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Cincinnati Business and Commercial Litigation Legal Blog

Don't forget your student loan debt in your estate planning

As the cost of higher education increases, so does the amount of student loan debt held by Americans. Some people are paying off their student loans even after they've retired. Others are still paying off loans they've taken out for their children.

As you're doing your estate planning, it's essential not to forget your student loan debt and to find out what happens to it after you pass away. This will save your loved ones the time and stress of determining what to do about it.

Tips for preparing employees for a merger

A merger of companies does not have to be overwhelming for your employees, especially if you know the proper way to handle such a situation. Mergers often come with a reduction in staff, especially if the two companies have similar departments. Let's explore some tips for preparing your employees for a merger.

An open line of communication is vital to a successful merger. Notify all of your employees of your intentions before discussions with the other company get too serious. Allow your employees plenty of time to process the news and even look for employment elsewhere, if they so choose. The more often you communicate with them, the more likely your employees will be to accept the merger.

What should you include in your LLC operating agreement?

Starting a business is an exciting endeavor. You may have decided to start a limited liability company for the many benefits that this type of structure offers. Of course, you still have a long way to go before you feel as if your company is fully on stable ground to get matters moving forward.

In particular, you may have reached a point at which you need to focus on your LLC operating agreement. This agreement will detail how your company will operate, along with other important details, such as the percentage of ownership for any co-owners and the share of profits and losses for each owner. Though some basic information for LLC operating agreements applies in most cases, you will want to ensure that your agreement complies with Ohio law.

Seek guidance when choosing a structure for your business

Consider the following scenario: You have been working on a new Ohio business for some time. You have researched many different aspects of your business from making sure you have customers to choosing the right location for your office. You feel ready to put your plan into place until you discover that you have to decide how to structure your new enterprise.

We have seen the scenario above play out many times. The truth is, many inexperienced individuals do not know that they have several structures to choose during business formation. When they find out that they have an entirely unexpected yet critically important new decision to make, it can lead to further delays. For the record, the following list contains common structures for new businesses.

  • Limited Liability Companies (LLCs)
  • Sole Proprietorships
  • Partnerships and Limited Partnerships
  • Corporations
  • Co-Ops
  • Nonprofits

What Ohio employers need to know about medical marijuana use

It's legal for people to use "medical marijuana" in Ohio as long as they participate in the state medical marijuana program and have a valid prescription card. However, does that mean that employers can't terminate people or decline to hire them if they test positive for the drug?

In many professions, it doesn't matter that someone uses marijuana outside of work as long it doesn't negatively affect their performance or behavior at work. However, in other professions, it can be dangerous -- for the marijuana user and for others. One example is the construction industry.

Aretha Franklin's family still fighting for control of her estate

When people with considerable assets and complicated families pass away without an estate plan in place, loved ones and others often engage in expensive, lengthy, contentious legal battles. That's probably not what the deceased person would have wanted. Unfortunately, people don't want to think about their ultimate passing, so they don't take steps that would help avoid these disputes.

One of Aretha Franklin's sons is in a court battle with her niece, who is the representative (executor) of her estate. At stake is control of the R&B icon's assets and legacy.

Cleveland fire captains allege discrimination, retaliation

Employers can make discrimination complaints by employees worse by penalizing those employees. That's what Cleveland's Emergency Medical Services (EMS) commissioner is accused of doing according to a lawsuit filed by five EMS captains. The captains, all of whom are African American, are also suing the city for discrimination and retaliation.

The discrimination, according to the plaintiffs, centered around shift assignments. Since EMS receives calls 24-7 every day of the year, shift assignments are important. Employees bid on assignments annually, and whether they get their chosen assignments is supposed to be determined by their seniority. The plaintiffs say that they were denied preferred days and shifts because of their race and/or gender after they'd gotten those shifts.

Why your estate planning should begin when you're a young adult

Many people don't begin to think about estate planning until they're nearing -- or already in -- retirement. However, younger adults are starting to see the advantages of at least beginning to build an estate plan. According to a survey by, about a third of adults in their mid-30s to mid-40s have drafted a will.

By putting in place just the documents you currently need at a young age, you can begin doing some planning for what you want to happen to you and your assets if you pass away or become incapacitated.

Understanding the basics of a limited liability company

Starting a business is an exciting time for an Ohio entrepreneur. Maybe you dreamed for years about launching your own company and working for yourself, but there is much more involved with this process than just having a dream and a company Facebook page. There are certain steps you will have to take and decisions you will have to make. 

One of the choices that you will have to make is deciding what type of company you will want to have. There are various types of business structures, and choosing the right one is important. This choice will impact how your company will operate and the way you will have to pay taxes. You will find it beneficial to do your research and be familiar with the implications of each option.

Addressing resignation and termination in employment contracts

As a business owner, you likely have a workforce comprised largely of people who don't have employment contracts. These are considered "at will" employees.

However, you may need to hire some experienced people with valued executive or technical skills that your company requires. To induce them to leave their current employer to take a job with you, you may need to guarantee certain things to them in an employment contract.

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