Dying without a will causes legal disputes for Prince

By Nathan Vinson, Attorney English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley, LLP Prince performing in concert in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo by Bob Young. It’s been more than a year since music legend Prince died unexpectedly at his home in Minnesota. He was actively touring and working at the time of his death on April 21, 2016, at the young age of 57. You’re forgiven if you assumed his estate was long settled, since he died more than a year ago. But it’s not done yet – and may not be for quite a while – due to the fact that he died without a will. It’s astounding to think that someone who is as famous, prosperous and with as many assets as Prince would die without this basic legal document. But as it turns out, he’s no different than anyone else – he probably didn’t want to think about death. Whether you die a famous millionaire or with few assets, if you don't have a Will you can leave a large mess. Heirs you would have never wanted to have your property could get it. Your estate will spend more probating your assets as well, and those who you wished to receive items from your estate may never see them. Prince was a very charitable man, yet none of his millions he had nor future royalties will benefit those he likely would have preferred to benefit. Plus, the estate will shell out much more than anyone would want to pay in estate taxes. Your children and family will be far happier if you take care of this before you die – and there’s no doubt it will bring you piece of mind, too. Read More


Advance Medical Directives: Living Will Directives, DNR orders, and the MOST form

By Nathan Vinson, Attorney English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley, LLP Most people who have considered making an estate plan or who have already made such a plan, whether simple or complex in nature, are familiar with a living will directive. By Kentucky statute, a living will directive may designate a health care surrogate to make decisions for a person when that person is incapacitated or in a vegetative state. The Living Will Directive may state a person’s wishes regarding life-prolonging treatment, artificially provided nutrition, or donating all or part or all of a person’s body. Living will directives are very common in estate planning. Most people also know what a do-not-resuscitate order is, but in Kentucky, putting one into legal and practical effect appears to be a little tricky. The only direct, standalone authority for mandatory recognition of a do-not-resuscitate order in Kentucky is a statute authorizing a Kentucky Emergency Medical Services Do Not Resuscitate Order. Therefore, an EMS DNR. The statute requires the EMS DNR to be embodied on a standard form approved by the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure (click here for form). An EMS DNR, however, only applies to EMS personnel in a pre-hospital setting. From the living room floor to the doors of the hospital, the EMS DNR controls. Once you are in the hospital, assuming you made it that far, the EMS DNR has no effect or control. Read More


Even Prince needed a will

By Nathan Vinson, Attorney English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley, LLP Prince performing in concert in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo by Bob Young. News reports since Prince’s death have indicated he died intestate – which means without a will. It’s hard to imagine someone who had complex dealings with the music world and a sizable fortune not having this very basic legal document. You’re talking about a guy who changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol in a contract dispute with Warner Brothers (finally settled in 2014) and put out albums under the symbol name – and never seemed to lose credibility or popularity because of it. His cool factor really has nothing to do with legal issues. As a fellow musician, I just stand in awe of anyone who has such a long, productive career and had such a strong fan base that lasted decades. Think of the legality of changing your name to a symbol and continuing to produce records. It probably gave his business and legal advisors some heartburn. Lawyers were likely involved in many aspects of his musical career, determining usage rights, negotiating record deals, negotiating with booking agents for venues and many, many other things. He had employees certainly and probably more than one business entity. It was a complex life. Read More


Estate documents your heirs need – and where to keep them

By Elizabeth J. McKinney, Attorney English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley, LLP When someone dies, there’s lots to do. It’s not quite as hurried as most think it is, but usually, within a week of the funeral, the heirs are starting the process of handling all of the paperwork that needs to be handled. You can make this all much easier by getting together a packet of information for the executor of your estate and the attorney and professional advisor who has worked with you in making your estate plans. It’s best to start this process long before you think you need to do so, and to let your friends and family know where the documents are. Read More


Tips for seniors on avoiding competency battles

By Elizabeth J. McKinney, Attorney English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley, LLP As we age, one of our collective greatest fears is that we’ll lose the power to make our own decisions. This happens sometimes because our faculties begin to betray us. The things that once seemed simple – such as keeping up with a checkbook and paying bills – are more challenging. Physical limitations, such as loss of sight, diminished hearing and failing handwriting, can contribute to those challenges and call into question our mental competency. Many people have children or a spouse ready or willing to step in. But that may also feed our fear – that as those other people come into the scene to help handle routine tasks, they’ll do things without our knowledge or consent, and that we’ll lose control of our money, our homes and even healthcare decisions. Read More


Choosing a potential guardian for your children in your will

By Elizabeth McKinney, Attorney and Partner English, Lucas, Priest & Owsley, LLP Estate planning often involves thinking about things you’d rather not, and perhaps the most unpleasant of tasks is to consider who you’d appoint as guardians for your minor or special needs children in the event of your death. Read More


Attorney Beth McKinney joins ELPO as a partner

Attorney Beth McKinney at ELPO's offices in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Local attorney Elizabeth McKinney joined our firm on September 1 as a partner and attorney. She will work primarily in the areas of estate, probate, wills and taxation. We're thrilled to have her on our team. Beth has been an attorney for 20 years. She is also a licensed Certified Public Accountant, working as an accountant prior to her career in law. Besides estate planning, wills, probate and taxation, Beth will work with business clients, such as corporations, limited liability companies and partnerships on a variety of business and corporate issues. She has advised numerous new business owners with respect to the choice of the entity formed for new businesses. In addition, she has represented business owners in the transition and continuation of closely held businesses in the preparation of asset purchase agreements, buy-sell agreements, shareholder or stock restriction agreements and other business succession planning matters. Before coming to ELPO, Beth had her own solo law practice, but decided she wanted to come back to a law firm environment. “There are very experienced staff here and terrific attorneys,” Beth says. “This is where I want to spend the rest of my career.” Read More


A couple’s marital status determines who gets the estate

By Nathan Vinson, Attorney English, Lucas, Priest & Owsley, LLP Facebook has a neat little box that you can check to indicate your relationship status. There are some options that are clear cut – or at least seem to be: married, divorced, single. There’s another option that’s becoming more popular as of late called “it’s complicated.” It’s a handy box to check when life is messy. Unfortunately, though, there’s no “it’s complicated” box to check in legal documents. In the eyes of the law, you’re either single, legally separated or married. There’s no in-between for marital status. The lives of Luther and Shirley Mills definitely fell under the “it’s complicated” category, and the Kentucky Court of Appeals recently ruled on whether or not the couple was legally married at the time of Luther’s death. At stake was Luther’s estate. ' Read More


Same Sex Marriage and Tax Law

By Nathan Vinson, Attorney  English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley, LLP As early as 2000, states began grappling with the issue of same sex marriage. Some states allowed unions. Some allowed marriage. Some didn’t allow either. Now, with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, all states must allow and recognize same sex marriages. So moving forward, what happens at tax time if you’re married in one state but live in a state that previously didn’t recognize same sex marriages? The American Bar Association offered an online Continuing Legal Education seminar by attorneys Patricia Cain and George Karibjanian recently to help tax attorneys sort through some of the more difficult legal issues surrounding same sex marriage. It’s been a mess, frankly, for same sex couples. Read More


What happens when you don’t have a will, and you leave behind a spouse and adult children?

By Nathan Vinson Attorney English, Lucas, Priest & Owsley, LLP Many people have a misconception about Kentucky law when it comes to how your property is distributed after your death. People assume (as would be logical) that given that a husband and wife… Read More