Maumee Ohio Legal Blog

When should a will be modified?

Planning and preparing for the future is often considered a must. Most Ohio residents have a general concept of estate planning. To many of them, a will is enough to satisfy their needs. However, even the most basic of wills needs to be carefully drafted to ensure that there are no mistakes or ambiguities that could lead to the distribution of an estate that is counter to one's wishes. Yet, while care must be taken during the initial drafting process, it must also be applied when updating an estate plan. This includes modifying or changing a will.

There are many life changes that may justify changing a will. For example, if an individual remarries, then he or she may want to consider changing his or her will to reflect how he or she wants his or her assets to be distributed upon death. This is because most assets, if not all, pass to a spouse upon death. Therefore, if an individual wants to reserve an estate for children from another marriage, then he or she will need to reflect that in a modified will. Other changes that may warrant changes to a will are the birth of a child, the acquirement of step children, divorce, the obtainment of new assets and simply a changed mind regarding beneficiaries.

Business litigation and product liability

Business endeavors provide their customer base with reliable goods and services. However, despite their best efforts, sometimes consumers claim that they were harmed by a business's product. When this happens, a product liability lawsuit may be levied with a consumer hoping to recover compensation for their alleged damages. In these circumstances, a business needs to be prepared with a strong civil defense if it hopes to prevail.

This is because strict liability applies to product liability lawsuits. This means that in order to succeed, an injured consumer only needs to show that a product was defective in order to prevail. Negligence does not have to be shown. So, a business must be prepared to defend itself against allegations that its product was defective either in its design, manufacture or marketing.

Ohio country club challenging eminent domain

As we've discussed previously on this blog, eminent domain involves governmental taking of property for the public good in exchange for just compensation. Oftentimes in these matters there is dispute as to whether or not the taking is for the public good and whether or not just compensation is being provided. When disputes over these issues arise it is critical that the matter be taken to court, as eminent domain allows for the taking of property with or without consent.One of these disputes is occurring right here in Ohio and is headed to court. The lawsuit centers around property currently being leased by a private country club. The land that the golf course is on was originally leased from the Ohio Historical Society in 1907, then was renewed in 1997 for another 50 years. So, the current lease does not expire until 2078. However, the Historical Society, now known as the Ohio History Connection, now wants to end that lease, utilize eminent domain to take the property, and convert the 135 acre property into a public park. The group says that doing so will allow the property to be nominated as a World Heritage site.Here, the issue is not whether the taking is in furtherance of the public good, but rather whether the Historical Connection is offering to pay just compensation. Executives at the country club say that the payment amount that has been offered is not enough for it to relocate its business and its 100 employees. They therefore fear significant financial losses and the loss of numerous jobs.It will be interesting to see how this case plays out. There is obviously a lot at stake, which is why the parties to this case, and similar ones, need to ensure they have a strong legal advocate on their side.

The complicated feelings around eminent domain

If you have recently been presented with an offer from a government entity to purchase your land, you may be struggling with a great number of emotions. It can be a complicated decision to decide to sell, or you may ultimately have no choice.

Cases of eminent domain are often complicated, and your strong feelings can affect your decisions to negotiate for your land. By understanding these emotions, you can help decide what is best for your case.

What is the purpose of depositions?

Aggressive and effective litigation requires thorough preparation. It is in this preparation process that an Ohioans can anticipate objections and build the legal arguments necessary to fully support his or her claim. We previously discussed the importance of the discovery process, but this process has many parts to it, each of which carries significant importance.

One part of discovery is taking depositions. A deposition is formal recorded questioning of a witness. Depositions occur prior to trial. There are two reasons to conduct a deposition. The first is to simply discover what a witness knows. Through a deposition, an individual can discover if it is worth calling that particular witness to testify at trial. So, if all witnesses are deposed prior to trial, each side should know exactly how the witnesses will testify. This can help identify strengths and weaknesses in a case and spur settlement negotiations.

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.

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