Trusts

Appeals panel reinstates claims of capacity, undue influence in trust dispute

August 29, 2013
Dave Stafford
A family feud involving half-siblings contesting the trust bequeathed by their mother was improperly disposed of through summary judgment, a panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.
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Teachers union could pay $14M to schools under settlement

August 13, 2013
IBJ Staff, J.K. Wall
The state’s largest teachers union and its national parent organization have agreed to pay $14 million under a tentative settlement announced Tuesday morning by Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson and Indiana Securities Commissioner Chris Naylor.
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Judges rule in favor of bank on request to end trust

February 15, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A beneficiary of a trust couldn’t prove to the Indiana Court of Appeals that the purpose of the trust, created by her mother, was to benefit any grandchildren and because there are no grandchildren, the trust should be terminated.
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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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COA finds trust that bought foreclosed home gained insurance equity

November 16, 2012
Dave Stafford
An estate that purchased a foreclosed house at a sheriff’s sale established an equitable lien through which it was entitled to collect proceeds in the event of an insured loss, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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Judges order trial on couple’s responsibility to unpaid subcontractors

November 7, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a decision by a DeKalb Superior judge that Fred and Mary Anna Feitler were personally liable for unpaid bills to subcontractors on their home, which was being constructed on land owned by a trust to which they were sole beneficiaries.
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Trial court erred in land survey dispute

August 30, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
Although a Starke Circuit Court correctly rejected a legal survey performed on land owned by a trust, the special judge did err by imposing two prior surveys to establish boundary lines of the property, the Indiana Court of Appeals held.
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Appeals court partially reverses denial of familial sale from trust

August 14, 2012
Dave Stafford
A trustee who canceled the sale of Johnson County farmland from mother to son was within her rights to do so, but the 91-year-old mother was capable of executing the agreement, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
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Attorney sentenced to 8 years for theft

May 3, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
Stacy Sheedy, the Indianapolis attorney and accountant who pleaded guilty to theft charges for misappropriating nearly $600,000 from a guardianship account and family trust, was sentenced to eight years in prison Thursday.
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COA finds man was shareholder at time of stock sale

May 2, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
A dispute between family members over stock of the family company led to the Indiana Court of Appeals addressing an issue involving shareholders and revocable trusts that hasn’t yet been addressed in Indiana: whether the settlor, who places shares of stock into a revocable inter vivos trust and names himself as trustee and beneficiary, retains his shareholder status.
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Attorney faces theft and forgery charges

January 19, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
An Indianapolis attorney and accountant has been charged with theft and forgery after an investigation revealed the attorney had misappropriated nearly $600,000 in funds from a guardianship account and a family trust account.
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Court rejects claims of fraud from trust beneficiary's children

December 30, 2011
Jenny Montgomery
The Indiana Court of Appeals has held that two siblings who have accused their mother of fraud with regard to a family trust account did not present any material issue of fact to support their argument.
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COA affirms arbitration opinion on rehearing

December 19, 2011
Jenny Montgomery
Rehearing a case at the request of the appellant, the Indiana Court of Appeals reaffirmed its original opinion that trustees are not bound by an arbitration clause that was signed by predecessors.
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Justices suspend attorney for collecting 'exploitive fee'

September 29, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court has suspended an Indianapolis attorney after finding he engaged in attorney misconduct by collecting a “clearly unreasonable and exploitive fee” from a vulnerable client.
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Protecting pets in perpetuity

August 31, 2011
Jenny Montgomery
The non-profit American Pet Products Association estimates that this year, Americans will spend $50.84 billion on their pets – not surprising, considering the ever-increasing variety of treats, toys, and services for animals. But what happens to these pampered pets after their owners die? Are they consigned to a life of off-brand food? Forced to take up residence in a cramped kennel?
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Court tackles timeliness of trust distribution

August 31, 2011
Michael Hoskins
A recent Indiana Court of Appeals decision offers guidance to those working in trust and estate matters regarding how long a trustee should wait before turning to a probate court for guidance on distributing money to beneficiaries when a dispute exists over the amount that will be received.
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COA to hold oral argument in Allen County

July 8, 2011
Jenny Montgomery
The Indiana Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in Carrie Chapman v. Howard L. Chapman and Elizabeth W. Chapman, Trustees of The Stephen L. Chapman Irrevocable Trust Agreement, No. 02A03-1012-TR-624, at 10:30 a.m. July 12 at the Allen County Courthouse in Ft. Wayne.
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COA orders trial court to define, locate easement

May 16, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court erred in denying a trust’s request for an easement of necessity relating to a certain parcel of land because the previous property owners didn’t grant themselves an easement before they transferred the land to the trust, ruled the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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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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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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Judges split in adopted trust-beneficiaries matter

August 13, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
In an issue of first impression regarding the retroactivity of a 2003 amendment to the state’s trust code, the Indiana Court of Appeals was divided on whether adopted children should have been included as beneficiaries of a trust.
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Court: Don't assume undue influence by child

March 11, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals used an opinion issued today to caution courts to not assume a child is exerting undue influence over a parent when analyzing cases involving adult children assisting an aging parent.
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COA: Bank didn't breach duties as trustee

March 2, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Although tempted to analyze with "the benefit of hindsight" a suit filed by beneficiaries of a trust against a bank that served as the trustee, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment in favor of the bank after finding the bank acted in good faith.
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  1. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  2. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

  3. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

  4. Have been seeing this wonderful physician for a few years and was one of his patients who told him about what we were being told at CVS. Multiple ones. This was a witch hunt and they shold be ashamed of how patients were treated. Most of all, CVS should be ashamed for what they put this physician through. So thankful he fought back. His office is no "pill mill'. He does drug testing multiple times a year and sees patients a minimum of four times a year.

  5. Brian W, I fear I have not been sufficiently entertaining to bring you back. Here is a real laugh track that just might do it. When one is grabbed by the scruff of his worldview and made to choose between his Confession and his profession ... it is a not a hard choice, given the Confession affects eternity. But then comes the hardship in this world. Imagine how often I hear taunts like yours ... "what, you could not even pass character and fitness after they let you sit and pass their bar exam ... dude, there must really be something wrong with you!" Even one of the Bishop's foremost courtiers said that, when explaining why the RCC refused to stand with me. You want entertaining? How about watching your personal economy crash while you have a wife and five kids to clothe and feed. And you can't because you cannot work, because those demanding you cast off your Confession to be allowed into "their" profession have all the control. And you know that they are wrong, dead wrong, and that even the professional code itself allows your Faithful stand, to wit: "A lawyer may refuse to comply with an obligation imposed by law upon a good faith belief that no valid obligation exists. The provisions of Rule 1.2(d) concerning a good faith challenge to the validity, scope, meaning or application of the law apply to challenges of legal regulation of the practice of law." YET YOU ARE A NONPERSON before the BLE, and will not be heard on your rights or their duties to the law -- you are under tyranny, not law. And so they win in this world, you lose, and you lose even your belief in the rule of law, and demoralization joins poverty, and very troubling thoughts impeaching self worth rush in to fill the void where your career once lived. Thoughts you did not think possible. You find yourself a failure ... in your profession, in your support of your family, in the mirror. And there is little to keep hope alive, because tyranny rules so firmly and none, not the church, not the NGO's, none truly give a damn. Not even a new court, who pay such lip service to justice and ancient role models. You want entertainment? Well if you are on the side of the courtiers running the system that has crushed me, as I suspect you are, then Orwell must be a real riot: "There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever." I never thought they would win, I always thought that at the end of the day the rule of law would prevail. Yes, the rule of man's law. Instead power prevailed, so many rules broken by the system to break me. It took years, but, finally, the end that Dr Bowman predicted is upon me, the end that she advised the BLE to take to break me. Ironically, that is the one thing in her far left of center report that the BLE (after stamping, in red ink, on Jan 22) is uninterested in, as that the BLE and ADA office that used the federal statute as a sword now refuses to even dialogue on her dire prediction as to my fate. "C'est la vie" Entertaining enough for you, status quo defender?

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