Indiana Legal Articles
Law related articles writen by lawyers
and experts witnesses practicing in Indiana
January 31, 2016 By Mitchell Hurst Dick & McNelis, LLC
Recently, the Indiana Supreme Court handed down a decision on whether Indiana's General Wrongful Death Statute provides for attorneys fees. Here, we break down the Supreme Court's analysis.
Now that the ball has dropped and toasts have been made, did you make a New Year’s Resolution? While many people make resolutions, very few make it their top priority to get their estate plan in order. Even if you have an estate plan in place, situations change - babies are born, marriages are celebrated, loved ones die and divorces happen - these changes merit re-evaluating your estate plan. If you have been procrastinating about estate planning, here are some pointers to get you started.
Testosterone lawsuits are being filed across the United States against drug manufacturers like Eli Lilly and Watson Pharmaceuticals who make prescription testosterone. Men claim to have suffered heart attacks, strokes, and pulmonary embolisms after taking prescription testosterone drugs.
You have options when you are arranging for the transfer of assets to your loved ones. In this instance we are not talking about the choice of a single vehicle of transfer.
The world of law, tax and real estate continue to become more and more complex. Costs can be a strong deterrent to a person seeking professional advice. Wischmeyer Professional Services Access Plan allows employers to provide valuable resources to their employees at minimal cost and can even benefit themselves. Access to free consultations with an attorney, accountant or real estate agent with discounts if services are needed for professional resources and services.
I Owe More than My House is Worth and Waiting on the Bank to Threaten Foreclosure --- What Can a Homeowner Do?
The United States is going through one of the worst recessions since the Great Depression. Bankruptcy filings have increased, unemployment is high and home values have decreased exponentially since 2007 highs. Many home owners are finding they have a lot of debt, a house that is not worth what they owe, no ability to refinance and no ability to sell a home because they owe more than it is worth.
Estate administration is something to take into consideration when you are making preparations for the inevitable.
In the age of the internet, filing lawsuits has become more complicated. Consider the scenario where you order a product from a website and the company is from out of state or maybe you are working with an vendor or supplier that is located out of state. Some dispute arises and a lawsuit is imminent. Where should the lawsuit be filed?
Elder law attorneys will educate their clients about the eventualities of aging. Along these lines you would do well to recognize the fact that a significant percentage of seniors will spend time in a nursing home.
The ongoing future of the Social Security program is a subject that is often discussed within elder law circles.
If you were to get yourself a dog or cat as a senior citizen you may be taking a very positive step. It is not uncommon for elders to experience a sense of loneliness and pet ownership can certainly make a big difference. However, when you are planning your estate you must ask yourself what would happen to your dog or cat after you pass away.
You may have heard the term "unified exclusion" if you have started to do any research into the field of estate planning as you look ahead toward your own future. What this is referring to is the amount of resources you can pass along to your loved ones without facing the prospect of paying a hefty tax.
When you are looking for the facts with regard to products and services a highly respected go-to resource is Consumer Reports. Their website and their hard copy magazine are great sources of information, and their research is conducted in a totally objective and unbiased manner.
If you have a spendthrift heir you may want to take steps to make sure that this family member does not burn through his or her inheritance too quickly. Once you are gone this inheritance can be the only thing standing between a particular individual and extreme financial hardship, so the stakes are high.
The National Bureau of Economic Research recently took on the subject of retirement preparedness. There are some 10,000 baby boomers applying for Social Security every day and this volume is expected to continue for some 20 years. As a result, huge numbers of people are approaching retirement and experts in the elder law field are looking for answers with regard to just how these individuals will fare economically during their senior years.
Once you come to the realization that your store of financial assets exceeds the unified estate/gift tax exclusion amount you have a pleasant problem on your hands. You have to seek ways to gain tax efficiency,and one possibility would be to give certain types of gifts to family members or others that you care about.
People are free to make their own choices in life and you ultimately have to live with the results. This is something to keep in mind when you consider the topic of retirement. If you make the choice to proceed without any particular financial plan in place while acting in a less than prudent manner with regard to your spending you may enjoy certain experiences. However, the accumulation of this lifestyle could leave you lacking when you start to approach the typical retirement age.
Is a Will that you execute by hand when you are "three sheets to the wind"valid? This is an interesting question and it is one that is going to have to be answered by the courts in the state of California. A handwriting expert actually used that phrase to describe the state of mind of an individual who would have penned the last Wills that have been presented by deceased painter Thomas Kinkade's live-in girlfriend.
When you record your final wishes you are merely asserting your decisions in private. If you are keeping things confidential nobody will know the details until after you pass away so you will not be privy to any reactions. But when these details do in fact emerge interested parties are going to have opinions, and they may not always be positive.Clearly,this is going to be true if you disinherit someone who felt as though he or she was in line for a bequest.
There are some changes to the estate tax parameters pending at the end of this year when the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010 expires. Some of them are rather high profile like the increase in the rate to 55% and the decrease in the exclusion to just $1 million.
The idea of being uprooted and moving into an assisted living community is not an especially pleasant one for many senior citizens. People become attached to their homes and this can be particularly true of elders who may have stored so many memories within these friendly confines.
If you were to ask yourself how you would want your possessions distributed if you were to pass away at any given time you may well find that you would not want everything to go to your legal next of kin. This is going to be especially true if you are in a committed relationship.
You have undoubtedly heard the old axiom "Life's not fair." We all know that it's true. We would like to believe that on some level, things even out and that as society progresses, things will get fairer. Maybe it will someday. But, that day is not today as most LGBT couples know all too well.
Some people have no shame, and this is evident when you look into the statistics regarding elder financial abuse. This has become a big problem in the United States today and it is an issue that is a source of concern within the elder law community.
Statistics indicate that the majority of people who reach the age of eligibility rely on their Social Security benefits to provide most of their income. This can be either grossly inadequate or perfectly acceptable depending on two factors: The exact amount of your benefit and the financial responsibilities that you have when you enter into retirement.
It is a rude awakening when you start to reach middle-age and find that you are not prepared for retirement. One of the reasons why far too many people find themselves in a bad position is because they expect too much from Social Security and Medicare.
A month ago my computer crashed. It was devastating. Every time I tried to start the thing, I got nowhere. I looked online for answers and followed a lot of advice, but nothing seemed to work. I thought that I had lost all of my files. That meant the loss of not only important work-related documents, but also important family pictures. It was devastating.
Once you have drawn up your Last Will you have taken an important first step, but things are not going to simply take care of themselves when the time comes. After you pass away your estate is going to have to be probated before the rightful heirs to the estate receive their inheritances.
If you have been appointed to be the Executor of a Will, you have a lot of work to do. The Executor needs to gather all of the assets of the estate and distribute them according to the terms of the Will. That's the easy part.
As you are making preparations for the future you are going to want to discuss all of the possibilities with an experienced local Indianapolis estate planning lawyer. Out of a lack of information there are those who go forward assuming that a last will is the best and only choice, but this is a mistake.
Many people would rather draft their own Wills by using forms provided by online legal service companies instead of hiring an estate planning attorney. Sometimes, those forms are not legally valid. Leaving that issue aside, a big problem with using forms is that the people who do so do not often hear about all of their options.
If you let the chips fall as they may with regard to funeral arrangements they are not going to fall into a void. The responsibility is going to land squarely in the laps of your family members, and this is something to keep in mind if you have made no final plans on your own.
There have been precious few individuals in the history of the entertainment industry who have had the type of impact that Dick Clark had over his long and illustrious career. The professional legacy of Dick Clark will live on for generations to come, and he really laid the groundwork for the merger of music and television that is so commonplace today.
Now that we are getting well into the year it is important to recognize the fact that there are some significant changes to the tax laws scheduled to kick in at the end of 2012. These alterations may make it necessary for you to make changes to your estate plan and perhaps your long-term financial plan as well.
Every new survey has a different percentage of Americans that do not have a Will or any other type of estate plan. The latest survey from Rocket Lawyer puts the number at 50% of Americans without a Will. If you are one of them, you should take some time to consider what will happen to your property after you pass away.
Medicaid is the federal program that provides healthcare benefits to a wide variety of people including uninsured individuals with low income, pregnant women, certain children and disabled individuals, and senior citizens who need nursing home care. However, in order to receive Medicaid benefits individuals must meet financial eligibility requirements.
The prepaid funeral plan is basically a plan that allows someone to prepay for their final arrangements, as well as plan them in advance. The money is either held in trust until it is needed, or will be taken from an insurance policy. Due to the rising costs of funerals and burials, the prepaid funeral plan has become very popular in recent years.
Planning for when you may become incapacitated is critical for everyone, but especially so for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons as GLBT couples do not always have the same rights as heterosexual married couples under the law. It is very important for GLBT people to think through what they want to happen if they cannot take care of themselves and their finances.
Saving for a child's college education ranks right up there with paying off your mortgage and saving for retirement in terms of major money concerns. It can be especially hard for the sandwich generation--those not only having to paying for college but helping out their elderly parents.
If you are even thinking about this question, the answer is probably NOW. You need to start the process of estate planning now. Especially if you have a house and mortgage, children, and other assets, you need to start getting a plan in place.
A friend or family member has become incapacitated, physically or mentally, and cannot take care of themselves and their finances. You want to step up to help. What can you do to become their guardian? First, get an attorney to help you with the process. Have a complete understanding of the health, living conditions, and finances of the person you want to help.
One of the most common mistakes that people make with estate planning is in thinking that if they are not wealthy, they don’t need a living trust. If you consider the value of everything you own, such as you home, vehicles, bank accounts, art collection, jewelry, and life insurance, you will likely find that your estate is worth much more than what you think.
When we die, our property typically goes through probate – a process where the courts read our Will (if we have one), appoint an executor of our estate and determine how our assets should be distributed. This is known as “death probate.” Living probate works much the same way except that it occurs while we are still living.
When we’re planning for our future, we want to be sure we choose the best plans, the best programs and the best instruments for the job. But so many options can make it difficult to decide where to put your money. Do you focus on your 401(k) or go after the popular Roth IRA? Here’s a quick way to simplify your decision:
Where you keep your estate documents is important. Your documents must be kept safe from natural disasters while remaining easy for your family to find after you pass away. There are five common ways to store your estate documents safely.
Prenuptial agreements still get a bad rap. People often crack jokes when talking about them, saying they are for the paranoid, the pessimistic, and the greedy and how unromantic they are. But wanting or signing a prenup doesn't mean you are planning for divorce. In reality, they serve a very important estate planning function, particularly in second marriages. Such agreements can also be made after marriage and are called post-nuptial agreements.
If you want to leave money to a friend or family member when you die, but are worried about their financial acumen, you might want to consider establishing a spendthrift trust. A spendthrift trust protects people who may be mentally incapacitated or who may waste money by establishing a trust overseen by someone (a trustee) who controls the funds. The beneficiary cannot spend the money before getting a distribution.
If you have an employer sponsored 401k and you happen to leave your current job, you’ll probably have some decisions to make about how to handle that money going forward. In most cases if you have $1,000 or less in your 401k, you will probably get that money in the mail within a month or two after you stop working for the company.
Creating a Family Tree is a helpful method to guarantee your estate plan encompasses all your wishes for distribution of your property. A comprehensive estate plan includes a Last Will and Testament, Living Trust, Living Will and insurance policies. Depending on your personal circumstances, you may or may not need all of these documents. Each of these documents involves making specific bequests to family, friends or charitable organizations.
Adult guardianship is a legal proceeding in which a ‘ward’ is found lacking in the capacity to care for themselves and legally authorizes a guardian to make their decisions. Adult guardianship is often required when an elderly person can no longer care for themselves because of declining health, dementia, a stroke or another medical condition. Adult guardianship is a court procedure during which the ‘ward’ is found to be mentally incompetent and lacking the capacity to care for themselves.