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Variations on Power of Attorney: One Size Does Not Fit All

While you never know when you might have to rely on someone else, there are ways you can prepare for the possibility. The financial power of attorney (POA) is the cornerstone to any estate plan.  It allows a person (the principal) to give legal authority to someone else (the attorney-in-fact) to take financial actions on the principal’s behalf. There are many situations where having such a document and creating such a relationship is preferable to allowing one’s personal finances to languish. Of course, the planning needs of an unmarried, childless 21-year-old are likely not the same as a 65-year-old married couple with grandchildren, but powers of attorney are highly customizable. ...

Paul’s Law: Revised Sentences for Juvenile Offenders

Can people change? If an adult commits murder, that person is tried in court and if found guilty, will go to prison. What if a child commits murder? Has true justice been served if that child is found guilty in an adult court and sentenced to twice as much prison time as he or she has even been alive? Or are a person's developmental years dynamic enough to suggest a child felon can go on to lead a productive, happy life? Paul's Law, which passed in 2013, addresses that very issue. Paul Gingerich was 12 years old when he was an accomplice in the murder of his friend's stepfather 45 miles outside of Fort Wayne, Indiana. The plan was to skip town after the fatal shooting, but the kids didn't m ...

Divorce Monday: The Holidays’ Last Hurrah

Another holiday season has passed. The decorations are put away. The music on the radio is back to normal. The hustle and bustle is practically nonexistent. Of course, the holidays regularly leave behind a few unpleasantries: credit card bills, increased waistline, and... divorce. Yes, filing to end a marriage is an unwelcome remnant that is surprisingly pervasive. It is so common that the first working Monday in January has been referred to as “Divorce Monday.” Falling on January 9 this year, that inauspicious day marks the beginning of one of the busiest months for initiating divorce proceedings. According to the president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, divorce fili ...

Handling Long-Distance Visitation

Legally speaking, childhood lasts only 18 years. The rest of life is considered adulthood. With that much disparity, it's no wonder we lose touch with what it's like to be a kid. Still, adult situations affect children deeply, and divorce is no exception. That's not to say divorce isn't often the path that's best for everyone in a family, but when you're caught up in the hullabaloo of the adult aspects, keep in mind the kid POV. No one knows exactly what to say or do to help children thrive in any kind of split custody schedule. But it's vital to try to tap into your own life markers and remember how adult interactions – particularly your relationships with your parents -- made you feel w ...

Ignition Interlock Devices

In many states, including both Indiana and Kentucky, being convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) or operating while intoxicated (OWI) can result in the suspension or revocation of your driver's license, in addition to potential jail time and fines. However, in some situations, it may be possible to keep one's license after a conviction by having an ignition interlock device installed on one's vehicle. Both Indiana and Kentucky are states that sometimes utilize these devices as an alternative to suspending or revoking a person's license. What Are Ignition Interlock Devices? An ignition interlock device (also commonly referred to as a breath alcohol ignition interlock device) is essen ...

Shedding Light On Domestic Violence During October

Domestic violence is a situation that changes lives. It is a crime for the person committing the abuse and it can pose a mental health and physical risk for the victim. Domestic abuse occurs more often than most people would like to admit. It could involve a coworker, an acquaintance or a neighbor and it could be such a secret, that many people might never know it is happening. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov, domestic violence is reported by one of every seven men and one of every four women. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the United States. It is set aside to bring attention to the emotional and physical impact that v ...

Legality of Road Blocks in Indiana and Kentucky

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the annual cost of alcohol-related crashes to society is over $132 billion. In an effort to deter people from driving under the influence (DUI), many law enforcement agencies use sobriety checkpoints. While reducing alcohol-related wrecks is a worthy goal, that goal cannot infringe on the rights of drivers. There are specific ways that road blocks must be conducted in order to be legal. Generally, they must be publicized in advance, officer discretion must be eliminated as much as possible, and chemical tests cannot be conducted unless the officer has probable cause to believe a driver has been drinking. Back in 1990, the Supreme Court rule ...

Current Gun Laws in Indiana and Kentucky

The meaning of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is an often litigated topic with a reputation for provoking heated discussions. In a 2008 decision, the Supreme Court interpreted it as granting the right of gun ownership to individuals for purposes that include self-defense. The parameters for legally obtaining those guns vary from state to state, with both Kentucky and Indiana laws being more lenient than those of many other states. In fact, an examination by the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence graded the gun laws of all 50 states based on 30 policies related to guns and ammunition, including procedures for lost or stolen firearms, background checks, and preventing ...

Did You Get a Traffic Ticket in Indiana?

Sometimes you see the police car lying in wait. Other times, the flashing lights behind you are a complete surprise. All drivers have had the experience of hoping that the cruiser will either stay where it is or pass on by in pursuit of someone else. Many of them also know what it feels like when that hope turns to dread as it becomes clear the officer wants them to pull over. When that happens, you may know exactly what traffic law you were breaking or you may have no idea whatsoever, but once you get a ticket, it’s time to focus on the consequences. Generally, Indiana traffic tickets are dealt with on a county level. In the small print, you’ll find that your choices are to go to court ...

How Businesses Are Treated in Divorce Actions

Discussions about divorce often center around two topics: children and property. For many small business owners, the line between those two subjects is blurry and the worries are similar. After all, building a successful business takes a lot of heart, sweat, time, dedication, and patience. When the uncertainty of divorce looms large, it’s common to wonder what will happen to your business. Most notably, how much will you have to share? Is my soon to be ex-spouse entitled to half? And, as with many legal questions, the answer is: it depends. First, it matters exactly when the business began. If it was started before the marriage, then its value at the time of marriage is separate prope ...

Pitfalls of DIY Trust And Estate Planning Documents

Featured Snippet: The drawbacks of DIY trust and estate planning documents include inconsistencies, lack of flexibility, asset omissions, vague provisions, and they may not follow the laws of your home state. In addition, they lack proper consideration for future challenges and opportunities. 

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