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In a recent decision, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that the grantor of a revocable trust failed to fund the trust with his farm, despite his apparent intention to have the farm be managed and operated by the trustee after the grantor’s death.  Homan v. Estate of Homan, 121 N.E.3d 1104 (Ind. Ct. App. 2019).

When an individual purchases cryptocurrency there is often no paper trail and no physical assets for an executor or trustee to discover. Indeed, the anonymous nature of purchasing, selling, and owning cryptocurrency is one of its greatest selling points. However, the same anonymity that has driven individuals to own cryptocurrency also presents challenges for handling cryptocurrency upon the owner’s death. Today, people are including their digital assets such as social media accounts, patents, and digital files in their estate plans. But some may be overlooking an important digital asset – cryptocurrency. If you invest in a cryptocurrency, you need to include it in your estate plan. If you don’t, your money could be lost forever.

The Opportunity Zones (OZ) Program was established in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 as a way to transform economically distressed rural and urban communities through renewed investment. Specific areas are designated (using the same standards as those for New Market Tax Credits) as certified census tracts by the U.S. Department of Treasury. States nominated up to 25 percent of their qualified census tracts based on range of factors including likelihood of attracting short- and long-term investment. There are 8,764 certified OZs around the United States, which includes all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Indiana’s Governor Eric Holcomb nominated 156 zones, which were approved by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Those 156 OZs include parts of 58 counties, 83 cities and town covering more than 1,000 square miles and are home to 500,000 Hoosiers.[1]

Posted in Estate Planning

Many states, including Kentucky, have adopted the Uniform Trust Code (“UTC”).  The UTC is a comprehensive statutory schemework governing the administration of trusts. 

Posted in Estate Planning

Since our country’s inception in 1776, Americans have come to find that very few things in life are certain, with the exception of death and taxes.  In the world of trusts, these two certainties have historically gone hand-in-hand.  On Friday, June 21, 2019, however, the United States Supreme Court’s decision in North Carolina Dept. of Revenue v. Kimberly Rice Kaestner 1992 Family Trust laid such certainty to rest.

Posted in Estate Planning

In a recent decision from the Kentucky Court of Appeals, two generations of the descendants of Edna Murphy battled over a trust which held the Murphy family farm.  Edna Murphy contributed her 180-acre Larue County farm to the Murphy Family Farm Trust created by her five then-living children.  Three of those children were ultimately named as co-trustees of the trust, which held the farm at the time of litigation. 

Brands may now register for “scandalous” trademarks, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last Monday. Erik Brunetti, a streetwear designer and head of the brand “FUCT,” filed to federally register its brand with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) in 2011.  The PTO rejected the application because of the phonetic pronunciation and offensiveness of the word.

The Indiana Supreme Court’s recent opinion (“Opinion”) in an annexation case affirming the trial court’s order voiding an annexation ordinance adopted by the Town of Brownsburg (“Brownsburg”) provides guidance to municipalities on the “subdivided” and “reasonably near future” requirements in Indiana’s annexation statutes. The Opinion also clarifies the standards of review by courts regarding annexations. And the Opinion adds to the catalogue of required reading for municipalities seeking to successfully pass and defend annexation ordinances.

On September 27, 2018, in Northern Kentucky Area Development District v. Danielle Snyder, the Kentucky Supreme Court held that an employer is prohibited from requiring an employee to enter into an arbitration agreement as a condition of employment within the state. As a result of Snyder, Kentucky became the only state in the nation to prohibit employers from terminating or refusing to hire an individual who would not agree to sign an arbitration agreement. (Jacqueline Pitts, Senate passes bill clarifying Kentucky’s policies on arbitration agreement, KY CHAMBER BOTTOM LINE, (Feb. 21, 2019), https://kychamberbottomline.com/2019/02/21/senate-passes-bill-clarifying-kentuckys-policies-on-arbitration-agreement/

Water and wastewater utilities around Indiana should take note of several laws passed this most recent legislative session that will impact current practices or institute formal data collection and reporting requirements. Legislators emphasized and sent a clear message prioritizing the collection of key data sets and collaboration amongst Indiana utilities.

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