Maumee Ohio Legal Blog

Living wills and powers of attorney for healthcare

Most Ohioans who engage in basic estate planning think that they will simply divide their assets evenly amongst their loved ones. While this can be done, the matter is not always as easy as it sounds. Whereas assets like bank accounts, stocks and bonds are easy to cash and divide accordingly, other pieces of property, such as art and family heirlooms, are more difficult to divide, if they are meant to be divided at all. These are sometimes referred to as hard assets.

There are some steps that an individual can take to better decide if he or she wants to divide a hard asset and, if so, how to do it. The first step is to get an appraisal of the asset so that its true worth is known. Since the value of many of these objects are tied to the ebb-and-flow of markets, the appraisal should be recent and it should be conducted by someone credible.

Living wills and powers of attorney for healthcare

Most Ohio residents who think of estate planning think of taking the steps necessary so that, when they pass away, they have preserved their wealth for their loved ones. While this is certainly a big part of estate planning, it is not the only consideration that must be made. There may come a time when one is suddenly unable to make important healthcare and financial decisions, including those related to estate planning, due to their condition. When this happens, they may want to make sure that their affairs are left to someone they trust.

One way to protect oneself and assets is to create a living will and a power of attorney. Through a living will, one can dictate the type of care they want in the event that they cannot make that decision on their own and cannot communicate it to others. This part of an estate plan and can be as detailed as one wants, but one may also want to create a power of attorneys so that their wishes can be properly effectuated.

Avoiding common mistakes when forming a business

As you set out on a new business venture, plan to take on many important and often challenging decisions head on. Starting a new business in Ohio involves a number of large scale and minute details, most of which will fall to the owners and founders of the business.

Before you begin the process of launching a business venture, consider some of the errors others have made as a guideline for what not to do. Far too often business owners find themselves in a bind down the road because of cutting corners or making simple mistakes at the start. To avoid this potential future, consider some important elements of prudent business planning during the formation process.

What is inverse condemnation?

Eminent domain is the process whereby the government takes private property, even against an Ohio property owner's wishes, in exchange for compensation. In order for the taking to be legal under eminent domain, though, the proposed use must be for public use. An example of eminent domain would be the government paying fair market value for a piece of land so that it can expand a highway.

However, sometimes, even the partial taking of one's private property can decimate the value of the entire property. For example, if the government takes a business's parking lot in order to build a round-about, under the traditional definition of eminent domain, the government would only have to pay for the value of the parking lot. The business, though, may claim that without a parking lot its entire business will suffer and, as such, the government has essentially taken all of its property. When a governmental taking of a piece of land greatly damages the use of the land as a whole, it is referred to inverse condemnation.

The importance of jury selection to litigation

When Ohioans think of litigation they often think of aggressive attorneys going toe-to-toe with legal arguments in front of a judge and jury. It's always flashy and glorified. The reality is that, while this aggressive litigation does occur from time-to-time, a lot of the litigation legwork occurs well before trial and, many times, outside of the courtroom. Discovery and trial prep are keys to litigation success, but so, too, can jury selection.

Those who are headed toward litigation of a civil issue may have their trial heard by a jury. The selection of this jury can form the foundation of one's success or failure depending on how it plays out. For this reason, it is crucial to understand the jury selection process and how to use it to one's advantage.

What terms are found in an employment contract?

Promises made and the follow through on those promises make the business world work. In its most basic terms, these are the elements of a contract. One party promises something in exchange for something else. When one side fails to keep its promise, then a breach of contract may be at hand, leaving one of the parties financially harmed. These contracts can be seen in just about every aspect of the business world, but one of the more common, and most negotiated, is the employment contract.

There are a variety of terms that can make up a business contract. Obviously an employee's compensation and the length of his or her employment will be spelled out, but so, too, will his or her benefits, including paid time off, insurance and retirement contributions. While these terms are often the most focused upon, they may not be the most important to the parties who are negotiating an employment contract.

Steps to take to move from estate planning to legacy planning

If you've given any thought to estate planning, then your first thought may be with regard to how best to ensure that your immediate loved ones such as your spouse and your children can be financially protected upon your passing. For most individuals, this means drafting a simple will to ensure that assets can be passed down without having to go through the long, drawn-out, and sometimes costly probate process.

However, estate planning can be about so much more than simply leaving assets to your immediate loved ones. In fact, when done correctly, an estate plan can create a legacy that can provide financial stability to your family for decades to come. One of the keys to this type of planning is identifying legacy assets and how best to protect them. It's also important to ensure that a legacy estate is protected from estate taxes, which, considering the large exemption provided by the federal government, can be significant when imposed.

Forming a sole proprietorship: Benefits and drawbacks

Forming a business constitutes an exciting process. You believe in your idea, and you want to create an entity to sell your product or service. You do not have business partners, but you want to ensure that your business idea is legal and protected under Michigan and Ohio law.

A sole proprietorship gives you the ability to own and operate your business individually. No partnerships, corporations are involved, and you can control all business elements. Both advantages and disadvantages exist when forming a sole proprietorship, so it is important to weigh the responsibility and individual control of this type of entity.

Ohio city may be facing an eminent domain challenge

A few weeks ago on the blog we discussed the basics of eminent domain. This is a legal issue that many people don't think about until it directly affects them. Even the seemingly smallest bit of land taken by the government can have enormous ramifications, though, which is why those who are confronted with issues of eminent domain need to know the law and how to utilize it to their advantage.

Two property owners in Toledo may be in this position now. Reports indicate that the city is in the process of taking two parcels of land to create a roundabout. One of those parcels of land holds a vacant business, while another is an empty lot. An official with the city's Department of Public Utilities said that development of a pharmacy has already been approved for one of the parcels, and that the construction plans are compatible with the proposed roundabout.

Litigation and the discovery process

The vast majority of cases, whether dealing with family law, business law or some other type of civil complaint, resolve through some sort of settlement negotiation. This can occur on the parties' own terms, or it could occur through alternative dispute resolution means like mediation or arbitration. Despite the success of these methods, they are not successful in all cases. When negotiations fail and a case looks like it's going to trial, individuals need to make sure that they are ready to litigate as fully and aggressively as possible in order to protect their best interests.

Although courtroom skills are most frequently portrayed on television and in the movies, much of successful litigation is built through thorough preparation. This includes preparing witnesses and anticipating objections, but even these steps are preceded by discovery. Discovery is the process through which one side to a lawsuit obtains or "discovers" all pertinent information held by the other side.

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