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Thank you for being a part of the authoritative policy discussions on issues impacting life and business in Indiana during the 26th Annual BGD Legislative Conference at the Indiana Convention Center on Dec. 13, 2017.

Posted in Estate Planning

The South Dakota Supreme Court recently decided a unique case which may be persuasive to jurists in many other states that have adopted the Uniform Trust Code, particularly as it relates to literal compliance with shortened time frames for beneficiaries to take action under the Code. In doing so, the Court ruled that an informal objection to a revocable trust did not constitute an effective contest of the trust’s validity under their trust law, because it was not a timely filed suit. 

Posted in Estate Planning

It is becoming increasingly common for beneficiaries to want to create a power to remove trustees of their trusts, when the trust agreement does not grant them this power. 

In states which have adopted it, the Uniform Trust Code does grant a statutory power of removal to the trust beneficiaries, even when the governing trust document does not bestow such removal power itself.  However, such statutory powers generally require court approval and compliance with certain criteria. 

Posted in Estate Planning

In Private Letter Ruling 201737008, issued by the IRS on September 15, 2017, the Service gave retroactive tax effect to a court modification of the power of appointment held by the donor’s spouse over the donor’s trust.  Based on the retroactive County Court modification in this ruling, the surviving spouse’s power of appointment over the trust was held to be a special power of appointment for tax purposes from the trust’s inception, thereby avoiding estate taxation on the trust assets in the taxable estate of the spouse at her later death. 

The U.S. Copyright Office replaced its paper-based system for designating agents for receipt of claims of copyright infringement under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) with a new electronic system.  As part of this process, website operators and other online service providers must designate agents under the new electronic system by December 31, 2017, or risk losing protection under the DMCA.

Posted in Litigation

The European Union’s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will go into effect on May 25, 2018. Viewable here [1] in all 24 official languages of the 28 member Union, the GDPR sets out a regulatory framework for the processing of personal data of persons within the EU.

Indiana, in particular the Indianapolis region, is drawing the attention of private equity firms and venture capitalists from around the country.  The city, with a growing industry focus in technology and healthcare, as well as a variety of local start-ups, is well positioned to not only peak the interests of these funding organizations, but to create investment opportunities that will draw in a variety of investors.

Posted in Estate Planning

The U. S. Tax Court recently upheld the right of the IRS to adjust the amount of the unused estate tax exemption left by the predeceased spouse, when computing the federal estate tax owed by the estate of the surviving spouse.

A federal court in California recently rejected a motion by the San Diego Comic Convention and will hear whether the mark COMIC-CON is generic. 

Background

The San Diego Comic Convention (“SDCC”), a non-profit corporation, has been celebrating comic art, books, and other aspects of popular culture in San Diego since 1970.  The organization’s eponymous “Comic-Con” convention has grown in popularity with attendance exceeding over 135,000 attendees in 2016.   SDCC applied for and obtained a federal trademark registration for the mark COMIC-CON in connection with “education and entertainment services, namely, organizing and conducting conventions in the fields of animation, comic books and popular art.”  However, while SDCC may be the largest gathering of comic fans, it is not the first and certainly not the only entity using the phrase “Comic Con.”

Public Session Date Rescheduled for October 11, 2017

The Surface Transportation Board has set a new date for the public listening session to review CSX Transportation’s rail service problems and recovery plans. The session will take place October 11, 2017, at the Board’s offices in Washington, D.C.  The session will be open for public observation, although anyone wishing to speak must file an intent to participate with the Board no later than September 29, 2017.

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