Wills

IU Maurer students to prepare wills for school employees, students

August 19, 2016
IL Staff
Indiana University Maurer School of Law is teaming up with IU’s Office of the Vice President and General Counsel to provide will preparation services to university employees, students and parents at no charge.
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Children of trucking exec challenge will, claim wife orchestrated changes

June 17, 2016
Jared Council, IBJ Staff
The children of deceased Celadon Group Inc. co-founder Steve Russell claim his second wife engineered changes to his will while he suffered from dementia, boosting the amount she would immediately inherit from his $31 million estate at their expense.
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With Prince’s intestate death, estate lawyers see need to educate

June 1, 2016
Dave Stafford
The apparent intestate death of Prince Rogers Nelson, who left an estate widely reported to be worth up to $300 million, prompted several Indiana lawyers to blog about their connection to his music and also use the opportunity to educate people about what happens when someone dies without a will or estate plan.
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Who will step forward to claim Prince's millions?

April 26, 2016
 Associated Press
When he was alive, Prince made hundreds of millions of dollars — for record companies, concert venues and others. That much is certain. What's less clear is how much he left behind and who'll come forward to claim it.
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Probate study committee bill hoping for governor’s approval

March 22, 2016
Marilyn Odendahl
Supporters were successful this year in getting the Statehouse to approve legislation that re-establishes the Probate Code Study Commission, but they’re still awaiting the governor’s signature.
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Do-it-yourself dangers

January 27, 2016
Dave Stafford
Where there’s a will, there’s a way to do it yourself with Internet services such as LegalZoom, Nolo and Rocket Lawyer. But attorneys say relying on online form providers for long-term financial and estate planning may not be the wisest investment.
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Study commission repeal endangering probate code needs

January 27, 2016
Marilyn Odendahl
Since the Probate Code Study Commission was eliminated as part of a 2014 law that reduced the number of interim study committees, certain legislators and attorneys have mounted an effort to get the commission reinstated.
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COA affirms dismissal of will contest

December 3, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of a man’s will contest action involving his siblings, but for a different reason than the trial court.
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COA outlines approach to awarding attorney fees in estate challenges

October 14, 2015
In a case in which the trial court awarded a woman and her children more than $170,000 in attorney fees even though two of the three claims raised were without just cause or good faith, the Indiana Court of Appeals specified the approach judges should follow when a party seeks attorney fees pursuant to I.C. 29-1-10-14.
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Estate battle remanded to trial court to determine timeliness

August 4, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
An heir was successful in asserting he had a claim to his father’s estate but has more work to convince the courts he filed his claim in a timely manner.
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Helping to plan for difficult decisions

April 22, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Attorney volunteers offered their services during a pro bono clinic at Eskenazi Health in Indianapolis to give patients a little peace of mind.
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Couple’s gun collection incorrectly classified as ‘household goods’

March 11, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The determination as to whether guns or a gun collection are “household goods” should be made on a case-by-case basis, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. In a case before it Wednesday, the judges held that the large collection owned by a couple who are since deceased was incorrectly classified as “household goods.”
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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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Appeals panel: Trust’s real property bequeath by later writing invalid

July 31, 2014
Dave Stafford
A panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that a mother’s specific gift of real property incorporated into trust documents was an invalid method of willing it to heirs.
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Man had 3 months to bring claim to enforce contract, court rules

July 9, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A son who sought to challenge his stepmother’s decision to revoke the will she made with his father had to bring his challenge within three months of the will being admitted to probate, not nine months as he claimed, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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Property conveyed by the entirety includes presumption of right of survivorship

July 3, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
In a question of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals Thursday held that when a property is conveyed by the entirety, there is a presumption the grantor intended to convey the property with the right of survivorship. It does not matter if the individuals are not husband and wife.
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COA split on retroactive application of Transfer on Death Property Act

June 25, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals agreed Wednesday that a trial court erred in concluding a promissory note executed between a mother and son is an asset of the mother’s estate, although the panel was split as to why the court erred.
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Guarding against undue influence

June 18, 2014
Dave Stafford
Changes in a person’s will and estate plan that vary from equal distribution of assets among heirs, as favored by law, should raise red flags, elder law attorneys say.
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Sisters can’t prove brother unduly influenced mother in crafting estate plan

May 29, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the order by a trial court that the execution of an option contract by a woman to her son was enforceable. The woman’s daughters claimed the contract was a result of undue influence.
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Judges disagree on when duty to exercise ordinary care extends to beneficiaries

October 15, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals was divided Tuesday on whether a legal malpractice lawsuit filed by third-party beneficiaries of a will against their relative’s attorney should proceed beyond summary judgment. The case hinged on the interpretation of the “known” requirement outlined in Walker v. Lawson.
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Edward Thomas: Tips on determining testamentary capacity

September 11, 2013
Lewis Wagner attorney Edward Thomas discusses in the IL's Estate Planning focus section testamentary capacity and other considerations that go into creating a will.
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Attorneys give hospice patients peace of mind

June 19, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Although a will may be described as “simple,” for patients in hospice care having a completed will and knowing their wishes are recorded in a legal document can bring a peace that makes the word “simple” seem like a misnomer.
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Taxed to death no more

May 22, 2013
Dave Stafford
The fate of the inheritance tax in Indiana went from a slow, lingering demise over the next decade to sudden death in the biennial budget lawmakers approved this session.
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COA rules in favor of grandchildren in will dispute

January 24, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals had to interpret a handwritten will from 1917 in a dispute among those who stood to inherit land in Benton County. The appellate court determined that the trial court properly ruled that John and Karen LeFebre could collectively receive a one-third share in the acreage.
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Settlement ends bitter battle over Mel Simon estate

December 12, 2012
Cory Schouten
A bitter battle over the $2 billion estate of the late shopping mall tycoon Melvin Simon has ended with a confidential settlement.
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  1. Call it unauthorized law if you must, a regulatory wrong, but it was fraud and theft well beyond that, a seeming crime! "In three specific cases, the hearing officer found that Westerfield did little to no work for her clients but only issued a partial refund or no refund at all." That is theft by deception, folks. "In its decision to suspend Westerfield, the Supreme Court noted that she already had a long disciplinary history dating back to 1996 and had previously been suspended in 2004 and indefinitely suspended in 2005. She was reinstated in 2009 after finally giving the commission a response to the grievance for which she was suspended in 2004." WOW -- was the Indiana Supreme Court complicit in her fraud? Talk about being on notice of a real bad actor .... "Further, the justices noted that during her testimony, Westerfield was “disingenuous and evasive” about her relationship with Tope and attempted to distance herself from him. They also wrote that other aggravating factors existed in Westerfield’s case, such as her lack of remorse." WOW, and yet she only got 18 months on the bench, and if she shows up and cries for them in a year and a half, and pays money to JLAP for group therapy ... back in to ride roughshod over hapless clients (or are they "marks") once again! Aint Hoosier lawyering a great money making adventure!!! Just live for the bucks, even if filthy lucre, and come out a-ok. ME on the other hand??? Lifetime banishment for blowing the whistle on unconstitutional governance. Yes, had I ripped off clients or had ANY disciplinary history for doing that I would have fared better, most likely, as that it would have revealed me motivated by Mammon and not Faith. Check it out if you doubt my reading of this, compare and contrast the above 18 months with my lifetime banishment from court, see appendix for Bar Examiners report which the ISC adopted without substantive review: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS

  2. Wow, over a quarter million dollars? That is a a lot of commissary money! Over what time frame? Years I would guess. Anyone ever try to blow the whistle? Probably not, since most Hoosiers who take notice of such things realize that Hoosier whistleblowers are almost always pilloried. If someone did blow the whistle, they were likely fired. The persecution of whistleblowers is a sure sign of far too much government corruption. Details of my own personal experience at the top of Hoosier governance available upon request ... maybe a "fake news" media outlet will have the courage to tell the stories of Hoosier whistleblowers that the "real" Hoosier media (cough) will not deign to touch. (They are part of the problem.)

  3. So if I am reading it right, only if and when African American college students agree to receive checks labeling them as "Negroes" do they receive aid from the UNCF or the Quaker's Educational Fund? In other words, to borrow from the Indiana Appellate Court, "the [nonprofit] supposed to be [their] advocate, refers to [students] in a racially offensive manner. While there is no evidence that [the nonprofits] intended harm to [African American students], the harm was nonetheless inflicted. [Black students are] presented to [academia and future employers] in a racially offensive manner. For these reasons, [such] performance [is] deficient and also prejudice[ial]." Maybe even DEPLORABLE???

  4. I'm the poor soul who spent over 10 years in prison with many many other prisoners trying to kill me for being charged with a sex offense THAT I DID NOT COMMIT i was in jail for a battery charge for helping a friend leave a boyfriend who beat her I've been saying for over 28 years that i did not and would never hurt a child like that mine or anybody's child but NOBODY wants to believe that i might not be guilty of this horrible crime or think that when i say that ALL the paperwork concerning my conviction has strangely DISAPPEARED or even when the long beach judge re-sentenced me over 14 months on a already filed plea bargain out of another districts court then had it filed under a fake name so i could not find while trying to fight my conviction on appeal in a nut shell people are ALWAYS quick to believe the worst about some one well I DID NOT HURT ANY CHILD EVER IN MY LIFE AND HAVE SAID THIS FOR ALMOST 30 YEARS please if anybody can me get some kind of justice it would be greatly appreciated respectfully written wrongly accused Brian Valenti

  5. A high ranking Indiana supreme Court operative caught red handed leading a group using the uber offensive N word! She must denounce or be denounced! (Or not since she is an insider ... rules do not apply to them). Evidence here: http://m.indianacompanies.us/friends-educational-fund-for-negroes.364110.company.v2#top_info

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