Wills

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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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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Judges ask family to end litigation over parents' interments

July 26, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
In a dispute among divided siblings on where their deceased parents should be buried, the Indiana Court of Appeals asked the family to end the litigation and let the parents “rest in peace.”
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Judges examine estate case involving will, self-proving clause

July 15, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Deciding on an issue of first impression regarding the proper execution of a person’s will, the state’s second-highest appeals court has determined the Indiana General Assembly doesn’t want validly signed wills and self-proving clauses to be set aside lightly.
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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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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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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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  1. Applause, applause, applause ..... but, is this duty to serve the constitutional order not much more incumbent upon the State, whose only aim is to be pure and unadulterated justice, than defense counsel, who is also charged with gaining a result for a client? I agree both are responsible, but it seems to me that the government attorneys bear a burden much heavier than defense counsel .... "“I note, much as we did in Mechling v. State, 16 N.E.3d 1015 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014), trans. denied, that the attorneys representing the State and the defendant are both officers of the court and have a responsibility to correct any obvious errors at the time they are committed."

  2. Do I have to hire an attorney to get co-guardianship of my brother? My father has guardianship and my older sister was his co-guardian until this Dec 2014 when she passed and my father was me to go on as the co-guardian, but funds are limit and we need to get this process taken care of quickly as our fathers health isn't the greatest. So please advise me if there is anyway to do this our self or if it requires a lawyer? Thank you

  3. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  4. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  5. 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)

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