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Cincinnati Law Blog

Creating a special needs trust

Our law firm has reviewed some of the different types of trusts on our blog, such as spendthrift trusts. However, there are other types of trusts that may be preferable, given a person's unique circumstances. For example, some people move forward with a special needs trust. If you have a loved one with special needs and are concerned about their future or want to help support them with your assets, a special needs trust may offer a number of advantages for you and your loved one. In Cincinnati, and across all of Ohio, people who set up a trust should carefully examine all of their  options.

With a special needs trust, your loved one may be eligible to receive certain benefits from the government as a result of their special needs, even though they are also able to receive property from your special needs trust as a beneficiary. These trusts, which are irrevocable, can be used for those who are struggling with a mental or physical disability, as a means to protect assets, and for children who are minors. Our law office understands that those with special needs may face certain challenges throughout life, including those which are financial in nature and it is important for their loved ones to find ways to support them.

When siblings become involved in a probate dispute

There are a number of problems that can arise with respect to the probate process, but disputes are not uncommon. Sometimes, these disputes can be particularly challenging, such as those which involve siblings. Unfortunately, a probate dispute which involves family members can create bitter feelings and resentment that may last for years to come and have an impact on the family as a whole. As a result, you should handle a probate dispute with care if you and your sibling are involved in a disagreement, whether you are an executor accused of breaching your fiduciary duties or a beneficiary.

Disagreements can arise for various reasons. For example, you might believe that the executor of the estate failed to distribute assets to beneficiaries in accordance with your loved one's wishes. Alternatively, you could be accused of failing to follow your fiduciary duties as an executor, and the person accusing you of this offense may be your sibling. Sometimes, siblings simply disagree with the way in which an estate's assets are divided, which can lead to friction as well. It can be incredibly hard to work through a dispute with a sibling over such a sensitive topic, but it is crucial to stay focused and commit to pursuing a favorable outcome.

Is a handwritten will valid?

People in Ohio who want to protect their assets and decrease the stress of their loved ones after they are gone may choose to have a will. In the state, a valid will may be typed or handwritten by the testator. While many people choose to type the document, some decide a handwritten one is preferred, which comes with certain benefits as well as some downfalls.

According to the Ohio State Bar Association, there are a number of requirements that make a handwritten will valid. One is that it needs to be signed by the testator as well as two witnesses. These witnesses need to be competent and cannot benefit from the will, as this ensures they will not be influential. While a testator may write the will as they see fit, it is wise to consult with an attorney to ensure it is legally valid, especially since some judges may question its validity, and that the writer considers everything.

Should you have long-term care?

As you get older, there are a growing number of things to consider. Along with writing a will and making sure your assets are protected in Ohio, you should also consider whether long-term care insurance is something you will benefit from.

According to the AARP, long-term care can help those who have conditions, such as disabilities or chronic illnesses, that need daily care over a long period of time. Assistance may come in the form of:

  • Eating
  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Skilled care from therapists or nurses
  • Adult day care
  • Home modification

Should you have a health care power of attorney?

While most people do not want to plan for the worst, it is a good idea for all adults in Ohio to have someone they trust who can make medical decisions on their behalf should something catastrophic happen. This person is outlined in a legal document called a health care power of attorney or health proxy.  

A health care power of attorney requires the named agent to carry out your instructions as they relate to health care. It is advisable to have a living will along with a HCPOA, as the will covers more comprehensive issues as well end-of-life instructions. Along with physical care instructions, a health care power of attorney can address mental health issues and name a guardian.

Misclassifying employment status and consequences

Business owners in Ohio are able to classify their workers as either employees or independent contractors. There are distinctions between those that determine which classification the worker falls in, and an employer must be careful to categorize the worker correctly. If they do not, whether the employer does it knowingly or unintentionally, there are multiple consequences the owner faces for improper classification.

The IRS outlines what determines the employment status of a worker, and it mainly comes down to the degree of independence and control exercised by the employer. Three categories should be primarily evaluated. These include:

  • Financial
  • Behavioral
  • Type of Relationship

    Estate planning and the end of marriage

    Handling estate issues can be challenging for people in various situations, but it can be especially tough for some, such as those who have significant assets or people who have recently split up with their spouse. If you have gone through a divorce, or are thinking about bringing an end to your marriage, it is vital to go over how this change could impact your estate and figure out which steps need to be taken to protect your property. Our law office knows that this can be an emotionally charged time, but you should not let stress and other emotions get in the way of securing your estate.

    With divorce, all sorts of legal matters can arise, from disputes involving the custody of a child to child support and property division. After divorce, you may have various things to consider when it comes to your estate plan, such as removing your former spouse as a beneficiary. Moreover, you may need to take another look at other beneficiaries and the way in which assets will be distributed after you pass away. There are many other financial considerations that come along with divorce, from marital property being split up to taxes, but you should not overlook your estate plan.

    What are spendthrift trusts?

    There are many options when it comes to trusts, but creating one that is appropriate under your own personal circumstances is essential. From revocable trusts to irrevocable trusts, there are an array of choices people have. Depending on your situation, a spendthrift trust may be the ideal path forward. In Cincinnati, and all over the state of Ohio, these trusts have helped many people ensure that their assets are distributed according to their wishes.

    Spendthrift trusts allow trust creators to designate an independent trustee and who will be able to control how and when assets from the trust are used by a beneficiary. Often, these trusts are ideal for beneficiaries who may struggle with managing their finances well. For example, if someone has a problem with gambling, a spendthrift trust could help prevent them from squandering trust funds in a very short period of time or for an illegitimate reasons.

    Holiday Party Liability Prevention

    The holidays are often a time where employers sponsor or cover some costs associated with company holiday parties. While many employers view these as an opportunity to enhance morale or to build comradery in the workplace, there are a number of potential pitfalls that can make these events an opportunity for inappropriate behavior that can lead to employment claims or claims by third parties due to injuries suffered during or after such an event. When planning and managing the event, business owners should be wary of the following:

    Buechner Haffer Meyers & Koenig Congratulates its Shareholder Members for Inclusion in the 2018 Ohio Super Lawyers List.

    Buechner Haffer Meyers & Koenig, Co. LPA congratulates its Shareholder Members Robert W. Buechner, Robert J. Gehring, Robert J. Meyers, and Brian R. Redden for their inclusion in the 2018 Ohio Super Lawyers List. All four have been selected for this honor in previous years, with Mr. Redden previously receiving a selection to the Ohio Rising Stars List in 2010 and 2011. This recognition is reserved for the top 5% of practicing attorneys in Ohio.

    Mr. Buechner continues to focus his practice on Estate Planning and Probate issues, Taxation issues, and Business transactions. Mr. Meyers continues his focus on Family Law and Domestic Relations issues. Mr. Gehring concentrates his practice in Civil Litigation. This is Mr. Redden's first selection to the Super Lawyers' List in the area of Civil Litigation, where he spends most of his time, while also maintaining a significant amount of work in the Employment Law and closely held business/family business advising areas.

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