Fee Agreements: Malpractice & Ethics Issues, Live in 3 Locations!

SAMPLE Fee Agreements…They’re everywhere! Legal research sites, bar associations, blogs, law firm websites, and yes, even malpractice insurance carriers, all have SAMPLE fee agreements a lawyer can download and start using. The trouble is, many of those SAMPLES are WRONG! This program will help you identify the absolutely vital malpractice and ethics issues you must master in order to avoid problems with this standard tool of your practice.

TOPICS:
The QUIZ – A chance to test your knowledge in the latest hot topics in legal malpractice and ethics, and what you need to know to protect yourself from novel malpractice risks and ethics complaints

Fee Agreement Building Blocks:
– Client Identity;
– The Scope of the Representation;
– The Rate & Basis of Your Fee
– Issues of Withdrawal from the Representation;
– Resolving Disputes;
– Completing the Representation
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FACULTY:
Christian A. Stiegemeyer is the Director of Risk Management for The Bar Plan Mutual Insurance Company and Executive Vice President of The Bar Plan Foundation. He annually conducts more than seventy Risk Management seminars, on a wide variety of ethical and legal malpractice issues, covering current issues concerning professionalism and providing practical solutions for dealing with malpractice and ethical concerns.

Mr. Stiegemeyer also directs The Bar Plan’s Practice Management Program, providing on-site, personalized reviews of lawyers’ law firm practices to help improve risk management and case handling procedures. In addition, Mr. Stiegemeyer responds to The Bar Plan’s ethics and malpractice telephone “Hotline” to timely assist its insureds with issues that arise in their daily practice and has written numerous articles appearing in a variety of national, state and local bar association publications. He received his B.A. from Southeast Missouri State University and J.D. from The Saint Louis University School of Law in 1992.
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FEE AGREEMENTS: THE ESSENTIAL MALPRACTICE
& ETHICS ISSUES OF FEE AGREEMENTS

A NATIONAL SPEAKER SEMINAR
3 CLE / 3 E – Live in 3 Locations!

 

MICHIGAN CITY, October 18
LIVE IN-PERSON ONLY SEMINAR
– Blue Chip Casino, Michigan City

 

INDIANAPOLIS, October 19
LIVE IN-PERSON SEMINAR
– ICLEF Conference Facility, Indianapolis

LIVE GROUP WEBCASTS
– May Oberfell Lorber Law Office, Mishawaka
– Taft Law Office, Indianapolis

LIVE INDIVIDUAL WEBCAST
– From your home or office computer

 

EVANSVILLE, October 20
LIVE IN-PERSON ONLY SEMINAR
– Tropicana Hotel, Evansville

 

ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN

Posted in Sale/Featured Items0 Comments

Considering 20-Year Cohabitation, Trial Court Properly Awarded the Complainant

Family Law Case Review

Case: Jeffrey L. McMahel v. Mary A. Deaton
by Mike Kohlhaas, Bingham Greenebaum Doll

HELD: In a cohabitation case, the trial court properly awarded the complainant cash payments and property equal to roughly 30% of the parties’ collective property interests, even though a division based solely on title of assets would have entitled her to about 18% of the parties’ collective property. The trial court based its decision on the equitable considerations of a nearly 20-year cohabitation, during which the parties had a child together.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY:
Jeff and Mary began cohabitating in 1996. They had a child in 1998. They never married, and their relationship ended in 2014.

Mary filed a complaint against Jeff after they separated, alleging unjust enrichment. After a hearing, the trial court concluded that, although Jeff recently went on disability, he was the primary wage earner throughout the relationship. At the time the relationship ended,  the parties had about $14,000 worth of jointly titled assets, Mary had about $30,000 of asset in her own name, and Jeff had about $138,000 assets in his name, including the residence.

The trial court allocated assets totaling about $41,000 to Mary, but also awarded her a “cash equalization” payment of about $13,000. Jeff appealed.

The Court of Appeals denied Jeff’s request to overrule Indiana’s previous cases that provide the legal foundation for cohabitation related claims. Further, the Court agreed with Mary that the equitable circumstances of the parties’ relationship and contributions supported the trial court’s order.  The trial court’s order was affirmed.

To view the text of this opinion in its entirety, click here: Jeffrey L. McMahel v. Mary A. Deaton

 

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James A. Reed and Michael R. Kohlhaas of Bingham Greenebaum Doll represent clients in a wide spectrum of relationship transition and wealth planning matters, including premarital agreements, estate planning, cohabitation, separation, divorce (especially involving high net worth individuals and/or complex asset issues), custody, parenting arrangements, adoption, and domestic partnerships. Bingham Greenebaum Doll, a multidisciplinary law firm serving regional, national, and international clients, is the fourth-largest law firm in Indiana. The firm’s main practices include corporate, property, litigation, labor, government law, and personal services law. Visit the firm’s website at www.bgdlegal.com.

ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN

Posted in Family Law Case Review0 Comments

Dealing Practically with GSTs and Other Estate Planning Acronyms, Oct. 7

MORNING CONTENT: Focus on GSTs
Why being able to spot Generation Skipping Tax issues is really important
•  Non-portability of the lifetime GST exemption
•  Flat GST tax rate equal to top marginal estate tax rate. How can you tell that a GST issue has arisen or will arise for compliance or reporting purposes (e.g., an existing trust is about to start making distributions to skip person beneficiaries for the first time)

Basics of direct skips vs. taxable distributions vs. taxable terminations
•  Examples of each: Source of payment for the GST tax, if any, and logistics for payment
•  How and where each type of GST transfer is reported on 709 or 706-series return

Has the [living or dead] transferor already allocated part or all of his or her lifetime GST exemption? 

How can automatic allocations frequently “save the day”?
• Deemed or automatic allocations under IRC § 2632 and how to “elect out”
• Importance of understanding what are and are not “indirect skips” under IRC § 2632(c), with a “decision tree” to help the transferor / client confirm when an automatic allocation will occur (or has already occurred)
• Potential information sources or records to check for past allocations of GST exemption
• How to correctly fill out Schedules R and R-1 of Form 706 when there are GST transfers exceeding the decedent’s remaining GST exemption

How to avoid “breaking” a grandfathered-exempt GST trust or a zero-inclusion-ratio trust when “fixing” non-tax problems through court-approved modifications or decanting
• Dire practical consequences of destroying grandfathered GST-exempt status for a pre-Sept. 1985 trust
• Understanding the safe harbors under Reg. § 26.2601-1(b)(4)
• What kinds of modifications should be avoided

How to do a severance or a division of a GST trust into an entirely-exempt trust (inclusion ratio of zero) and an entirely-taxable trust (inclusion ratio of 1.0) when the trust is funded with more than the transferor’s unused lifetime GST exemption
• Importance of a “qualified severance” under § 2642(a)(3)
• Rely on directions inside the well-drafted trust document
• Rely on “local law” (such as I.C. ¶ 30-4-3-3(a)(27)) to do a qualified severance if the trust document is silent
• How the “move down” rule under IRC § 2653(a) affects the GST tax treatment of future distributions from a non-exempt trust with an inclusion ratio of 1.0
• What to do if a GST trust should have been severed years earlier into exempt and non-exempt trusts but was not

 

AFTERNOON CONTENT: Estate Planning Acronyms

Charitable planning with CRATs, CRUTs, CLATs, and CLUTs
• Who can serve as the trustee
• Allowing change in the designation of the charitable beneficiary(ies)
• Different designs available for the lead interest under a CRUT (NIMCRUT, Flip-CRUT, etc.)
• Selecting the § 7520 rate to use when initial funding occurs
• Types of assets that are not appropriate or less than ideal for a CLAT or a CRUT
• Dire consequences when a CRAT or CRUT does not make the non-charitable lead distributions

QTIPs, QDOTs, and LEPA trusts with surviving spouse beneficiaries
• Life-Estate-with-Power-of-Appointment (“LEPA”) trust for surviving spouse under IRC § 2056(b)(5) & how it differs from a QTIP trust
• Will the IRS respect the validity of a QTIP election if it wasn’t needed to reduce estate tax?
• Making a second QTIP election for retirement account assets passing to a QTIP trust
• When and why to make a reverse QTIP election
• What is a “Clayton QTIP” trust?
• How should a marital trust be structured to qualify for a QDOT election if the surviving spouse is still a non-citizen at the crucial time?

GRATs vs. IDGTs – comparing and contrasting the use of Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts and sales to Intentionally Defective Grantor Trusts
• Which clients should care about these?
• What is accomplished by a GRAT that “works”?
• Zeroed-out GRATs and “laddered GRATs”
• Using IDGTs with installment sales of appreciating assets
• Using valuation-adjustment clauses with sales to IDGTs

A potpourri of “old standbys” and some techniques with narrow scope or doubtful prospects
• ILITs (irrevocable life insurance trusts)
• SCINs (self-canceling installment notes)
• QPRTs (qualified personal residence trusts) and the alternative of a sale of a remainder interest
• SLATs (spousal limited access trusts)
• The Supercharged Credit Shelter TrustSM (SCST)

Concepts and techniques to achieve basis step-up of assets at the death of a trust beneficiary or power holder
• GPOAs (general powers of appointment) and “PEG powers” (presently exercisable GPOAs)
• Intentionally triggering the “Delaware Tax Trap” under IRC § 2041(a)(3) to cause inclusion of assets in estate of the holder of a limited appointment power that re-sets the clock on the running of Rule Against Perpetuities
•  “Optimal Basis Increase Trust” (OBIT) designed and proposed by Edwin P. Morrow III

DINGs (Delaware Incomplete Non-Grantor Trusts) or NINGs (Nevada Incomplete Non-Grantor Trusts)
• Primary purpose is to lawfully avoid state income taxes
• Create in a state that does not impose income tax on accumulated or non-distributed trust income, and fund with an incomplete gift(s) (grantor must retain enough control to prevent a completed gift)
• Adverse parties such as a distribution committee should be involved in the approval of all discretionary distributions to the grantor, so that the trust is not a grantor trust
• State of residence of  beneficiaries is crucial in determining which (and how much) state income taxes will be avoided
• Distributions actually made to Indiana-resident grantor will be subject to income tax in Indiana
• BINGs (Beneficiary Irrevocable Grantor Trusts)
• Also known as Beneficiary Defective Inheritor Trusts (BDITs)
• A Crummey trust under which a withdrawal power is currently possessed by primary beneficiary or previously lapsed
• Takes advantage of IRC § 678(a) and causes all of the trust’s income to be taxable to that beneficiary
• Because the beneficiary is treated as the grantor and owner of the trust, the beneficiary and the trust can engage in asset sale transactions between them without triggering any taxable income
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FACULTY:
Jeffrey S. Dible, Chair
Frost Brown Todd LLC, Indianapolis, IN

William J. Dale, Jr.
Dale & Eke Professional Corporation, Indianapolis, IN

Ellen M. Deeter
Of Counsel, Dale & Eke Professional Corporation, Indianapolis, IN

Julia S. Weaver
Oxford Financial Group, LTD, Indianapolis, IN

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DEALING PRACTICALLY WITH GSTs
& OTHER ESTATE PLANNING ACRONYMS
6 CLE – Friday, October 7,  9:00 A.M. – 4:30 P.M.

LIVE IN-PERSON SEMINAR
– ICLEF Conference Facility, Indianapolis

LIVE INDIVIDUAL WEBCAST
– From your home or office computer

ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN

Posted in Highlighted Seminars0 Comments

Wrongfully Withholding Parenting Time From the Other, Not Basis For Child Custody Modification

Family Law Case Review

Case: Carl Wayne Montgomery v. Patricia Ann Montgomery
by Mike Kohlhaas, Bingham Greenebaum Doll

HELD: Trial court’s modification of child custody was reversed where, despite the discretion afforded a trial court in such situations, the evidence did not support the modification.

HELD: One parent wrongfully withholding parenting time from the other is not, without more, a basis for a modification of child custody.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY:
Mother and Father divorced in 2009, with a young Child.

Mother later moved to Wisconsin and began living with Boyfriend. An agreed entry provided for Father to retain primary custody of Child, subject to Mother’s “distance as a factor” parenting time schedule.

Boyfriend had at least two prior battery convictions, and Father became concerned about Child spending time at Mother’s residence. Father moved to modify Mother’s parenting time, which included an allegation of Boyfriend striking Child. A GAL recommended that Boyfriend not be present during Mother’s parenting time. However, the trial court ruled that Mother, who denied any abuse, could continue to exercise her parenting time without any restrictions on Boyfriend.

In 2014, Mother filed a petition to modify custody to her. After a hearing, Mother’s petition was granted. Father appealed.

The Court of Appeals noted the deferential review of a custody modification. However, here it found that there was no evidence presented of a substantial change in any of the statutory factors for determining custody. The trial court’s rationale for modifying custody included that Father had wrongly withheld some parenting time from Mother. The trial court also found that the allegations made against Boyfriend were fabricated by Father. However, the Court concluded that these findings, even if supported by the evidence, did not constitute a substantial change in any of the statutory factors required to modify custody.

Beyond the “substantial change” issue, the Court of Appeals further questioned how a change of custody would serve Child’s best interests. There was uncontroverted evidence presented at the hearing that Child was well-cared for, well-adjusted, and doing well in Father’s custody. The GAL had also recommended that Father retain custody.

The Court reversed the custody modification order, and remanded the matter for a change of legal custody and primary physical custody to Father, subject to Mother’s parenting time per the IPTG.

To view the text of this opinion in its entirety, click here: Carl Wayne Montgomery v. Patricia Ann Montgomery

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James A. Reed and Michael R. Kohlhaas of Bingham Greenebaum Doll represent clients in a wide spectrum of relationship transition and wealth planning matters, including premarital agreements, estate planning, cohabitation, separation, divorce (especially involving high net worth individuals and/or complex asset issues), custody, parenting arrangements, adoption, and domestic partnerships. Bingham Greenebaum Doll, a multidisciplinary law firm serving regional, national, and international clients, is the fourth-largest law firm in Indiana. The firm’s main practices include corporate, property, litigation, labor, government law, and personal services law. Visit the firm’s website at www.bgdlegal.com.

ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN

Posted in Family Law Case Review0 Comments

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