Johnson & Johnson Law Firm
Legal matters can spring up unexpectedly throughout our lives. Luckily, the attorneys in the Canfield, Ohio law office of Johnson & Johnson provide sound legal guidance to a breadth of individuals, at varying stages of life. Have recent headlines stirred your thoughts about a living will or trust? Are you thinking about buying or selling your home or business property? Have you been approached by a oil and gas company about drilling on your land? At Johnson & Johnson our local attorneys are capable of providing legal assistance to residents throughout Ohio in all matters relating to:
- Estate Planning – creating wills, living wills, revocable trusts, irrevocable trusts, powers of attorney, medicaid planning and other tools.
- Probate – full and partial estate administration, estate inventories, estate valuations and appraisals.
- Real Estate – preparing deeds, purchase and sale agreements, title opinions.
- Business Formation and Organization – Limited Liability Companies (LLC), Partnerships, Corporations, Charitable organizations, litigation.
- Oil and Gas – leases, operating agreements, royalty planning, purchase and sale of mineral rights, litigation.
Johnson & Johnson has been family owned and operated since our founding in 1921. Our attorneys are experienced, and continue to learn as we aim to serve the legal needs of the community, of which we have been a significant part of for more than 90 years. From preparing for a more secure future to the resolution of legal crises that affect you today, a skilled Youngstown, Ohio lawyer will provide your case with the attention and respect it deserves.
What is Asset-Protection Planning? Asset-protection planning is about organizing your affairs so that the risks of possible future claims by third parties are properly managed and minimized. By organizing one’s affairs thoughtfully, a client can significantly reduce exposure to catastrophic claims. Who is a typical asset protection client? The typical asset protection client is a relatively high net-worth individual—oftentimes a business owner or physician—the nature of whose business or profession exposes them to significant, if rare, claims. Will Asset Protection Planning protect me from claims of existing creditors? Generally speaking, no. You cannot shelter assets from the claims of existing creditors and, indeed, transfers to thwart creditor claims can be undone by the courts. (In the context of a bankruptcy filing, however, the Ohio exemptions do protect a certain amount property—such as equity in your residence up $132,900 and equity in a car up to $3,675.) Asset protection planning is, thus, about sheltering that portion of your assets which present claims and obligations would not reach. What will asset protection planning accomplish? By correctly organizing your affairs and using proper asset protection tools, you can protect a meaningful portion of your family’s assets. What are some simple steps that I can take to protect my assets? Maintaining adequate insurance. The first line of asset defense is to carry adequate insurance. At a minimum, insure against catastrophic losses. Consider carrying large polices with high deductibles to keep the costs down. For your house, make sure you have signed up for “replacement cost” homeowners insurance, as opposed to a policy that pays you the fair market value. Again, a high deductible might be wise. Clients might also consider carrying a large “personal umbrella” of liability insurance through the home owner’s policy. Think of umbrella coverage as an extension to whatever other insurances you carry. Segregating assets. Married clients should not maintain assets in joint names. When property is titled jointly, a claim against either spouse may reach the entire assets of the couple. Each spouse should have his or her own individually-titled, financial accounts and vehicle. Where several parcels of real...Read More
As shale drilling increases across the country, fracking bans do, too. In New York, for example, more than 50 municipalities have issued moratoriums or even outright bans on fracking. Many Ohio municipalities have followed suit. A lawsuit addressing this issue is currently pending before the Ohio Supreme Court: Munroe Falls vs. Beck Energy. Are municipal fracking bans legal? This question is still being settled by Ohio courts. We all know that municipalities are empowered to issue and enforce zoning laws that restrict the use of one’s property. But does the power to zone also permit them to ban an industrial process like fracking? This exact issue is before New York’s top court. The issue is also present in Ohio: one state law says that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has the exclusive authority to regulate oil and gas drilling, while another Ohio law plainly grants municipalities authority to issue zoning regulations. What effects do fracking bans have on surface owners? Probably none, but the answer depends on the type of property interest affected by the fracking ban. It is well settled law that zoning restrictions denying a property owner of all economically beneficial use of their land violates the takings clause of the 5th and 14th amendments. So wouldn’t a zoning restriction that bans fracking deny mineral owners all economically beneficial use of their minerals? Wouldn’t that be a “taking” in violation of the U.S. Constitution? Remember that a taking will be found when the zoning restriction denies all economically beneficial use of the land. A fracking ban would therefore not provide a surface owner a valid takings claim: the surface owner still has many options to put his land to economic use, such as building a house, or planting crops. But what about a mineral owner? What effects do a fracking bans have on mineral owners? Without surface rights, it would seem that the mineral owner’s only economically viable use of his property is to extract them. Of course, not all minerals require fracking to be economically produced. Coal and silver, for example, are mined. But what if...Read More