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Painter and Associates Blog

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Farmers, Start Planning Now to Defend Against Estate Taxes

With debate continuing over current plans for tax reform, an old nemesis for farmers is also being debated:  The Estate Tax.  

Farmers operate under a unique and challenging set of circumstances unlike those of any other industry.  The Estate Tax is one of those factors that makes operating a farm, and passing it on to younger generations, such a challenge.  Under the current tax code, and as farmers are land rich and cash poor, the Estate Tax may force a family to sell certain assets (land and equipment) to have cash in order to pay the Estate Tax bill so the next generation can continue the farm.  Over time, this unfairly penalizes farmers for their hard work and puts unnecessary pressure on future generations.

In order to avoid the Estate Tax and other taxes, farmers should look into estate planning devices to prevent or lessen the burden that a death of a loved one or business partner may have on a farming operation.  Such estate planning devices include trusts, life insurance, and gifting of assets to others.

In addition, farmers should consult an attorney and an accountant about using pass-through business entities, such as a Limited Liability Company, so that operations can continue uninterrupted and assets protected from liability and, potentially, Estate Taxes.  

Painter & Associates, with attorneys that come from an agricultural background, understand the unique needs of farmers and their families.  We can assist your family or business to preserve and pass on your farm, and all your hard work, to succeeding generations or business partners.

Also, Painter & Associates urges Congress to reduce the individual tax rate for those farmers, continue to allow farmers to use cash-accounting, keep step-up in basis on assets after death, immediate expensing, business interest expense deduction and decreases to the capital gains tax.

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November is National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month and Painter & Associates is dedicated to increasing awareness about the need for permanent families for children and youth in the foster care system.  This year’s theme, “Teens Need Families, No Matter What,” focuses on the adoption of teenagers in foster care and the importance of building a strong support system for the teenagers and prospective adoptive families.

All children, not just infants, need a home and teenagers are no different.  And YOU CAN make a difference in a teenager’s life. By adopting a teenager, you can help a child move on in life; provide a stable, structured and loving home; and help prepare a member of society for adulthood.  And most importantly, to give and receive love.

Teenagers are hard.  But Teenagers also: sleep through the night; are ready to move out sooner than infants; no formula or diapers necessary;  they can mow the lawn, take out the trash and clean the bathroom; keep you up to date new fashion and music trends; and drive down the street sooner to pick up milk.

The Ohio Adoption Photolisting Website (http://adoptionphotolistingohio.org/resources.php) provides a list of events and resources available to youth and prospective adoptive families throughout Ohio.  Additional resources are also available through the Children’s Bureau, a division within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/adoption/nam/families-youth/).  

We all need someone to share our life, dreams, achievements and special days with.  If you are interested in adoption, please consider adoption from the foster system.  In Ohio there are more than 12,500 children in foster care on any given day and more than 2,500 children are in the permanent custody of children services and awaiting adoption.

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Are You Prepared with a Health Care Power of Attorney?

The Ohio Health Care Power of Attorney is a document that allows you to grant an agent (most often a family member or a close friend) full power and authority to make healthcare decisions for you in the event you become incapable of giving informed consent yourself.  Your agent is required to make decisions that are consistent with your wishes. However, there are five limitations to the decisions your agent can make.  Your agent cannot:

 

  1. Withdrawal treatment that you previously consented to unless your condition has changed;

  2. Withdrawal treatment intended to provide you with comfort care or to relieve pain;

  3. Withdrawal life-sustaining treatment unless two physicians confirm that you are in a terminal condition or permanently unconscious, and there is no reasonable possibility that you will regain the ability to make decisions;

  4. Withdrawal artificial or technological nutrition or hydration unless you are terminally ill or permanently unconscious and two physicians agreed that nutrition and/or hydration will no longer provide comfort or the relief of pain; and

  5. Withdrawal or refuse informed consent to health care if you are pregnant, if the withdrawal or refusal would end your pregnancy, unless the pregnancy or health care would create a substantial risk to your life or two physicians determine that the fetus would not be born alive.  

At Painter & Associates, we can answer your questions, address your concerns, and work with you to complete a Health Care Power of Attorney document that meets your needs.  

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Why An Employment Offer Letter is Necessary

Recently, Harvard Business Review published an article analyzing mismatches in offers of employment and the actual responsibilities and scope for which the person was hired[1]  The authors found that one of the reasons mismatches occur and lead to disappointment for both the employer and new employee is that the actual job responsibilities do not match how the employer described the position.  The authors recommended that one of the means to improve results for both the employer and prospective employee is to make sure that the prospective employee and employer are truly on the same page as to the responsibilities and functions of the position for which the prospective employee is considering.

In order to avoid such misunderstanding, protect yourself or business, and avoid any potential legal liability is to have an employment offer letter issued by the business to the prospective employee.  Once a mutual understanding is reached by the parties and set forth in the employment offer letter, both parties should sign the letter.

 

A good employment offer letter covers the following points as outlined by Richard Harroch in Forbes Magazine:

  • The particular job offer
  • The responsibilities of the job
  • The salary and the benefits
  • That the employment is “at will," meaning the employee can quit or the employer can terminate him or her at any time
  • That the employee is required to sign a Confidentiality and Invention Assignment Agreement
  • That the letter constitutes the entire agreement of the parties, and can only be amended in the future in writing, signed by the employer and the employee
  • That any disputes will be handled exclusively by confidential binding arbitration.

Painter & Associates has the experience to assist both businesses and prospective employees to develop an employment offer letter that will provide the best opportunity for a hiring decision to be successful.

[1] Morgan, Neil and Whitler, Kimberly Why CMOs Never Last. Harvard Business Review July-August 2017.

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Advance Health Care Directives and Estate Plans

Most clients that contact our office for estate planning services ask about a Last Will and Testament or a Trust.  But Advance Health Care Directives are just as important to your estate plan.  Who makes your health care decisions for you if you are unable to communicate your wishes?  How will your family and health care providers know what health care decisions you want made on your behalf?

In Ohio, there are four advance health care directives that should be considered with your estate plan.  They are:

  1. Ohio Health Care Power of Attorney
  2. Ohio Living Will Declaration
  3. Ohio Donor Registry Enrollment
  4. Ohio Do Not Resuscitate Order

It can be difficult to start thinking about decisions that will need to be made concerning your own health care issues.  It can be next to impossible to then share those decisions with your family.  At Painter & Associates, we have those difficult conversations with you, we work through various scenarios with you, and we assist you in drafting advance health care directives that are specific to your needs and wishes.

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Don't Take Their Word. Get It In Writing.

"Get it in writing.” It is a practice that must be started, a habit that must be formed if you are going to be a successful business person.  Too many times, clients come into our offices with a multitude of problems that could have been avoided simply by having an agreement in writing.  Problems that now will costs thousands of dollars to resolve or litigate could have been avoided by taking the time and investing a small amount of money to have a contract drafted.  And, more importantly, good customers, whether another business or member of the general public, will expect you to have written contracts as they demonstrate professionalism and clarity.

 

Recently Forbes Magazine* set forth the 10 essential contracts for small and growing businesses:  

  1. Employment offer letters
  2. Confidentiality & Invention Assignment Agreements
  3. Service Contracts
  4. Confidentiality Agreements
  5. Web site Term of USe Agreement
  6. Stock Purchase Agreements
  7. Leases
  8. Loan Agreements
  9. Letters of Intent
  10. Sales contracts

 

At Painter & Associates, we have the ability to assist you to draft these types of contracts for your business needs at a reasonable rate.  And it is an investment that could save you and your business thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of time by avoiding the simple mistake of “taking their word” for something.



*Harroch, Richard 10 Essential Contracts For Small And Growing Businesses.  Forbes Magazine Feb. 3, 2016

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Accident Victim Needing Second Knee Replacement Gets Settlement

Imagine having knee replacement surgery only to get in an accident 5 months later.  Painter & Associates recently represented a 70-year old woman who needed to have her original knee replacement taken out and a new one put in due to an accident.  We were able to show significant loss in quality in life due to the second surgery and additional recovery time. Painter and Associates was able to navigate the client through the complicated insurance system and negotiate a settlement worth north of six figures. 

If you have been in an accident, we strongly suggest that you speak to a qualified attorney in order to have the insurance company offer fair compensation.

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Painter Named Central Ohio Top Lawyer

Congratulations are in order for Nathan Painter who was named a central Ohio Top Lawyer as determined by AVVO and published in the April 2016 edition of Columbus CEO magazine

"I'm honored to be recognized in central Ohio and be listed among this elite group," said Nathan.  Nathan's hardwork, determination and experience has given his clients a top legal resource with a personable approach.  The entire firm looks forward to helping even more of the central Ohio community.

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Painter & Associates Has New Name

Painter & Westfall, LLC has announced that Elizabeth Westfall will be leaving the firm at the end of 2015 to pursue other interests. The new firm name will be Painter & Associates, LLC.

Painter & Associates will continue to operate business as usual in the same location. Our experienced team consisting of Nathan Painter, Amanda Waltz, Rebecca Muncy Brooks and Adam Crowell will continue to service our clients with the highest level of expertise and professionalism.

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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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