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Baker, Dublikar, Beck,
Wiley & Mathews

North Canton, Ohio legal blog

Blended families and inheritance in Ohio

Do you have a blended family? If this is your (or your spouse's) second marriage, your family unit may include your children from your first marriage, your spouse's children from a first marriage and the children you have together. More than likely, you love all of the kids equally -- even the ones that aren't biologically related to you. That's why it's so important to understand how Ohio's inheritance laws look at the situation.

Will all the kids inherit an equal share of your estate if you die?

Tips for negotiating oil and gas leases

Ohio is rich in shale, and shale oil can be refined just like petroleum. In addition, the layers of shale sometimes capture large pockets of natural gas that can be harvested and used. It's no wonder that oil and gas companies often seek contacts with landowners that will allow them to develop those natural resources.

However, landowners need to be careful. Oil and gas leases are complex. Many landowners are so caught up in the excitement of a potential windfall that they sign away important rights.

The issue of language in international contracts

Branching into the overseas market can be exciting, but it can also be fraught with new kinds of uncertainty, particularly where contracts are concerned.

So, let's talk about one of the most important questions that you have to decide before you can even start writing a contract: What language do you want it in?

Do you worry that an executor isn't doing their job properly?

After the death of a loved one, it can take some time for reality to sink in. Denial is a common component of grief, especially when a death happens suddenly or unexpectedly. Regardless of the nature of your loss, at some point, your mind will turn to practical considerations.

If your loved one had a last will or estate plan, they likely named someone to serve as executor of their estate. Unfortunately, some people entrusted with authority abuse that trust. You can challenge someone who can't or won't properly fulfill their obligations as an executor.

Passing on a gun collection to an heir

For some people, guns are just utilitarian devices that they use for hunting or protection. For others, guns are collector's items, valuable pieces of family history or part of their cultural identity. If you have a prized gun collection -- or even just a few special pistols that have been in your family for a while -- it's only natural to want to pass those on to your heirs.

The only problem is that guns aren't like other inheritances. Because of their potential for harm, you have to take a few different things into consideration when making your will:

Is 'at-will' employment good or bad?

As an Ohio employer, you probably know that the state considers employees who are working without a contract or who aren't under a collective bargaining agreement to be "at-will" employees. That means that you can essentially fire them for almost any reason that isn't discriminatory. In turn, the employees don't owe you any particular duty to remain on the job -- which means they can decide to simply quit for any reason.

Sounds good, right? In some respects, it is. Neither employees nor their employers are locked into a working relationship.

Your business can survive a transition to the next generation

Are you hoping to give your business to your children? Are you the adult son or daughter who is hoping to take over the family business?

Well, there's good news and bad news. The bad news is something you may have already heard before: About 70% of family businesses fail trying to move into the second generation.

Pick the right structure for your business needs

When you're starting a business, it's easy to get overwhelmed. There's a lot to do -- not the least of which is deciding what type of business entity you want to use. The decision should be made early not only because it may be difficult to change later, but because it will also have significant financial and legal consequences.

In general, most start-ups and small businesses will operate under one of these structures:

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.

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