Whether you need a special needs trust for a person with disabilities, an educational trust for your children, or some other trust, one important question you need to answer is, “who should I pick to be the trustee?” Typically, the choice of the trustee for your particular situation starts with deciding whether to use an individual or a corporate trustee, which is usually a bank or brokerage firm. As a rule of thumb, banks and corporate trustees have pretty substantial fees so using a corporate trustee would be less glamorous for a smaller trust. Generally, I wouldn’t recommend using a corporate trustee unless your trust will have a million or more dollars worth of assets. Continue reading
Whether a person is considering a divorce, paternity, or custody case, many people want to know how child support is calculated in Indiana. It is a somewhat complex calculation based upon several factors which are unique for nearly every case involving child support. The first factor depends upon the amount of children the parties to the case have in common. The more children you have in common, the higher the non-custodial parent’s support obligation will be. The next factor is the parties’ respective incomes.
Gross Weekly Income
Both parties’ gross weekly incomes are put into the equation. “Gross” means the income a person receives before taxes and other deductions are taken out as compared to “net,” which is the take-home amount after taxes and deductions. The Indiana Child Support Guidelines defines weekly gross income as “actual weekly gross income of the parent if employed to full capacity, potential income if unemployed or underemployed, and imputed income based upon “in-kind” benefits.” Continue reading
Many people wanting to have estate planning documents prepared typically think of a Last Will and Testament. However, another potential way in which to plan your estate is through a Trust Agreement. What is a Trust Agreement you may ask? A trust’s primary function is to hold title to property and to provide for management of the property by a trustee. A trust can either be revocable, meaning it can be cancelled or terminated in the future, or irrevocable, meaning it cannot be terminated. Trusts can also be established during a person’s lifetime, which would be called an intervivos trust, or in a will, which is called a testamentary trust. The most common use of a trust is to manage property for the benefit of a minor child, an elderly person, or a person who is physically or mentally impaired. A trust can help avoid a guardianship, along with providing for beneficiaries who, for various different reasons, may lack the ability or knowledge to manage property on his/her own. They can also be created for potential tax or other legal benefits. Although every trust is different depending upon the particular needs of the person, most Trust Agreements share common elements and clauses. Continue reading
A lot of people thinking about going through a divorce in Indiana may wonder what issues will have to be addressed to finalize their divorce. This blog gives a brief explanation of the possible issues that may arise in your divorce. The 3 main issues are: 1) Property Division, 2) Spousal Maintenance, and 3) Child-Related Issues.
When you file for a divorce, nearly every asset of the parties, whether titled in one party’s name, the other’s name, or titled jointly in the parties’ names, will be up for division by the court. For a more detailed explanation on property division in Indiana, see my blog from March 17, 2016, titled: A Look at Property Division in a Divorce in Indiana. To summarize that blog, there is a presumption of an equal, or 50/50, division of assets and debts of the parties. Continue reading
Many people wonder whether they should have a last will and testament or a revocable living trust established for estate planning purposes. Every person’s situation is different so what’s best for one person may not be the best for another. Some people just need a will, others will need a trust, and some may require both. In some situations, a living trust can be used as a substitute for a will, and visa versa. However, I wanted to set forth the pro’s and con’s of a will versus a revocable living trust. Continue reading
When faced with a potential divorce in Indiana, many people wonder how the court will divide the assets and debts of the parties. At the time of filing for a divorce, nearly every asset and debt is included in the marital estate, whether titled in one party’s name or the other or in the parties’ joint names, and will be divided by the court.
Under Indiana law, there is a presumption that there will be an equal, 50/50, division of the assets and debts of the parties. Indiana Code 31-15-7-4 sets forth what property is eligible for division and how the court is able to divide such property:
A durable power of attorney is an invaluable estate planning tool as it can be used to potentially avoid the need to have a guardian of your estate appointed if you become incapacitated. However, care must be provided in drafting a power of attorney since it is capable of being abused. A non-durable power of attorney applies only when the person who executed the power of attorney is of sound body and mind, whereas a durable power of attorney also extends to when someone is physically or mentally incapacitated. Continue reading
If you are thinking about filing for divorce in Indiana, it is important to know a little bit about how the process works. This post gives a little direction as to what you should expect if you are going to file for divorce.
Grounds. Indiana has adopted the concept of “no-fault” divorce, making it unnecessary to prove cruelty, adultery, etc. in order to obtain a divorce. The usual ground is to allege, in a written petition to the court, that the marriage has suffered an irretrievable breakdown without reasonable expectations of reconciliation. A spouse’s character is usually irrelevant to the issues before the court. I often suggest to clients to think of the divorce as a break-up of a business partnership.
Residence Requirements. At the time a divorce petition is filed, you must have resided in Indiana for 6 months and in the county where the petition is filed for 90 days. There are limited exceptions which may apply if you do not qualify under this general rule. Continue reading
In a booklet entitled “Stepping Back From Anger,” the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers presented the following tips for divorcing parents to help protect their children from the trauma and emotional stress of a divorce:
- Never disparage your former spouse in front of your children. Because children know they are ‘part Mom’ and ‘part Dad,’ the criticism can batter a child’s self-esteem.
- Do not use your children as messengers between you and your former spouse. The less the children feel a part of the battle between their parents, the better. Continue reading
One thing I want to point out is that no one is too young or has too few assets to think about having estate planning documents drafted to make sure that you, your family and children are protected. The main 5 documents you may need are a Will, Trust, Living Will, Appointment of Healthcare Representative, and Power of Attorney, which I will briefly talk about in turn. Continue reading