Business Law

At Reese, Pyle, Drake & Meyer, P.L.L., we offer a wide range of business services, whether you are just starting out or have been in business for decades.

Choice of Entity. One of the most important decisions for a new business is choosing the type of business entity. The most common types of business entities are limited liability companies, partnerships, and corporations. This choice can have a significant impact on tax liabilities, personal financial liability issues and the raising of capital. We work closely with our clients to understand their business plans and help them select the business structure that best fits with their goals and objectives.

Business Formation. We can assist you in meeting state regulatory requirements for the formation of your business, and also in preparing crucial operating agreements and corporate governance documents. Along the way, we can advise you in areas of governance, owner and employee compensation, capital and financing, buy-sell agreements, transferability of ownership interests and dispute resolution and avoidance.

Commercial and Contractual Arrangements. Throughout the life of your business, you will come across or need various contracts and other commercial arrangements. Our attorneys can draft or review various contracts and agreements related to your customers, vendors, suppliers, lenders, lessors, contractors and employees.

Exit Strategy and Succession Planning. Whether you are ready to sell your business today or would like to plan for an eventual transfer to your heirs or successors, our attorneys can advise you on the best ways to accomplish your goals.

General Business Matters. Our attorneys have the experience, knowledge and background to advise you on a vast array of legal matters that you may encounter from time to time in the operation of your business. 

Collection and Foreclosure Law

The reality is that many business and individuals will eventually have a problem collecting money due and owing to them. At Reese, Pyle, Drake & Meyer, P.L.L., we stand ready to assist our clients in doing just that. We offer assistance in the areas of foreclosure, perfection of mechanics liens and general collection efforts. This includes not only obtaining a judgment, but equally important, actively pursuing collection of the monies awarded in any such judgment. We do this through a variety of methods including foreclosure on real property, garnishment of wages and seizure of assets.

In this as in all areas our firm is always committed to the best interest of our clients. Sometimes that includes advising our clients that even though the money is clearly owed, the reality of the situation is that collection of the full amount appears either very unlikely or cost prohibitive. It is our firm belief that we can best serve our clients not only through aggressive collection efforts but also by advising them when not to throw good money after bad.

Construction Law

At Reese, Pyle, Drake & Meyer, P.L.L., we offer a full range of services for those of our clients engaged in the various aspects of the construction industry. Whether they are owners, developers, general contractors, subcontractors or suppliers, our firm stands ready to assist them from the beginning of the project to the end. Our approach to representation begins with the aim of aiding our clients to avoid problems. The best way to do this is to make certain we have a thorough understanding of the project and incorporating that understanding in the careful creation and review of construction and financing documents. We also advise our clients on the best way to structure their business entities to limit the risk to only a portion of their assets. 

Of course, in any construction project, there exists the potential for problems to develop. In that event we take an aggressive, goal-oriented approach to solving the problem as quickly and inexpensively as possible. That approach includes everything from negotiation to representation at mediation and/or arbitration or, if necessary and in the best interest of the client, litigation. 

An unfortunate aspect of the construction business is collection. Collection issues arise at some point for virtually every contractor, sub-contractor and supplier. We offer assistance to our clients in this area as well. While not cost effective for every project, we can recommend various ways in which to check out the potential customers creditworthiness and reputation for making timely payments before the contract is ever signed. We also advise our clients in obtaining security and protecting their lien rights. Finally, when necessary, we will pursue collection efforts on their behalf not only through judgment but in the collection of that judgment. 

Criminal Defense - Traffic / DUI

At Reese, Pyle, Drake & Meyer, P.L.L., we understand that a criminal conviction can have serious consequences. Accordingly, we work hard to protect the rights of our clients. We represent clients facing a variety of criminal charges including:

  • Drunk Driving
  • Traffic Offenses
  • Domestic Violence
  • Property Crimes
  • Misdemeanor Offenses

Being charged for drunk driving (DUI / DWI / OVI / OMVI) can be an embarrassing event which carries the risk of a suspended, or revoked, license, jail time, and fines. It is important to act quickly to make sure that your rights are protected. An experienced and knowledgeable lawyer can help you get through this. We have extensive experience challenging stops, arrests, and BAC test results, and will work hard to get the best results for you.

We can also assist individuals who have existing criminal convictions obtain an expungement. In Ohio, expungement is the same as sealing a criminal record. It is a legal process in court which allows you to have any and all references to a prior criminal conviction cleared and your court file sealed. The result is as if you were never convicted of the crime.

Elder and Special Needs Law

The Ohio Supreme Court defines Elder Law as:

The legal practice of counseling and representing older persons and their representatives about the legal aspects of health and long-term care planning, public benefits, surrogate decision-making, older persons’ legal capacity, the conservation, disposition and administration of older persons’ estates and the implementation of their decisions concerning such matters, giving due consideration to the applicable tax consequences of the action, or the need for more sophisticated tax expertise.

If you or a loved one are concerned about the financial implications of nursing home care, then you may benefit from a conversation with one of our elder law attorneys, who can explain, among other things, the rules governing Medicaid eligibility and ways to plan for it. Common planning practices include counseling concerning these issues and preparation of documents to implement effective strategies. Documents may include wills, trusts, financial powers of attorney, health care powers of attorney, living wills, transfer on death deeds, and deeds creating life estates in real estate. We can also provide representation before the Department of Job and Family Services or in court if needed.

At Reese, Pyle, Drake & Meyer, P.L.L., we understand that families needing elder law advice may be facing difficult interpersonal and emotional issues as well as financial and legal issues. We try to temper our legal advice with care and compassion.

Employment Law

The attorneys at Reese, Pyle, Drake & Meyer, P.L.L. have experience representing both employers and employees in a variety of employment and labor-related matters including workplace discrimination, age discrimination (ADEA), harassment, wrongful termination, wage and hour, family medical leave act (FMLA), drafting and reviewing employee contracts, employee handbooks, non-competition agreements, severance agreements, and termination policies. We have experience handling employment claims in court, arbitration, and in administrative hearings before the Ohio Civil Rights Commission.

We understand that even the most diligent employers will, at some point, be accused of having run afoul of these rules. We also understand both the practical and the legal implications that these claims can have for our clients. We take proactive measures to minimize risk and avoid claims. And when litigation happens, we work closely with our clients to manage both the risk and burden associated with employment-related lawsuits.

Estate Planning

At Reese, Pyle, Drake & Meyer, P.L.L., our attorneys work with individuals and families to tailor an estate plan to achieve their personal and financial goals during life and after death. Whether the goal is to avoid probate, minimize estate taxes, provide for minor children or for children with special needs, qualify for Medicaid or Veterans benefits, charitable giving, or ensure that your loved ones will be taken care of according to your wishes, our attorneys will work to develop a plan that meets your individual needs and goals.  As a testament to our abilities, we have proudly worked with multiple generations of many families in the central Ohio area with their estate planning needs.

To assist our clients with their estate planning objectives, we offer a full complement of estate planning services that include:

  • Last Will and Testament
  • Durable General Financial Power of Attorney
  • Durable Health Care Power of Attorney
  • Living Will
  • Revocable Living Trust
  • Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust
  • Charitable Trusts
  • Special Needs Trust
  • Grantor Retained Annuity Trust
  • Family Business Succession Planning

We also provide our clients with on-going advice and assistance in implementing their individual estate plan.  We regularly advise clients on ways to title assets to assure they will transfer to intended beneficiaries without going through probate and without paying a hefty legal fee for unnecessary estate planning documents.

Whatever your needs and regardless of your net worth, we will gladly work with you in creating an estate plan that meets your individual needs and goals.

Exempt Organizations

Licking County has benefited greatly from the philanthropic efforts of many of its citizens. Nonprofit organizations support our communities in various ways, through the operation of schools, healthcare facilities, museums, arts organizations, libraries, social service activities, and other support services.

Reese, Pyle, Drake & Meyer, P.L.L. is pleased to have assisted in the formation and ongoing operation of many nonprofits, including public charities, private foundations, and other tax-exempt organizations. Our attorneys can help you in setting up not-for-profit entities under Section 501(c)(3)of the Internal Revenue Code as well as other sections of the Code, preparing submissions for organizations to be recognized as tax-exempt by the Internal Revenue Service and to obtain other tax determinations, and advising on tax compliance and entity governance issues on a continuing basis.

Family Law

Reese, Pyle, Drake & Meyer, P.L.L. is well-equipped to assist clients with a variety of family law matters, including:

  • Divorce, Dissolution, Legal Separation
  • Post-Decree Disputes
  • Child Custody Matters
  • Child Support/Spousal Support Disputes
  • Pre-Marital Agreements
  • Juvenile Actions
  • Domestic Violence/Civil Protection Orders
  • Adoptions

Whenever possible and in the best interest of the client, we strive to resolve issues by agreement; however, we will effectively and zealously try those cases that cannot be settled.
A family law case may have overlapping issues concerning real estate, businesses, pensions, or other tax and estate planning matters. Our family law attorneys routinely consult with our practitioners in these other practice groups to ensure that our clients receive quality and experienced representation in all facets of their case.

Our attorneys understand the emotional nature of family law cases and the significant changes occurring in the lives of our clients and their families. As we work to obtain the best results for our clients, we remain sensitive to their needs.

Guardianships / Conservatorships

We understand that dealing with a loved one who is not able to care for him or herself can be one of the most challenging ordeals that a person can face. Coordinating medical care and housing options for a family member who is unable to make appropriate life choices can be difficult. Managing finances for one who cannot manage his or her own assets can be challenging. Often times, these issues are further complicated by strained family relationships. We can help. At Reese, Pyle, Drake & Meyer, PLL, we assist clients in appointing the guardian or conservator who is best suited to handle these issues for minors and incompetent adults. We also assist clients in the ongoing management of the guardianship or conservatorship estate, the required court reports and proceedings, and other administrative requirements of the guardianship or conservatorship. 

Should the appointment of the guardian or conservator be contested, or if disputes arise during the guardianship or conservatorship, our litigation team brings the necessary expertise, sensibility, and sensitivity to humanely and discretely resolve the dispute.

Healthcare Law

At Reese, Pyle, Drake & Meyer, P.L.L., we have successfully defended medical malpractice claims for more than three decades. We have represented the local healthcare system and the physicians it employs and have represented other hospitals and physicians as well.

We have also advised healthcare providers on a wide variety of other legal matters including those pertaining to risk management, self-insurance and claims management, employment issues, and the many contractual, statutory, and regulatory matters that surface on a daily basis in the busy, complicated, and heavily-regulated healthcare industry.

We strive at all times to provide accurate, timely, practical, and cost-effective services that meet our client needs.

Chris Meyer is the partner primarily involved in this area of our practice. Mr. Meyer is a longtime member of the Society of Ohio Hospital Attorneys and the American Health Lawyers Association, with more than 32 years of experience representing healthcare providers.

Juvenile Law

Our attorneys have experience handling a variety of juvenile court matters including helping children faced with delinquency charges and traffic violations. Additionally, we are well equipped to assist parents and family members with matters concerning the legal custody, dependency, abuse, and neglect of children.

Juvenile delinquency. Delinquency cases involve allegations that would be criminal events if committed by someone 18 years or older. Some offenses can also lead to a child being prosecuted as an adult. These cases also involve juvenile traffic violations and speeding tickets.

Dependency. Dependency is a term in which a child’s situation requires court involvement even though there is technically no one at fault. Children services agencies are usually involved in these cases.

Abuse. In abuse cases, parents are accused of causing harm to a child directly, most often through physical contact. Abuse cases typically involve criminal charges and a threat of loss of parental rights.

Neglect. As opposed to abuse, neglect is a more indirect form of mistreatment, involving inadequate living conditions, or not providing adequate care. As in abuse cases, criminal charges and a threat of loss of parental rights are often included.

Litigation

At Reese, Pyle, Drake & Meyer, P.L.L., we have successfully represented individuals, families, businesses, hospitals, physicians, nurses, attorneys, architects, engineers and other professionals in thousands of lawsuits and disputes over a broad range of civil litigation matters, including medical and professional negligence or malpractice claims, employment matters, insurance defense claims, uninsured and under-insured motorist claims, wrongful death, personal injury, products liability, business litigation and contractual disputes.

Our attorneys bring more than 100 years of combined litigation experience in the state and federal court systems. There is simply no substitute for experience in the area of civil litigation. We will aggressively pursue your interests in litigation, but we also consider it our responsibility to provide to our clients early, honest assessments of the merits of their claims or defenses and the prospective cost of litigation, before those costs are incurred.

Our attorneys are also experienced in all aspects of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), including mediation and binding and non-binding arbitration.

Free initial consultations are available.

Oil and Gas Law

The attorneys at Reese, Pyle, Drake & Meyer, P.L.L. have the resources and experience to continue to provide outstanding legal services in the unique field of oil and gas law. We have a history of successfully representing clients approached with oil and gas leases, which often times can seem complicated and confusing to landowners. Leases often last for years, sometimes even decades, and many standard leases contain terms that are unfavorable to landowners. Hiring an experienced attorney to review the terms of the lease can make all the difference.

This is especially true now. Recent advances in oil and gas drilling technology, coupled with exciting new discoveries right here in Ohio in the Utica Shale formation, have generated a new level of interest in oil and gas leases in this area. If you have been approached with a lease involving oil and gas or mineral rights, or if you are unsure about the status of an existing lease, consider consulting an experienced oil and gas law attorney to ensure your rights and interests are protected.

Personal Injury and Wrongful Death

The loss of a loved one is always difficult. This is especially true when the loss is caused by the carelessness of another. At Reese, Pyle, Drake & Meyer, P.L.L., our attorneys have over 100 years of combined litigation experience, and are well equipped to protect the rights of individuals who have been injured by the carelessness or negligence of others. Our attorneys have experience representing individuals with a variety of personal injuries including injuries suffered in automobile accidents and those that are the result of medical/professional malpractice. We have significant experience communicating and negotiating with insurance adjusters, having defended thousands of personal injury cases. We have the experience, knowledge, and resources to address the needs of our clients while allowing them to focus on healing and their regular daily activities.

Our attorneys have the experience and expertise to pursue wrongful death actions to compensate the family members for lost income, loss of future inheritance, medical and funeral expenses, and loss of support. If you have suffered a personal injury or lost a loved one, our attorneys can provide you with an initial consultation free of charge.

Probate

Probate is the legal process of settling the estate of a deceased person. Through probate, any debts of a decedent are resolved and the terms of the decedent’s will are carried out. Probate only affects, and is only required for, “probate assets.” Generally speaking, probate assets are those to which title does not otherwise pass to the decedent’s beneficiaries by contract, operation of law, trust, or deed. Probate assets require court action in order for title to pass to the proper heirs.

If a decedent leaves probate assets, but no will, then the distribution of the decedent’s estate will be governed by Ohio’s intestacy statute. This law is intended to reflect the most common estate plan, but it often does not reflect the true intentions of an individual, which is one reason why it is important to have a will. Generally, the intestacy statute provides that all assets will go to a decedent’s surviving spouse; if no spouse, then to the children; if no spouse or children, then to the parents; if none of those, then to the siblings; and so forth.

Probate serves the important function of settling all of the debts of the decedent. Surviving family members generally are not personally liable for the debts of the decedent. Probate is also the forum through which a will may be contested. Opening a probate estate is also a requirement before any wrongful death action may be filed on behalf of a decedent.

Many assets can pass to one’s heirs without probate. Life insurance and IRAs, for example, can pass to beneficiaries named by the decedent by virtue of contract. Ohio law provides that two cars, up to a certain value, pass to a surviving spouse by operation of law without probate. Any property held by a decedent’s trust will pass pursuant to the terms of the trust, rather than through the decedent’s will. Deeds for married couples are often”joint and survivorship,” meaning that upon the death of one spouse, the property automatically passes to the other. These are only some examples of non-probate assets. Usually, the steps that need to be taken to transfer such assets to the beneficiaries are relatively simple.

Note that “Probate” is not the same as estate tax. Even if probate is avoided entirely, estate tax may still be due. Whether an estate asset needs to be probated is a separate issue from whether it is taxable. Often, estate tax is not a concern upon the death of an individual who leaves his or her estate to a surviving spouse because there is a marital exemption from estate tax. Otherwise, any estate with a taxable value of more than $5,430,000 (in 2015, with future adjustments for inflation) is subject to federal estate tax.

We can help you not only with the probate process, but also with any non-probate transfers and estate tax returns. Some clients can do most of the work themselves, while others prefer to allow us to take care of everything. We can help you as much or as little as you need. As estate planners, we can also help you to avoid or minimize probate and estate tax for your heirs.

Real Estate Law

Reese, Pyle, Drake & Meyer, P.L.L. represents clients in a wide variety of real estate matters. Our experienced attorneys regularly advise clients in the acquisition, sale, leasing, refinance, foreclosure, development, zoning, and closing of residential and commercial/investment real estate. As part of the process, we assist clients in negotiating and drafting a full complement of legal documents and offer guidance on related issues, such as choice of entity, business and joint venture formation, tax considerations, zoning matters, construction issues, annexation, and development concerns.

Our real estate clients include:

  • Private real estate developers and investors
  • Commercial and residential landlords and tenants
  • Contractors and subcontractors
  • Management companies
  • Condominium developers and condominium associations
  • Financial institutions
  • Homeowner’s associations
Taxation

Tax Preparation

Now more than ever our tax laws are in flux. They are more complex than ever and are not likely to get simpler any time soon. Every year it seems there are new or changing deductions and credits. As a result, tax return preparation requires more than just software. It requires knowledge and expertise to prepare an accurate return and to minimize your tax burden. Will the Alternative Minimum Tax affect you this year? Can you receive a tax credit for any home improvements you did during the year? Should you file Married Filing Separately or Married Filing Jointly? You can rely on the attorneys of Reese, Pyle, Drake and Meyer, P.L.L. to complete your tax returns accurately and efficiently, as well as know the answers to these and many other important questions.

In addition to tax returns for individuals, we can also assist you with trust tax returns, estate and gift tax returns, and small business returns. Furthermore, we now offer electronic filing through the IRS e-file program to shorten the time it takes to get your refund.

Tax Planning

In addition to preparing your tax returns, our tax attorneys have the knowledge and expertise to advise you on tax implications before you act. How will changes in the tax law affect you? Should you sell your stock this year or next year? Should you pay college tuition directly to your child’s school, or give the money to your child? There are myriad opportunities for tax savings, and there are also some tax traps. As our tax code becomes increasingly complex, your trusted advisers at Reese, Pyle, Drake & Meyer, P.L.L. are here to assist you in navigating the law and helping you keep more of your hard earned money.