Oil and Gas Valuations

It’s always surprising for us to see how our major practice areas come to overlap.  Oil and gas law doesn’t have an obvious nexus with estate planning and the probate process.  However, given that estate planning typically involves carefully allocating assets to maximize their utility for family or friends, it shouldn’t be a surprise that valuable oil and gas rights might enter that equation.
Nobody could have predicted the recent surge in oil and gas activity in Ohio.  That’s why many of our clients receiving oil and gas money come in for us to re-evaluate their estates.  How can oil and gas payments affect your estate?   Because mineral rights (which includes oil and gas rights) have recently seen an explosion in …

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Minimizing Tax Impact of Oil and Gas Royalties

The impact oil and gas leasing has had on Ohio is remarkable.  A farmer who struggled to make ends meet one year could find himself with an income tax bill he never imagined the next.  Though we Ohioans have been blessed by these essential resources, allocating their value can be troublesome from a financial standpoint.  Many people may find themselves unsure of what to do with signing bonus money.  It doesn’t take a financial adviser to outline the basic options: save it or spend it.  Prudence dictates the best of these two options.
Everyone’s financial situation is different.  However, people from all types of situations certainly have people that they care about and would like to support if they are able.  …

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Do I Need a Trust?

Estate planning relates to the arrangement of your affairs so that upon your passing your assets will pass to those whom you wish to benefit, while being subjected to the least amount of taxes and transfer costs. Often, too, it speaks of setting things up so that your assets can be professionally managed for the benefit of less sophisticated loved ones when you are gone.  A trust is a popular method of accomplishing all of these goals.  A trust is simply written instructions by someone called a “Settlor” (the person setting up the trust) to a “Trustee” (the trusted money manager) calling for the investment of assets (the “Trust Estate”) for the benefit of someone (the “Beneficiary”).
Trusts are frequently used …

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Frequently Asked Probate Questions

What is the probate court?
The probate court oversees the administration of a person’s estate.  When a person dies, and after creditors and taxes have been paid, the deceased person’s property must be passed on to heirs.  If the person had a properly drafted will, determining where the property goes is fairly straightforward: it will be described in the will.  The probate court has the legal authority to see that wills are properly executed, and to see that wills are properly carried out.  For example, the probate court may order the payment of debts and taxes.  Similarly, the probate court may issue deeds of real estate to heirs, or may transfer other personal property.  If a person does not have a …

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Basic Estate Planning Principles

Estate planning relates to the arrangement of your affairs so that at the time of your death your assets will pass to those whom you wish to benefit, while being subjected to the least amount of taxes and transfer costs. Often, too, it speaks of setting things up so that your assets can be professionally managed for the benefit of less sophisticated loved ones when you are gone. Unfortunately, the Congress likes to change the tax laws all too often, so it is necessary to periodically review an estate plan once established to make sure your objectives will be carried out in light of changing law.

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