Frequently Asked Questions

Living Wills

What is a living will declaration?

Living wills are legal documents that allow you to state your wishes in the event you become permanently unconscious or terminally ill.

Some details about living wills:

  • They are only effective when you are incapacitated
  • You can state whether you want life-support technology
  • It authorizes doctors to abide by your instructions on the type of medical treatment you want to receive in such scenarios
  • It can be revoked or changed at any time by you, not anyone else
  • Donations of organs or tissues can be made at the time of death if you complete a related form (Donor Registry Enrollment Form)

If my living will says I don't want to be hooked up to life-support equipment, would I still get pain medication?

Yes – living wills only cover care to postpone death, and does not affect medical care that can help ease pain. An example would be receiving oxygen and pain medication, spoon feeding, and being turned over while bed ridden.

If I become critically ill and want to be kept alive using every available treatment, can I write that in my documents?

Yes. It is important that you discuss this with an attorney so you can draft the appropriate documents to be included with your will. You should also talk to your doctor about this type of decision.

Who determines if I am permanently unconscious or incapacitated?

The examining doctors will have to agree that you are beyond medical help and unable to recover.

Do young people need living wills?

Whether you are 75 years old or 25 years old, there is still the possibility of an accident that can leave you permanently unconscious. In particular, traffic accidents are a leading cause of death and severe injury for young Ohioans.

Will doctors notify my family before stopping life support treatments?

Your family will most likely be informed. Although physicians may not need your family’s permissions when following your will, they do make an effort to inform the persons named in your will about your decisions.

What if I do not have a living will? Can my healthcare power of attorney make end-of-life decisions for me?

Yes. If you have named an agent in a healthcare power of attorney, this individual has the power to make such decisions for you.

What is a healthcare power of attorney?

This is a document that authorizes a person that you name to make health and medical-care related decisions for you if you are incapacitated.

The designated agent does not have to be a family member – it can be an adult you trust or an administrator at a healthcare facility.

The document becomes effective when you are no longer able to make decisions yourself.

Do I need a living will if I have a healthcare power of attorney?

Ideally you would want to have both documents because a living will only affects end-of-life situations, while a healthcare power of attorney can apply to all situations regarding medical care if you are incapacitated.

Can a healthcare power of attorney be used to make financial decisions?

No, you will need a different power of attorney called “financial power of attorney.”

Estate Administration

What does it mean if a person does “intestate?”

This is when a person dies without a will declaring how property will be distributed

What does probate court do?

Probate court supervises the process of distributing a person’s estate, including all debts, taxes, and financial matters. They make sure that debts are paid off and that property is transferred to the right people.

Who handles the estate when a person dies without a will?

If a person dies without a will, the probate court will appoint a person to serve as executor, usually a person who is named in the will or a next-of-kin resident of the state. The executor is tasked with overseeing the distribution of the estate according to the will.

What are the duties of the executor (or administrator) of an intestate estate?

This individual must follow the instructions stated in the will. The primary duties include inventorying and appraising property, collecting assets, paying off debts and expenses, and distributing assets to beneficiaries.

Divorce/Family Law

What is the difference between divorce, dissolution, and separation?

The law in Ohio allows a husband and a wife to end their marital relationship in three different ways: by separation, divorce, or dissolution of marriage. To obtain a divorce or dissolution, you must have lived in the state for six months prior to filing. Separation laws do not require residency of the spouses.

  • Legal separation is a civil lawsuit that does not officially terminate the marriage, but it does allow the court to issue orders regarding property division, spousal support, custody, etc. The spouses remain married but can live their separate lives.
  • Dissolution of marriage is when both parties mutually agree to end their marriage. The parties do not need to prove any fault or grounds to end their marriage. This usually occurs after the spouses have already signed a separation agreement. When you submit a Petition for Dissolution, the court will review your separation agreement, and if all parties are satisfied with the settlement, the can grant the dissolution of marriage and the marriage will be terminated.
  • Divorce is a civil lawsuit to end the marriage, and usually arises when spouses cannot resolve issues and require a court to make the decisions for them regarding property, custody, and support matters. A complaint is filed, the papers are served to the spouses, and parties must reach a settlement agreement or issues will be decided upon by a judge.

How is child support determined?

Child support in Ohio is calculated according to the statutory guidelines that include the number of children, gross income of both parents, and other additional factors such as cost of medical care, child care, and other factors. The court will take into consideration any deviations unique to your case.

What are my responsibilities as a client?

When you have established an attorney-client relationship, you have a duty to communicate your wishes and desires to your attorney, be honest, and trust your attorney to guide you through the process. Never lie or withhold information from your attorney, as this can hurt your case and credibility with the court. Surprises are never a good thing, so be truthful in all of your interactions.

All communication between you and your attorney is confidential and private.

If you have additional questions, feel free to call our team at (937) 502-4222.

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