers are required to drive with a reasonable degree of caution and attention.

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Medina County divorce attorney asset division

When you and your spouse got married, you joined your lives personally and financially. Separating your lives through divorce also involves separating your finances. The division of assets and debts is often one of the most consequential aspects of the divorce process. The fewer assets and liabilities a couple has, the simpler this process typically is. Complex assets and investments or a high net worth will greatly complicate asset division during a divorce. If you have a complicated financial situation and you plan to end your marriage, working with a skilled divorce lawyer is highly recommended.

Marital and Separate Property that Has Been Commingled  

Ohio is an “equitable division” state, which means that marital property is divided fairly between the spouses based on factors including each spouse’s property, debts, and earning potential, the duration of the marriage, and tax consequences. Only property contained within the marital estate is divided by Ohio courts in a divorce. Property that is classified as “separate property” is assigned to the spouse who originally owned the asset. Marital property is the property that was acquired during the marriage. Separate property includes property acquired before the marriage, inheritance, passive income from separate property, and property acquired after a legal separation.

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Medina County criminal defense attorney weapons violations

There is no doubt that 2020 was a challenging year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Although many are looking forward to a new year, it is important to understand any new laws that are taking effect in 2021, especially if you are a gun owner. People who live in Ohio can now apply for and renew their concealed carry permits at any sheriff’s office in the state. Previously, residents could only apply for or renew their permits from the county in which they lived or a neighboring county. The new law also extends all expiration dates through June 30, 2021. In addition, if a license expires between April 1, 2021, and June 30, 2021, the license is further extended an additional 90 days past the expiration date. Ohio gun laws can be detailed and complex, causing someone to unintentionally violate them, which can lead to serious criminal charges. 

Understanding Ohio Gun Laws

According to Ohio law, citizens are allowed to openly carry weapons without a permit. However, a license for carrying a concealed weapon (CCW) allows a person to conceal firearms, under certain regulations that are designed with the safety of the gun owner, police, and the public in mind. When applying for a CCW, you must be 21 years older or older, and either reside or work in the state of Ohio. You must demonstrate that you are competent to use a weapon, and you will be fingerprinted and undergo a background check.

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