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Ohio Legal Blog

When should I update my estate plan?

Even a good estate plan may need to be updated from time to time. Knowing when to revisit your will and other documents is crucial; failure to do so could result in your final wishes being ignored, as well as increased strife between your family members. To prevent this from occurring, Forbes offers the following guide to when an estate plan should be updated.  

When You Become a Grandparent

What you can do if your ex refuses to pay child support

It’s no secret that caring for a child is expensive. That’s why it’s crucial that the non-custodial parent provides financial assistance to his or her child after a divorce. However, in some cases these payments are never made, which can greatly impact a child’s well-being. Accordingly, U.S. News & World Report offers guidance on what you can do if your ex stops making child support payments.

Don’t Rely on Support Payments

Drunk driving may alter the lives of many

A 63-year-old Ohio man recently was arrested for his fifth operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI) offense after crashing his car into a utility pole in the northern part of the state. According to authorities, alcohol as well as distracted driving played factors in the accident.

As a repeat offender, the man faces serious charges. In Ohio, if a person has more than three OVI offenses within six years, he or she will be charged with a felony and face prison time as well as fines of up to $10,500.

Am I only allowed to name one power of attorney?

Choosing a person to be your power of attorney (POA) allows you to have a surrogate act on your behalf should you suffer incapacitation and can no longer make financial or other life decisions for yourself. Some people may wonder, however, if they can or should appoint more than one person to act as a power of attorney. For various reasons, Ohio residents may wish to appoint two or more agents to act on their behalf.

According to the Ohio State Bar Association website, a person does not have to name just one person as a power of attorney. Individuals may name two or more people to serve as co-agents. The person naming the agents, referred to as the principal, can also set the terms for how the agents can operate. The agents may have power to act individually, or the principal may insist that they make decisions based on majority approval among the agents. The principal may also insist they act unanimously.

Working through divorce issues involving children

Ending a marriage can be a very difficult decision, but some people come to the conclusion that it is necessary to move on from a toxic marriage. In doing so, life may change in all sorts of ways and there are many different issues that may arise, such as financial considerations related to alimony and property division. However, parents may have even more stressors to work through, from establishing child support to child custody arrangements. If you have children, it is critical to move forward with your divorce carefully and go over these matters thoroughly.

For starters, you should try to work towards an outcome that will be in your child’s best interests. Custody disputes can be highly contentious, but this is a critical time in life and your child’s life also. You should also be aware of the different obligations you may have in the wake of your divorce, such as making child support payments, and handle any other issues that involve your child (such as parental relocation) with care.

Divorce and changes to your estate plan

There are all sorts of stressors that people have to face when they decide to split up with their marital partner. For some, such as those who have children, divorce can be especially complicated (child support, custody disputes, and so on). It is important to keep in mind that divorce can have an impact on a person’s life in all sorts of other ways also. For example, those who have an estate plan may need to take a second look at their trust or will when they divorce.

A number of changes to your estate plan may be necessary if you split up with your spouse. For example, you might need to remove your spouse from your estate plan, whether you were planning on leaving them with assets or named them as the executor of your estate. Divorce can affect an estate plan in other ways as well. If you were a step-parent and listed your ex-spouse’s children as beneficiaries, you may also wish to remove them from your estate plan or make other changes to the way in which your assets are split up.

Are breath tests results reliable?

If you are pulled over on suspicion of drinking while driving, you may be asked to take a roadside breath test. Law enforcement officers in Ohio and in other parts of the United States often use breath tests to determine whether someone is driving with an alcohol level that is above the legal limit. The problem lies in the fact that roadside breath tests may not always give an accurate representation of one’s blood alcohol content level. This misreading may cause a person to be wrongfully charged with drinking and driving, even when their BAC level is below the legal limit.

Although breath test devices are designed to measure the amount of ethyl alcohol in the blood, other substances, such as residual blood, food, drinks and vomit, that are left in a person’s mouth may alter the reading. Other substances found in the environment, including gas fumes, pollution and paint fumes can affect a person’s reading as well. The temperature and relative humidity of the air can alter the breath test device’s ability to make accurate readings, if the machine has not been calibrated to operate in these specific environments.

Akron man charged with crashing city's website

Were one to conduct a random poll of people in Columbus, a majority might claim to be at least somewhat anti-authoritarian. It may just be human nature to not want to be told what to do (and to be suspicious of the motives and actions of those who issue such edicts and rules). Certain actions meant to express those concerns might even be appropriate. Yet people may also want to be mindful about being too cavalier in thumbing their nose at authority. The wrong sort of expression (even when done to support a cause one believes in) could leave the one expressing it facing criminal penalties

That appears to be what is in store for a man that federal officials believe perpetrated an online hack that temporarily shut down the Akron city website last year. The man (who is himself an Akron resident) allegedly belongs to an international activist group whose aims are to highlight their interpretations of misuses of authority through cyberattacks against the organization they believe to be guilty of it. Indeed, during the time the website was down, a link to a YouTube video making allegations of corruption against Akron officials and law enforcement was posted on Twitter. Federal authorities traced the Twitter handle back to the man, who is now being charged with intentionally damaging a protected computer. 

Splitting custody time during summer break

Immediately following your divorce in Columbus, it can be difficult for you, your ex-spouse and especially your kids to become acclimated to your new custody situation. Yet eventually things settle in and life goes on. Then summer comes and you want to take the kids away for an extended vacation. Your ex-spouse wants to do the same, and now each of your plans are threatening to disrupt your already fragile custody schedule. Many in this same position come to us here at The Law Offices of Saia & Piatt Inc. wondering if the courts are the ones who determine which divorced parent gets to do what during the summer. The answer depends on where you live. 

Many counties in Ohio do indeed have set parenting time schedules that stipulate how custodial time is divided during the kids' summer break. Franklin County, however, does not. It is left to you and your ex-spouse to come up with the details of your parenting time schedule. Thus, how summer vacations (as well as holidays, birthdays and other breaks from school) will be dealt with should be included in your plan. Keep in mind that the court will still need to approve your plan, so whatever you come up with should be equitable. 

How to Save for Retirement After Your 40's

While retirement savings are best started early, many people end up getting a late start. This doesn’t have to spell disaster, however; if you live in Cleveland and are approaching your 40's without a retirement plan in mind, there is hope. TheBalance.com offers some good tips on how to get a jump start on your retirement later in life.

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