Areas of Practice
- Business Transactions
- Commercial Litigation
- Creditor Representation
- Criminal Law
- Criminal History – Expungement/Sealing of Records
- Estates, Guardianships, Power of Attorney
- Family Law
- Filing for Bankruptcy
- Personal Injury
- Real Estate
Whether your business is large or small, it is likely you will encounter situations where solid legal counsel is critical. It’s always best to reduce risks, avoid business mistakes, and leverage opportunities by seeking legal advice in advance. Our lawyers are poised to offer critical advice to you and your business from its beginning, through its growth, and in transition to new ownership. We help our clients determine which kind of business entity to form after consideration of all factors. If your business is either planning to buy another business or sell an existing business, we can assist you in making that process as easy and profitable as possible. When opportunities present themselves to you, call us to help you plan your next move.
We represent individuals and businesses in all types of civil litigation including business disputes, wage claims, non-competition agreement litigation, construction issues, landlord tenant disputes and real estate matters. We can help you avoid litigation by assisting you in drafting the transaction to minimize risk. Your first response to litigation can be crucial to the ultimate outcome, so seek advice as soon as you’re aware of the potential for litigation. Resolving litigation early, without regard to whether you are the initiating party or the defending party, is important. We have extensive experience in mediations, both representing a party and as the mediator. We can help you resolve disputes with less expense and stress if you contact us early.
Businesses and individuals who are owed money frequently must initiate legal proceedings to collect the debt. Some creditors are forced to be involved in Bankruptcy proceedings initiated by their customer or borrower. We represent creditors in all types of Bankruptcy actions to protect their collateral, assist in enforcing debts, obtain wage garnishments and helping to insure fair treatment of their claims. Our experience in bankruptcy cases makes us well suited to maximize the chances of a successful recovery of a debt.
Any interaction with law enforcement is problematic. We can assist clients in traffic matters including tickets, suspended licenses, and DUI. We also defend clients in criminal matters including misdemeanors as well as felonies.
Criminal History – Expungement/Sealing of Records
The Indiana legislature has in recent years made it much easier to amend a person’s criminal history by means of an expungement or sealing of the certain records. This process can be of significant benefit to anyone who may have had a past criminal arrest and/or conviction, but who can receive a significant benefit by availing himself or herself of recent changes to Indiana law which enable a client to improve his or her record so that new employment or educational opportunities become available.
Estates, Guardianships & Powers of Attorney
In Indiana, when someone passes away, their assets and debts are resolved through the probate process. While most estates are now handled as unsupervised administration, (which is more economical and less time-consuming) some estates require supervised administration. Indiana no longer has an estate or death tax and the federal estate or death tax only affects individuals with very large estates. We can assist you in determining the most cost-effective way of implementing a decedent’s estate plan in order to leave as much for the family and heirs as possible. When the situation calls for protection of assets in an estate, we will advise you of the best way to provide for very young or disabled heirs.
Powers of Attorney
When an individual is mentally competent, that person can sign a power of attorney which authorizes a family member or trusted friend to act in place of that person in the event of either a future mental or physical incapacity. The execution of a General Durable Power of Attorney is an excellent way to ensure that a client’s affairs are handled properly and in a cost-effective manner in the event the client should become mentally or physically disabled.
When an individual is no longer either mentally or physically competent to handle their financial affairs, and has not executed a General Durable Power of Attorney, the family may request the probate court name a legal guardian. The Guardian acts on behalf of the incapacitated relative under authority of the probate court. A court-appointed guardian can make decisions concerning living arrangements as well as financial matters.
In the event a client is unable to make healthcare decisions, having a previously executed healthcare representative form is quite helpful. Living wills allow the individual to appoint a family member, or several family members, as representatives who are able to make medical and healthcare decisions on behalf of the client. Additionally, by executing a living will, a client is able to direct that the client does not wish to have their life prolonged by artificial life-prolonging measures. Such documents are not expensive but extremely helpful if, and when, the time comes that a client is unable to make those decisions independently.
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements have become common, especially in relationships where either of the parties has children from a prior marriage, significant assets such as a business, or the prospect of significant inheritance. It’s always a good idea to understand what a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can, and cannot, do to protect your assets if an impending marriage ends in divorce.
One of the most disrupting events in a person’s life can be the prospect of going through a divorce or child custody proceeding. In Indiana, divorce is referred to as a “dissolution of marriage” and does not require a showing of any fault by either spouse. We consult with and counsel clients in all varieties of family litigation including divorce, custody, paternity and child support issues. We have handled divorce actions dealing with businesses and significant assets but also for simple wage earners.
Dissolving a marriage and dividing property can be complex, and requires the skill of an experienced attorney to minimize stress, increase understanding of the issues and procedures, and to reduce the chances of future litigation. Occasionally, retention of an evaluator or other subject matter expert can become necessary in a more complex property division case. We have many experts who we can retain to provide the best method of dividing the “marital pot” considering tax advantages and other strategies.
Determining with which parent a child lives can be a devastating experience for parents and also for children. Courts have the ability to award sole custody to one parent or joint custody to both parents. Courts also determine what time children will be able to spend with both parents. These issues arise in both divorce matters where the parents have been married as well as paternity cases where the mother and father were not married. At Whitham, Hebenstreit & Zubek, you will deal almost exclusively with your attorney and you will deal with a paralegal only when it’s most cost-effective without any disadvantage to your case. We are keenly aware of the distress a child custody matter can cause to you and your child and we endeavor to reduce the stress whenever possible through thorough consultation, prompt response to your needs, and amicable resolution whenever possible.
Indiana law provides that each parent should be responsible for providing economic assistance for raising their children. A variety of factors are involved in determining the proper amount of support, beginning with the child support guidelines adopted by the Indiana Supreme Court. We will thoroughly explain the criteria for establishing support and the best method for payment of support for you and your family. We can assist you in reviewing your situation and determining an appropriate amount of child support. We will advocate for your interests in court to accomplish a fair and equitable result.
In an uncertain world, individuals and businesses are often faced with too much debt or an unexpected economic disaster. We work with clients to review their financial situation and explain various options for debt relief. Bankruptcy is not always the best option for a variety of reasons and we endeavor to keep our client out of Bankruptcy if possible. But if that is the best remedy, we can help. A Chapter 7 is generally a Bankruptcy that allows the client to eliminate their debts while keeping all, or at least a good amount, of their property. Indiana law provides that certain assets are exempt from creditors and, therefore, can be retained by a debtor after a bankruptcy. Some situations such as tax debts, mortgage delinquency, and divorce debts may be better resolved by a Chapter 13. This proceeding allows the client to retain their property while making court ordered payments for a period of years. The amount of the payments is affected by the disposable income of the debtor and the amount of secured debt on property the debtor wants to retain. Oftentimes, a client can eliminate a second or third mortgage entirely if the value of the real estate is less than the preceding mortgage(s). Finally, some businesses are best aided by filing a Chapter 11 Reorganization. This form of Bankruptcy allows the client to restructure some debt, eliminate other debts and create a plan to allow the client to emerge from Bankruptcy in several years. We can help you decide the best course of action.
The partners at Whitham, Hebenstreit & Zubek, LLP, have assisted many clients who have suffered injuries in various kinds of accidents, including vehicle collisions, trucking accidents, and falls upon defective or dangerous premises. Our goal is always to be helpful to our clients in making plans to sustain family responsibilities during the time between the accident and a meaningful and fair recovery. Obtaining such a recovery is dependent upon proper preparation of the facts supporting the client’s claim and aggressive pursuit of a reasonable recovery. The ultimate goal is to assist the client in recovering from the injury as fully and promptly as possible, both in an emotional and a physical sense, and in being supportive of the injured client and his or her family, while the financial aspects of the injury are addressed. The lawyers at Whitham, Hebenstreit & Zubek, LLP, can help you understand your rights and assist you in protecting those rights, both at the time of the initial injury and throughout the claim and/or and litigation process.
We handle transactions involving the purchase and sale of all types of real estate including single-family residences as well as commercial and industrial properties.
The ability to use your land is frequently governed by governmental regulation including zoning requirements. Obtaining appropriate zoning and/or variances to allow real estate to be used in a different fashion are necessary elements of owning real estate but can get quite complicated. We can assist you in determining the proper zoning for your real estate and obtaining any modifications that may be necessary. We also represent remonstrators who oppose a new proposed use of land by a neighbor or new commercial owner.
The government has the power to exercise eminent domain over an individual’s property. The rules are specific and provide for compensation for the taking of the land by the government, however skilled representation is needed in order to limit the scope of the taking and maximize the recovery for the taking.