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Pence signs probate, problem-solving court legislation

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Gov. Mike Pence signed 25 bills into law Monday, including legislation restricting criminal background checks and changes to probate and trust administration.

House Enrolled Act 1056 makes various changes regarding a personal representative’s employment of an attorney, the powers and duties of a personal representative, guardianships and the rules of trust construction. The legislation also says that estate lawyers do not have a duty to collect, possess, manage, maintain, monitor or account for estate assets, unless otherwise required by a specific court order. Estate lawyers are also not liable for any loss suffered by the state, except for losses caused by the lawyer’s breach of duty owed to the personal representative. An estate attorney represents and only owes a duty to the personal representative under the new law.

The original bill was prepared by the Probate Code Study Commission. Estate attorneys hoped the legislation would clarify concerns raised after the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled on the scope and duties of a lawyer working on behalf of an estate’s personal representative.

House Enrolled Act 1016 allows problem-solving courts to offer rehabilitative services to participants. It also urges the Legislative Council to require the Commission on Courts during the 2013 legislative interim to evaluate the funding of veterans courts and to make recommendations to legislators. The new law also simplifies the problem-solving court fee transfer process.

HEA 1392 restricts criminal background checks and specifies that a clerk of a court is not a “criminal history provider” under the new law. The law allows a criminal history provider to provide certain information relating to an incident that did not result in a conviction, as well as provide information concerning expunged, restricted or reduced convictions to a person required by law to obtain the information. The introduced version of the bill was prepared by the Criminal Law and Sentencing Policy Study Committee.

Other legislation Pence signed Monday includes:

HEA 1029 on who may obtain adoption history information; HEA 1061 allowing Marion Superior courts to appoint 12 full-time magistrates and Warrick Circuit and Superior courts to jointly appoint a magistrate; and HEA 1108 on sentencing for youthful offenders.

 

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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

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