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Medina Legal Issues Blog

Tips for estate planning

One purpose of an estate plan for Ohio residents may be addressing family conflict. This conflict may spring from disputes over property, or it may be a more longstanding interpersonal dispute. Some people might avoid creating an estate plan because of this, but this only means that when the estate is settled, there will be even more. Working with professionals in creating an estate plan may help people find ways they were unaware of to resolve this.

Communicating with loved ones about the intention behind the estate plan may also help ensure that a person's wishes are carried out. However, there are situations in which a person might not be comfortable doing this, and if that is the case, a professional may be able to have this conversation with family members. A person who is concerned about how family members will manage assets can set up a trust. While making an estate plan is a task many people would like to do once and not think about again, regularly reviewing and updating the plan is important as well.

What a letter of final wishes entails

When an Ohio resident creates a will, there may not be room to include that person's final wishes in the will itself. However, it may be possible to expand upon the testator's thought process or include other notes in what is referred to as a letter of final wishes. This letter may be the perfect place to explain why one person got a larger share of the estate or where the passwords to social media accounts are being kept.

It may also be the ideal place to talk about what the family should play at their loved one's funeral. The testator may also include requests such as having a military funeral or whether to be buried or cremated. Including as many details as possible may make it easier on family members and loved ones as they try to plan a funeral and grieve over their loss.

Over building and uncertainty slow commercial real estate deals

Property investors in Ohio have to contemplate many elements, including financing and taxes, before entering a commercial real estate transaction. Growth in the commercial property sector has been strong for six years, but analysts worry that prices have peaked and some large cities might now have an excess of inventory because of a building boom.

Investors appear to be in a holding pattern because of the unknown fate of tax cuts proposed by the Trump administration, said an analyst from Green Street Advisors LLC. Even if taxes on businesses do drop, the possibility emerges that inflation could start because of increased spending. This could trigger higher interest rates, which factor strongly into financing decisions for expensive commercial properties.

3 legal pitfalls of downsizing your company

Every business owner knows that the economy fluctuates. No matter what industry you are in, you can expect times of great profit and periods that are sparse. In some cases, the latter will necessitate action. You may need to cut costs in order to maintain your business, but downsizing is often easier said than done. There are several legal pitfalls, in fact, that can make it a liability and therefore potentially more expensive than it is worth. The following are important risks to avoid when you are reducing your workforce.

There are several legal pitfalls, in fact, that can make it a liability and therefore potentially more expensive than it is worth. The following are important risks to avoid when you are reducing your workforce.

Start-up company funding not limited to traditional loans

Start-up companies often have variety of capital needs, including investments in equipment, software and office space. Would-be entrepreneurs in Ohio likely wonder where all the money comes from that is needed to grow the profitability of a business. In only 8 percent of cases does a start-up company receive capital from bank loans, but there are a few alternatives

Entrepreneurs looking to make their mark in an innovative way may need to look no further than crowdfunding. Regardless of the stage of business formation, anyone can make a pitch on one of the major crowdfunding websites. Not all platforms are created equally, however, and it may be that one is a better fit for a particular start-up company. Crowdfunding is aided by social media efforts, such as regular postings, videos and personal connections.

Why commercial real estate may be the better option

People looking to invest in Ohio properties may gravitate toward residential as opposed to commercial real estate. However, there are several reasons why buying commercial real estate may be the better option. First, buyers may find that commercial tenants are better than residential tenants. In many cases, commercial tenants have their own maintenance teams or others who can take care of issues that residential tenants may expect their landlords to deal with.

Commercial real estate may yield higher returns than residential properties because commercial tenants often cover expenses such as insurance for the building. Commercial tenants also tend to sign longer leases, which means that landlords have a reliable source of income over the long-term. A commercial building may appreciate in value as adjacent properties are developed that attract more people and businesses. Therefore, a commercial property owner may benefit from stable rental income in addition to being able to sell the building for a profit in the future.

Non-probate assets, wills and estate planning

For estate planning purposes, it is important to make sure that an Ohio person's wishes regarding how assets are distributed are reflected in plans for the non-probate assets as well as in the will. Non-probate assets are assets such as life insurance policies and retirement accounts that are passed down by beneficiary designations. Real property that is jointly owned and joint accounts with rights of survivorship are also examples of non-probate assets.

It is not uncommon for a person to change a will but forget to make changes to beneficiary designations or other assets. This could lead to a situation in which a person intends to disinherit a family member but fails to do so because if a will is in conflict with a beneficiary designation, the beneficiary designation overrides the will. If there is additional evidence besides the will that a person intended to disinherit someone, this could be grounds for challenging the beneficiary designation, but it still might be unsuccessful.

Using retirement savings to finance a new business

Gathering the funds required to launch a new commercial venture is often challenging for Ohio entrepreneurs. Banks are generally reluctant to lend large sums when borrowers are unable to prove that they have a steady and reliable source of income, and most business startups struggle to turn a profit during their nascent stages. Loans backed by the Small Business Administration are sometimes available, but many entrepreneurs choose to fund new businesses by borrowing from friends or relatives or withdrawing the money needed from their retirement accounts.

Rollovers as Business Startups allow entrepreneurs to withdraw money from their 401(k) or IRA accounts to launch companies without paying taxes and early withdrawal penalties, but taking this path can have disastrous consequences when startup businesses fail. Companies funded in this way must be established as C corporations, and this may not be the preferred tax strategy for entrepreneurs. Taking advantage of a ROBS will also invite greater scrutiny from the IRS.

Social media and estate planning

Ohio residents may not take their Twitter or other social media accounts seriously. However, it may be a good idea to account for them in an estate plan. If an account is not properly shut down, it could cause unnecessary grief and pain as it continues to exist as a ghost account. For friends and loved ones, it may be embarrassing and awkward to see a deceased person appear as a suggested social media friend or contact.

Companies such as Facebook and Twitter allow individuals to have accounts deleted or memorialized. This generally requires proof that a person has passed on such as an obituary or death certificate. It may also require a person to prove that he or she is the decedent's legal representative. Prior to an account being deactivated, it may be a good idea to review each platform's terms of service.

You must take quick action to protect your business in divorce

Divorce is often one of the most difficult experiences a person can endure, and this is doubly true for business owners. If you are facing divorce and worried that the settlement process may dismantle your business, you must make some very difficult choices and act decisively.

The truth is, if you did not take preventative measures like a pre- or postnuptial agreement to protect your business, then your spouse may have a legal right to negotiate for a portion of its value.

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