Wills

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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E-state planning

November 21, 2012
Dave Stafford
Will your Facebook account, online presence and virtual world live on after you? The rise of social media and proliferation of online accounts are posing such real-life questions for lawyers who concentrate in estate planning. But it remains an evolving question how wills, trusts and power of attorney grants will address these and other staples of the Internet age.
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Lawyers to prepare wills for patients and group home residents

June 6, 2012
IL Staff
The Volunteer Lawyer Program of Southwestern Indiana will prepare wills for group home residents and patients of Southwestern Behavioral Healthcare as part of the annual Prepare a Will Project.
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COA reverses trial court in estate case

April 24, 2012
Jenny Montgomery
The Indiana Court of Appeals held that the trial court improperly granted summary judgment to parties whose attorney did not notify opposing counsel that a motion had been filed.
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