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Wiley & Mathews
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North Canton, Ohio legal blog

What are the first things an executor should do?

Being someone's executor is a huge responsibility -- and it can be rather overwhelming. Not only are you coping with your own feelings about your loved one's death, but you have to immediately start dealing with the estate.

Where do you start? Here are some suggestions about how to begin the process:

How does lack of mental capacity factor into challenging a will?

Not everyone who creates a last will is in a legal position to do so. Sometimes, individuals may attempt to create or alter a last will when there is reason to worry about their mental state. As people age, their cognitive function can decline. It is also possible for those with serious medical conditions like Alzheimer's disease to reach a point where they can no longer make rational and legally viable decisions on their own.

The courts refer to mental health issues that impact someone's ability to act on their own behalf as a lack of testamentary capacity. If your loved one created or changed their last will after a diagnosis with a serious medical condition or during a period of significant cognitive decline, you may have the option of challenging the will and asking the courts to review the circumstances and revert the will to a previous version.

Can you name anyone as an executor?

One of the most important aspects of estate planning is naming someone to be the executor of your will. In Ohio, an executor must be at least 18 years old and mentally competent. Unless you waive the requirement for your executor to obtain a bond from an insurance company, you must name someone who has a good credit history and no criminal record. Overall, one of the most important aspects of an executor is that he or she is someone you trust to follow the instructions in your will.

FindLaw provides advice on how to choose an executor. If your will is fairly straightforward, your executor may not need to have any specific legal knowledge or experience. For a simple will, you may decide to name your spouse, child or sibling as your executor provided he or she meets the Ohio requirements.

Ohio is becoming king of natural gas and shale

Ohio has played a big role in the oil and gas industry for decades. Over the past few years, coal and nuclear plants have been shutting down, but the Buckeye State has been growing its natural gas and shale contributions to replace them.

According to one Forbes article, Ohio now supplies up to 7% of natural gas in the U.S. market. This puts it in prime position to export to gas-hungry states, such as California, Florida and New York. These and other states are now turning to natural gas as a greener and less risky alternative to producing energy. There are additional benefits a larger natural gas market brings to the state:

  •          More tax money
  •          Lower unemployment rates
  •          Decrease in greenhouse gas emissions

Is a business partner a good idea?

 

For people wanting to start a business in Ohio, they may think that having a business partner is a good choice. While this can be beneficial in many situations, it is important to weigh the pros and cons before partnering with someone.

What is business/corporate espionage, and how can you fight back?

Modern business can be incredibly cutthroat. Your competitors could do all kinds of things to try to reduce your market share from intentionally sabotaging your business to stealing your idea or mimicking your packaging to dilute your brand. Constant awareness of your competitors and online reviews of your brand are critical.

However, not all forms of business warfare are obvious. Some companies will try to steal your company's proprietary information through the act of corporate spying, also known as business or corporate espionage. Knowing what constitutes corporate espionage or information theft can help you protect your company against this underhanded practice.

Small businesses need to protect themselves from lawsuits

When starting a business in Ohio, there are a lot of decisions to make, and owners have many hats they need to wear. One thing to keep in mind is to set up a good employee culture from the beginning and to put steps into place to help prevent employees, clients or vendors from suing.

Investopedia discusses certain tips to protect a company from facing litigation. When starting a business, it is a good idea to choose a formation that protects the owner's assets in the event someone sues. One may choose to open a trust that owns the business, or the owners may choose to incorporate, and this keeps personal finances separate from the company's. 

The need for a health proxy

When it comes to estate planning, many in Ohio do not want to think of the bad things, such as death or a challenging medical situation. However, these things do happen, and if one does not have a plan for how to deal with them, things can get messy. A health proxy is one thing that can help ease the stress of friends and loved ones in certain circumstances.

According to the American Bar Association, a healthcare proxy names someone who will make medical decisions for you in the event you are unable to yourself. Examples of when a proxy may come into place are if someone has dementia, is in a coma, is suffering from major injuries or is in a life-threatening situation. A healthcare proxy only goes into effect when a doctor puts in writing the patient is unable to make the necessary decisions, and the writer of the proxy can change it at any time. Having a health proxy ensures the medical team carries out your wishes and that no one is going to fight about the steps to take.

What are the types of business structures in Ohio?

There are several aspects to starting a business in Ohio, whether you plan to be a sole proprietor or to launch a start-up designed to grow into a large company. Part of the initial process is choosing how to structure your business. The legal entity you choose for your business may directly impact your financial resources, tax liability and daily management.

The Ohio Small Business Development Center program provides resources and information for small business owners and potential entrepreneurs. The SBDC states that Ohio recognizes six types of business structures: corporation, limited liability company, limited partnership, limited liability partnership, general partnership and sole proprietorship.

Protecting your family business from disputes

All business partners in Ohio run the risk of not getting along at some point. However, when family is involved in a business, the risk sometimes climbs higher. Mixing family with business means that people know each other’s deepest secrets and oldest wounds, making it easy to add fuel to the fire when things are at their worst.

According to the American Bar Association, family disputes often arise when the family members running the business have values that overlap but do not align. This may range from how to market the business, who to market to or whether or not to accept an offer to sell. One of the most serious reasons for disputes in a family business is the issue of succession. Family members often feel that whoever was chosen is a favorite.

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