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Perils of Pods

7/3/11

Payable on Death accounts, or PODs, are growing increasingly popular as estate planning tools. Life insurance policies are the best known kind of POD asset, but you call also specify POD beneficiaries on annuities, certificates of deposit, stocks and bonds, US savings bonds, and some other assets. Recently, the Indiana state legislature also made it legal to transfer some real estate at death with a POD designation.

People are drawn to PODs because they allow transfer of property without...

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Grantor Trusts

7/3/11

Most of us are familiar with the idea of a “trust fund”, where an inheritance or insurance settlement is kept “in trust” for a beneficiary. Such a Trust protects the interests of a minor or incompetent person, who cannot by law handle funds on their own, or protects the interests of a person who might be of legal age to handle funds but who lacks the maturity or experience to do so effectively. In these cases it is the trustee’s role to manage and invest the assets, to prepare and file tax...

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Power of attorney – Life Saver or License to Steal?

5/24/12

A power of attorney is a document in which the “principal” designates an “attorney in fact” and gives him or her power to act in the principal's place.  The powers granted can range from making health care decisions for the principal to handling the principal's real estate, bank accounts, and other assets.

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From Family to Fiduciary: A Guardian’s Duties

5/24/12

The responsibilities of becoming someone’s guardian can be daunting. Indiana law defines a guardian as a fiduciary. A fiduciary is a person or institution who cares for another party’s assets and must always act in the other party’s best interest.

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Wrapping Up a Trust

6/2/14

While some charitable and institutional trusts are ongoing entities, most trusts for individuals are not supposed to go on forever. In fact, most carefully drafted Indiana trusts describe circumstances when the trust must end. Indiana law generally frowns upon property being held by a trust indefinitely.

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The Dangers of Mass Production

6/2/14

Mass production has made many consumer goods, from automobiles to cell phones, affordable to large numbers of people. Most of us appreciate the benefits mass production can bring. At the same time, we all know that mass production without close attention to quality control can be a recipe for disaster.

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