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Medina Trusts LawyerMost people consider the term "estate planning" to be synonymous with creating a will. A last will and testament is a very useful estate planning instrument. It can allow you to dictate how you would like your assets to be distributed after you pass away as well as establish a guardian for minor children if you pass away before they are adults.

However, there are other estate planning tools available, such as trusts, that can be even more beneficial in certain situations. In Ohio, trusts come in two forms: revocable and irrevocable. Both have their advantages and disadvantages; it is important to understand the differences between them before deciding which one is best for your estate.

Revocable Trusts May Be Modified and Give You Continued Control over Trust Assets

A revocable trust allows you to maintain control over the assets contained in the trust while you are still alive. This means that you can decide when, how, and to whom the funds will be distributed and change your mind at any time. Living trusts are typically revocable trusts during the person's life and then become irrevocable upon their death.

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Medina County, OH personal injury lawyerWhen most people think of car accident claims and lawsuits, they usually imagine situations where two or more vehicles were involved in a collision caused by one of those drivers engaging in an activity or behavior that resulted in the crash. Unfortunately, there are also many people injured – even killed – in accidents that are the result of a dangerous or defective vehicle part. In these situations, the injured individual may be able to pursue legal action against the vehicle manufacturer or other responsible entity for damages they sustain as a result of the accident.

Vehicle Recalls

Every part of the manufacturing of a vehicle, from the initial design of the vehicle to the time it rolls off the assembly line, involves a process that is supposed to include multiple safety checks and inspections to ensure that all parts of the vehicle are safe. Consumers depend on this process, trusting that the vehicle they are purchasing is free from defects or dangerous issues.

Unfortunately, far too many vehicles end up with issues that prove to be dangerous to owners, their passengers, and other commuters they share the road with. Some of these issues are unknown to the manufacturer and are only discovered after complaints are filed by consumers who have had bad experiences. Other issues are known by manufacturers who decide to keep the information secret, putting profits over people.

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Wayne County divorce lawyerTraditionally, in the past, when a couple married, whatever assets they each brought to the marriage and whatever assets they amassed together were typically shared. If the couple divorced, then the court would make the final decision on how those assets would be distributed between the two spouses.

Today, many couples execute prenuptial agreements (or in some cases postnuptial agreements), and/or they keep the majority of their assets separate. This usually makes the division of assets fairly straightforward in the event the couple divorce. But even with prenups and separate financial accounts, there are still many couples who choose the traditional route of commingling assets. How does Ohio law address those divorces, especially if the couple has a high net worth?

Equitable Distribution Method

Under Ohio law, the marital estate is distributed according to the equitable distribution method. Keep in mind, however, that equitable does not necessarily mean equal, as is the case in states that use the community property method that divides the marital estate in half. The court’s goal of equitable distribution is to ensure the couple’s assets are divided fairly, and fairly does not always mean equally. Some of the factors the judge will consider include:

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Medina County criminal defense lawyerFacing any kind of criminal charge can be a scary experience. Depending on the seriousness of the charge you are facing and the case the prosecutor is preparing against you, a guilty verdict could have a significant impact on your life and your future. You could even be facing prison or jail time. This is why no matter what the issue is, it is in your best interest to have a skilled criminal defense attorney advocating for you.

Motions for Discovery

There are many legal tools criminal law attorneys have to defend their clients. One critical tool is the legal right to obtain any information and evidence the prosecution has gathered in their case against a defendant. The process of obtaining evidence in any legal proceeding is referred to as “discovery.”

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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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