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Lexington Probate and Estate Administration Law Blog

Understanding different types of insurance law

Insurance law covers a wide scope of various legal practices and processes, and attorneys who are experienced in one area of this niche might not have a background or desire to take cases on in a different area. When you're looking for a lawyer to help with insurance matters, it's important to understand what some of the areas of the law are so you can appropriately choose a professional to work with.

Insurance law can be categorized along the same lines that the insurance industry is structured. You have health care insurance and medical malpractice insurance, and there are lawyers who specialize in helping both patients and health care professionals with all types of cases in this area. Homeowner's insurance covers your property in the event an unfortunate disaster destroys your property, but many policies also cover you if someone is injured on your land or in your house. Some lawyers work with these types of cases, either filing lawsuits on behalf of the injured or working with the party being sued on a defense.

Prince estate administration gets complicated

Let's be honest: It's really not a surprise that the administration of Prince's leviathan estate is getting complicated. The artist had properties, cash reserves and a wealth of creative assets that need management, and with heirs still tied up in probate court, much of that management is coming from the temporary trustee.

The trustee in question isn't a person, it's an institution. The court previously appointed Bremer Trust to administer the estate, as it recognized work needed to be done with the assets even while heirs were coming out of the woodwork to be recognized -- or not -- by the court. While potential heirs and their stories fueled much of the media about the estate since April 2016, the Bremer Trust has been busy managing concerts and battling over rights to the artist's work.

What is date of death estate valuation?

Date of death estate valuation refers to the value of an asset or group of assets on the day that someone passes away. Date of death estate valuation is typically calculated using the "fair market value" of the asset at the time the person who owns it passes away. While it sounds simple enough, if you've ever sold something like an automobile, you know that fair market value is a subjective measurement, which is one reason that it's helpful to consult an experienced pro if you're trying to value your own estate or working as an estate administrator to handle tax matters.

In some specific cases, date of death might not even mean "the actual date the person passed away." That latter definition is used to value investment or retirement accounts, but stock market account values might be calculated using the average of prices on the days before and after the death if the person passed away on a day the markets were closed.

STEPS FOR COMPLETING A SETTLEMENT WITH A MINOR

Kentucky law requires that all minor settlements be approved by a court. Court approval is needed no matter the amount of the settlement, the parties involved, and regardless of whether a civil action has been filed. Minor settlements and the administration of the estates of minors are governed by KRS 387.010 through KRS 387.330.

For all minor settlements at or above $10,000, the settlement must be approved by a district court. In nearly all circumstances, the proper district court is where the minor resides. For the settlement to be binding and enforceable, the district court must also appoint a guardian for the minor, where the guardian will serve as the recipient and manager of the settlement funds, the signor of a release, and executor of the settlement. Orders detailing the appointment of the guardian and approval of the settlement with the specific requirements placed on each of the parties, including the guardian's authorization to sign a release must be filed and entered by the court.

Know what considerations might impact your estate plan

Estate planning is a very personal matter that must be taken seriously. You shouldn't put off planning your estate just because thinking of your death isn't pleasant. Shockingly, around 57 percent of consumers in this country don't have an estate plan in place. The percentage is even higher for parents who have children who aren't yet 18 years old. Up to 69 percent of these parents don't have a will.

We know that you probably have questions about what you need to include in your will and your estate plan. Sorting through different types of trusts and other components of an estate plan can be complex. Fortunately, we can help you to discover what options might work best for your case.

How can you set estate planning goals?

Did you know that the first step to estate planning is setting goals? The types of goals you set for your estate depends on your situation, income, assets, family and when in your life you sit down to plan for your estate. If you plan early, for example, your goals might include wealth building and saving. If you begin estate planning later in life, then your goals might be more about protecting what you already have or ensuring your assets are passed on following your wishes. Whatever goals you have for your estate, we've provided some tips for strong goal setting below.

Start setting goals by brainstorming. Sit down with a paper and pen and write down all you want to accomplish with your estate and estate planning. During this portion of the planning, don't worry about whether goals are realistic. Write down anything that comes to mind.

Probate litigation: contesting a will

Often, probate litigation arises because someone contests the will that has been presented. They might do so because they are not favorably treated in the will, but that's not always the reason people contest a will. Sometimes, a close family member simply feels that the will is not representative of what they believe their loved one's wishes to be.

A will can't be successfully contested simply because someone has a bad feeling about it or feels it's not in line with what the deceased said about his or her wishes. Some other factors usually have to come into play, including claims that someone had undue influence over the deceased. This means that someone took advantage of the deceased by leveraging his or her inability to make decisions or by pressuring them in other manners to put certain information in their will.

FMCSA Establishes Mandatory Database for Drug and Alcohol Violations

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently published a final rule that establishes a drug and alcohol clearinghouse for the holders of a Commercial Driver's License (CDL). The Commercial Driver's License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse will serve as a central repository for records of violations of the FMCSA drug and alcohol testing program by CDL holders. Compliance with the Clearinghouse rules will be required as of January 6, 2020. The rule is designed to identify the drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) who are ineligible to operate a CMV because of a drug or alcohol violation.

Accusations of bad faith conduct can be serious for insurers

The term bad faith can be applied on either side of the insurance claims process. First, a policy holder can make a bad faith claim -- claiming damages that aren't really there or weren't caused by the events as stated in a claim. Second, an insurance company can practice bad faith by not providing payment appropriately and in a timely manner on a good claim or by treating policy holders with business neglect.

Allegations of insurer bad faith can be extremely bad for business. Not only is it negative for the brand, it can also lead to expensive legal woes. In some cases, courts have been known to allow juries to award excess damages -- above policy limits -- to plaintiffs who sue after insurance companies fail to settle in what is deemed a "good faith" effort in a case. In these situations, the accusation of bad faith can end up costing millions of dollars, where as a settlement would have cost hundreds of thousands or less.

What are 2 most important documents in estate administration?

Let's be honest: Every situation is different and when it comes to estates, there aren't always one-size-fits-all answers. Applying generalities to your estate planning or administration can cause problems and result in increased stress and financial burden for you or your heirs, which is why it's important to work with a professional estate lawyer to address your individual needs. One thing can be generalized across estate situations, though: If you're going to administer an estate, you need a death certificate.

The death certificate is usually provided by the funeral home or other burial provider. They can provide you with as many copies of the certificate as you need -- and you will want more than one. Some financial and government institutions might want a certified copy before they will release benefits or assets, and you'll need a certificate to wrap up any online or offline accounts.

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