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Barry J. Heinen

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LEGAL TERMS

AB TRUST

A trust that allows couples to reduce or avoid estate taxes. Each spouse puts his or her property in an AB trust. When the first spouse dies, his or her half of... (more...)
A trust that allows couples to reduce or avoid estate taxes. Each spouse puts his or her property in an AB trust. When the first spouse dies, his or her half of the property goes to the beneficiaries named in the trust -- commonly, the grown children of the couple -- with the crucial condition that the surviving spouse has the right to use the property for life and is entitled to any income it generates. The surviving spouse may even be allowed to spend principal in certain circumstances. When the surviving spouse dies, the property passes to the trust beneficiaries. It is not considered part of the second spouse's estate for estate tax purposes. Using this kind of trust keeps the second spouse's taxable estate half the size it would be if the property were left directly to the spouse. This type of trust is also known as a bypass or credit shelter trust.

FAILURE OF ISSUE

A situation in which a person dies without children who could have inherited her property.

BEQUEATH

A legal term sometimes used in wills that means 'leave' -- for example, 'I bequeath my garden tools to my brother-in-law, Buster Jenkins.'

REAL ESTATE AGENT

A foot soldier of the real estate business who shows houses and does most of the other nitty-gritty tasks associated with selling real estate. An agent must hav... (more...)
A foot soldier of the real estate business who shows houses and does most of the other nitty-gritty tasks associated with selling real estate. An agent must have a state license and be supervised by a real estate broker. Most agents are completely dependent upon commissions from sellers for their income, so it pays to find out which side the agent represents (buyer, seller or both) before you place too much trust in the agent's opinion.

INVESTOR

A person who makes investments. An investor may act either for herself or on behalf of others. A stock broker or mutual fund manager, for instance, makes invest... (more...)
A person who makes investments. An investor may act either for herself or on behalf of others. A stock broker or mutual fund manager, for instance, makes investments for others who have entrusted her with their money.

INCOMPETENCE

The inability, as determined by a court, to handle one's own personal or financial affairs. A court may declare that a person is incompetent after a hearing at ... (more...)
The inability, as determined by a court, to handle one's own personal or financial affairs. A court may declare that a person is incompetent after a hearing at which the person is present and/or represented by an attorney. A finding of incompetence may lead to the appointment of a conservator to manage the person's affairs. Also known as 'incompetency.'

HEIR AT LAW

A person entitled to inherit property under intestate succession laws.

EMPLOYEE RETIREMENT INCOME SECURITY ACT OF 1974 (ERISA)

A federal law passed to protect pension rights. ERISA: sets minimum standards for pension plans, guaranteeing that pension rights cannot be unfairly denied to o... (more...)
A federal law passed to protect pension rights. ERISA: sets minimum standards for pension plans, guaranteeing that pension rights cannot be unfairly denied to or taken from a worker provides some protection for workers in the event certain types of pension plans cannot pay the benefits to which workers are entitled, and requires that employers provide full and clear information about employees' pension rights, including the way pension benefits accumulate, how the company invests pension funds, and when and how pension benefits can be collected.

PER STIRPES

Under a will, a method of determining who inherits property when a joint beneficiary has died before the willmaker, leaving living children of his or her own. F... (more...)
Under a will, a method of determining who inherits property when a joint beneficiary has died before the willmaker, leaving living children of his or her own. For example, Fred leaves his house jointly to his son Alan and his daughter Julie. But Alan dies before Fred, leaving two young children. If Fred's will states that heirs of a deceased beneficiary are to receive the property 'per stirpes,' Julie will receive one-half of the property, and Alan's two children will share his half in equal shares (through Alan by right of representation). If, on the other hand, Fred's will states that the property is to be divided per capita, Julie and the two grandchildren will each take a third.

SAMPLE LEGAL CASES

Estate of Francis v. City of Rayne

In re Rayne City of et al.; Boulet, Daniel; Foreman, Mario; — Defendant(s); Applying for Writ of Certiorari and/or Review, Parish of Acadia, 15th Judicial District Court Div. D, No. 81532-D; to the Court of Appeal, Third Circuit, No. 07-359.

Samaha v. Rau

... Wright v. Louisiana Power & Light, 2006-1181 p. 17 (La.3/9/07), 951 So.2d 1058, 1070; King v. Parish National Bank, 2004-0337 p. 7 (La.10/19/04), 885 So.2d 540, 545; Jones v. Estate of Santiago, 2003-1424 p. 5 (La.4/14/04), 870 So.2d 1002, 1006. ...

Lozier v. Estate of Elmer

On October 26, 2001, plaintiff filed a "Petition to Recover Damages for Breach of Contract Against the Estate of William Jay Elmer and to Recover Payment of Wages Owed by the Estate of William Jay Elmer." In her petition, plaintiff asserts that William Elmer was her employer from ...