November 2019 Bankruptcy Allowance Update

Bankruptcy Courts update the allowance amounts for filing bankruptcy approximately every 6 months. Beginning November 1, 2019, the amounts below will be in effect. Those allowances will again be subject to change in May 2020, so it is important to check back for further updates.

November 2019 Ohio Median Income Allownance

Period1 person2 people 3 people 4 people 5 people 6 people Additional people over 6
Year$50,384$63,514$76,260$91,580$100,580$109,580$9,000 per additional person
6 Months$25,192$31,757$38,130$45,790$50,290$54,790$4,500 per additional person
Monthly$4,199$5,293$6,355$7,632$8,382$9,132$750 per additional person
Semi Monthly$2,099$2,646$3,178$3,816$4,191$4,566$375 per additional person
Bi Weekly$1,938$2,443$2,933$3,522$3,868$4,215$346 per additional person
Weekly $969$1,221$1,467$1,761$1,934$2,107$173 per additional person

November 2019 National Living Allowance

Type1 Person2 People3 People 4 People
Food$386$685$786$958
Housekeeping$40$72$76$76
Apparel$88$159$169$243
Personal Care$43$70$76$91
Miscellaneous$170$302$339$418
Total $727$1,288$1,446$1,786
For each additional person over four add $420 to the four-person total allowance.

November 2019 National Out of Pocket Health Care Allowance

Out of Pocket Health Care Allowance
Under Age 65Age 65 & Over
$55$114
  Allowance
CountyFIPSType1 Person2 People3 People 4 People 5 or More People
Hancock39063Utility$498$584$616$687$698
Mortgage/Rent$748$879$926$1,032$1,049
Total$1,246$1,463$1,542$1,719$1,747
Henry39069Utility$505$593$625$697$708
Mortgage/Rent$685$805$848$945$961
Total$1,190$1398$1,473$1,642$1,669
Sandusky39143Utility$485$570$600$669$680
Mortgage/Rent$659$774$816$910$924
Total$1,144$1,344$1,416$1,579$1,604
Wood39173Utility$489$575$606$675$686
Mortgage/Rent$905$1,062$1,119$1,248$1,268
Total$1,394$1,637$1,725$1,923$1,954
  Transportation Allowance
CountyRegionTypePublic Transportation1 Car2 Cars
Ohio Counties
Outside of Cleveland
Metropolitan
Statistical Area
MWOperating$217$191$382
Ownership$508$1,016
Total$217$699$1,398

If you believe bankruptcy is an option for you, if you need to stop a garnishment, collection, foreclosure, repossession, creditor harassment, or if you are struggling with debt, please give the experienced bankruptcy lawyers at Spitler Huffman law firm a call at 419-352-2535 to schedule a free consultation today.

The bankruptcy and debt settlement attorneys at Spitler Huffman LLP have substantial experience representing clients in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, as well as experience working with creditors to help settle your debts.  Located in Bowling Green and Rossford, Ohio, we are dedicated to serving clients across Northwest Ohio, including Wood, Henry, Hancock, and Sandusky Counties.  If you live in or around Bowling Green, Findlay, Perrysburg, Napoleon, Port Clinton, Fremont, Rossford, or other communities in Northwest Ohio and need debt relief or bankruptcy assistance, please contact us today!

MORE PEOPLE ELIGIBLE FOR EXPUNGEMENT IN OHIO, POTENTIALLY MORE CHANGES IN THE LAW TO COME

Having a criminal record can have severe consequences.  It could keep you from getting a job or receiving a promotion, it could be embarrassing to have what is likely the worst mistake you have made as public record.  Whatever the reason, there is the potential to have that criminal record removed expunged from public record as if it never occurred.

In Ohio, what is generally known as expungement is called “sealing of a conviction.”  Recently, Ohio’s legislature passed a bill making more previous offenders eligible to have their convictions sealed. 

In order to have your record sealed, one must be an “eligible offender” under Ohio’s Revised Code Section 2953.31.  There are two categories of eligible offenders, each with different requirements:

Having a criminal record can have severe consequences.  It could keep you from getting a job or receiving a promotion, it could be embarrassing to have what is likely the worst mistake you have made as public record.  Whatever the reason, there is the potential to have that criminal record removed expunged from public record as if it never occurred.

In Ohio, what is generally known as expungement is called “sealing of a conviction.”  Recently, Ohio’s legislature passed a bill making more previous offenders eligible to have their convictions sealed. 

In order to have your record sealed, one must be an “eligible offender” under Ohio’s Revised Code Section 2953.31.  There are two categories of eligible offenders, each with different requirements:

  There are two categories of eligible offenders, each with different requirements:

Group AGroup B
* Not More than 5 Felonies.

* All offenses felony 4 or 5, or
misdemeanor

* No offense of violence

* No felony sex offense
* Not eligible under Group A

*Not more than 1 felony conviction,
two misdemeanor convictions, or 1
felony and one misdemeanor convictions

* multiple convictions resulting from the
same act could be considered one
conviction

O.R.C. § 2953.31

However, there are certain offenses that cannot be expunged.  See O.R.C. § 2953.36.   

An eligible offender is allowed to apply for sealing a conviction:

  • Misdemeanors – 1 year after final discharge
  • 1 felony – 3 years after final discharge
  • 2 felonies – 4 years after final discharge
  • 3-5 felonies – 5 years after final discharge

Final discharge occurs after the completion of all requirements of a sentence, including community control, commonly known as probation or parole. 

If you believe you qualify as an eligible offender and have waited the required time after discharge, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney today to start the application process.

This recent legislation allows more felony and misdemeanor convictions to be expunged than ever before.  Even further, 2019 House Bill 1 is currently pending, and its passage would make even more people with criminal records eligible for expungement.  2019 House Bill 1 could also shorten the time needed before being able to apply to seal a conviction.  Each case is fact specific, which is why consulting a competent attorney is important. 

Criminal defense attorney Steven L. Spitler of the Spitler Huffman LLP. law firm has 23 years’ experience in the area of criminal defense including record expungement of felony and misdemeanor offenses.  Located in Bowling Green, Wood County Ohio, Steven L. Spitler is a premier attorney serving clients across Northwest Ohio.  

The outcome of an individual case depends on a variety of factors unique to that case.  Case results do not guarantee or predict similar results in any similar or future case.

Revocable Trusts in estate planning.

What is a Revocable Living Trust or RLT?

A RLT is a trust created by a client (called “Grantor,” “Settlor,” “Trustor,” “Trustmaker,” etc.). The client has full right to amend and revoke the trust or any provision thereunder during the client’s lifetime. A RLT, can provide detailed instruction and authority for a client’s family in the event of his/her disability. A RLT if funded, can also avoid the need for probate and provide for effective distribution of assets at death to heirs outright or in lifetime asset protection trusts. The client retains access to all income and all principal from the trust at any time. All assets in a RLT remain available to the client’s creditors, predators and long-term care costs and are considered “available” for purposes of Medicaid qualification and Veterans Benefits eligibility.

Some of the useful features of the RLT are

  • Client retains right to income and principal from the trust.
  • Client can be sole or co-trustee.
  • Client retains the right to modify or revoke the trust in any manner at any time.
  • Pure grantor trust under IRC §§671-678 (income) and IRC §§2036-2042 (estate).
  • Client can provide extensive “directions” for use of assets and income in case of disability.
  • Client can pass assets to beneficiaries in asset protection trust with personalized instructions.

How RLTs can be used

  • Clients who wish to provide extensive instructions and authority in event of disability.
  • Clients who want to avoid probate and get their assets to their beneficiaries effectively and timely.
  • Clients who want to maintain full control and access to all assets at all times.
  • Clients who want to provide asset protection to their heirs after death or to protect against “spend thrift” or loss to disabled beneficiaries care costs.

What are the Benefits of RLTs

  • Income and principal available to client and client can terminate at any time.
  • Keeps client affairs private (don’t have to share with children or public).
  • Retains ownership for full step-up in tax basis to asset values at death.
  • Permits assets to be distributed to beneficiaries in asset protection trust.
  • Can protect assets from creditors, predators or long-term care costs needed for community spouse after client’s death.

Issues to consider when making a RLT

  • Transfers “to” or “from” will be subject to a look back.
  • All assets are considered “available” to Medicaid and other creditors.
  • Standard vs Personalized Planning options
  • Commitment (transaction or relationship)

While this article focuses on the many features of revocable trusts in an estate plan there are numerous considerations that factor in to a clients situation and significant reasons not to utilize. Every client considering trusts in their estate planning should consult competent counsel to evaluate their individual situation.

The estate planning attorneys at Spitler Huffman law firm have substantial experience in creating an estate plan to fit their clients needs.  Located in Bowling Green and Rossford, Ohio we are dedicated to serving clients in Northwest Ohio including Wood, Henry, Hancock, and Sandusky Counties.  If you live in Bowling Green, Findlay, Perrysburg, Napoleon, Port Clinton, Fremont, Rossford, or other areas in Northwest Ohio and need estate planning assistance, contact us today.

WOOD COUNTY, OHIO JURY RETURNS NOT GUILTY VERDICT FOR MAN FALSELY ACCUSED OF AGGRAVATED BURGLARY, AGGRAVATED MENACING, AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE / ASSAULT

Recently, Criminal Defense Attorney Steven L. Spitler assisted a client falsely accused by an ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend of:

  • Aggravated Burglary (O.R.C. 2911.11(A)(1);
  • Aggravated Menacing (O.R.C. 2903(A); and
  • Domestic Violence (O.R.C. 2919.25(C)

The client was accused of sneaking into the home of his ex-girlfriend and hiding under her bed with a large knife.  However, he was not there.  The police and SWAT team searched the residence and failed to find the client.  The Wood County Prosecutor’s office still sought charges on the claim that he fled the residence before the authorities arrived. 

Criminal Defense Lawyer Steven L.  Spitler met with and consulted with his client and to prepare the strongest possible defense.  These were very serious charges with a possible sentence of 20-30 years in prison if found guilty.  Attorney Spitler and his legal team thoroughly investigated the matter, interviewed alibi witnesses and provided vigorous representation. 

Even with the testimony of alibi witnesses stating that the client was not at the scene of the alleged crime, the prosecution continued to pursue these serious charges.  Unwilling to accept plea deals that would have resulted in a substantial prison term, the client and Attorney Steven L.  Spitler proceeded to jury trial. 

At the three-day jury trial Attorney Steven L. Spitler zealously represented his client.  Two lines of opposing testimony were present for the jury, the ex-girlfriend and boyfriend saying the client was there and committed the offenses and our client and the two alibi witnesses stating he was not there.  The criminal defense trial experience of Attorney Steven L. Spitler was able to prove to the jury that this whole incident was a fabrication.

At the conclusion of the trial, the jury deliberated for less than 20 minutes before returning a verdict of NOT GUILTY.  These accusations against the client could have resulted in a serious prison sentence, for a crime he did not commit.  By making the wise choice to retain a highly skilled criminal defense lawyer, the client was able to go home to his family and not have to serve prison time for something he did not do.

Criminal defense attorney Steven L. Spitler of the Spitler Huffman LLP. law firm has 23 year’s experience in the area of criminal defense including robbery, burglary, domestic violence/assault, OVI, Drug Trafficking,  Drug Possession and other related felony and misdemeanor offenses.  Located in Bowling Green, Wood County Ohio, Steven L. Spitler is a premier attorney serving clients across Northwest Ohio.  

The outcome of an individual case depends on a variety of factors unique to that case.  Case results do not guarantee or predict similar results in any similar or future case.

Changes in bankruptcy allowances.

Its that time of year again when the Bankruptcy Courts update the bankruptcy allowances. Below are the changes for this year. These changes are effective as of May 1, 2019.

New Ohio Median Income Allowances

Period1 person2 people 3 people 4 people 5 people 6 people 7 People 8 people Additional people over 8
Year$49,624.00$62,308.00$74,969.00$89,454.00$98,454.00$107,454.00$116,454.00$125,454.00$9,000.00 per
additional person
6 Months$24,812.00$31,154.00$37,485.00$44,727.00$49,227.00$53,727.00$58,227.00$62,727.00$4,500.00 per additional person
Monthly$4,135.00$5,192.00$6,247.00$7,455.00$8,205.00$9,705.00$9,705.00$10,455.00$750.00 per additional person
Semi Montly$2,068.00$2,596.00$3,124.00$3,727.00$4,102.00$4,477.00$4,852.00$5,227.00$375.00 per additional person
Bi Weekly$1,909.00$2,396.00$2,883.00$3,441.00$3,787.00$4,133.00$4,479.00$4,825.00$346.00 per additional person
Weekly $954.00$1,198.00$1,442.00$1,720.00$1,893.00$2,066.00$2,240.00$2,413.00$173.00 per additional person

New National Living Allowances

Type1 Person2 People3 People 4 People5 People6 People 7 People8 PeopleAdditional Person
Food$386.00 $685.00$786.00$958.00$1,182.00$1,407.00$1,632.00$1,857.00$282.00 per
additional person
Housekeeping$40.00$72.00$76.00$76.00$93.00$111.00$129.00$147.00$0.00 per
additional person
Apparel$88.00$159.00$169.00$243.00$301.00$358.00$358.00$415.00$0.00 per
additional person
Personal Care$43.00$70.00$76.00$91.00$112.00$133.00$155.00$176.00$0.00 per
additional person
Miscellaneous$170.00$302.00$339.00$418.00$518.00$617.00$715.00$814.00$138.00 per additional person
Total $727.00$1,288.00$1,446.00$1,786.00$2,206.00$2,626.00$3,046.00$3,466.00$420.00 per
additional person

New National Health Allowances

Allowance
Under Age 65Age 65 & Over
$55.00$114.00

New Local Housing Allowances

  Allowance
CountyFIPSType1 Person2 People3 People 4 People 5 People
Hancock39063Utility$498.00$584.00$616.00$687.00$698.00
Mortgage$748.00$879.00$926.00$1,032.00$1,049.00
Total$1,246.00$1,463.00$1,542.00$1,719.00$1,747.00
Henry39069Utility$505.00$593.00$625.00$697.00$708.00
Mortgage$685.00$805.00$848.00$945.00$961.00
Total$1,190.00$1398.00$1,473.00$1,642.00$1,669.00
Sandusky39143Utility$485.00$570.00$600.00$669.00$680.00
Mortgage$659.00$774.00$816.00$910.00$924.00
Total$1,144.00$1,344.00$1,416.00$1,579.00$1,604.00
Wood39173Utility$489.00$575.00$606.00$675.00$686.00
Mortgage$905.00$1,062.00$1,119.00$1,248.00$1,268.00
Total$1,394.00$1,637.00$1,725.00$1,923.00$1,954.00

and finally the

New National Ownership and Local Operating Transportation Allowances.

   Allowance
CountyRegionTypeNo Car1 Car2 Car
Other OH CountiesMWOperating$217.00$191.00$382.00
Ownership$508.00$1,016.00
Total$217.00$699.00$1,398.00

If you think bankruptcy may be in your best interest, and need to stop a garnishment, creditor harassment, collection phone calls, foreclosure, repossession, or just need to get ahead of your debt please give us a call today at 419-352-2535 to set up a free consultation.

The bankruptcy attorneys at Spitler Huffman law firm have substantial experience representing clients in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy .  Located in Bowling Green and Rossford, Ohio we are dedicated to serving clients in Northwest Ohio including Wood, Henry, Hancock, and Sandusky Counties.  If you live in Bowling Green, Findlay, Perrysburg, Napoleon, Port Clinton, Fremont, Rossford, or other areas in Northwest Ohio and need bankruptcy assistance, contact us today.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Changes in Exemptions

The bankruptcy attorneys at Spitler Huffman law firm have substantial experience representing clients in bankruptcy.  Located in Bowling Green and Rossford, Ohio we are dedicated to serving clients in Northwest Ohio including Wood, Henry, Hancock, and Sandusky Counties.  If you live in Bowling Green, Findlay, Perrysburg, Napoleon, Port Clinton, Fremont, Rossford, or other areas in Northwest Ohio and need bankruptcy assistance, contact us today.

Starting on April 1, 2019 there were new exemption limits for filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.

The new federal chapter 7 bankruptcy exemptions are as follows:

Exemption §552(d)Current Exemption
Amount
New Exemption
Amount
Household$600.00 Per Item

$12,625.00 Total
$625.00 Per Item

$13,400.00 Total
Homestead$23,675.00$25,150.00
Personal Injury$23,675.00$25,150.00
Life Insurance$12,625.00$13,400.00
Motor Vehicle$3,775.00$4,000.00
Trade$2,375.00$2,525.00
Jewelry$1,600.00$1,700.00
Wild Card$1,250.00

$11,850.00
Homestead Carryover
$1,325.00

$12,575.00
Homestead Carryover

The new Ohio chapter 7 bankruptcy exemptions are as follows:

Exemption (2329.66)Current Exemption
Amount
New Exemption
Amount
Cash$475.00$500.00
Homestead$136,925.00$145,425.00
Household$600.00 Per Item

$12,625.00 Total
$625.00 Per Item

$13,400.00 Total
Jewelry$1,600.00$1,700.00
Motor Vehicle$3,775.00$4,000.00
Personal Injury
Awards
$23,700.00$25,175.00
Professional Books &
Tools of the Trade
$2,400.00$2,550.00
Wildcard$1,250.00$1,325.00

If you think bankruptcy may be in your best interest, please give us a call today to set up a free consultation.

Changes in the Spousal Support Tax Laws and What this could mean for you.

The divorce attorneys at Spitler Huffman law firm have substantial experience representing clients in family law.  Located in Bowling Green and Rossford, Ohio we are dedicated to serving clients in Northwest Ohio including Wood, Henry, Hancock, and Sandusky Counties.  If you live in Bowling Green, Findlay, Perrysburg, Napoleon, Port Clinton, Fremont, Rossford, or other areas in Northwest Ohio and need assistance with a divorce or dissolution, contact us today.

Since the enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA”) in December of 2017, substantial changes have been made to the application of Ohio’s spousal support that are important for families to consider when making the difficult choice to separate. 

First, it is important to note that TCJA applies to domestic relations matters (i.e., divorce and dissolution proceedings) that conclude on or after January 1, 2019.  Second, it is important to be aware that a person paying spousal support pursuant to an order that was issued on or after January 1, 2019 may no longer deduct that payment from their individual income taxes.  Similarly, and equally important to know, is that the TCJA no longer requires the receiving spouse to claim that income.  Finally, given the unique issues in every domestic relation matter it is important to know your options.

Please give our office a call with any questions or to discuss your personal situation.

IRS Circular 230 Statement Applicable: To Tax Advice, If Any, Contained In This Communication

Treasury Regulations require us to inform you that neither you nor any other recipient may use any tax advice in this communication to avoid any penalty that may be imposed under federal tax law.  To obtain penalty protection, the new Regulations require attorneys, accountants and other tax advisors to perform increased due diligence to verify all relevant facts and to format the written tax advice in a lengthy number of separately enumerated sections with numerous disclosures.  If you would like us to prepare written tax advice designed to provide penalty protection, please contact us and we will be pleased to discuss the matter with you in more detail.

Updates to Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Income Limits and Exemptions

The bankruptcy attorneys at Spitler Huffman law firm have substantial experience representing clients in bankruptcy.  Located in Bowling Green and Rossford, Ohio we are dedicated to serving clients in Northwest Ohio including Wood, Henry, Hancock, and Sandusky Counties.  If you live in Bowling Green, Findlay, Perrysburg, Napoleon, Port Clinton, Fremont, Rossford, or other areas in Northwest Ohio and need bankruptcy assistance, contact us today.

As of November 1, 2018 there have been several updates to the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Income Limits and Exemptions.

Ohio Income limits (after 11/1/2018);

1 Earner 2 People 3 People 4 people
Ohio $48,441.00 $60,822.00 $73,182.00 $87,321.00

Ohio Income Limits (Before 11/1/2018):

1 Earner 2 People 3 People 4 people
Ohio $48,596.00 $60,834.00 $70,529.00 $85,294.00

Wood County Housing and Utility Allowance** (After 11/1/2018);

1 Person 2 People 3 People
Utilities Mortgage/Rent Utilities Mortgage/Rent Utilities Mortgage/Rent
$491 $890 $576 $1,046 $607 $1,102
4 People 5 or More
Utilities Mortgage/Rent Utilities Mortgage/Rent
$677 $1,229 $688 $1,248

** Exceptions Apply; Please seek the advice of counsel for more detailed information.

Public Transportation Expense Limit  $178

Vehicle Operating Costs

1 Car 2 Cars
$196 $392

Vehicle Ownership Costs

1 Car 2 Cars
$497 $994

If you think Bankruptcy may be in your best interest, call us today for a free consultation.

-Posted by LAF

Is There Facebook After Death?

The estate and probate attorneys at Spitler Huffman law firm have substantial experience representing clients in estate and probate matters.  Located in Bowling Green and Rossford, Ohio we are dedicated to serving clients in Northwest Ohio including Wood, Henry, Hancock, and Sandusky Counties.  If you live in Bowling Green, Findlay, Perrysburg, Napoleon, Port Clinton, Fremont, Rossford, or other areas in Northwest Ohio and need estate and probate assistance, contact us today.

In an era where “it isn’t official until it’s posted on Facebook,” what happens to our profiles when we die?

With Facebook reporting that it has over 1.7 billion “active” users (or users that have logged in at some point within the last 30 days), about a quarter of the world is on Facebook every month.  With so many users, a few are bound to pass away every so often.

For the planners out there- there are options.  In response to The Inevitable, Facebook has put in place methods for a user to dictate the terms of your account prior to death.

Before Death:

Facebook gives users three options for their accounts after death- 1. Create a “Memorialized” account, 2. Deactivate upon death, or 3. Do nothing.

If you choose a Memorialized account, once Facebook is notified of your death you basically get a page where people can continue to post on a special memorial timeline.  If you choose, you can name a “legacy contact” to administer the page on your behalf, but your legacy will be limited to the memorial page.

If you choose to set your account to deactivate upon death, Facebook simply deactivates your account once it receives a death notice.

If a User Does Nothing:

That just leaves the 90 plus percent of users who have not designated any action for their Facebook account.  If this happens, your family or the fiduciary of your estate may request that your account be deactivated, or may seek a court order to shut down your account.

A Little Planning Goes A Long Way: 

Most of us write our 19 different passwords down on 19 different pieces of paper that we can never find later.  News flash- if you can’t find your passwords, your next of kin won’t be able to either.  As for legal intervention- laws so far have been slow to catch up with the problem of fiduciary access to the online records of a deceased person.  Some states, like Oklahoma and Idaho, have taken steps to authorize fiduciary access to online accounts.  However, if you live elsewhere, maybe it’s time to get more organized and make a plan which includes your digital information.

Though planning for your digital estate may seem trivial in comparison to estate planning for your health or financial future, the large and ever-increasing role of technology in our day to day financial and social lives means digital records may need to be addressed with your estate planner.  Accurate records will help your loved ones efficiently handle your estate.  And that’s something everybody likes.

-Posted by CCI

Charges Dropped Against Rossford Teacher

The criminal attorneys at Spitler Huffman law firm have substantial experience representing clients in criminal law.  Located in Bowling Green and Rossford, Ohio we are dedicated to serving clients in Northwest Ohio including Wood, Henry, Hancock, and Sandusky Counties.  If you live in Bowling Green, Findlay, Perrysburg, Napoleon, Port Clinton, Fremont, Rossford, or other areas in Northwest Ohio and need criminal law assistance, contact us today.

On August 13th, 2016, Wood County Common Pleas Judge Reeve Kelsey found Perrysburg resident Todd Long guilty after Mr. Long attempted to frame a Rossford Middle School teacher for drug trafficking.

Bowling Green Attorney Steve Spitler represented the teacher and assisted in having all charges dropped against his client.  Mr. Spitler was quoted in the case by the Toledo Blade and a link to the full article can be found here:

http://www.toledoblade.com/Police-Fire/2014/12/05/Drug-trafficking-charges-against-Rossford-teacher-dropped.html

-Posted by CCI