Trust and Estate Planning
Everyone, regardless of age or health status, whether employed or retired, should have at least a basic estate plan to provide for the payment of debts, care of minor children, and distribution of assets after death. Ohio laws provide many tools and techniques that can be used to simplify the estate planning process, giving people peace of mind while minimizing costs without sacrificing effective results.
In addition to a Last Will and Testament, Trusts are often a significant part of estate planning. However, many people are confused about what trusts do, how they differ from a basic will, whether a trust would be beneficial to them and how they work. The attorneys at Stoneman Law Office Co, LPA can help clients understand, based upon clients’ unique needs and life circumstances whether their estate plan would benefit from using a trust as a component. Since there are many types of trusts that address different needs and circumstances, it is important that clients have a thorough discussion with their attorney about what trusts can accomplish, what types of trusts are available, and whether alternate estate planning plans would serve their needs.
Special needs trusts to benefit persons with developmental or other disabilities are also a significant part of the full range of legal services the firm can provide to our clients.
In addition to having a well though-out estate plan that fits each person’s individual needs, every adult should consider the importance of powers of attorney, both financial and healthcare, as well as living wills. Complete estate plan conferences should include a thorough discussion of these documents as well.
A fairly recent area of law has evolved as society has aged. The area of law known as Elder Law involves all issues that are unique to persons who are aging, including advance directives, powers of attorney, Medicaid planning, elder abuse (physical and financial) and various other topics.
Kathy Stoneman has over 30 years of experience in trust and estate planning which gives her knowledge and ability to prepare estate plans that specifically address each client’s individual needs and goals. As a member of Wealth Counsel, a national estate planning document service provider that insures that its members have access to all current estate planning techniques and documents to meet the needs of clients with basic or complex estate planning needs, Stoneman Law Office Co, LPA can assist you in developing the estate plan that best fits your needs.
Family law is a broad area of practice that includes various methods of terminating a marriage, addressing issues of child custody, visitation/companionship and support, establishing paternity in situations where a child’s parents are not married, enforcing a divorce or dissolution decree or other court order pertaining to these issues, as well as many other related topics, such as juvenile law, adoptions and civil protection orders. Stoneman Law Office Co, LPA provide a full range of legal services in the area of family law.
Family law issues are often emotionally and financially difficult, and clients facing these issues must have an attorney who listens and responds to each client’s unique concerns, fears and goals, as well as an attorney who fully understands the process and can address the issues in the most efficient manner.
Persons facing the difficult situation of ending their marriage will benefit from the individualized attention and thorough knowledge of the law that Stoneman Law Office Co, LPA can provide. The firm assists clients in making informed decisions about their family issues by clarifying the difference between a divorce and a dissolution, as well as explaining Ohio law that governs the family and by informing clients of what they can expect in court proceedings, the issues that must be addressed, and the options available for addressing those issues.
Collaborative Family Law is a fairly recent method recognized by Ohio for terminating marriages. It is designed to allow a couple terminating their marriage to do so with the assistance of specially trained attorneys who help their clients come to complete and fair agreements on the distribution of marital assets and debts and all of the issues related to the parties’ children, as a team with full and complete disclosure and a joint commitment to work together to address their differences and terminate their marriage on terms that make sense to them. It is intended as an alternate to the traditional divorce that all too often increases tension between the couple. It also is designed to prevent unfair and bullying negotiations that only add to an already stressful time.
Kathy Stoneman is fully trained and experienced in the practice of collaborative family law and mediation. In addition, she is certified and fully trained to serve as a Guardian Ad Litem for children in divorce cases, custody and visitation disputes and in juvenile cases involving neglect and abuse. She is an approved Guardian Ad Litem in both Carroll and Stark Counties.
Probate Matters—Estates, Guardianships, Conservatorships, Adoptions
When a person passes away, whether or not they have a will or other estate plan in place, the Probate Court is generally involved to some extent in settling the decedent’s estate. The procedures for making sure that Ohio’s laws are applied properly to a person’s estate after his or her death must be followed exactly to ensure that real estate and other property are properly transferred to the intended parties, to make sure that the decedent’s debts are paid, if required, and to coordinate the distribution of both assets that are governed by the probate procedure and those such as Payable on Death bank accounts that are not controlled by probate rules.
Stoneman Law Office handles all probate matters in all counties in Ohio, representing executors/administrators, family members of a decedent and other heirs. The firm also assists families in the administration and termination of trusts whether or not an estate is required to be administrated in such situations.
Facing the death of a loved one is one of the most difficult events that anyone has to face. Having to navigate through the laws and procedures to make sure the decedent’s intentions about the distribution of his or her assets are properly followed can be complicated and can add an additional burden on the surviving family members. Our goal is to relieve the family members of this burden and provide competent and caring advice to the decedent’s loved ones in this area.
There are also times when a person becomes mentally incompetent or physically incapacitated, and he or she or the person’s family finds it necessary to establish a guardianship or conservatorship under the control of the Probate Court. This is often necessary to ensure that someone with reduced or limited abilities is not taken advantage of, can maintain his or her dignity and can receive the level of care and support necessary. Guardianships for minors are also necessary in various situations.
Adoptions are one of the areas of law that bring people into the legal and court system for a positive reason. Stoneman Law Office handles all types of adoptions, whether the child is placed through a public or private agency and in step-parent or other relative adoptions.
The proper formation and organization of a small business is necessary to ensure that the business is in compliance with applicable Ohio law and that the type of business entity chosen by the client will achieve the intended goals of the client. In addition; legal planning for the addition or removal of owners, for the proper allocation of the powers and obligations of the owners and for the succession of the business, whether through the death, resignation or incompetence of an owner or through a sale of the business is essential to making the business function properly. Generally, a team approach to the formation and compliance of the business with Ohio’s business laws and the federal and state tax regulations works best to meet the client’s needs. We always work with the certified public accountant or tax advisor selected by the client to assist the clients in choosing the best type of business entity for his or her purposes and then to operate that business to ensure that those business purposes are achieved.
The succession of a business from one generation to the next is an important issue for all family owned businesses. Proper succession planning is always a necessary part of a business owner’s estate plan as well.
The attorneys at Stoneman Law Office also advise business clients on business issues such as employee handbooks, policies and all issues that small business owners encounter in the operation of their businesses.
Attorney Kathy Stoneman has been assisting business clients for over thirty years.
Real Estate Law
Ohio real estate law is very specific and having an experienced, knowledgeable attorney to assist property owners or potential property owners in addressing their real estate issues is necessary to ensure that landowners’ ownership interests are legally established and/or transferred. Mistakes in the sale, purchase or transfer of real estate titles can cause problems not only for the current landowner, but also to a purchaser of the real estate or the following generations.
Stoneman Law Office includes a full time, full service real estate title agency which offers a complete range of real estate title services, including conducting real estate closings, conducting title searches, issuing title insurance, preparing all closing documents and transferring and recording all real estate documents. Both Attorney Kathy Stoneman and her husband, Bill Stoneman, are licensed title agents by the Ohio Department of Insurance. They work with all lenders and real estate agents to insure that all real estate closings occur on time and accurately.
Stoneman Law Office performs all legal services related to real estate including but not limited to preparing deeds, leases, land contracts, purchase agreements, promissory or demand notes, mortgages, easements and rights of way and providing experienced legal advice regarding the provisions in these documents.
The firm remains actively involved in real estate mineral interests, advising clients regarding oil and gas leases, pipeline rights of way and all related documents and we assist owners of mineral interests in negotiating the terms of these documents. We also provide our clients with a full range of legal services regarding the very active oil and gas industry in Carroll and surrounding counties.
Stoneman Law Office also handles landlord/tenant matters, preparing rental agreements and advising clients on the meaning and enforcement of these agreements.
With more than thirty years of trial experience in various areas of law, the attorneys of Stoneman Law Office are well equipped to represent clients’ interests in a broad range of civil trials. Most of the time, legal disputes between parties can be resolved without resorting to the courts to achieve a resolution. Whether through mediation or negotiation, the firm’s attorneys can often assist in the settlement of legal disputes. However, there are situations that cannot be negotiated or mediated and proceeding with a lawsuit is the only way to correct an injustice or a wrongdoing.
The firm has handled trials in all the firm’s practice areas and has done so in Carroll and ten surrounding counties. Attorney Maureen Stoneman brings to the firm her two-year experience as a law clerk in Washington, D.C. Superior Court, including her skills in legal research and writing, assisting with civil bench and jury trials, preparation of court documents and working with parties and their attorneys.