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Cincinnati Law Blog

The importance of estate planning

When a resident of Ohio dies, matters of estate planning often need to be dealt with long before the grieving process is underway. As stated by the Summit County Probate Court, bills and taxes will be taken from the estate upon death, and then the rest is dispersed and executed based upon the will. Unfortunately, many people put off their estate planning or updates, leaving loved ones to try to figure out what the person would have wanted posthumously, which can lead to confusion, legal headaches and bitterness between the parties involved.

While estate planning does include identification of the beneficiaries of items such as bank accounts, real estate, automobiles and personal items, it also includes much more, according to the Ohio State Bar Association. This is where a person can designate a health care power of attorney, which means the individual will be trusted to make decisions should the person filing become incapable of making decisions for him or herself. A durable power of attorney can also be named in the will, allowing a person to make transactions and handle the estate should the estate holder not be able to perform such duties. If there are children or others who will need care or may require assistance down the road, this is the place for a person to clearly outline who will have guardianship or be caregivers.

Handling international business litigation

Whenever a lawsuit arises, businesses of all sizes may face different challenges. In Cincinnati and in other cities across the state of Ohio, litigation can be complicated and may have a significant impact on a business' future. Moreover, when an international business lawsuit comes up, moving forward can be even more tricky for business owners. Our firm knows how business owners can feel stressed out and uncertain of which steps to take, but it is crucial to handle these cases properly.

As if business litigation does not present enough challenges, lawsuits which cross country lines can present additional complications. For example, a business owner may have difficulty understanding the laws in another country or they may be unable to appear in court. Moreover, there are other matters that can create difficulties, such as language barriers. Although it can seem overwhelming to handle an international business lawsuit, carefully working through these issues could increase the likelihood of an end result that is more favorable.

Preventing a contract dispute

If you run a business, you may encounter a number of challenges. However, we know that contract disputes can be especially difficult and may present serious consequences for a businses, from financial penalties to damaged business relationships. In Cincinatti and across the whole state of Ohio, it is vital for business owners who are in the process of drafting a contract to make sure that they do what they can to prevent a contract dispute from arising in the future.

There are a number of ways that you could be able to take steps to reduce the likelihood of a contract dispute. First of all, it is essential to carefully draft an agreement and make sure that all parties involved thoroughly understand the terms of the agreement. The language should be clear and you should ensure that the agreement will be valid. During the creation of a business contract, it is vital for you to protect your interests as well.

Summary Judgment Granted to Texas Business Groups Challenging the Obama Administration's Revised Overtime Rule

By Brian R. Redden with Robert G. Hyland

On August 31, 2017, a Texas federal court judge declared that the Revised Overtime Rule issued in 2016 by the Obama Administration that would have altered the landscape with respect to non-exempt employee and overtime regulations for employers throughout the United States is invalid. United States District Court Judge Amos Mazzant granted summary judgment to the various business groups who had challenged the new 2016 FLSA Overtime Rule. This rule would have doubled the minimum salary required to qualify for the white collar/executive exemption from $23,660.00 to nearly $47,500.00. This new Overtime rule, covered in this Blog in November, 2016, was expected to have significant impact on numerous industries and a negative impact on middle income earners' ability to earn overtime or compensatory time. The rule would have impacted many administrative, middle management, and sales personnel. The Trump Department of Justice is not expected to appeal the Judge's decision.

How employees can make or break a merger

Mergers signal growth for Ohio businesses. However, if the employees in both companies are not adequately prepared, it could spell disaster. According to Forbes magazine, some studies indicate that the majority of mergers fail. Fortunately, many of the pitfalls are avoidable.

Company leaders should consider that the move has the potential to alienate employees. Statistics indicate that mergers frequently lead workers to become disengaged from their work to an extent, even when their responsibilities do not change. In fact, this loss of engagement could take as much as three years to fully recover from. Creating connections and using these to communicate with everyone before, during and after the merger is one of the keys to retaining dedicated employees. 

Looking into a health care power of attorney

There are a vast array of estate issues that people come across, whether they are having trouble naming beneficiaries or deciding which type of trust will be the most sensible. However, there are other estate matters you may have encountered, some of which may affect you while you are alive. For example, you may decide to set up a living will. Our attorneys are well aware of how beneficial it can be for people to resolve these issues appropriately, which may protect assets and also grant peace of mind. Moreover, there are other matters you may want to look into, such as a health care power of attorney.

Sometimes, people find themselves in a position where they can no longer make decisions about the medical treatment they receive and other considerations that impact their health. If you are worried about facing this hurdle, you may benefit from designating someone as your representative through a health care power of attorney. Not only will this individual be able to make key health care decisions for you should you become incapacitated, but they will also be able to access your medical history.

Which roles are assigned with revocable living trusts?

If you are in the early stages of estate planning, you could have a wide range of questions. For example, you may be unsure of which option, a trust or a will, is right for you. However, it is vital to understand some of the key aspects of an estate plan. For example, if you have decided to move forward with a revocable living trust, you should be aware of the different roles that people have and the responsibilities that are involved.

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, there are a few different roles that people have when it comes to revocable living trusts. First, there is the trustor, also known as the grantor or settlor. This is the individual who creates the trust. Next, there is the trustee. Trustees are in charge of making decisions about assets in the trust and may be financial institutions, people, or even the person who set up the trust. Finally, there are beneficiaries, who receive property or other assets from the trust after the grantor passes away.

Creating an estate plan the right way

For many Ohio residents, the thought of creating an estate plan for the time following their death may not be their first priority. However, neglecting the important task of putting financials in order and articulating last wishes can leave family members scrambling and confused after a loved one has died.

According to the Huffington Post, people wishing to be proactive about planning their estate can benefit from remembering three simple suggestions. These include the following:

  • Budget for post-death expenses: What many people may not realize is how much money it costs to plan and execute a funeral. Careful financial planning can enable family members to make effective decisions following a loved one’s death without experiencing the emotional stress that is the result of monetary strain.
  • Take a proactive planning approach: For a lot of people, choosing to wait on creating an estate plan may appear ideal if death does not seem too threatening. However, a proactive attitude and organized method for articulating a will is an excellent way for an individual to make the lives of family members less difficult following his or her death. Often, with less serious decisions to be made, family conflict, anger, disagreement and intensified grief can be lessened.
  • Keep directions clear: For people wishing to give specific personal possessions to designated heirs, it is imperative that their directions are clear and understandable. With their efforts to leave no decision to personal discretion or interpretation, they can be confident that after-death outcomes are just as they desire.

Handling your responsibilities as an executor

If you have been named the executor of an estate, you may be facing different challenges and you could have a number of questions about your responsibilities. At Buechner Haffer Meyers & Koenig Co., our Ohio firm is very familiar with the hurdles that can arise during the probate process for those who have been given this responsibility in Cincinnati, and the rest of the state. During probate, it is vital to know your rights and go over the details of your circumstances if disagreements and other problems arise.

As executor, you are responsible for distributing the estate's assets among beneficiaries. Unfortunately, some may disagree with how the estate is distributed and believe that you have violated your fiduciary duties. If this occurs, it is vital for you to defend yourself appropriately and have a good understanding of your rights. However, there are many other types of hurdles that can arise during the probate process, which you should also be ready to take on.

What are revocable trusts?

When it comes to making decisions regarding your estate, you may have a number of options on the table. However, it is vital to closely assess each choice and figure out which one will work best for you, given your circumstances. For example, you may be trying to decide whether to move forward with a will or a trust. Or, you may be trying to figure out whether a revocable trust or an irrevocable trust is the way to go. In this post, revocable trusts will be covered.

According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, revocable trusts can be canceled or modified whenever the owner wishes while he or she is still alive. Unlike irrevocable trusts, in which grantors are not able to make changes to the trust, revocable trusts can offer more flexibility for grantors. These trusts are a wise decision for many people, but it will be important for you to take the unique aspects of your personal circumstances into consideration before determining whether or not this option is best for you.

Buechner Haffer Meyers & Koenig Co., LPA

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