February, 2014

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Can a parent dictate their child not be a church member even if they surrender custody?

Under Ohio law when parents surrender legal custody to non-parents they retain certain residual parental rights, including “the  privilege to determine the child’s religious affiliation.” Does this mean that a birth parent in such a situation can insist that the child not be a member of a church?  The Summit County Court of Appeals has said yes in a recent opinion.  The Volokh Conspiracy blawg has an interesting post about the decision:

Does ‘religious affiliation’ include nonreligiousness?.

Sexy Name Change Approved by Ohio Probate Judge

An Ohio woman changed her name to Sexy recently.  Apparently the application filed in Probate Court showed reasonable and proper cause for changing the woman’s name to
Sexy, as required under the Ohio Revised Code, or at least the Licking County Probate judge found so.

Judge approves Sexy name change | The Columbus Dispatch.

Woman Sues Bank In Effort To Prove She Is Alive

A woman has sued her bank and Equifax in an effort to correct reports that she is dead.  The woman from the St. Louis area said that because of her deceased status she has been turned down for a credit card and twice denied refinancing on her mortgage, as reported in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the ABA Journal and Wall Street Journal Law Blog.

She says she has repeatedly asked the bank and Equifax to fix the error, to no avail.  The suit claims a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which allows recovery of damages, lawsuit costs, and statutory penalties of up to $1,000 per violation.

Woman sues in effort to prove she is alive.

Why Should You Have a Last Will and Testament?

A will can help accomplish many things,  including naming executors, explaining how family heirlooms and other property should be distributed,  and naming guardians for your minor children.   A will should be part of a comprehensive estate plan, but it is a good place to start.  Here are some basic steps to get you started in making a simple will:

1.  Choose what property will be in your will — First, create a list of your assets.  Then decide what will pass through your estate after you pass away.
2.  Determine who will inherit your property — also consider alternate beneficiaries in case your primary choices do not survive you.
3.  Choose your executor — An executor is the person you name to carry out the instructions of your will.  Consider a potential alternate in the event that the first choice cannot serve.
4.  Choose a guardian — If you have children under the age of 18, you should name a guardian — someone you trust to look after your children.

This information will be needed to create a simple last will and testament.