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Posted in Tax and Finance
Year-End Tax Legislation Signed by the President

The House and Senate approved a year-end spending package, entitled the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020, H.R. 1865, 116th Congress (2019-2020) (“Consolidated Act”), which was signed by President Trump on December 20th in order to avoid a government shutdown. This Article discusses its most notable provisions.

Posted in Litigation
Don’t Walk the Line: Impermissible Threats Versus Allowable Puffery in Negotiations

If you’ve ever received a letter from opposing counsel threatening to file a motion for sanctions or a disciplinary complaint, or refer a matter for criminal prosecution, you’ve likely raised the question of whether the threat violates that attorney’s ethical obligations. The answer, of course, depends on the circumstances. Primarily, a threat is impermissible if it does not relate to the subject matter of the dispute and is communicated solely to gain leverage in a civil dispute or negotiation.

Posted in Estate Planning
A Farm Trust Isn’t a Farm Trust Without a Farm!

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.

Indiana Opportunity Zone Summit

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
Beneficiary Suit Time-Barred by Effect of Trustee Notice

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
Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Beneficiaries in State Tax Case

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
Family Battles Over Family Farm Trust

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. 

Scandalous or Satisfactory? How New Trademarks Can Test the Boundaries

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.

Indiana Supreme Court Delineates “Subdivided,” “Reasonably Near Future” Terms in Annexation Statute

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.

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