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Lexington Probate and Estate Administration Law Blog

Your estate plan goes far beyond handing out assets

People often focus on the will when they think of estate planning. While this is an important part of the plan, it isn't the only component to the estate plan. No matter how old you are, all adults should have an estate plan in place.

Some people ask why they need an estate plan if they don't have any assets. The answer to this question is that they need the estate plan to care for their most important asset — themselves.

Legal Best Practices for the Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems

e_jones2.jpgPartner, Evan B. Jones is teaching at the National Business Institute Seminar today about Drone Law. Mr. Jones also taught another class on 5/12/2017. As drones become increasingly popular - it is so important to understand the law behind drone legal requirements and how clients can remain compliant. Read more below....

Legal Best Practices for the Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems

The use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drones, is becoming much more common, but h...ow confident are you in your ability to provide clients with answers to their most pressing legal questions regarding the use of this emerging technology? In this comprehensive overview of the current legal landscape, our experienced faculty will illuminate the many pitfalls that exist and provide you with the information you need to provide practical legal advice to government, commercial and recreational UAS users. Ensure your clients understand the legal aspects of responsible drone usage - register today!

Probate litigation can take up valuable time and money

After a loved one passes away, that person's estate has to be handled. We recently discussed how Kentucky is one of the worst states for inheritance taxes. This should spur you to find out what options you have that might reduce the tax burden for the estate.

We know that you might have a lot to think about right now. You have to work on ensuring that your loved one's plans are followed as intended. You also have to think about making the final arrangements and trying to determine how to move forward. All of these can be challenging undertakings.

Kentucky shown to be one of 6 states with inheritance taxes

If you're the administrator of an estate, then hopefully you're aware of the different tax obligations you are responsible for addressing before it can be closed. The federal government, for its part, imposes federal estate taxes and in 14 states throughout the country, they impose a death tax as well. Six states also impose a required inheritance tax. Kentucky is one of them.

In terms of this estate tax, it requires that the heirs of the deceased pay taxes on any property, money or other assets passed down from one generation to another. The maximum estate tax rate that an heir can be asked to pay on the federal level is 40 percent. That rate, however, is reserved for estates that maintain the highest tiered value of holdings. Among the 2.6 million Americans who died in 2013, only the equivalent of 4,700 paid that rate.

Three reasons you might contest a will

In a perfect scenario, a will and other estate documents communicate the wishes of the deceased regarding his or her assets. The will lets family and friends know how the person wanted to handle their legacy, including how the assets should be split among heirs.

Unfortunately, not every situation is perfect, As a surviving loved one, you might see that something is off about the estate documents. Here are three reasons you might contest a will.

"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.

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