Legal-Ease: Extra checklist before heading south for the winter

Many people in northwest Ohio head south for the winter. In addition to the regular packing and planning, here are four more items that Lee suggests adding to your checklist before heading south. 

First, make sure that your general/financial power of attorney and healthcare power of attorney documents have been updated since May 2017. Make sure your living will is updated and that you’ve given copies to family and friends. Be sure that your will is in the hands of someone you really trust before you leave town. Finally, work with your attorney to be sure you’ve identified every bank, investment, savings, retirement and other account in your name. 

Legal-Ease: Find win-win-win: avoid taxes, probate and nursing home expenses

While some people seem to believe otherwise, it is not necessary for there to be a loser for every winner. With cooperation, both sides can often achieve success. 

As people get older, many people want to achieve three goals: avoid taxes, avoid probate administration, avoid nursing home expenses. Various estate planning structures exist to allow a win in all categories.

With the right planning, minimizing heirs’ eventual capital gains tax obligations is achievable. A properly organized trust can also help avoid probate. Nursing home tools can also be organized to avoid probate and help the family avoid capital gains tax later. 

Legal-Ease: When should I act to protect assets from long-term care expenses?

A common concern for Americans is the cost of long-term care. Monthly costs can be more than $7,000, and nursing home expenses over the course of a few years or decades can easily wipe out an individual’s savings. 

Determining what to do to be prepared for long-term care is only one step in the process. It’s also important to determine when to take certain steps in the long-term care planning process. 

Legal-Ease: Business protection of customer information

Nefarious people around the world seek out our personal information to steal identities, unlawfully take our money, assets and reputations. The struggle is even harder for business owners. 

Cyber criminals will often try to hack into the customer database of a single business to secure multiple people’s information at the same time. 

The question for small businesses is often how much protection the business owes its customers from data theft. 

Legal-Ease: Handicap parking, buildings under the ADA

The 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act was a major milestone to help protect people with disabilities. The law created requirements for handicap accessibility at businesses that provide goods and services. 

The most recent updates to the ADA regulations were created in 2010 by the U.S. Department of Justice. The ADA has shown that it’s valuable to all Americans, those with disabilities and otherwise. 

Legal-Ease: Proper use of a trust

Trust are like the new exercise wrist watch that Lee recently purchased; while it can perform many tasks, he’s likely to only use the watch for the right tasks, and the same can be said for trusts. 

Many people have trusts that include tools that are being underutilized, and the trusts may also be used for tasks that would be best handled independently of the trust. 

The biggest recognized benefit of a trust is the ability to have assets distributed to heirs without being administered through probate. 

Legal-Ease: What should I be ready for in selling or buying a business?

The process of buying and selling a business usually breaks down into five steps and considerations. 

First, the seller and buyer of the business need to reach an agreement. Second, both the seller and the buyer secure third-party professionals to assist them. Third, a purchase agreement is prepared. Fourth, the seller and the buyer of the business need to ensure that the details of the agreement are accurate. Finally, there’s a closing. 

Legal-Ease: New tools to help initiate home ownership

Years ago, buying a home was pretty straightforward. A buyer would pay a 20% down payment and pay off the remaining 80% over time. But as the demand for homeownership grew, more people without the 20% down payment wanted to purchase homes. Private mortgage insurance began to be used in the homebuying process. 

In the years right before the housing crisis, people made assumptions that home prices would continually and aggressively increase every year. Lenders saw this as an opportunity to help more people who hadn’t saved the 20% down payment. 

Legal-Ease: Sorting through trust types to create the irrevocable grantor trust

To help try to simplify legal ideas, they’re often generalized into broad categories to help make them easier to navigate. However, trusts shouldn’t be generalized when it comes to nursing home and long-term care planning. 

Trusts are typically categorized as revocable and irrevocable. Revocable trusts can usually be amended, and completely irrevocable trusts cannot be either amended or revoked. As with many parts of the law, the title of the trust is much less important than the substance of the trust rules.