VanAntwerp Attorneys, LLP
Phone: 606-618-0698

Ashland, Kentucky, Legal Blog

Lowering risks of potential FMLA abuse

In the region where we practice, the borders of three states converge. This can create unique legal dynamics. For example, if an employer in one state hires a worker from one of the others, determining applicable employment laws may become complicated.

The issue of family leave rights for employees would seem to be straightforward. Employers in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia are subject to the federal Family Medical Leave Act. That law provides up to 12 weeks of leave, unpaid, to eligible workers, without the risk of job loss. The problem that many employers encounter is that some workers abuse the system. They take leave time regularly and intermittently. This has prompted some to refer to FMLA as the "Friday-Monday Leave Act."

How to create a strong business succession plan

Running a business can be stressful, but it is also incredibly rewarding. You get to make the big decisions that guide your company to success. You decide how your brand presents itself to the outside world. You also make decisions about who is a part of your company.

However, it is one thing to hire a new sales manager, and quite another to pick the person who will take over the company after you leave. Maybe you want to retire soon or perhaps turning the business over seems a long way off. Whatever the case, picking a successor is crucial to the continued success of your business. Here are some ideas to get you started with drafting a business succession plan.

Estate planning can preserve assets for your care

Dementia is a health condition taking center stage in the awareness of people across the U.S. This is as true in Kentucky as anywhere. The issue came to the news forefront again this week with word of the rapid decline of noted comedic actor and Ohio native, Tim Conway. The slip into dementia for the 84-year-old entertainer is now the source of court action as his adult daughter seeks appointment as his conservator.

Documents filed by Conway's 56-year-old daughter in a California court claim that her father's current wife is seeking to move the wheelchair-confined actor to a different skilled nursing facility. Conway's daughter says he will lose access to 24-hour nursing care and therapists who work with him on his swallowing. She seeks appointment as his conservator to manage his ongoing medical needs.

When closing your business is the only option

You've dedicated several years to your small business, but now it's time to say "goodbye." Upon reflection, you recall the early months of creating a business plan, securing investors, hiring and training employees and building the business.

It seemed so worthwhile, and it was. But a number of factors aligned that proved too challenging to overcome. You had the foresight to realize that your business wouldn't survive and have made the difficult decision to shut it down.

Tax reform does not mean less need for estate planning

There was a time when so-called "death taxes" were a major concern for individuals in Kentucky and in other states. These are the estate taxes, charged to a person's estate after death to allow transfer of property to beneficiaries; and inheritance taxes, those paid by heirs on the value of the property they receive.

Such worries are not as great as they used to be, especially in the wake of the passage of federal tax reform late last year. Exemptions that allowed for up the transfer of nearly $5.6 million without federal taxation doubled to $11.18 million per individual. What that means for a family is that married couples are in a position to transfer more than $22 million worth of an estate to heirs tax free. By some estimates, the effect of the law is that the federal estate tax is dead.

Estate planning for new parents

Estate planning is often not on the mind of young individuals. However, if you are a new parent, estate planning is an important part of making sure your child’s future is secure. When you have a new baby, estate planning can help protect your child in case you get into an accident resulting in your death.

Unfortunately, 6 out of 10 Americans do not have a will. If anything were to happen to you or you and your spouse, you want to make sure that your child is in the right hands.

The business value of conflict management over avoidance

There are those who argue that relationships between employers and employees today are more like marriages than the cash-for-labor construct that has dominated the labor market since the start of the industrial age. Indeed, some economists suggest that in the past 20 years, employer benefits have emphasized supporting employee emotional needs over wages.

Whether the argument has merit is debatable. However, we think most would agree that one characteristic that complex business organizations and marriages share is conflict. Where humans are, there is disagreement. The question this begs is whether all conflict should be avoided, or whether, with good management, conflict can benefit a business?

Are you meeting challenges of corporate governance?

Perhaps one of the greatest difficulties any public U.S. or multi-national corporation faces is walking the fine line between protecting business efforts for growth and fulfilling regulatory requirements on transparency. The fact that standards vary greatly from one government to the next only makes things more challenging.

Good governance is critical to business success, but unlike institutional forms of political governance that have existed long enough to have developed traditions, corporate governance is subject to change - sometimes seismic in nature. Guiding transactions amid evolving environments depends on correctly reading the regulatory landscape.

Family conflict is the chief threat to successful estate planning

A successful estate plan is one that passes your assets to the next generation while minimizing unnecessary taxation and limiting other expenses. This may include, for example, reducing the need for probate by placing the assets in an appropriate trust. It may also include taking steps to minimize intra-family disputes that could result in a challenge to the estate distribution.

According to a recent poll by TD Wealth, 44 percent of lawyers, trust officers and accountants ranked family conflict as the primary threat to successful estate plans. One reason may be the changing structure of the modern family, which often involves multiple marriages and blended families.

Tax changes suggest check of pre- or antenuptial agreement terms

One of the most significant changes in U.S. law occurred late last year. As one of our earlier posts noted, Congress passed a new tax law in December. A provision in that massive law that caught the attention of many is the one that ends the deduction on federal taxes for payers of spousal maintenance in divorce.

The enforcement of the change isn't due to take effect until the start of 2019, meaning that any couples wanting to retain the advantages of the deduction must have their divorces finalized by the end of 2018. Many legal observers, including ourselves, suggested the deadline could affect negotiations over maintenance throughout this whole year.

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