Akron Probate Lawyer 
Ron Koehler

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Do you have an old trust?

Posted by ronkoehler on May 16, 2019 at 2:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Sometimes I get a call from a new client, who years ago purchased a Revocable Living Trust, but can't get a hold of the attorney who prepared it, to review and make any necessary changes. It is a good idea to have your trust reviewed, to make sure it will accomplish what you want, and to make sure that it won't leave undesirable results. An example of undesirable results is the situation where an AB trust was created back when the federal estate tax laws were very different. Twenty years ago the exemption amount was only $650,000, and many AB trusts were created for couples to take advantage of the tax exemption for a surviving spouse to save money on estate taxes. This was done by providing that, upon the death of either the husband or wife, the trust would be split into a family trust (trust B) for the children in the exemption amount, and a marital trust (trust A) for the surviving spouse for the amount in excess of the exemption amount. But since then, the exempt amount on federal estate taxes has gone to $11,400,000! This means that, if you don't modify your trust, most surviving spouses are going to find out that their marital trust has no assets, because all the assets go to the family trust. The solution is to amend the trust, but that must be done before the husband or wife dies, since often the trust becomes irrevocable at that time.

Working with Siblings to Plan Care for Parents

Posted by ronkoehler on August 14, 2013 at 6:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Communication is the key to succeeding in getting all to cooperate in providing care for elderly parents.  Here is an excellent article on how to do it. http://www.care.com/senior-care-negotiating-senior-caregiving-with-siblings-p1017-q19670135.html

The financial durable power of attorney

Posted by ronkoehler on June 25, 2013 at 8:40 PM Comments comments (0)

I once knew a couple named Tony and Tina (names have been changed) who were my clients.  They had reached the point in their lives where they wanted to downsize.  The kids were grown and on their own, and the big house with the big lawn that had to be mowed was more of a hassle than they wanted.  They looked around and found a condominium that was a perfect fit: all on one level (Tony's knees didn't like stairs), no yard to mow, and a guest  bedroom for visits from the grandchildren.  Because of the real estate market, the condo was a bargain, and better yet, a young couple soon made an offer to purchase the old family home.  When the young couple couldn't get financing, Tony and Tina agreed to sell the old house to them by a land contract.

Unfortunately, before they could sign the land contract for the old house, or close on the purchase of the condo, Tony had a stroke.  As a result, he was left unable to talk, and unable to sign his name.  How could they sign the land contract and close on the purchase of their condo?  Well, if Tony and Tina hadn't had the foresight to have their attorney draft Financial Durable Powers of Attorney, they would have had an expensive legal mess on their hands.  Tina would have had to file an application in Probate Court to be appointed Tony's legal guardian, and then would have had to file a Civil Land Sale, to get the court's permission to sell the old family house.  She would have had to keep Tony's income seperate from hers, and would have had to get Probate Court's permission to spend Tony's money, even to help pay for utilities and groceries.

But by spending $100.00 to have Power of Attorney forms created, Tina was able to complete both real estate transactions, signing the necessary paperwork as Tony's attorney-in-fact.  The Power of Attorney forms authorized Tina to act on Tony's behalf.  No guardianship was necessary.

If you are married, you and your spouse should seriously consider executing Power of Attorney forms appointing each other.  Yes, there are times when this is not recommended, such as when one spouse can't be trusted as a result of drug abuse, or a gambling problem.  If you are a single person, and you have somebody you really trust, you should consider naming that person on your Power of Attorney.  The person named in the Power of Attorney has a legal obligation to do only what is in the best interests of the person who has appointed them.  And if circumstances changes, the person who has signed the Power of Attorney can revoke it.

For more in formation of the Financial Durable Power of Attorney, call Ron Koehler.

A Christmas Story

Posted by ronkoehler on December 24, 2012 at 9:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Whereas, on or about the night prior to Christmas, there did occur at a certain improved piece of real property (hereinafter "the House") a general lack of stirring by all creatures therein, including, but not limited to, a mouse.


A variety of foot apparel, e.g. stocking, socks, etc., had been affixed by and around the chimney in said House in the hope and/or belief that St. Nick -- a.k.a. St. Nicholas, a.k.a. Santa Claus -- (hereinafter "Claus") would arrive at sometime thereafter. The minor residents, i.e. the children, of the aforementioned House were located in their individual beds and were engaged in nocturnal hallucinations, i.e. dreams, wherein vision of confectionery treats, including, but not limited to, candies, nuts and/or sugar plums, did dance, cavort and otherwise appear in said dreams.


Whereupon the party of the first part (sometimes hereinafter referred to as "I"), being the joint owner in fee simple of the House with the parts of the second part (hereinafter "Mamma"), and said Mamma had retired for a sustained period of sleep. (At such time, the parties were clad in various forms of headgear, e.g. kerchief and cap.)


Suddenly, and without prior notice or warning, there did occur upon the unimproved real property adjacent and appurtenant to said House, i.e. the lawn, a certain disruption of unknown nature, cause and/or circumstance. The party of the first part did immediately rush to a window in the House to investigate the cause of such disturbance. At that time, the party of the first part did observe, with some degree of wonder and/or disbelief, a miniature sleigh (hereinafter "the Vehicle") being pulled and/or drawn very rapidly through the air by approximately eight (8) reindeer. The driver of the Vehicle appeared to be and in fact was, the previously referenced Claus. Said Claus was providing specific direction, instruction and guidance to the approximately eight (8) reindeer and specifically identified the animal co-conspirators by name: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen (hereinafter "the Deer"). (Upon information and belief, it is further asserted that an additional co-conspirator named "Rudolph" may have been involved.)


The party of the first part witnessed Claus, the Vehicle and the Deer intentionally and willfully trespass upon the roofs of several residences located adjacent to and in the vicinity of the House, and noted that the Vehicle was heavily laden with packages, toys and other items of unknown origin or nature. Suddenly, without prior invitation or permission, either express or implied, the Vehicle arrived at the House, and Claus entered said House via the chimney. Said Claus was clad in a red fur suit, which was partially covered with residue from the chimney, and he carried a large sack containing a portion of the aforementioned packages, toys and other unknown items. He was smoking what appeared to be tobacco in a small pipe in blatant violation of local ordinances and health regulations.


Claus did not speak, but immediately began to fill the stocking of the minor children, which hung adjacent to the chimney, with toys and other small gifts. (Said items did not, however, constitute "gifts" to said minor pursuant to the applicable provisions of the U.S. Tax Code.) Upon completion of such task, Claus touched the side of his nose and flew, rose and/or ascended up the chimney of the House to the roof where the Vehicle and Deer waited and/or served as "lookouts." Claus immediately departed for an unknown destination.


However, prior to the departure of the Vehicle, Deer and Claus from said House, the party of the first part did hear Claus state and/or excl.. "Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!" Or words to that effect.


Posted by ronkoehler on November 1, 2012 at 8:35 AM Comments comments (0)

An interesting development in Ohio foreclosure law. Banks have been filing foreclosures before they received the assignment of mortgage from the bank they bought the mortgage from. Many judges have wrongly allowed the foreclosures to go forward. I have always argued that the bank lacks standing to sue, and can't get standing to sue retroactively. The Ohio Supreme Court now agrees with me. A unanimous decision.

Click on this link to see the full announcement from the Ohio Supreme Court: http://www.courtnewsohio.gov/cases/2012/SCO/1031/111201_111362.asp#.UJJsCsXR7wB

What is an insolvent estate?

Posted by ronkoehler on August 27, 2012 at 8:50 PM Comments comments (0)

In these difficult economic times, many people have run up a lot of credit card debt, and some have repeatedly re-financed their home cashing out more equity each time, leaving themselves with a house worth less than what is owed on the mortgage. Ohio law provides a mechanism for resolving the estate of a person who owes more than their probate assets are worth. It is called an insolvent estate, and the law allows certain debts to have a higher priority than others. For instance, unsecured credit card debts are the lowest priority. The expense involved in administering the estate and a certain portion of the funeral bill and burial costs have a higher priority. The law also provides something called a family allowance, which means that the surviving spouse and children under age 18 are entitled to up to $40,000 from the estate before any estate assets have to be used to pay lower priority creditors. If a loved one dies with substantial debt, do not make any payments on the debts, especially credit card debt, until the matter has been reviewed by an experienced probate attorney. I have many years experience handling insolvent estates, and can help guide you through the estate administration.

Inexpensive ways to avoid probate!

Posted by ronkoehler on August 2, 2012 at 4:40 PM Comments comments (0)

If you own real estate, there are easy and inexpensive ways to transfer it to your heirs without it going through probate when you die. One way is to have a Joint Survivorship Deed prepared. If you and your spouse aren't sure if you already own the real estate as joint survivors, I can check for you. About half of married couples who own real estate, don't own it as joint survivors.  If you purchased your property before 1972, it was not put in joint survivor form because the law didn't exist then in Ohio.



Another option is available through Ohio's Transfer On Death Designation law, which permits a single person to name a beneficiary who will receive the real estate when that person dies, without going through probate. This law became effective in 2000. In 2009 the law was amended to permit couples who jointly own real estate to name a beneficiary to receive the real estate after they both die.



Call my office at 330-644-3572, and give my secretary your name, phone number, the address of the property, and the year you purchased the property. If you can't find your deed, we can get a copy for you from the county recorder.  Mention you saw this promotion on my web site, and I will prepare and record your joint survivorship deed or transfer on death affidavit for $100 per property (my standard charge is $150, so that is a $50 savings). Please note: the county also charges a $28 recording fee, and a fifty cent per parcel auditor's fee, so the total price will be $128.50 for each property, if you only have one parcel..




If you are visiting this page from my Facebook ad, welcome! Please feel free to click on HOME or ABOUT RON above for more information about me and my law practice, or click on LEGAL SERVICES for information about other estate administration, guardianship and estate planning services I offer.