For years, Indiana has allowed certain arrest and juvenile records to be expunged. Expungement is the act of causing certain information to be removed or limited from a government record. Recently, the General Assembly enacted legislation extending the potential to expunge certain criminal convictions, rather than just arrests. One of the effects of this new law is to allow more employment opportunities to those with prior convictions. Continue reading
They say there are only two things in life we can be sure about: death and taxes. The infamous expression may be true, but in Indiana, the legislators have turned it on its head. For recently “death” has overcome “tax,” at least with regard to the inheritance tax. Continue reading
Local law firm Myers, Tison, Hockemeyer & McNagny, LLP announced today that the firm will be renovating and moving into the historic and former Post & Mail newspaper building, 116 Chauncey Street.
“Maintaining our presence in downtown Columbia City was an important factor in our search for a new location,” said managing partner Greg Hockemeyer, “I am proud of our firm’s commitment to supporting the redevelopment of this important property.”
When retirement plans suffered big losses in 2008, Congress enacted a one‑year moratorium, for 2009, on the requirement that retirees over the age of 70‑1/2 withdraw a certain amount from their individual retirement and 401(k) accounts. Since the distributions are subject to taxation, retirees could avoid the taxman in 2009 by not having to take the usual minimum distributions, not to mention avoiding the investment mistake of “buying high and selling low.” Continue reading
All drivers should be aware of the “no‑zone,” the area on the sides and rear of 18‑wheelers where the truck driver cannot see a car. This dangerous area is easy to locate: If you can’t see the driver of the truck in his mirror, then he can’t see you. Continue reading
When you are pulling out the plastic to make a purchase, will it be debit or credit? It makes sense to know how each works, and their respective advantages and disadvantages. The bottom line is that debit cards are fine for small and/or routine purchases, but credit cards, as a rule, are better for major purchases and online transactions because they offer more protections if something goes awry. Continue reading
Before James died without a will, and with an estate valued at about $12 million, he had designated his teenage goddaughter, Jessica, as the beneficiary on two payable on death (POD) accounts worth almost $4 million at his death. Jessica and her parents were then sued by James’s estate, which was seeking reimbursement for the federal and state estate taxes that were attributable to the POD accounts. Continue reading
The federal Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) is a consumer protection law for homebuyers that is enforced by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The thrust of the law is to require that loan originators make certain disclosures to borrowers so that they can be more informed consumers, entering into more transparent transactions. HUD recently wrote new regulations requiring that borrowers receive both a standard Good Faith Estimate (GFE) that discloses key loan terms and closing costs and a new “HUD‑1″ settlement statement.
The format of the new GFE is supposed to simplify the process of originating mortgages by consolidating costs into a few major cost categories. The former GFE had a long list of individual charges. The new version includes this list, but also has a summary page containing the key information for comparison shopping by the consumer. Continue reading
After she became dissatisfied with the services of home remodeling contractors that she had obtained through an Internet referral website, Victoria sued the referral business for breach of contract, fraud, misrepresentation, and negligence. Continue reading
For most married couples, filing federal income taxes jointly rather than separately results in a lower tax bill. However, this “all for one, one for all” approach can have a downside if questions arise about the accuracy of the return. The general rule is that both taxpayers will be responsible, individually as well as collectively, for any taxes, interest, and penalties owed, even if only one spouse was earning the income. It may be that in a couple’s division of labor only one spouse is in fact responsible for understating income or erroneously claiming deductions, but, by law, each spouse can be made to answer to the IRS. Continue reading