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Lexington Probate and Estate Administration Law Blog

"Sex Stereotyping" and Title VII Protections

Gender identity has become an increasingly prevalent issue, in the news and across social media. In Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court landmark case recognizing the fundamental right to marry for same-sex couples, Justice Kennedy began the majority opinion by holding that "The Constitution promises liberty all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons ... to define and express their identity." 135 S.Ct. 2584, 2593 (2015). The ability to define one's own identity is broader than a simple demarcation between competing sexual orientations. Not surprisingly, employers have begun to find themselves tasked with accommodating the transitioning or transitioned employee in recognition of that individual's protected liberties, often in the face of antagonistic coworker responses, without creating an unreasonable interference with the employer's business.

3 benefits of a special needs trust

Special needs trusts are those that are created and managed for the benefit of someone who has special needs. Typically, beneficiaries are mentally challenged or disabled in some way, making it difficult or impossible for them to manage the assets themselves. Special needs trusts can be a way to ensure those with these needs is cared for, even if you are no longer able to assist them yourself.

One benefit of a special needs trust is that it provides peace of mind for caregivers. Whether you're a parent or a relative with an interest in the beneficiary, a trust lets you set aside assets or funds to provide for that person's care in the future. If something happens to you, the person you elect as trustee takes over the assets and uses them in accordance with the trust rules to provide care, shelter, education or medical provision for the individual in question.

Hollaway v. Direct General: A Good Bad-Faith Recap

In a published opinion, the Kentucky Supreme Court recently affirmed the entry of summary judgment in favor of an insurer on a bad-faith claim. In Hollaway v. Direct Gen. Ins. Co. of Mississippi, Inc., 497 S.W.3d 733 (Ky. 2016), a third-party bad-faith claim arose out of a low-speed, parking lot automobile accident. Id. The facts concerning which driver was at fault and whether the accident caused Plaintiff's injuries were contested. Id at 734. Plaintiff Hollaway brought a personal injury claim against the driver of the other involved vehicle, along with an underinsured motorist claim against her insurer and a bad-faith claim against Direct General. Id. at 735. Direct General settled Hollaway's property damage claim for approximately $460 and her personal injury claim for $22,500. Id. Hollaway had originally demanded $125,000 to resolve her personal injury claim, and proceeded with her bad-faith claim notwithstanding the settlement. Id.

Fayette County Teen Court Program

Since 1997, Bennett Bayer has presided as judge for the Fayette County Teen Court Program. For the last three years, our very own Whitney Stepp has assisted Bennett as the Fayette County Teen Court Coordinator. For at least a decade it has been a tradition for one of our associates or paralegals to act as Coordinator.

Teen Court is administered by the Administrative Office of the Courts and functions as part of Juvenile Court providing first-time juvenile offenders the opportunity to participate in an alternative process carried out by their peers acting as prosecutor, defense counsel and jurors in an actual trial to determine the disposition of the criminal charges.

What's the best way to spend your inheritance?

Whether you knew it was coming or you are surprised by a sudden windfall, you may wonder how best to spend your inheritance. Many people use the unplanned money to splurge on items they've always wanted or fund a family vacation, but here are four tips for spending your inheritance wisely and making it last as long as possible.

First, always make sure you have the money before you spend it. Some people jump on the news that they are inheriting assets and spend the money before they receive it. Since probate processes don't always go as planned, they might be surprised when they don't receive the money -- or all of the assets expected -- after all. This is a quintessential case of chickens and eggs; don't count them before they hatch if you want to avoid unpleasant surprises. If probate matters get complicated, make sure you have an estate law professional on your side.

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.


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.

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