Investment/Estate Planning

Appeals court will hear challenge in Simon case

February 16, 2011
Cory Schouten
The Indiana Court of Appeals has agreed to hear an appeal from the widow of the late Melvin Simon, putting on hold a legal dispute over the mall magnate's more than $2 billion estate.
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Judge reverses probate court in first opinion

February 9, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Judge Martha Wentworth has handed down her first opinion as Indiana’s Tax Court judge. In her decision, she reversed the probate court’s finding that an estate didn’t have to file an inheritance tax return on checks issued to a deceased woman’s brother on an annuity contract.
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Law firm files class-action lawsuit for estate planning UPL

January 25, 2011
Michael Hoskins
A Logansport law firm has filed a class-action lawsuit against an Indianapolis company that the state’s highest court last year determined engaged in the Unauthorized Practice of Law, suing on behalf of thousands of residents for what attorneys estimate could be $10 million to $20 million in damages.
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Federal act preempts state law claims

January 25, 2011
Jennifer Nelson

The Indiana Court of Appeals held that the Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance Act preempts state law claims brought by a man’s first ex-wife seeking to keep her and her grandchildren as beneficiaries of the man’s life insurance policy.

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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 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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