Investment/Estate Planning

Federal estate tax law takes effect

January 5, 2011
Michael Hoskins
New tax changes went into effect Jan. 1 that include a 35 percent estate tax rate as well as a $5 million per person and $10 million per couple exemption.
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Justices order refunds in estate planning UPL case

December 22, 2010
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court is shaking its proverbial finger at a company it found had engaged in the unauthorized practice of law, making it clear that the court’s orders must be followed or non-compliant litigants will be sanctioned.
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Judge appoints former justice as trustee over Simon estate

December 16, 2010
Cory Schouten
A Hamilton County judge has ordered Bren Simon removed as personal representative and interim trustee over her late husband's estate, replacing her with a retired justice of the Indiana Supreme Court.
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Judge: not all farm expenses are tax deductible

December 8, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A probate court incorrectly allowed an estate to deduct three farm-related expenses from its inheritance tax return, but affirmed the deduction of the remaining nine in question, the Indiana Tax Court ruled Tuesday.
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Sale to trust creates first impression

December 6, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A sale of a home to a trust that included disputed errors in a sales disclosure form presented an issue of first impression for the Indiana Court of Appeals Monday.
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Court orders attorney’s fees following bad faith appeal

December 2, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals found a Colorado attorney and his brother engaged in procedural bad faith in appealing the third amended final accounting of their deceased mother’s estate and ordered them to pay appellate attorney’s fees to the estate.
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Court didn't err in ordering cash bond

November 24, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court’s order that the two beneficiaries of a piece of property who objected to the sale of the land must each pay a $100,000 cash bond. The case also gave the appellate court the opportunity to decide the standard of review in this type of challenge.
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Death and tax uncertainty

November 24, 2010
Michael Hoskins
These days, it feels as though Uncle Sam is laughing at estate planning and wealth transfer attorneys.
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Judges hold option to buy real estate valid

October 22, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The purchaser of real estate through an option executed years earlier didn’t make the option unenforceable against the owner’s estate by not tendering the purchase price when exercising his option to buy the land, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded today.
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Pending dissolution settlement not enforceable upon a party's death

October 12, 2010
Elizabeth Brockett
A property-settlement document is not an enforceable contract if one of the parties dies before the dissolution action is finalized, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.
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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 case

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 UPL

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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  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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