Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to you and yours!

Here’s to eating clean, moving more, being more intentional with time, and getting those little ducks in a row.

We usually get a deluge of estate planning inquiries in January as people make good on those resolutions.

Let us know if we can help.
(We’ll provide the caffeine.)

Calling all Generous Gift-Givers!

Calling all generous gift-givers!

Are you considering gifting cash, stocks, or property to loved ones this holiday season?  If so, then you’ll definitely want to know that the annual gift tax exclusion for 2018 is rising from $14,000 (where it has been for the past five years) to $15,000.

This means that anyone who gives away $15,000 or less to anyone other than their spouse doesn’t have to report the gift or gifts to the IRS (though you’ll still have to file a gift tax return).

With the increase in the gift tax, the amount you can give to an ABLE account. (INvestABLE Indiana) is also increasing to $15,000. ABLE accounts allow people with disabilities and their families to save money in designated accounts for disability related expenses without jeopardizing their eligibility for Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and other government benefits.

There are so many ways to create a legacy of generosity.

Let us know if we can help.


 

New Law Gives Grandparents Notice About Adoptions

Is your family considering a stepparent or a kinship adoption?

If so, you should be aware of House Enrolled Act 1245, which took effect in Indiana on July 1st, 2017.

This new law requires certain classes of grandparents to be notified of adoption proceedings.  Perhaps not surprisingly, there is already a healthy amount of debate and varying interpretation surrounding it.  If you would like to learn more about this legislation, you may do so here.

We will be following caselaw and debate on this issue closely.   In the meantime, if your family has any questions about kinship adoption, let us know.

We can help.

News/Community Involvement

As an extension of her law practice, Stasia regularly performs at musical events benefitting local organizations who support elders and individuals with special needs.

“Pam’s Party: A Joy’s House Open House” will be held on the evening of Thursday, July 27th @ 6:30pm at Joy’s House in Broad Ripple Village. It’s a celebration to honor caregivers and Guest/potential new Guests.

This open house is free to attend, but you may wish to bring cash for supper and activities, which will be available for purchase.

Hope to see you there!

 

Signed, Sealed Delivered-the Future of Executing Estate Planning Documents

Signed, sealed, and delivered.

One of our wonderful clients just presented us with a new sushi pen for our ever-expanding collection when he signed his estate planning documents this week.

Signed,Sealed,Delivered

But will we always need our fancy and fun pens for this job? Maybe not.

The Indiana Legislature is currently considering a bill that would allow the electronic signature of estate planning documents.

This bill is the topic of hot debate at the moment. Online legal providers such as LegalZoom are focusing on the convenience aspect.

Other practitioners (us included) see some potential benefits, but are concerned with the very real possibility of undue influence and potential difficulties with ensuring proper and personalized drafting/witnessing/execution of documents, especially for our most vulnerable clients..

What do you think of electronic execution of estate planning documents? Opportunity? Headache? Or both?

March is Disability Awareness Month

Did you know that slightly more than 19 percent of Indiana’s population is represented by adults and kids with disabilities?

March is Disability Awareness Month in Indiana and we’re especially appreciative of this year’s campaign theme- “I’m Not Your Inspiration.”

Often, people with disabilities who are successful, athletic, employed, or simply good neighbors are put in the spotlight as inspiration to others.   This year’s campaign theme emphasizes that people with disabilities are people first-people who want to be fully included in their communities, just like everyone else.

You can learn more about Disability Awareness Month here.

Questions about planning for your loved one with disabilities?

We can help.

disability awareness month

News/Community Involvement

We are so pleased (and proud) to announce that Stasia has been appointed by the Indiana Governor’s Office to serve on the Board for the Achieving a Better Life Experience Program (ABLE.)

The ABLE Act was signed into law in March of 2016 and will allow certain people with disabilities and their families the opportunity to contribute to a tax-exempt savings account that can be used for health care needs and other designated resources that promote independence and quality of life.

The mission of the Indiana Able Authority Board is to help develop and implement a qualified ABLE program for individuals with disabilities in the State of Indiana.

We applaud the members of the Indiana State Legislature for their support of the ABLE Act.   It is a critical strategy to providing a pathway to a better economic future for all people with disabilities.

Stasia is thrilled to have the opportunity to help champion ABLE in our community.

Questions about estate planning, guardianship, or long term care planning for your loved one with special needs?

We can help.

ABLE appointment certificate

 

 

 

November is National Adoption Awareness Month

Did you know that November is annually recognized as National Adoption Awareness Month?

The specific focus of this month is the adoption of children currently in foster care.

While efforts made at the national level certainly help build awareness, participation in local programs, events, and activities by those of us with a direct connection to adoption can often be the most effective way to promote positive perceptions, expose the myths, and draw attention to the tens of thousands of children in foster care who wait and hope for permanent families.

We can truthfully say that working with foster families to ensure permanency for kids is one of the most rewarding parts of our practice. But we also must acknowledge that every adoption, no matter how wonderful, is rooted in loss.

So, while we are privileged to walk alongside families as they legally become what they already are in love and practice, we will never romanticize this work.

Whether you’re a family that wishes to offer sanctuary to an at-risk child, a “first family” who needs support time and tools to help your family thrive, or an adult adoptee seeking support and information about your experience, know that we can help point you towards helpful resources.

In this season of Thanksgiving, we are grateful for those who open their homes and hearts to waiting children. And we are equally grateful for all of the gifts that these children bring with them. . .

national-adoption-month

Examining Adoption

It’s tempting for adoption attorneys to romanticize our work.  After all, we get to come alongside adoptive parents and children as they legally become the family they already are in love and practice.

But we also must acknowledge that every adoption, no matter how wonderful, is rooted in loss.  And this is why we equally emphasize support, education, and advocacy for birth parents and “first families.”

Whether you’re a family that wishes to offer sanctuary to an at-risk child, or a first family who needs support, time, and tools to help your family thrive, know that we can help point you towards helpful resources.

It is our privilege to represent adoptive families, expectant parents, and birth parents.  But know this-our work is not motivated solely by an adoption decree.

Examining Adoption