Remote Options for Estate Planning in Indiana

The spread of COVID-19 has brought the frailties of life into sharper focus. Who will make medical decisions for you if you’re unable to? Will your family be able to access your financial accounts to pay your bills if you get sick? Will your spouse and children be provided for if you pass away?

While the world continues to face the spread of COVID-19, most places have temporarily shuttered their doors. The irony, of course, is that these uncertain times remind us that we should have our affairs in order, especially if the worst happens. Luckily, Indiana has adopted provisions that allow Jones Obenchain attorneys to continue serving our clients, and helping them answer those important questions.

The Indiana Supreme Court recognized the call for social distancing as a way to stop the spread of the virus. To that end, it has suspended the requirements of having the testator and two attesting witnesses to be physically present together when a will is executed. Instead, the testator and witnesses may come together through an electronic medium, such as Zoom or Skype, to sign the will. So you can safely sign a will while practicing social distancing!

The court’s order requires the will to contain specific language referencing the pandemic, the order, and that the normal requirements will be met within 90 days of the health emergency expiring. In other words, you will eventually have to sign the will in the presence of witnesses. But considering that this situation could last for several months, this is an excellent opportunity for clients to put the necessary documents in place to prepare for the worst.

Indiana’s remote-notary laws were also enacted. Originally, the new statutory provisions were supposed to be effective on July 1, 2020. But due to the pandemic, Indiana expedited the process. Any active Indiana notary may immediately apply to become a remote notary. A remote-notary authorization allows notaries to perform notarial functions via two-way audio-visual communication on an approved vendor platform, while signatures are captured on an electronic record. The state is currently vetting approved vendors, and should release them by the end of May. So Jones Obenchain’s notaries will soon be able to assist you safely and remotely.

We know the circumstances are challenging. Our attorneys and staff want to do anything we can to put your mind at ease. If you currently have any estate-planning needs, our office is still open to help you complete those tasks. Indiana’s new remote signing and notary provisions allow us to do that in a safe way.

JO -In Our Own Words

Many people are hesitant or even frightened when they have to consult an attorney. Jones Obenchain attorneys are active members of the Michiana community. They serve businesses, individuals, and families in Indiana and Michigan with effective legal solutions and are unafraid to explore non-traditional solutions for their clients. Let us put your mind at ease about consulting an attorney in our own words..

Indiana Primary Election Day

Indiana’s primary election day is a state holiday on which state government is closed, including the Secretary of State’s office.

A primary election is a preliminary election in which voters nominate party candidates for office. Voters select candidates for subsequent elections. It is one way that a political party nominates candidates for an upcoming general election.

Primary elections are common in the United States and are conducted by the government on behalf of the parties. Indiana primaries are “closed” primaries. When voters sign in at their polling place, the clerks ask them which political party’s ballot they prefer. They vote for only the candidates on that ballot. In the primary, voters nominate the candidates of their party who will be on the ballot in the general election.

In Indiana, polling places are open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time.

JO Knows Commercial Litigation

Contrary to popular belief, business disputes—not personal-injury claims—make up the bulk of non-domestic-relations civil filings in the United States. That’s right: businesses suing to enforce contractual obligations are what keep our courts busy.

Litigation is often a last resort, but when it can’t be avoided, we work with our commercial clients to manage litigation risks and find the most cost-effective approach to resolving business disputes. We aim to get to the bottom of the matter, avoid lengthy litigation, minimize business disruption, and conclude the case creatively and expeditiously.

Our litigators have decades of experience handling complex, multi-party litigation. We also represent trustees, receivers, creditors, and debtors in major insolvency and restructuring matters.

When a promising deal goes south, or when an employee strikes off on their own to set up a competing enterprise, see why business owners in northwest Indiana and southwest Michigan have looked to Jones Obenchain, LLP for help for over 100 years.

In Our Own Words

Jackie Homann loves the practice of law. Listen as she talks about her practice and her goal for helping clients achieve their goals in her own words….

Happy Memorial Weekend

Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States, and is meant as an opportunity to remember the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. The holiday, which is observed every year on the last Monday of May, was formerly known as Decoration Day and originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the war.

The attorneys and staff of Jones Obenchain, LLP wish you and yours a safe and happy Memorial Day Weekend!

JO Knows Buy-Sell Agreements

These contracts are between the co-owners of a business and govern what they can, can’t, and must do with their ownership rights. For a corporation, these are separate documents, also often called shareholder or stock-restriction agreements. For LLCs, the terms are included in operating agreements.

A common condition prohibits a sale or gift to someone else, even a spouse, without the co-owners’ consent. Or at least without first giving them the option to buy it at some pre-arranged price or formula.

Other issues to be considered and addressed include:
– The procedure to raise more money from the owners
– How cash flow and profits are distributed
– What happens when an owner becomes disabled or dies
– How ownership is valued and the payment terms in case of a buy-out
– The role of life insurance
– Whether additional owners maybe admitted, and if so, how
– The need for non-compete agreements.

Before you come see us about drafting a buy-sell, give these points some thought. Or just call if you have a question about them.

JO In Action

The past several months have been challenging for many on so many levels. It has been difficult for folks to stay in place and miss not only work, but also the opportunity to gather with family and friends. For those living alone, the lack of community has been especially rough. Recognizing that need, beginning on Palm Sunday and each Sunday after, Jackie Homann and her family are “caroling” at the homes of members of their church congregation (at a socially acceptable distance of course) to bring some of that sense of community to those at home.

Dance Like A Chicken Day

May 14, is Dance Like a Chicken Day, also known as Chicken Dance Day. On this day we celebrate the silly dance that is accompanied by the Chicken Song or the Chicken Dance Song.

The song by Swiss composer Werner Thomas, and is sometimes known as the Birdie Song. The music coupled with series of movements became popular in the West, especially in the United States, where it was performed at parties and weddings.

The dance mimics the movements of a chicken and includes flapping of arms and wriggling of the body.

How to should you celebrate? Maybe by getting together with friends (keeping in mind the need for social distancing) and organize a chicken dance flash mob.