Investment/Estate Planning

Attorney fees eat up most of recovered Fair Finance funds

July 4, 2012
Greg Andrews
A New York firm is contacting Fair Finance Co. investors seeking to purchase their bankruptcy claims – a sign that investors in the defunct business could secure a sizable recovery.
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Nephews' appeal over estate dispute dismissed

May 25, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
Even though the trial court said its order regarding a petition to set aside a family settlement agreement was final and appealable, it was not, so the Indiana Court of Appeals dismissed an appeal sua sponte.
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Indiana's inheritance tax phasing out

May 9, 2012
Jenny Montgomery
Attorneys who handle estate planning say questions remain about the future of the federal estate tax.
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More attorneys choosing gradual retirement

May 9, 2012
Jenny Montgomery
Economics are one reason why lawyers postpone withdrawal from practice.
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COA finds man was shareholder at time of stock sale

May 2, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
A dispute between family members over stock of the family company led to the Indiana Court of Appeals addressing an issue involving shareholders and revocable trusts that hasn’t yet been addressed in Indiana: whether the settlor, who places shares of stock into a revocable inter vivos trust and names himself as trustee and beneficiary, retains his shareholder status.
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Neumann: Digital treasures play a role in estate planning

February 29, 2012
Matthew Neumann writes about how Facebook and estate planning relate.
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COA: will can be admitted in Indiana

January 4, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
Relying on the majority rule, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded that a man’s will that was denied probate in Illinois could be admitted in Indiana to deal with real property located here.
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COA rules on estate representative's banking activity

December 30, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals has overturned a Lake County judge in an estate case involving a personal representative who conducted banking transactions for an elderly man before his death.
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Appeals court sides with snubbed relative in estate case

December 29, 2011
IL Staff
The Indiana Court of Appeals has reversed a probate court’s conclusion that a deceased woman’s son lacks standing to contest a settlement agreement.
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COA rules on right of first refusal issue

December 13, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals concluded that the right of first refusal set forth in a purchase agreement of land between neighbors could only be exercised between the two neighbors and didn’t apply to the sale of land by an estate.
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Husband allowed to petition for survivor's allowance

December 7, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Even though a wife had filed for divorce from her husband at the time she was killed, the husband is still allowed to petition for survivor’s allowance, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed Wednesday.
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Third volume of Restatement of Property published

December 2, 2011
IL Staff
Attorneys and judges now have more scholarly guidance on wills and other donation-related issues in civil law, after a national organization released its third and final volume of the Restatement (Third) of Property: Wills and Other Donative Transfers.
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Court won't remove trial judge in Simon case

November 17, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals has dismissed an appeal filed by Melvin Simon’s widow, finding that it doesn’t have jurisdiction to remove a Hamilton Superior judge from the case involving the late mall-magnate’s estate valued at more than $2 billion.
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Legislative study committee to discuss UPL

October 10, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Probate Code Study Commission, which meets for the first time this year on Wednesday, will focus on three items at its meeting, including the unauthorized practice of law.
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COA reverses trial court's ruling in favor of attorney

September 23, 2011
Jenny Montgomery
The Indiana Court of Appeals has reversed a trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of an attorney who failed to monitor an estate checking account while serving as the estate’s counsel.
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Protecting pets in perpetuity

August 31, 2011
Jenny Montgomery
The non-profit American Pet Products Association estimates that this year, Americans will spend $50.84 billion on their pets – not surprising, considering the ever-increasing variety of treats, toys, and services for animals. But what happens to these pampered pets after their owners die? Are they consigned to a life of off-brand food? Forced to take up residence in a cramped kennel?
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Court tackles timeliness of trust distribution

August 31, 2011
Michael Hoskins
A recent Indiana Court of Appeals decision offers guidance to those working in trust and estate matters regarding how long a trustee should wait before turning to a probate court for guidance on distributing money to beneficiaries when a dispute exists over the amount that will be received.
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Class action alleges UPL

July 20, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The plaintiffs' lawyers will use the United Financial decision from the Indiana Supreme Court to make their argument.
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Appellate court divided over trust liability

June 27, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals split Monday in a probate suit involving whether trustees failed to distribute a portion of the trust corpus in a timely manner. The majority upheld finding the trustees liable, but ordered a re-evaluation of compensatory damages and attorney fees.
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As boomers age, lawyers seeing new trends in estate and health care planning

May 11, 2011
Jenny Montgomery
Born between 1946 and 1964, baby boomers are not like generations that came before them with regard to estate-planning needs. Many of them are living longer and will be working longer – some by choice and others because the value of their retirement accounts has plunged in recent years. As they look toward their future, the boomers’ top concerns are asset protection and paying for long-term care, although each person may have a different approach about how to accomplish those goals.
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Court of Appeals dismisses Bren Simon's appeal

April 18, 2011
IBJ Staff
The Indiana Court of Appeals has dismissed Bren Simon’s petition seeking to reverse a lower court’s ruling that removed her as interim trustee of her late husband’s $2 billion estate.
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Appeals court will hear challenge in Simon case

February 16, 2011
Cory Schouten
The Indiana Court of Appeals has agreed to hear an appeal from the widow of the late Melvin Simon, putting on hold a legal dispute over the mall magnate's more than $2 billion estate.
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Judge reverses probate court in first opinion

February 9, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Judge Martha Wentworth has handed down her first opinion as Indiana’s Tax Court judge. In her decision, she reversed the probate court’s finding that an estate didn’t have to file an inheritance tax return on checks issued to a deceased woman’s brother on an annuity contract.
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Law firm files class-action lawsuit for estate planning UPL

January 25, 2011
Michael Hoskins
A Logansport law firm has filed a class-action lawsuit against an Indianapolis company that the state’s highest court last year determined engaged in the Unauthorized Practice of Law, suing on behalf of thousands of residents for what attorneys estimate could be $10 million to $20 million in damages.
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Federal act preempts state law claims

January 25, 2011
Jennifer Nelson

The Indiana Court of Appeals held that the Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance Act preempts state law claims brought by a man’s first ex-wife seeking to keep her and her grandchildren as beneficiaries of the man’s life insurance policy.

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  1. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  2. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  3. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

  4. When I hear 'Juvenile Lawyer' I think of an attorney helping a high school aged kid through the court system for a poor decision; like smashing mailboxes. Thank you for opening up my eyes to the bigger picture of the need for juvenile attorneys. It made me sad, but also fascinated, when it was explained, in the sixth paragraph, that parents making poor decisions (such as drug abuse) can cause situations where children need legal representation and aid from a lawyer.

  5. Some in the Hoosier legal elite consider this prayer recommended by the AG seditious, not to mention the Saint who pledged loyalty to God over King and went to the axe for so doing: "Thomas More, counselor of law and statesman of integrity, merry martyr and most human of saints: Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul. Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain—their good servant, and God's first. Amen."

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