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Medina Legal Issues Blog

Estate planning updates are needed upon spousal death

When a spouse passes away, whether in Ohio or elsewhere, the initial legal concerns appropriately lie with administration of the estate for the recently deceased. It is often forgotten, however, that the surviving spouse typically needs an estate planning checkup as well due to the changed circumstances. A grieving spouse may simply not place priority on wills, trusts and other estate planning essentials, but doing so can circumvent a lot of confusion and hassle for future heirs if properly addressed.

In addition to considering potentially revised heirs and assets to be inherited, some essential documents should be updated that could come into play before death. Couples often execute estate plans together and make each other the designated power of attorney and healthcare proxy in the event of medical emergency. If the designated person has passed, or it leaves an absence regarding a secondary choice, prudence mandates revisiting these documents. Likewise, it is important to execute proper health and medical record release forms to document the potential need for a healthcare proxy or other eventuality.

Simple tips to keep in mind regarding contract negotiation

If you are in the process of launching your new business, you may have to negotiate one or two contracts; perhaps with a partner, a supplier or an ad agency. It could be that this is a part of your business with which you have had little experience. Here are five tips to help you negotiate successfully:

1. Start with terms

Estate planning also important for young people

Some Ohio millennials may think that making out a will and other estate planning documents are not important, especially until later in life. In fact, 78 percent of millennial Americans have no will or other estate documents. In general, people don't like to think about death, and young people in particular simply may not see it as important. However, the consequences of dying without a will can be significant, especially for a person's loved ones.

If someone dies without a will, his or her belongings will be distributed according to state law on intestacy. People who are young, single and have no children are most likely to see their assets pass to their parents if they die intestate. While many people in this category may be happy to leave behind their goods to their parents, a will can speed along the process and prevent unnecessary disputes and lengthy processes.

Common mistakes made by startups that are seeking funding

For Ohio startup companies, finding venture capital may be important so that the businesses can grow. A common issue that many startups have is trying to figure out how to attract investors. There are a few common reasons that venture capitalists and angel investors frequently pass on pitches that they receive.

A common mistake that startups make is sending cold pitches that are impersonal. If people send emails that are impersonal, they are unlikely to attract the attention or interest of a venture capitalist. People should take the time that they need to personalize their pitches. For example, they might want to get to know another founder that was funded by the investor to try to secure an introduction.

The consequences of not having an estate plan

Ideally, an Ohio resident will have all the necessary estate planning documents in order before they pass awat. Without an estate plan, there can be a lot of uncertainty as to what happens to a person's assets. It can also lead to family infighting, which may result in court battles that take years to resolve. Those battles are funded by money or other assets inside of the estate. The more money paid in attorney fees, the less that goes to heirs.

Interestingly, Frank Sinatra included a clause in his will that disqualified anyone who contested its terms. An estate plan is worth creating regardless of how much money a person has when he or she dies. Those who have an estate plan should review it every few years to ensure that it still meets their needs. Life events such as a birth, marriage or death can also be good times to check over estate plan documents.

Small business succession plans

According to a recent survey of 200 privately owned businesses, 58 percent of small business owners have no succession plans. These individuals have no strategies in place for how ownership should be transferred if unforeseen incidents should occur. While some small business owners in Ohio may not want to think about giving up their companies, it pays to be prepared.

Seventy-eight percent of the small business owners in the study attributed their failure to plan for succession at least partly to enjoying managing so much that they have no desire to begin thinking about any transitions. Forty-two percent of the owners stated that they had no time to plan, and 44 percent believed that there was no need to begin planning for something that would not occur until well in the future.

For parents, estate planning can be critical

Estate planning can be particularly important for parents in Ohio. When people have children, they may be more inspired than ever to deal with thinking about the future and making important decisions about how their children will be supported in case of the death or incapacity of the parents. In addition to the peace of mind that parents may feel, estate planning carries strong practical benefits as well, especially for future beneficiaries. People can reduce or eliminate probate fees and delays and lessen the estate tax burden borne by their children in the future.

While many may be concerned about cost, estate planning is more accessible than some realize. Depending on the size and scope of the estate, making out key documents like wills and powers of attorney can be highly affordable, and the existence of a plan can save a significant amount of money in the long term. For parents, this is especially important. A will can lay out plans for guardianship of the kids in case of the death of both parents in order to provide guidance to the court. In addition, trusts can be created in order to transfer wealth to minor children over the years.

What to include in your partnership agreement

If you are launching your own business and you wish to make it a partnership, creating a partnership agreement may be among your preliminary tasks. Partnerships can help your business thrive under the leadership of more than one knowledgeable, qualified person, but they can also create unnecessary troubles and lead to potential legal hardship if you do not set clear guidelines from the outset.

Because partnerships involve having more than one person in charge, it is important that your partnership agreement clearly stipulate everyone’s specific duties, responsibilities and stake in the company. The more detailed and thorough your partnership agreement is, the lower your chances are of having to litigate any business disputes that may arise down the line. So, when crafting your partnership agreement, make it a point to include the following:

Commercial real estate terms that are important to know

Commercial real estate transactions are complex due to long legal contracts and high price tags. They also involve obscure terms rarely seen in other places. Before entering into any type of Ohio commercial real estate deal, each party should have knowledge of the most important industry terms. These include:

Capitalization Rate (CAP Rate) - This is a calculation used to predict the potential earnings of a commercial property over a specific period. Many investors won't bother with a property until they know the CAP rate.

Preparing for venture capital investors

Many Ohio business owners may consider requesting funding from investors to help their startup succeed. Entrepreneurs who are seeking venture capital funding for their startup can take certain steps to positions their enterprise to raise such funds. Having up-to-date information is important before approaching investors. Entrepreneurs should be prepared to present easy-to-read data that demonstrates the goals of the startup and provides proof that there is a sustainable customer base for the business.

Venture capital investors also want to be able to see how the product that is being marketed by the startup is being used, enjoyed and shared by customers. Before they make an investment, the investors have to have enough proof that the startup has a momentum that will grow. The long-term payoff is also a concern to potential investors. Entrepreneurs will have to show that their enterprise will be generating sufficient revenue in the future.

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