Are You A Parent Of A Recent Graduate?

If you are a parent of a recent high school graduate, congratulations! Before the confetti has cleared from your celebration you are probably already knee-deep preparing for your new graduate’s next steps. For many of you those next steps may include filling out financial-aid forms. If you have started that process and realize that you do not have copies of your tax returns, the IRS has a few tips to make that piece of the financial-aid puzzle a little easier. Visit: to learn more.

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JO Knows Non-Compete Agreements


A non-compete agreement is a legal contract between an employer and employee or between the joint owners of a business. It restricts a person’s ability to do harm to that business by taking away customers, other employees, confidential information, or new profit opportunities, not only after they leave but while they’re still employed.

Courts will enforce non-competes, but only if they are properly written. They must be “reasonable” and not “over-broad” as the law defines those concepts. They cannot extend beyond the limits of the employers “protectable interests” —geographically and competitively—and must have proper time limits. Different employees at the same company might need different contracts.

One size obviously does not fit all. Jones Obenchain regularly advises local, regional, and national employers on a wide variety of employment matters, including non-compete agreements, their formation, and their scope.

 Our experience in the field includes:

-Drafting employment and compensation agreements and employment policies;

-Prosecuting and defending non-compete, non-solicitation, non-disparagement, and trade-secrets claims;

-Drafting, negotiating, and implementing employment agreements, confidentiality agreements, and non-competition agreements; and

-Reviewing and updating personnel handbooks and policy manuals.

Recent Life Changing Event?

Life changing events affect your tax status. Have you recently:gotten married, divorced, added a new family member via birth or adoption, or lost your spouse? If so, all of these events can, and often do, have an effect on your tax status. The IRS has a recent Tax Tip that can assist you to determine or verify your tax status as well as other helpful hints regarding filing requirements, deductions, eligibility for credits and much more. Visit: to learn more.

JO Knows Construction Law

Commercial or residential builder? General or sub-contractor? Property owner or developer? Design professional? If you find yourself in a lawsuit or arbitration over a construction-related dispute – or are headed that way – we’ve probably handled a similar case before.


August 8th is Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day! Most gardeners know that a single zucchini plant produces an endless supply of zucchini. By the time August hits they have already given zucchini away to family, friends, and most everyone they encounter.  It is at about this time each year that desperation takes hold and they sneak over under the cover of darkness, to their neighbors porch, and unload some zucchini. Celebrate today by secretly sharing your wealth of zucchini by leaving them on your neighbor’s porch, but don’t forget to wait until dark!

Can You Deduct The Use Of Your Car As A Business Expense?

Have you deducted the use of your car as a business expense in the past? If so, you should be aware of some recent changes that could affect your ability to claim these deductions down the road. A recent IRS publication breaks down what can be claimed and by whom as well as the requirements. Visit: for details.

Meet Our JO Team

Jacqueline Sells Homann’s privilege is to walk with her clients, provide business counseling, and legal-issues management so clients can get back to life. Assessing risks, putting together a plan, and helping clients navigate their course is what Jackie does best. Visit to learn more about Jackie and the ways she can counsel you and your business.

JO In Action – Picture Perfect

Photography is a hobby of Jones Obenchain partner, Mark Phillipoff. Mark enjoys photographing both people and places. Mark recently took this beautiful photo of the night skyline in South Bend on a warm spring night.

Celebrate National Lasagna Day!

Many theories exist on how lasagna became known as one of Italy’s traditional dishes. Whatever its origin, it is clear that lasagna is popular and loved by many. We celebrate National Lasagna Day on July 29 each year. To celebrate this year, pull out your favorite lasagna recipe and treat yourself and your family to a delicious meal.

JO Knows Probate

Probate is the process by which a court oversees the lawful transfer of title to property under a will. It must take place in the state and county where the decedent resided when they died. Probate does not involve non-probate assets, such as life-insurance or retirement-account proceeds passing to designated beneficiaries; property owned by trusts on the date of death; or jointly owned property when the first joint owner dies. So married couples who have joint title to most of their property rarely need probate after the first spouse dies.

The word “probate” often engenders fear. But probate is not a scary process. The court is there to oversee the job your personal representative does and to make sure the instructions in your will are followed. Your lawful debts will (and must) be paid. Your heirs take comfort in knowing that the court will hear them if they have questions or objections. Probate is not unduly lengthy; usually six months or so is enough to wrap things up. And it is not a great expense. In fact, many people will spend more money trying to “avoid probate” than probate costs.

While placing an asset (like an investment account or a vacation home) in a trust will avoid probating that asset, it is almost impossible—and probably foolish—to try to make everything you own a non-probate asset. Under Indiana law this is unnecessary, because no probate estate need be opened if the value of the probate assets is less than $50,000. So you don’t need to put your refrigerator, lawn mower, golf clubs, or clothing into a trust.

Rather than probate avoidance, a better goal is probate management. Monitor the way your assets are owned. Create joint ownerships, designate beneficiaries, and use a trust in sensible ways. But don’t go overboard. For example, while making cash gifts to children and grandchildren can have many benefits, be sure that you keep enough resources available to provide for your own care and comfort.