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Painter and Associates Blog

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Don’t Neglect Digital Assets in Your Estate Plan

 

If you do anything online, you probably have digital assets. Digital assets are records that you own or control. If you do not make arrangements for those assets in your estate plan, it can cause unnecessary costs and additional stress to those you leave behind.

Online assets don’t leave a paper trail making it difficult for your loved ones to determine all your assets and accounts. In the past, your loved ones probably could have figured out what you owned and owed by going through your filing cabinets and your paper bills.  But now with the movement to go paperless and do banking online, it is harder to track should you pass away. 

All the items that we store online could be affected such as precious photos and video collections. Heirs could also be locked out of electronic records some of which could have monetary consequences. Cryptocurrency and frequent flyer miles could be lost.  Emails and social media accounts could be hacked, and you would have no way to remedy it.  Even simple tasks such as online bill pay or canceling online subscriptions could blossom into a bigger problem if arrangements have not been made.

Adding a digital assets plan to your will can be as easy as giving some additional instructions to your executor on how to access all of your accounts. The first step in creating a plan is to make a list of all of your online accounts. Your lawyer should be able to help you with this and help you make sure you have not forgotten any. Don’t forget to include access to your devices such as your cell phone, especially if you have two-factor authentication set up to verify access to certain accounts. Another option is to keep your login credentials in a password manager. A password manager is a computer program that allows users to store, generate, and manage their passwords for local applications and online services.

You will also need to include in your estate plan instructions telling your executor what to do with various assets such as what to delete, what to archive and what to transfer to heirs.  Revisit this plan annually, so that it stays up to date with all the changing technologies and apps you might use. Talk to an experienced estate planning lawyer at Painter & Associates to help you and your family with your future needs should the unfortunate happen.

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Estate Taxes Could Have A Big Change Under Proposed Tax Law Changes

If you have  a reasonable  amount of wealth that you’d like to pass on to your heirs without taxes taking a significant amount of that wealth from them , then you should be aware of potential changes to the tax laws under the new administration.

Trusts could provide a vehicle to shelter your wealth and easily transfer that wealth to your heirs. Moreover, if you hold your property in a living trust, then your survivors won’t have to go through probate court, which can be a time-consuming and expensive process.

For the 2021 tax year, the exemption is $11.7 million for individuals and $23.4 million for couples. As long as your estate is valued at under the exemption amount, it will not pay any federal estate taxes. 

The new administration has expressed an interest in lowering the estate tax exemption. It could be lowered to $5 million or even reduced to the previous exemption of $3.5 million for individuals. Wealthy families still have time to revisit their estate plans as these changes are predicted to take place in 2022.

Moreover, states such as Ohio may be inclined to follow federal law and increase estate taxes taking even more money from your heirs. 

You can read more at CNBC with their recent article here>.

If you are concerned about these rules changing, a trust may be a good way to protect your estate. Property in a trust passes outside of probate, and there are specific types of trusts that are designed to protect assets against estate taxes and capital gains.

Nobody enjoys estate planning, but it is necessary. The first step is to make a list of all of your assets and goals before talking to an attorney. Your assets include investments, retirement accounts, insurance policies, business interests, real estate and more. 

Talk to an experienced, central Ohio lawyer at Painter & Associates about what type of estate planning and trust is right for you and your family.

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Painter Names to 2021 SuperLawyers List.

Congratulations once again to our attorney, Nathan Painter for being chosen to be listed on the SuperLawyers List

Nathan Painter
Rated by Super Lawyers


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Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. This selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.

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Celebrating 10 Years of Service

In October 2020, Painter & Associates was proud to celebrate the milestone of 10 years in business! Nathan Painter started the firm to give clients access to talented and experienced lawyers with a personalized approach. The result of our 10 years has been incredible growth through referrals and expansion with new team members.


Our goal is to continually provide clients with the legal needs they may need throughout their lifetimes whether it be for estate planning, family legal needs or even personal injury. That’s why we like to say that we are the only law firm you’ll ever need.


Lynn M., a client of ours for 5+ years, recently commented, “I’m so glad I found your firm. When I first came to you for my business needs, I figured that would be the last time I would need a lawyer. But in a short time, you earned my trust to create my estate plan and then even help me during my contentious divorce. Your team has always made me feel like I am getting the best representation out there no matter my needs.”


Nathan said this “I’m extremely proud of the services our firm as provided to the community over the last 10 years. I want to thank our clients and supporters for believing in us and trusting in our expertise. I look forward to continuing to help more people in the coming years.”

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Six-Figure Payment Received Due to Bicycle Accident Injuries

Recently, Painter and Associates helped a client recover a significant six-figure award for damages suffered in a bicycle accident.  

Our client was hit on his bicycle while at The Ohio State University campus.  The client suffered extreme breaks to his wrist requiring the insertion of 27 pins and two surgeries to repair the damage. 

Painter & Associates was able to recover the full amount of the damages under the at-fault party's insurance policy.  

If you or a loved one has been involved in a bicycle or motor accident, please contact Painter & Associates for your personal injury needs.

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Bicycle Accident Causes Medical Bills

 Recently, Painter & Associates was able to recover a substantial damage award for a client injured in a bicycle accident.  

The client suffered an injury to his elbow requiring surgery.  Initially, the at-fault party's insurance refused to offer an amount that would have covered the client's medical liens let alone any physical and mental damages the client suffered. 

After significant negotiations, Painter & Associates was able to recover damages from the insurance company in the high five figure amount while at the same time negotiating down significantly the client's medical liens allowing the client to have substantially more money in his pocket than he would have received otherwise.

Please contact Painter & Associates for your personal injury needs.

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UPDATE ON THE “CORONAVIRUS AID, RELIEF AND ECONOMIC SECURITY ACT” OR “CARES ACT”

Just after midnight this morning, the Senate passed the CARES ACT to provide relief to individuals and businesses.  This briefing is focused on the proposed relief to individuals and small businesses. This update is also subject to change as the U.S. House of Representatives is not scheduled to vote on this matter until Friday, March 27, 2020.

Individuals:

  • Provides recovery rebates in form of tax credits to prior returns to individuals up to $1,200 ($2,400 in case of eligible individuals filing joint returns). 
  • Provides a tax credit of $500 per child.

  • The amount of credit allowed above is reduced by 5% of so much of the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income as exceeds $150,000 joint returns; $112,500 in case of head of household; and $75,000 for individuals. See the Chart below from the Tax Foundation:



Small Business:

  • Provides $350 billion in monies for loans for small businesses. This will be administered through the Small Business Association and its authorized lenders. 
  • Small businesses can apply for low-interest loans that cover up to two-and-a-half months of payroll expenses, including salaries, sick leave, and other compensation benefits. The maximum loan amount is $10 million. The loans can cover payroll, rent, utilities, or existing debt obligations. Interest rates on these loans can’t exceed 4%.(a)
  • If an employer continues to pay workers through June, the amount of the loans that went toward eligible costs would be forgiven. That means they’d essentially be grants to small businesses. Eligible costs for forgiveness include payroll costs for employees earning up to $100,000 annually, rent (b) or mortgage payments, and utilities. The amount forgiven would be scaled back if an employer lays off workers or reduces their pay.

  • Employer side of payroll taxes may be deferred, with one-half  (½) of the deferred amount due by December 31, 2021 and the other one-half (½) deferred until December 31, 2022. (c)

(a) A loan made under the SBA’s Disaster Loan Program on or after January 31, 2020, may be refinanced as part of a covered loan under this new program as soon as these new loans are made available. The CARES Act specifically allows SBA Disaster Loan recipients with economic injury disaster loans made since January 31, 2020 for purposes other than the permitted loan uses under this program to receive assistance under this program. 

(b) Rent has to be obligated under a leasing agreement in force before February 15, 2020. 

(c) Current language states that an employer shall not be eligible for deferment of payroll taxes if the employer has loans forgiven from the SBA for wages, rent, etc. 




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Use Caution When Looking at Do-It-Yourself Wills

Be careful! With the COVID19 pandemic, we are seeing many entities advertise do-it-yourself wills and other estate planning to be done at home and without an attorney. This is nothing more than advertisers trying to make a quick buck while setting you up to have your estate planning frustrated by poorly and incorrectly worded documents and improperly executed wills and other estate planning documents.


What you need to know to properly execute your Last Will and Testament in Ohio is that a handwritten or typed will must be signed by the testator and by at least two disinterested witnesses. A testator is the person whose will is being signed. If the testator is unable to sign the will but is competent, the testator may expressly direct another person to sign the will in the testator’s conscious presence.


Oral wills are permitted in Ohio when made in the last sickness. They are only valid with respect to personal property and the will must be reduced to writing and signed by two disinterested witnesses within 10 days of the testator speaking the testamentary words.

A holographic will is a will that is entirely written and signed by the testator. A self-proving or self-authenticating will is a will with a notarized statement that states the will is true and authentic. These types of wills are not valid in Ohio because they are not signed by at least two disinterested witnesses.


Contact us at (614) 319-3306 to ensure you have a properly executed estate plan.

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A Letter Regarding The Current Health & Economic Situation in the U.S.

Dear Friends, 
Now is not the time to be delusional nor a time put our heads in the sand.  Rather it is time to sober up and face reality. 

The fact of the matter is this:  the health and economic situation that the United State and the World is facing is bleak.  

Economically, we are not going to experience a "V"-shape recovery that some experts want to grasp in their denial of reality. 

This is a long, slow painful recovery that we face. This is a potential Depression. This is not the financial crisis of 2008-11 which was primarily a breakdown in the financial and liquidity markets.  Rather, this is a sudden, forceful and violent stop of the economy.  Like a fast moving car hitting an old oak tree.

Coming out of 2008-11 economic activity still took place; today and going into the future we are seeing large and potentially larger full cessation of economic activity across many industries and geographical locations. Our friends and neighbors will face unemployment, foreclosures and bankruptcies. 

Businesses will close or retract; many will not reopen. Value is being destroyed as I write these words. But we will all get through this.  But to do so, you need to take action and more importantly our government leaders need to take action.

What we need is cash. We do not need regulations that free up more sign space for restaurants as I have seen some locations do.  More room for business to put up signs that say "Sorry, we are closed" does not help.

On behalf of our clients, I call on state and local governments and agencies (RITA) to stop and defer the collection of taxes for 90 days just as the federal government has done.   

I encourage the federal and state governments to direct payments of cash to all taxpayers making less than $500,000 of at least $5,000 per adult and $2,500 per child total.

Moving forward, all rent expenses paid by business should be 100% deductible for businesses in 2020. Rent is one of the largest expenses that businesses pay outside of wages; fully deducting rents in turn frees that money up to pay wages.

Further, business should be able to fully deduct certain capital expenses and not have to depreciate them over time.  Again, this will free up monies to protect investments that business owners have made while freeing up cash for their employees. 

On the local level, officials can suspend the collection of fees for utilities and trash pickup. These are just some immediate actions our leaders must take at ALL levels of government to the extent that it is within their province to do so.

We will get through this, but it will be hard and arduous. I have helped many clients in 2008-2011 get through those years in a variety of ways.  We are here to help once again, and we will.

But the economy is in triage. The economy needs to be stabilized and I call on government officials to take the steps above to infuse liquidity and cash immediately into the economy.

Thank you-
Nathan Painter

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Important Announcement from Ohio Job & Family Services

This is an important announcement from ODJFS that we wanted to share with our clients:

All Ohio employers planning a mass layoff or shutdown due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic should provide the following mass-layoff number – 2000180 – and the second link below to an instructional sheet to their employees to speed the processing of unemployment benefits.


COVID-19-affected claimants with otherwise valid applications for unemployment will be awarded benefits. While claimants must still meet the weekly requirements that they be able and available for work, the requirement that they actively search for work while receiving benefits has been waived.


COVID-19-affected contributory employers will receive regular monthly charge statements, but these charges will be charged to the mutual account and not the employer’s account.


Reimbursing employers will follow existing charging requirements under Ohio Revised Code Chapter 4141.


For more information, please see the press release at the following link:
Press Release: http://jfs.ohio.gov/RELEASES/pdf/031620-ODJFS-Provides-COVID-Number.stm

Instructional Sheet: https://www.odjfs.state.oh.us/forms/num/JFS00671

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Nathan D. Painter founded Painter & Associates to provide legal services he believes every client deserves: access to large-firm experience and talent with a highly personalized approach that keeps each client’s individual legal needs top of mind.


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