Investment/Estate Planning

Court of Appeals upholds Miller estate decision

September 30, 2010
Kathleen McLaughlin
The Indiana Court of Appeals has sided with former Columbus, Ind., banker Will Miller in an estate battle launched by his older brother, Hugh.
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Appellate court finds lawsuit brought in bad faith

September 20, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today for a fifth time on a contentious family dispute over the estate of deceased parents, affirming a small claims court judgment in favor of two of the siblings for damages and fees against their brother and his wife.
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Justices rule against POA on joint-account funds issue

September 9, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court ruled against a woman who was made power of attorney by the man she worked for as a caretaker and opened bank accounts in both their names. The presumption is that the woman’s use of her power of attorney to benefit herself made those accounts invalid, and she failed to overcome that presumption to allow her to inherit the money from those accounts.
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Defendants in will contest must timely answer

September 7, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
In an issue of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals has held that a will contest is a civil action and a defendant in this type of action is required to file an answer or plead to a complaint as provided by the state’s trial rules.
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Appellate courts address estate tax, trust division regarding adoptions

September 1, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
As adoptions have become more common and more accepted for expanding the family tree, courts have had to address some legal matters clarifying those familial ties.
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Child must show she is born out of wedlock to inherit

August 27, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
Ruling on the issue for the first time, the Indiana Court of Appeals held that the plain language of Indiana Code Section 29-1-2-7 requires a child to show she is born out of wedlock for inheritance purposes.
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Court: Man properly executed will, not under undue influence

August 6, 2010
Elizabeth Brockett
The Indiana Court of Appeals today affirmed a jury’s decision that upheld a will after the decedent’s children questioned whether the will was executed properly and whether the trial court erred in rejecting a jury instruction regarding undue influence.
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Judge rules against Inlow heirs

July 23, 2010
J.K. Wall
A week after a bizarre court hearing where opposing attorneys took turns questioning one another on the witness stand, Hamilton County Judge Steve Nation ruled Friday that the heirs of former Conseco Inc. executive Lawrence Inlow failed to justify their attempt to remove Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bank as the personal representative of the estate.
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Justices rule company engaged in UPL in trust mill caseRestricted Content

April 28, 2010
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court orders an Indianapolis-based company to stop engaging in any conduct that might be considered unauthorized practice of law.
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Tax court rules on inheritance issue

April 23, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
In Indiana, a person adopted pre-emancipation can't be considered a Class A transferee beneficiary for inheritance tax purposes, the Indiana Tax Court ruled Thursday afternoon in an issue of first impression.
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Justices rule on trust mill UPL case

April 14, 2010
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana State Bar Association has won an unauthorized practice of law action against an estate planning services company, but wasn't able to completely sway the state's highest court that all "costs and expenses" should be completely granted for the prosecution of the case.
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Tax return doesn't require attached appraisal

March 25, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
Indiana code doesn't require an estate to file an appraisal with its inheritance tax return, the Indiana Tax Court decided in two opinions handed down Wednesday.
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Man didn't timely file petition to reopen estates

March 17, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court correctly denied the request to reopen the estates of a man's deceased parents to correct an error because he failed to timely file his petition, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed.
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Agencies examine UPLRestricted Content

March 17, 2010
Michael Hoskins
Long before he became Greenwood's police chief, attorney Joe Pitcher recalls sitting as a special judge in town court and facing an Unauthorized Practice of Law case that may be one of few like it in Indiana.
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Appellate court upholds guardian appointment

March 2, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the appointment of a third-party guardian for an incompetent adult because a disinterested person may hopefully prevent unnecessary disputes caused by mistrust between the woman's children and husband.
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What the ISBA is watching this session

January 22, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana State Bar Association is watching several bills introduced in this 2010 session, including probate and family law matters.
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Reimbursement to estate should be proportional

November 18, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court ruled today that a proportional allocation of proceeds from a pre-trial settlement would be best way to reimburse an estate for funeral and burial expenses.
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Judges differ on application of high court ruling

September 8, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
An Indiana Court of Appeals judge dissented from his colleagues today in a ruling involving the ownership of certain joint accounts because he believed an Indiana Supreme Court decision was binding in the case.
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Report issued in UPL claim on trust mill case

July 15, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has never determined whether the money spent during the prosecution of an Unauthorized Practice of Law claim fits into the "costs and expenses incurred by such a hearing" category, which means that a losing party pays under Administrative Disciplinary Rule 24.
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Court: Don't assume undue influence by child

March 11, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals used an opinion issued today to caution courts to not assume a child is exerting undue influence over a parent when analyzing cases involving adult children assisting an aging parent.
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Justices consider 'costs' in UPL action

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana State Bar Association wants the state's highest court to define the term "costs and expenses" as it's never done before, and in doing so order a company being prosecuted for the Unauthorized Practice of Law to have to pay those fees and disgorge any profits it shouldn't have made in the first place.Hearing arguments today in State of Indiana, Ex. Rel. Indiana State Bar Association v. United Financial Systems Corp., No. 84S00-0810-MS-551, justices considered an issue of first...
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Justices: Attorneys must consult with clients

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has suspended for three months a longtime attorney who prepared wills for clients without ever personally consulting with them.Issuing an order In the Matter of Paul J. Watts, No. 60S00-0809-DI-510, the justices ruled 4-1 that Spencer-based attorney Paul J. Watts, who's been practicing since 1974, should be suspended for 120 days starting Jan. 29, 2010. The order was posted online today and is dated Dec. 22.The case stems from a previous disciplinary action involving Bloomington attorney David...
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Estate must be reimbursed for funeral expenses

September 18, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a trial court's approval of money received in a wrongful death suit of an Indianapolis attorney to be used to reimburse his estate for funeral and burial expenses.
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Indiana State Bar Association files new trust mill suit: Indianapolis company accused of unauthorized practice of law

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A decade ago, Vesser and Helen Davis met with an estate planning company representative about how to divvy up their assets and their Hamilton County farm. That representative drew on a flipchart, illustrated ways a partnership and corporation could be set up, outlined differences between wills and trusts, explained the probate process, and advised the pair how they could arrange their finances and establish a corporate structure for the family farm business. In the end, they paid thousands of dollars for...
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Split court chooses suspension, not disbarment

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court today suspended a Bloomington attorney for at least three years, though the chief justice and another justice wanted disbarment because this is the lawyer's fourth disciplinary proceeding since being admitted in 1970.The disciplinary decision came in the form of an 11-page per curiam opinion, In the Matter of David J. Colman, No 53S00-0607-DI-248. The court found that Colman engaged in attorney misconduct in several estate planning tasks: by participating in preparation of a will for a non-relative...
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