Ohio’s Legacy Trust Procedures

Business clients typically minimize exposure to creditor claims by
using liability-limiting business structures, by maintaining appropriate
insurance coverages, by maximally funding qualified retirement plans
and by dispersing asset ownership within the family.

High-net-worth clients, whose activities subject them to
extraordinary claims, may now also use an additional tool to protect a
portion of their assets – an Ohio Legacy Trust (OLT).

Placing assets into a plain vanilla revocable living trust does not
shield them from creditors. An OLT is an irrevocable trust, the assets
of which are protected. An OLT is funded with “excess” assets – assets
that are not needed to take care of existing obligations and assets that
are not “already-protected.”

Step 1: Solvency analysis.  

 Assets are listed and debts deducted, along …

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Frequently Asked Questions about Solar Leases

Q: How long does a solar lease last?

A: The term of a solar lease is typically between 20 and 30 years

Q: What effect will the solar lease have on my property?

A: If you currently receive a special tax valuation (in Ohio
a “current agricultural use valuation,” in PA a valuation under Act 319) you
may lose that status and have your real estate taxes increase.  There may be a recapture of previous taxes
that were foregone.  Finally, the
installation of the solar facility may trigger a personal property tax.  The lessee should agree to pay these

Q: What does a solar array involve? 

A: A solar array involves row after row of dark panels mounted on posts. There might also be associated equipment …

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Arbitration – Frequently Asked Questions

What is arbitration?
Arbitration is a dispute resolution process.
When will a dispute be resolved by arbitration?
A dispute will be resolved by arbitration if the disagreeing parties have previously agreed in writing to resolve future disputes via arbitration.
How do I know if I agreed to arbitration?
You will know if you agreed to arbitration by reading carefully the contract or agreement that governs whatever item/service you purchased or signed up for. Nearly all online services will include an arbitration clause in their standard user licensing agreements. In fact, if you’ve ever clicked “I Agree” before installing software or upon creating a username/password for an online service, you have likely agreed to arbitrate a future dispute.
What if I didn’t know I agreed to arbitrate …

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An ancestor owned oil and gas rights – how do I get title to them?

We are seeing a lot of situations where our clients have learned that they own mineral rights that were earlier reserved by an ancestor.  They typically learn of this through an oil and gas company who has researched title on a parcel they are interested in leasing (or sometimes on a parcel that has already been drilled).  The company discloses who reserved the minerals and describes its efforts in establishing a family tree for that person.
Based upon the company’s research (using Probate records, Ancestry.com and other tools) it determines those persons presently living who would have ownership of the minerals and the percentage of the minerals each such person owns.  Oil and gas leases are then prepared for those persons …

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Phone Scam – February 8, 2018

A local woman called this afternoon indicating she had received a voicemail from our office requesting credit card information.  I verified that nobody in our office had ever heard of this particular person, and that nobody in our office made such a call.  It would appear, then, that someone is spoofing our office’s phone number in an attempt to defraud people of money.
Caller ID is quite easy to manipulate.  Many smartphone apps permit a caller to select the number they appear to be calling from. The Federal Communications Commission offers this information about Caller ID “spoofing.”
Here, the caller poses as a law firm attempting to collect on a debt.  Some firms (particularly collection law firms) make similar, legitimate phone calls, …

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Dormant Minerals – Searching for Heirs

A previous article discusses more generally the notice requirements in Ohio’s Dormant Minerals Act
Who must be notified?
Before declaring a mineral interest as abandoned, a surface owner must first provide adequate notice to the “mineral holder.”  Many times, the mineral holder is deceased and has been for many years.   If that’s true, the surface owner must notify the holder’s heirs.
Who are a holder’s heirs?
It depends on the structure of the holder’s family.  It could be a surviving spouse, the holder’s children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, or even aunts and uncles depending largely on how long ago the mineral holder died.
How do I locate a mineral holder’s heirs?
Unless you personally know the mineral holder (or their family), chances are you don’t know the …

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Pipeline Close-Up

Pipeline Installation Photographs
The following image is a close-up of a pipeline in Eastern Ohio that was being installed in the early fall of 2017.

You can see the welded section (red), the remainder of the pipe (green), and the markings done by welding inspectors. In this instance you can see the word ‘repair’ along with some specific references to dates and inspector numbers. On my client’s properties with high pressure FERC pipelines, I require that 100% of the welds be x-rayed in advance. This is a good illustration as to why I require this. Had this weld not been inspected, the pipeline would have certainly blown out during the water pressure test. Generally, FERC pipelines are tested with water at 110% …

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Pipeline Construction Issues

Pipeline Construction Issues
As a pipeline attorney, I spend a lot of time impressing upon potential clients the importance of having a rock-solid pipeline contract (this can be an Easement or Right-of-Way). The importance of a thorough, specific pipeline contract cannot be overstated. There is something else I say that often surprises landowners, and that is, “no matter how solid I make the contract, neither of us can control what happens on your property during construction.”
Over the course of the last twelve years, I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly with respect to pipeline construction. I’ve seen A+ operations and F- ones. And the reality is that even the best contract in the world cannot control the …

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