Investment/Estate Planning

Justices again suspend Anderson attorney facing multiple theft counts

January 12, 2016
Dave Stafford
An Anderson lawyer suspended from the practice of law and accused of stealing from trust and estate clients sums that could total $500,000 has drawn another suspension order for failing to cooperate with three disciplinary investigations.
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Fraud claims against insurers wrongly dismissed

December 15, 2015
Dave Stafford
Plaintiffs who purchased cash-value life insurance policies for their employees and deducted those contributions on income taxes that were later disallowed were wrongly denied their day in court against the insurers.
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Veros investors out millions could recoup more than usual

November 25, 2015
Jared Council, IBJ Staff
The receiver appointed to recover investor losses from an alleged Ponzi scheme said he’s retrieved in five months about 20 percent of what investors were owed, a figure experts say is relatively high at this stage for such cases.
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Ernst & Young faulted for relying on Madoff’s word, audits

November 10, 2015
 Bloomberg News
Ernst & Young LLP erred by taking Bernie Madoff at his word when it signed off on audits of a fund that helped feed the biggest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history. The firm then stumbled by trusting the con man’s now-disgraced ex- accountant, a jury in the first trial of its kind was told.
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Anderson estate attorney's alleged thefts may top $500,000

November 4, 2015
Dave Stafford
Sarah Wilding wanted her church in Anderson to receive the bulk of her estate when she died in April 2012. The church is still waiting, and so are other beneficiaries who lost hundreds of thousands of dollars to a lawyer accused of plundering their estates.
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Case latest example of difficulty in prosecuting insider trading

October 23, 2015
 Bloomberg News
The U.S. dropped insider-trading charges against Michael Steinberg, a former fund manager at SAC Capital Advisors LP who was convicted by a federal jury, in the latest fallout from a major appeals court ruling that made such prosecutions more difficult.
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Trust and the troubled child

October 21, 2015
Dave Stafford
Estate planning attorneys occasionally draw the strong-willed client who wants to leave money to an heir – but only if the kid sobers up, quits getting in trouble with the law, gets a job, stops living beyond his means, or changes behavior in some other way.
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Retzner: The family vacation home: harmony or chaos?

October 21, 2015
In most instances, vacation homes achieve the goal of family harmony. After the parents pass away, however, that family harmony can quickly turn to chaos.
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Ernst & Young confronts Madoff’s specter in trial over audits

October 14, 2015
 Bloomberg News
Ernst & Young LLP took Bernie Madoff at his word when it signed off on audits of a fund that helped feed the biggest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history. The firm must now defend that decision at the first trial of an auditor over losses tied to Madoff, who’s serving a 150- year prison term for stealing billions of dollars from thousands of investors.
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Lawmakers to study more time for creditors’ estate claims

August 28, 2015
IL Staff
An Indiana General Assembly panel next week will consider a proposal to extend the time a creditor has to bring a claim against an estate from the current limit of nine months.
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Reversal: Court wrongly required $1.1M bond in estate spat

July 20, 2015
Dave Stafford
A trial court wrongly ordered an heir to an estate to post a bond of more than $1.1 million for a claim he submitted as he sought to block the sale of the family farm.
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Legislative and judicial history settles feud over estate

June 29, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Sisters arguing over the family estate failed to provide the court with “clear and convincing evidence” that their father’s intentions were different from his actions.
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Justices suspend lawyer who defrauded seniors of $19M

June 19, 2015
Dave Stafford
An Indianapolis lawyer who pleaded guilty more than six months ago to four felony counts of securities fraud from a Hamilton County real estate Ponzi scheme was suspended from the practice of law Thursday.
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New laws shelter attorneys-in-fact from liability in settling estates

June 3, 2015
Dave Stafford
How long heirs have to initiate an action arising from an attorney-in-fact’s final accounting of an estate has been an open question in Indiana, but a recent change in state law settles it. Mostly.
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Kissel: Keeping the business in the family

June 3, 2015
Passing the family business to the next generation is likely to be one of the biggest projects of the owner’s lifetime. Family business succession is the process of transitioning the governance and ownership of a closely held business to the next generation.
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Judge, attorney credited for robust recovery for victims of securities fraud

May 1, 2015
Greg Andrews, IBJ Staff
The more than 90 investors who lost $9.7 million in a securities fraud perpetrated by Fishers hedge fund manager Keenan Hauke will recover about 33 percent of their losses - a far better outcome than is typical in cases of its kind.
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Trust proposal in Legislature would shield assets from creditors, permit perpetuity

January 28, 2015
Dave Stafford
Assets could be shielded from creditors and passed down to numerous generations under a legacy trust proposal being considered by the Indiana General Assembly. The proposed estate-planning device would be exempt from the rule against perpetuities.
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Ex-prosecutor helps Ball State avert future fraud

December 8, 2014
 Associated Press
A former federal prosecutor and a CPA firm are evaluating Ball State University's internal financial controls and investment portfolio as they create a plan to prevent a repeat of two investment scams that cost the university more than $13 million.
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SCOTUS denial of cases opens door to new same-sex-couple issues

October 22, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Now that same-sex marriage is legal in Indiana, the courts will have to settle issues and questions that will arise in other areas, such as family law.
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On rehearing, panel clarifies ruling regarding Death Property Act

September 23, 2014
Dave Stafford
A promissory note between a mother and son did not transfer to the mother’s estate on her death, the Indiana Court of Appeals clarified in rehearing an estate dispute that reversed a trial court ruling.
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Economic harm is key part of gay marriage argument

September 10, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
When the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on Sept. 4 affirmed Indiana’s marriage law was unconstitutional, Judge Richard Posner’s opinion gave special nod to the economic harm married same-sex couples suffer by not receiving the tangible state and federal benefits that are extended to married opposite-sex couples.
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Lawyers say communication is key to long-term preservation of large estates

September 10, 2014
Dave Stafford
A fortunate few wealthy families are able to preserve their estates for more than a couple of generations, but attorneys say communication can improve the odds that a grantor’s grandchildren will have something left to pass on.
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Alerding/Latterell: A 2014 view of portability

September 10, 2014
Gift and estate tax planning has gotten easier for married couples thanks in part to a relatively new concept: porting of the federal gift and estate tax exemption to a surviving spouse.
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Thomas: When drafting a will, be as specific as possible

September 10, 2014
To ensure that your client’s property will go to the beneficiaries of his or her choosing, as opposed to the beneficiaries that the state chooses, it is imperative that the last will and testament be very specific and provide for as many contingencies as possible.
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Court affirms bank lacks standing to appeal termination of trusts

September 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court agreed with the Court of Appeals that a bank’s appeal of the termination of two of its trusts must be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. The bank, as trustee, lacked standing to appeal in its representative capacity and did not appeal in its individual capacity.
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