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Painter and Associates Blog

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Individualized Education Plans

What is an Individualized Education Plan?

Federal law requires Individualized Education Plans (IEP) for special education.  An IEP ensures that children with disabilities aren’t grouped into a single form of education. The law recognizes that different disabilities require different educational programs. 

To qualify for special education services, a student must have a disability that presents unreasonable challenges at school.  Once the child’s eligibility is established, the school must hold an IEP meeting to develop the plan. The IEP is generally developed by a team of professionals such as teachers, therapists and school administrators, as well as the parents of the child. 

The IEP is a legally binding document that spells out exactly what special education services the child will receive and why. The school can’t force the parents or the child to accept a plan that they don’t believe will be helpful or in the child’s best interest. 

The IEP process can be an overwhelming time for any parent. There is so much new information to take in as you begin to learn more and more about special education services and how they can best benefit the child.  

It can be beneficial for a parent to employ a lawyer during this process so that they feel confident in understanding the process, ask the right questions, know what they are signing and that the plan formulated meets the child’s every educational need.

In developing, enforcing and modifying an IEP, teachers and parents are sometimes at odds. Dispute resolution is an option, including mediation and a due process hearing if you disagree with any aspect of the IEP. You also have a right to an appeal hearing if you are still not satisfied with the outcome.

At Painter & Westfall, our aim is to do everything in our power to make sure that the child’s needs are met and in turn that parents feel a sense of relief, satisfaction and closure regarding the child’s services.

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Nathan Painter Named 40 Under 40

 

Nathan Painter is proud to be named to Columbus Business First's 2014 class of  Forty Under 40 recipients.  The honorees were chosen from a field of more than 240 applicants. They'll celebrate their accomplishment with friends and family at a gala May 29 at Hollywood Casino Columbus.   To see the full list of recipients click here.

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Estate Planning and Celebrities

Estate Planning Lessons Learned From Celebrities

One would think that celebrities would have all of their estate plans organized and updated, but even the rich and famous make mistakes.  We recently enjoyed reading the multiple examples of how even celebritites make legal errors on the blog Trials & Heirs. Authors, Danielle and Andy Mayoras, have explored this topic extensively and have even written a book.  It doesn't matter what types of assets you have as no one wants their family fighting after their death. Check out their latest post and let us know what you think:

Oscar Winners Teach Five Lessons on Estate Planning

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Start Your Estate Planning

Still don’t have an estate plan?

With the new year, it’s time to begin planning for your loved ones should something happen to you. We have reviewed why estate plans are for everyone in an earlier post

As a reminder, an estate plan may include one or all of the following depending on your needs:

- A will

In a will, you state who you want to inherit your property and name a guardian for your young children should something happen to both parents.

- Assignment of power of attorney

With a power of attorney, you can give a trust person authority to handle your finances and property if you become incapacitated and unable to handle your own affairs. 

- A living will or health-care proxy (medical power of attorney)

Writing out your wishes for health care can protect you if you become unable to make medical decisions for yourself. 

- A trust

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.

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. 

Next decide what you want to achieve with those assets and who should inherit them.  This is also a great time to think about the person that would the best to handle your business affairs should something happen to you. Many people assign this duty to a spouse or an outside financial or legal advisor who can act as a neutral third party. 

Then it is time to meet with a trusted estate lawyer who can prepare all the necessary legal documents and help you think through the best scenarios for all of your assets including protecting you and your heirs from heavy tax fees. 

The most important step is to discuss your plans with your heirs. This is the best way for everyone to understand your goals and intentions so there will be less chance for confusion and arguing when you are gone. 

Finally, don’t forget to have your estate plan updated should there be a change in your financial situation, marital status, addition of children, etc.  Your lawyer will act as your legal partner to make sure all documents needed are also up to date with the latest state and federal laws. 

For more in-depth information about estate planning, contact one of our experienced attorneys.

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Understanding the Basics of Child Support

Child support can be a difficult but necessary option when there are children involved during a divorce.  Child support ensures that dependents of a divorced couple are taken care of monetarily for their education, clothing, health and various other needs.  

Child support is calculated according to a formula built into state law.  The formula combines the father’s and mother’s gross income minus certain allowable deductions.  The deductions are determined based on additional children from other marriages, spousal support, and other factors.

Child support continues until the child is 18 years old or graduates from high school, whichever is later. Special rules apply to handicapped children who will not be self-sufficient by the age of 18. Support can be modified if the circumstances surrounding the initial court order have changed. New documentation must be supplied to the court and a new proceeding will be held.

If a person fails to make their child support payments as ordered, they can be found in contempt of court. They may be ordered to pay the costs of the contempt hearing, including attorney fees and can be ordered to jail under certain circumstances.

There are many online calculators that will help you estimate the potential cost of child support. However, the court ultimately has the final authority to determine the amount of child support awarded.  It is paramount that you access an experienced lawyer that can help you understand the court system and make sure your rights are adequately represented. 

If you have any questions about child support, please contact us at 614-319-3306.

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Internet Car Services Offer Convenience and Liabilities

Internet Car Services Offer Convenience and Liabilities

As internet car services gain popularity around the country, users should be aware of potential liabilities with drivers that have signed up for the service.  Internet car services provide smart phone apps that connect car owners with people looking for a ride.  Some of these internet car service providers don’t consider the drivers as employees, which can become a problem should you be involved in an accident. The individual driver’s car insurance would then be the one to pay the expenses from an accident, but how would you know if the liability insurance is high enough to cover all of the damages?  The ABA Journal has just posted a great article citing the potential problems and some recent law suits in “Internet Car Service Companies Offer Convenience, But Lawyers See Caution Signs.” 

Uber has recently launched in Columbus, but is currently only offering their black car service which employs only limousine and livery drivers which are licensed by the city.  As these services continue to grow, however, Painter and Westfall thought it was important to bring to light the potential issues. 

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Nathan Painter Named "Rising Star" by Super Lawyers.

Painter Named "Rising Star" by Super Lawyers.

Nathan Painter is proud to be selected to the 2014 Ohio Rising Stars list, an honor reserved for those lawyers who exhibit excellence in practice. He also was named to the list in 2011 and 2012. Super Lawyers selects attorneys using a patented multiphase selection process. Peer nominations and evaluations are combined with third party research. Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. Selections are made on an annual, state-by-state basis.

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Personal Injury Suit Pays Medical Bills and Lost Wages

Personal Injury Suit Pays Medical Bills and Lost Wages

An automobile accident can turn your life upside down. Your injuries could affect your ability to do your job as well as cost you thousands in medical bills.  You have the right to seek compensation for the serious losses you have experienced through a personal injury case that holds at-fault parties responsible for their actions.

Painter and Westfall represented a garbage truck driver who was injured while doing his job. The plaintiff, M. Kent*, (names changed to protect identities) lawfully stopped the garbage truck he was working on, exited the vehicle and attempted to cross the road.  At the same time, defendant, G. Smith*, negligently and recklessly crossed a double-yellow line while attempting to pass Kent’s stopped truck.  Kent was unable to avoid being struck and was injured as a result. Smith was cited by the police for his driving misconduct. 

Kent suffered from his numerous injuries as well as lost income from work and high medical bills.  Painter and Westfall was able to file a personal injury suit and Kent was ultimately awarded a six-figure settlement from the accident to cover his medical bills, pain and suffering.

If you have been injured in an automobile accident, contact Painter & Westfall today to learn how we can help you recover lost wages as well as help pay for medical expenses.

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Breach of Contract Almost Ruins Wedding Day

Breach of Contract Almost Ruins Wedding Day

You might think that breaches of contracts only affect businesses, but they can also affect individuals. A contract is an agreement between two or more parties for the doing of something specified. Contracts are agreements enforceable by law, so if you have run into a problem with a contract, contact a lawyer to learn how your rights can be defended.

Painter & Westfall recently represented a couple whose wedding day was ruined due to a facility double-booking their banquet hall.  The couple had signed a lease agreement and put in a deposit a year before their wedding to reserve the facility to use for their wedding reception.  Despite visiting the facility and speaking with the facility manager multiple times throughout the year leading up to the wedding date, no indication was made to the bride or groom that the reception hall had already been reserved by another party for that same date. 

Unfortunately, less than a week before the wedding, the facility manager admitted to the bride that there was another contract on the reception hall and ultimately it was decided that the other contract had been submitted prior to the bride and groom’s contract.  The couple then had to rush to find another acceptable facility to use for their wedding reception.  

As you might imagine, this was a very stressful event. The couple incurred additional costs in transferring the venue of their wedding reception to a new location. The couple paid for these costs out of funds designated for their honeymoon, so they were unable to fully enjoy their honeymoon as a result. 

Painter & Westfall sued the reception hall and facility manager for breach of contract.  The couple was awarded a five-figure settlement in response to the pain and distress that the last minute change of venue caused in what should have been a very special day for them. 

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Homestead Exemption Law Allows Seniors to Save Money

Homestead Exemption Law Allows Seniors to Save on Property Taxes

If you are age 65 or older, don’t miss your opportunity to be grandfathered in to the homestead exemption law to save money every year on your property taxes. 

The homestead exemption, which began in 2007, provides a savings on property tax to senior citizens and permanently and totally disabled Ohioans. The exemption, which takes the form of a credit on property tax bills, allows qualifying homeowners to exempt $25,000 of the market value of their home from all local property taxes. For example, through the homestead exemption, a home with a market value of $125,000 would be billed as if it is worth $100,000.

In June 2013, Governor Kasich signed a new law that the homestead exemption on real estate property taxes will revert to a means-based test. Basically, it will be determined based on a person’s annual income.  Beginning in 2014, if your income exceeds $30,000 you can’t apply for this benefit, however if you apply before the law takes effect, you will NOT lose your exemption due to a high income level.

Therefore a great opportunity exists to apply for the homestead exemption before the change in the new law. You should submit this application as soon as possible to your County Auditor in order to receive the exemption under the current law and be “grandfathered” going forward. 

All Ohio homeowners must meet the following criteria to apply for the homestead exemption:

- Own and occupy a home in Ohio as your principal place of residents on January 1, 2013 AND

- Are 65 years of age by December 31, 2013, OR

- Are certified totally and permanently disabled as of January 1, 2013, OR

- The surviving spouse of a qualified homeowner who was at least 59 years old at the date of the spouse’s death.

Talk to your lawyer to learn more about the homestead exemption and see if you qualify. They will be able to walk you through the application criteria and assist with applying for this tax credit. This is a wonderful opportunity to save money every year on your property taxes!

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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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