Mesothelioma and Asbestos-Related Attorney in Cincinnati, Ohio

Photo by BanksPhotos/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by BanksPhotos/iStock / Getty Images

Despite widespread belief to the contrary, asbestos is not banned and remains legal in the United States. Exposure to asbestos takes the lives of nearly 40,000 Americans every year and leaves countless others with lifetime illnesses, such as mesothelioma and asbestosis. Filing an asbestos lawsuit is not a simple process, even under the best of conditions. No amount of money can buy a cure, but a lawsuit can help with medical bills and help ease the worry that medical bills are taking all of your family’s budget.

If you or someone in your family is suffering from asbestos exposure, you may be eligible to receive compensation from the manufacturers of asbestos products that cause mesothelioma and other diseases. McCarthy Law Office represents clients on a “contingency” basis, which means we will only collect a fee if you collect a settlement and we will help evaluate your case for free.

Please contact McCarthy Law Office at 513-815-7006 or for more information or to schedule a free, no obligation consultation to discuss your potential asbestos claim.

Frequently Asked Questions about Car Accident Cases

Photo by LSOphoto/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by LSOphoto/iStock / Getty Images

Car accidents are both physically and emotionally traumatic. If you are in a motor vehicle collision, you will likely have many questions. In my over 15 years of experience helping injured motorists, clients routinely ask several questions:

  • How much is my case worth? There are a number of factors that impact the value of a personal injury case. The type and severity of your injuries, the impact on your daily life, missed wages, your medical bills, future medical treatment, and diminished earning capacity are all important to determine the value of your case.

  • Should I just accept the insurance company’s offer? In a word: no. Insurance companies will often press for a quick settlement. But it is crucial that you not settle until you at least know the full extent of your injuries and hopefully complete treatment. There is no need to accept a quick settlement before calling an experienced attorney.

  • Why should I hire an attorney? Car accident cases can be complex and the aftermath of an accident can be overwhelming. I help ease the burden of dealing with the car insurance company, help coordinate payment of medical bills, negotiate subrogation payments, and of course, help maximize your recovery.

  • How does a contingency fee payment work? I handle all personal injury and car accident cases on a contingency fee basis. That means you do not have to pay me out of your pocket while the case is pending. The client is responsible for costs, such as the costs to obtain medical records, but I do not get paid unless and until there is a settlement or verdict.

  • The other driver did not have insurance. What now? A driver without insurance is known as an uninsured motorist (UM). A driver without enough coverage to fully compensate you is known as an underinsured motorist UIM). You may have UM/UIM coverage on your own car insurance policy. If you recover from your own insurance company through your UM or UIM coverage, Ohio law prohibits your carrier from raising your rates if your injuries were caused by the negligence of another driver.

  • Why call McCarthy Law Office? I have helped many Cincinnati area drivers recover for injuries caused by others. I will give your case personal attention and will keep you informed and updated throughout the case. You won’t pay me anything unless you win or settle. If you are injured in a car accident in Cincinnati, including the Westside, downtown, or anywhere in Hamilton County, please call my office at 513-815-7006 to arrange a free, no obligation consultation.

Annual Estate Planning Checklist

With the start of the New Year, it is as good of a time as any to sit down and assess your financial health and preparedness. Here is a quick checklist to help you knock this off your ever-increasing to do list:

  1. Do you have a will? If not, get one. Everyone over 18 needs a will, especially if you have minor children.

  2. Draft health care directives, including a living will and health care power of attorney. Make your health wishes known to your family and loved ones so they know exactly what you would want to happen in the case of a medical emergency or illness.

  3. Review your life insurance coverage. Life insurance is often one of, if not the largest, asset in an estate. It is important to have adequate coverage to protect your family.

  4. Update beneficiary designation forms. Assets that pass by beneficiary designation, such as life insurance, retirement accounts, transfer on death, and pay on death accounts do not pass under the terms of your will but by your beneficiary designation. Review your designations to be sure that they are consistent with your current plans.

  5. Consult with a financial advisor. If you have a 401(k), an IRA, securities, 529 plans for college (or private high school now), make sure you are maximizing your investment strategies.

  6. Review your appointments. If you already have a complete estate plan, do you need to change your executor, successor trustee, guardian, or health care agents? Do you have documents with all of those properly selected?

  7. Is your plan current? When you have life changes, such as marriage, divorce, a new baby, or moving to a new state, you should review and update your documents.

  8. Have the hard conversations. Nobody wants to talk about death and end of life decisions. Nobody wants to think about who would raise your children if something happened to both parents. But these are the conversations that are necessary. Let the people you want to serve in various roles know that you have named them in your documents.

  9. Tell your family where your documents are stored. Once you go through the process to create your estate plan, store your plan in a safe place and make sure your family can get the originals easily.

  10. Call an estate planning attorney. I do not charge for initial consultations for estate planning clients. If you need new documents or just a review of current documents, please call or email me today.


You Need a Will---Let’s Make it Happen

Having a will is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your family. A will is one of the fundamental documents of an estate plan. An estate plan is simply your instructions stating who gets what you have and when they are to receive it. Whether you have drafted documents or not, everyone has an estate plan. If you do not draft your own plan, your assets will pass to your family through the plan the State of Ohio has set forth in the Ohio Revised Code.

When to plan Too many people do not plan at all. In fact, a majority of Americans do not have a will. If you do not already have a will or estate plan, you are not alone. If you are one of those without a will, the time to plan is now.

If you do have a will in place, it may be a good time to review your plan. I generally recommend clients review their documents every couple of years, but it is especially important after major life events, such as a recent marriage, divorce, new baby, or the purchase of real estate.

 Minor children It is particularly important to plan if you have minor children. A will lets you express who you want to take care of your children. Without a will, the probate court will choose someone for you. Having a will allows you select the person you want to raise or children.

 An estate plan starts with a will I find that most clients have a general idea of the various documents, but few know the specifics. I take the time to clearly explain the documents that I recommend for a full estate plan and walk you through your options. Everyone needs a will, but I also generally recommend additional documents, such as a durable power of attorney, health care power of attorney, living will, and potentially a living trust. I will explain the role that each document plays in your comprehensive estate plan and why you may want to consider each document.

 Peace of mind Having a plan in place, with your specific instructions, provides peace of mind that your family is protected. Tomorrow is never promised. It is too easy to procrastinate on this vital task.

Get started The first step is to call, text (513) 815-7006 or email ( me. I will provide you with a short questionnaire to gather basic family information. I typically meet with my clients at least twice. At the first meeting, we discuss your family’s needs and options. I explain the various documents and make recommendations based on your specific situation. I then take your information and craft your plan. We will then meet to thoroughly review the documents and sign. The entire process can be accomplished in as little as a couple of weeks. I look forward to hearing from you and helping your family.

Tips for Selecting a Guardian For your Children in Cincinnati

No parent wants to think about what would happen to their children if both parents died prematurely and were not able to raise their children. Without the proper plan in place, a court will make that decision for you. Poor planning could lead to relatives arguing in court over who gets your children. Or they could agree on someone other than the people you would have chosen. That is why it is critical that you nominate a guardian now. Here are some tips to help you make that decision.

  • Start with a big list. Think beyond the obvious choices. You are not limited to immediate family members. The key is to pick the best person for raising your children. Consider extended family, such as cousins, aunts, and uncles. Friends can make excellent guardians as well.

  • What is most important? There are many factors to consider. What matters the most to you? Think about parenting styles, moral values, religious beliefs, educational values, child-rearing philosophy, and physical wellbeing. Do they have other children? What is their relationship to your children? Your preferred guardian should score high in as many categories as possible.

  • Do not overly worry about finances. Get life insurance. You should have life insurance, with the proceeds going to your living trust. Do not eliminate someone from consideration solely because they have a small house or apartment. You can help ease the financial burden with what you leave.

  • Practical considerations. How would your children fit in with your preferred guardian’s family? Do they live in the same school district? Same city? Do they have young children of their own? If so, would your kids get along with their kids? If you select a married couple, what happens if they divorce?

  • Communicate. Talk to the people you are considering. Make sure they would be willing to serve as guardian if necessary. Communicate with your children if they are old enough to express their thoughts. In what would surely be a stressful situation, it is important not to spring big and unexpected surprises on anyone, including the potential guardian as well as your children.

  • Plan. Again, it is not easy to think of anyone else raising your children. Start planning ahead now. For more information on how to appoint a guardian for your children, contact me to set up an appointment to discuss your family’s needs.

Avoid These 10 Common Estate Planning Mistakes

Have you been meaning to finally get a will? Maybe it has been years since you even looked at your documents. Now is a good time to do so. Drum roll please, here are some common mistakes I have seen over the years:

  1. Not having a written plan. Not having a plan is the most common estate planning mistake. An estate plan is not simply for the wealthy. This is something that will apply to everyone eventually. If you do not direct to whom and how your assets will be distributed, Ohio's Revised Code will control.
  2. Procrastinating. I have lost count of the number of people I have talked to that tell me they have been meaning, often for many years, to finally talk to a lawyer and create an estate plan. It is exceptionally easy to put off. It is human nature to not want to think about these issues. But I try to make the process as painless as possible. My clients always tell me they feel a huge sense of relief once the documents are signed and finalized.
  3. Not reviewing and updating your plan. There are many life changes that can impact your plan, such as births, deaths, marriages, divorces, and new property acquisitions (including out-of-state properties). An estate plan is not something to set and forget about, but rather should be reviewed upon life changes or every 3-5 years.
  4. Not reviewing beneficiary designations. Assets with beneficiary designations do not pass through the probate process. The will does not control the distribution of assets such as life insurance policies, retirement plans, or jointly owned property and bank accounts. It is important to confirm that your beneficiary designations reflect your wishes and are consistent with the rest of your estate plan.
  5. Not planning for disability. An unexpected and/or long term disability can cause large expenses and headaches for your family. A durable power of attorney is necessary so that someone can manage your financial affairs if you become mentally incapacitated. A living trust can also help in the event of a disability. But you will want to avoid the necessity of having a guardian appointed through the probate court.
  6. Failure to communicate your wishes. It is important to let the people named in your estate plan, whether as a guardian for your children, a successor trustee, a health care agent, or beneficiary, know what role you are asking them to play. It is generally not a good idea to surprise someone with an unexpected role to help ensure a smooth transition during a difficult period. 
  7. Leaving money or assets outright to minor children. If you have minor children, it is better to put your assets in a revocable living trust than to give assets directly to a minor. If given directly to a minor, the probate court will oversee the accounts until the minor reaches majority. Further, with a trust, you can control the distribution over years if you prefer. Many of my clients like to stage distributions over time to ensure that their children would not receive a large inheritance before they are capable of responsibly managing the money.  
  8. Failure to fund a living trust. See here for more information on the importance of funding a living trust:
  9. Not having health care directives. Every estate plan should include a living will and a health care power of attorney. These documents permits your designated agent to make health care decision if you become incapacitated and cannot communicate your own wishes. The living will deals with end of life decisions, while the health care power of attorney deals with other medical decisions other than end of life decisions.
  10. Attempts to Do It Yourself. There are numerous websites that promise an easy and cheap way for you to draft your own estate planning documents. But just because you can does not mean that you should. I have had clients come in with documents they printed off from the internet. I often find mistakes that render the documents inoperable. For example, I have seen documents that are not executed properly with appropriate and necessary witnesses. Some sites create a false sense of security. If you are going to take the time and effort to create or revise your estate plan, I recommend you hire a professional to help create documents that are valid and accomplish your goals. 

McCarthy Law adds a West Side Office

Do you need a will but would prefer not to go downtown? McCarthy Law Office now has an office on the West Side for this very reason. We now offer a convenient location at 5600 Harrison Avenue, Suite 200 in addition to our existing location on Court Street.

Whether you have never had a will or just have not looked at your documents in years, now is the perfect opportunity to schedule an appointment to discuss your family’s estate planning needs. I will explain all of your options and will help you craft a plan that is right for you. Let me help take this off of your long-term to-do list.

McCarthy Law Office provides peace of mind for families and small businesses in the following practice areas:

·      Estate Planning: wills, trusts, living wills, health care powers of attorney, and durable powers of attorney.

·      Personal Injury: if you are injured by the negligence of a third party, I will help you get fair compensation.

·      Civil litigation: broad civil litigation experience, including zoning, eminent domain, contract disputes, property disputes, and employment disputes.

Please call 513-815-7006 or email to schedule an appointment to discuss your legal needs.

Why You Must Fund Your Trust

Revocable living trusts offer many benefits over wills, including asset management and probate avoidance. But even the best designed and drafted trust will fail unless it is properly funded. Once completed, the trust is just an empty vessel until it is filled with your assets. 

With a simple will, most of the funding happens through the probate process. You can see some of my previous blog posts about why probate avoidance is preferable for many (in short, probate can be expensive, time consuming, and creates public documents so that anyone can see exactly how much money was in the estate and who received what and when). The funding of a trust, on the other hand, can and should be funded while the trust maker is alive. This assures that assets get in the trust and pass as the trust maker intended. An unfunded or partially funded trust does not avoid probate.

Proper trust funding involves moving assets that are in your name and retitling or reassigning the assets to the trust. Assets generally fall under three main categories:

  1. Personal property and real property with a title (home, vacation property car, etc.)
  2. Non-titled property (furniture, artworks, tools, etc.)
  3. Property that passes by beneficiary designation (life insurance, retirement accounts, etc.)

Most assets should be transferred to the trust as soon after the trust is created as possible. However, an important exception exists for some assets, primarily retirement accounts such as IRAs and 401(k) plans, because of potential tax consequences. 

I help my clients through the funding process on a step-by-step and asset-by-asset basis to fully complete the estate plan process so that the final plans will accomplish the goals desired. I can answer any questions you might have about your revcovable trust. 

Understanding the Difference Between a Will and a Living Trust

Do you need a will? Do you need a trust? What the heck is a trust? Most clients I meet with know they need a will. Most have heard of a trust. But most cannot really define a trust or define why a trust is or is not appropriate for their specific needs. So what is the difference?

A will specifies who your family is, who you want to leave your assets to when you die, how you want to leave those assets, and it identifies an executor who will help take care of the your affairs after death. A will is also where you nominate a potential guardian for minor children. 

A will only goes into effect after you die. It has no legal effect during your lifetime. Further, a will does not avoid probate court. Probate is the legal process through which the probate court sees that, when you die, your debts are paid and your assets are distributed according to your will. If you do not have a valid will, your assets are distributed according to Ohio law.

Is probate bad? Not necessarily, but there are drawbacks:

  • Probate can be expensive. Legal fees, executor fees, appraisal fees, and other costs must be paid before your assets can be distributed to your heirs. 
  • Probate takes time. It can often take between nine months to two years to go through the probate process. Nothing can be distributed or sold without court and/or executor approval. 
  • Probate records are public records. In Hamilton County, all probate records are available on-line here: Probate is a public process and anyone can see what you owned, whom you owed, who will receive your assets, and when they will receive them. 

A trust, on the other hand, is more like a private contract. A trust goes into effect immediately upon execution. Like a will, a trust specifies who your family is, who you want to leave your assets to and how you want to distribute your assets. Unlike a will, a living trust can avoid probate at death, control all of your assets, and prevent the court from controlling your assets if you become incapacitated. 

A trust avoids probate only to the extent that it is "funded." When you set up the trust, you transfer your assets from your name to the name of your trust, which you control. When the trust owns your assets, there is nothing for the courts to control when you die or become incapacitated. You retain full control of your assets. 

A trust involves three parties:

  • Grantor. This is the maker of the trust. It can be an individual or a couple can create a joint trust.
  • Trustee. The trustee controls the assets in the trust. The Grantor is typically the initial trustee. For a couple, both spouses are usually co-trustee. Upon the death or incapacity of the initial trustee, a successor trustee takes over and will then follow the written instructions set forth in the trust.
  • Beneficiaries. This is simply who receives your assets. If you have minor children, you can stage distributions over several years so that your kids do not receive all of your assets at age 18 or 21.

If you create a living trust, you still need a will. A will serves as a safety net if you forget to put an asset into the trust. If you have minor children, you still have to name the guardian in the will as well. 

Just some of the benefits of a living trust include:

  • Avoids probate at death.
  • Brings all of your assets together in one plan.
  • Provides maximum privacy.
  • Quicker distribution of assets to beneficiaries.
  • Assets remain in trust until you want your beneficiaries to inherit.
  • Can be changed or cancelled at any time.
  • Peace of mind.

Please call or email me to set up a time to discuss a plan that is right for your family. It is exceptionally easy to put off drafting a will or trust for another time. But I will make it as painless and straight forward as possible. 



Why You Must Coordinate Your Assets

An estate plan is more than just your will. More and more wealth is controlled by beneficiary designation. A will does not override or control assets that contain a beneficiary designation. Such assets may include:

  • Real estate controlled by a Transfer on Death Designation Affidavit
  • IRAs
  • 401ks
  • Life insurance
  • 529 plans
  • Brokerage accounts with beneficiary designation
  • Bank accounts with beneficiary designation

How does this apply in the "real world"? If a person takes out a life insurance policy and names only their oldest child as their beneficiary, but then drafts a will that states that multiple children are to take equally, those other children will not receive any of the life insurance proceeds. A will only controls the items that are in the client's name upon death. All assets with a beneficiary designation transfer to the beneficiary upon death and are not part of the probate estate and are not controlled by the will. 

A well-drafted will or trust is an integral part of any estate plan. Assets with beneficiary designations serve an important role as well and are entirely appropriate. However, it is crucial that assets with beneficiary designations are coordinated with the rest of the estate plan to ensure the objectives and wishes are met. 

Please contact me to set up a free initial consultation to discuss your estate planning needs.

Four Estate Planning Items Every Family Should Have

To dispel a common misperception, estate planning is not only for the wealthy. A basic estate plan is necessary for everyone, regardless of income or assets, because we all want to minimize costs, confusion, and stress for loved ones after a death. If you do not make your own plan, your assets will pass under laws created by the State of Ohio.

At a minimum, everyone should have the following four items:

1. A current will or trust. Everyone should have a will. A revocable living trust is appropriate for some, particularly for parents with minor children or those who own property out of state. A trust can help avoid probate, which helps beneficiaries gain assets more quickly, saves time, court costs, and increases privacy by not becoming public records at the probate court.

 2. A durable power of attorney. A durable power of attorney allows someone else to make financial and legal decisions if a person becomes hospitalized, disabled, or otherwise incapacitated. 

3. Advanced health care directives. I recommend everyone have a health care power of attorney and living will in place. These two documents work together to allow an agent to make medical decisions if the person who creates the document is unable to communicate their own medical wishes. The living will primarily involves end of life decisions while the health care power of attorney allows the agent to obtain medical information and make medical decisions on your behalf.

4. Updated beneficiary formsBeneficiary designation forms on life insurance policies, 401(k) accounts and other assets will generally override any conflicting provisions in a will or trust. It is essential to make sure all beneficiary designation forms are checked and regularly updated.  

I can help create or update these basic items as well as provide suggestions for additional steps, if needed. Please call or email me to schedule a meeting. 

Top 10 Things to Know After a Car Accident

1.    Stop. You must stay at the scene. You can move the cars to a safe place if necessary, but do not leave the area.

2.    Check for injuries for you, your passengers, and other involved in the accident. If seriously injured, go straight to the emergency room.

3.    Call 911 or the Police. You need a police report for insurance purposes.

4.    Use your cell phone camera. Take pictures of vehicle damage, skid marks, and of the accident scene. Record possible admissions on video.

5.    Exchange information. Get the other driver’s name, insurance information, license plate number, and driver’s license number.

6.    Seek medical treatment. The sooner you seek treatment, the better. Insurance companies will use gaps or delays in treatment, even minor ones, against you. Some injuries are not apparent for several days. Even when the car sustains minor damage, you can be injured. Did you or the car absorb contact?

7.    Do not admit fault, guilt, apologize, or accept responsibility.

8.    Do not provide a recorded statement to the insurance company. They will attempt to distort your words to be used against you.

9.    Have proper insurance coverage. Current minimum requirements in Ohio are $25,000 for injury/death of one person and $50,000 for injury/death of two or more people. That goes quickly. Do you have Uninsured and Underinsured Coverage? Do you need an umbrella policy? Do not go cheap with low policy limits.

10.    Hire an experienced lawyer. You should contact an experienced Cincinnati car accident lawyer as soon as possible following your accident. An attorney will guide and help you think through a variety of circumstances that might otherwise be overlooked, possibly costing you a substantial amount of money.

New Ohio Law Gives POA Authority for Digital Assets

Twitter. Gmail. Facebook. Snapchat. Dropbox. Itunes. You get the idea. So much of what we do is now online. Revised Code Section 1337.571 becomes effective this week and gives fiduciary power to access digital assets. When crafting your estate plan, consideration must be given to what happens to your digital assets. This new law helps fill in some of the blanks. 

The law allows a power of attorney to:

A) Have access to any catalogue of electronic communications sent or received by the principal;

B) Have access to to any other digital asset in which the principal has a right or interest;

C) Have the right to access any of the principal's tangible personal property capable of receiving, storing, processing, or sending a digital asset;

D) Take any action concerning the asset to the extent of the account holder's authority; and

E) Have access to the content of electronic communications sent or received by the principal. 

Please contact me to help you plan for your future by drafting a plan that is right for your family.

Manchester by the Sea Provides Planning Lessons

I finally watched Manchester by the Sea last night. I will spare you my poor attempt to play Roger Ebert. It is not exactly uplifting but it is definitely worth watching and I thought it was very well done. Casey Affleck (playing Lee Chander) in particular was very good. So was Kyle Chandler (Coach Taylor for you Friday Night Lights fans, playing Joe Chandler). The movie does provide some good estate planning lessons for parents. Here are some of my thoughts:

  • Tip 1: Parents with minor children must, at a minimum, have a will that nominates a guardian to care for their kids. In Manchester by the Sea, Joe Chandler had a 16 year-old son, Patrick. After Joe died, Lee was nominated to care for Patrick. If you do not identify who you want to take care of your children, the courts may decide for you.
  • Tip 2: Talk to and get the consent of the person you intend to select to serve as the guardian. Lee Chandler was shocked to learn that Joe had named him as the guardian for his son. It is generally much better to avoid blind-siding a relative or close friend in what will already be an emotional time.
  • Tip 3: Tailor your estate plan to meet your needs. In the movie, Joe ensured that certain things were in place to both care for his son (such as money for Patrick's daily expenses, providing that Patrick would inherit the house and a boat when he turned 18) and for Lee ($5,000 for moving expenses, etc.). Parents often prefer to delay distributions of larger assets until the kids are older and some choose to stagger distributions at different ages. There is no one-size fits all plan. These are truly decisions that must be made on a case-by-case basis, depending on the needs of each individual family. If your family has special or unique dynamics, take the time to establish a plan that is right for you.
  • Tip 4: Everyone needs a plan. An estate plan is not just for the very wealthy or senior citizens. Proper planning provides peace of mind no matter the extent of your assets. Some people and families may need more complex plans than others, but everyone should have something in place. In the movie, Joe was not rich. But he realized the need to plan to take care of Patrick and he implemented the documents to do so. Regardless of your circumstances, it is better to take control and dictate how you want your assets distributed rather than allow someone else to make the decisions for you.


Tenant's Compensation in Ohio Eminent Domain Cases

The use of eminent domain to acquire commercial property impacts tenants as well as the owner/landlord of the property. Ohio uses the undivided-fee rule, which first values the property as a whole and then apportions the award to each property interest. This procedure can create tension between landlords and tenants as both parties typically want to maximize their respective compensation awards. For this reason, tenants in commercial eminent domain cases should have separate legal counsel.

To determine the tenant's rights to recovery, the first place to look is always the lease. The terms of the lease will govern. If the lease is silent to this issue, the tenant's measure of recovery is the market value of the use of the property for the remainder of the lease term minus the agreed rent. The tenant must essentially show that the lease has a bonus value, that is the rents payable under the lease must be shown to be less than the market rate.

Each case is different and unique. An experienced eminent domain attorney can help counsel and advise commercial tenants on the best strategy to maximize recovery. McCarthy Law Office represents clients in eminent domain cases on an hourly or contingent fee basis, depending on the facts of the case. Please contact our office with any questions.

Estate Planning Process

My estate planning process is typically a 3-step process. I meet with clients to assess their unique situation to create an individualized plan to specifically address their personal wants and needs. 


The first step is about information gathering, understanding your goals, explaining the various documents and answering your questions. I provide a client in-take form that provides details about your personal and family information.  At this stage, we also discuss the people you want to appoint to important roles such as guardians for your children, trustees, and health care agents. At the end of this meeting, I should know your objectives and have a plan in mind to reach them.


After we meet and decide on the form of your estate plan, I begin to draft the necessary documents. The plan I draft for you is focused on achieving your objectives, including providing for your children, getting your affairs in order, and stating your health care wishes. To craft your plan, I will use the information provided in the initial consultation as well as any follow up questions that may arise.  


We will then meet to thoroughly discuss each document. I will explain the documents in detail and answer any questions you have. It is crucial that the plan meets your objectives and that you fully understand the role each document plays in the estate plan. I want each client to leave the final meeting confident in their understanding of the plan. 

Once we have reviewed the documents, it is time to sign.  I will ensure we meet the legal requirements to execute each document, including the required witnesses.  I will also help with funding the plan, including properly designating beneficiaries and titling assets. 

Once finalized and signed, I will provide you with the original documents in a binder.  I will also provide an electronic copy upon request for easy access or sharing.  


McCarthy named a Super Lawyer Rising Star for 2016

It is always nice to be recognized by one's peers.  I was once again named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers for 2016.  This is in the third year in a row I have received this recognition.  Super Lawyers uses an in-depth selection process that starts with nominations and evaluations from other attorneys in the area.  They then conduct independent research to further evaluate those nominated.  No more than 5 percent of lawyers in a state are named as Super Lawyers and no more than 2.5 percent are named as Rising Star Super Lawyers.  More information on their selection process is available here:

So for those who nominated and evaluated me, thank you.

Decisions for Parents with Young Children

As we move into the Holiday season, it is a good time to to draft or reassess estate planning documents.  Parents with minor children have important decisions to make.  People generally never want to think about worst case situation of a simultaneous death of both parents, but having the discussion and drafting detailed documents is a necessity.  I encourage my clients to strongly consider a living trust that provides for the care of their children and distribution of assets if necessary.  In drafting a living trust, parents must consider who they would want to serve as the guardian of their children.  Where would the kids live? Who would serve as the trustee of the assets? When should the children receive the assets, including life insurance proceeds? Most clients prefer their children not receive a large amount of money at a young age, such as 18 or 21.  Many parents like to stagger the ages to receive the assets, such as 1/3 of the estate at age 21, 1/3 at age 25, and the remainder at age 30.  But the benefit of living trusts is the flexibility available to suit your individual needs and desires.  

If you are a parent with minor children, please give me a call to help you craft an estate plan that works best for your family.  

CBA Hosts Local Government CLE on 10-16-15

I am the Chair of the Cincinnati Bar Association Local Government Law Committee.  The Committee meets once a month and consists of lawyers who work with city, county, and other local government bodies.  We discuss topics relevant to local governments, such as eminent domain, zoning, local taxes, public records law, and public employment law.

We also host an annual Continuing Legal Education course.  Our seminar this year will take place on Friday, October 16th at the CBA offices at 225 E. 6th Street downtown.  More information is available at

This year, we are focusing on three important and timely topics.  Our first presentation will focus on recent developments in public records and open meetings law.  We will then have a panel discussion entitled, "The Heroin Epidemic's Impact on Local Governments."  We have assembled a fantastic panel with a wide breadth of knowledge and experience.  Finally, we will discuss recent changes Ohio enacted to municipal income taxes.  

I hope to see many familiar faces at the CLE.

Estate Planning Considerations for Families

Who needs a will?  In short, anyone with either property or kids.  I have talked to many people who have the best of intentions of finally drafting a will.  But it is very easy to put off drafting a will until tomorrow.  Tomorrow becomes next week, which becomes next month, which becomes next year.  A proper estate plan is essential for families, particularly for parents with minor children.   A will is not the only document necessary.  A short summary of documents necessary for most families is below.  Please note that there is no one size fits all document.  I encourage you to call me to tailor a complete estate plan to meet your individual needs. 

When I meet with parents with minor children, I typically recommend the following documents:

LAST WILL AND TESTAMENTa will directs the distribution of probate assets upon death.  A will also identifies who the testator wants to serve as the executor of the estate.  Parents also can identify who they want to serve as guardians of their minor children in the will.  This is probably the most important reason for parents with young children to execute a will.  The probate court will ultimately appoint a guardian for children if both parents pass away, but parents should clearly identify who they want to care for their children in the event a guardian becomes necessary.

REVOCABLE ("LIVING") TRUST: a trust is a very useful device to manage property.  Trusts can be intimidating.  But the basics are not complicated.  In a trust, the owner (settlor) transfers property to a trustee.  The trustee manages the property for someone identified as a beneficiary.  Property placed into a revocable trust is generally not subject to the probate process.  Trusts provide a clear estate management plan for after the settlor's death.  Parents can also instruct that assets be distributed to their kids at staggered times.  Under the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act, in Ohio, children can receive assets once they reach age 21.  But in a trust, a parent can pass part of their assets once the children obtain specific ages, such as 1/3 at age 21, 1/3 at age 25, and the remainder at age 30.  But trusts are also very flexible and can be drafted to suit your needs and wishes.  

LIVING WILL AND HEALTH CARE POWER OF ATTORNEY: a living will allows the signer to state their intentions regarding withholding or withdrawal of life-sustaining medical treatment, including CPR, when they are no longer competent to make informed medical decisions.  A living will becomes the way a person communicates their wishes when the patient is in a terminal condition and can no longer make informed decisions.

The health care power of attorney designates an attorney in fact to make health care decisions when the patient is unable to communicate his or her wishes.  The attorney in fact generally has the authority to give informed consent, refuse to give informed consent, and to withdraw informed consent for any medical treatment.

DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY: this document is intended to cover your financial matters in the event you cannot handle them yourself.  A durable power of attorney helps the management of a person’s affairs during periods of incompetence without the necessity of seeking an order from the Probate Court.