CM&L is Hiring a Legal Assistant or Paralegal

Apr 15

Legal Assistant or Paralegal. We are looking for a team member to work with our attorneys to meet our clients’ objectives.  You will need to be efficient, well organized, and an effective communicator. You must be computer savvy and enjoy a wide variety of assignments in a busy group setting. Prior legal experience is helpful but not required.

This career opportunity offers competitive compensation and benefits, including a group health plan, merit bonuses, and profit-sharing plan upon qualification. The firm is an equal opportunity employer. Please email or mail a letter and resume to Personnel Partner, jlstoppel@cml-law.com or P.O. Box 380, Salina, KS  67402-0380.

CM&L Now Offering Services in Lincoln, Kansas

Dec 31

Clark, Mize & Linville, Chtd. and the Metz Law Firm, Chtd. are joining forces to provide legal services to Lincoln County and the surrounding areas.  This alliance brings together two highly-respected Kansas law firms and is a joining of two extraordinary firms with practice strengths and goals that are highly complementary.  The combination will take effect by January 1, 2021, and will enable Clark, Mize & Linville, Chtd. to bring an exceptional range of legal services to the Lincoln community.

Long-time Lincoln resident and lawyer, Daniel D. Metz, will be retiring early in 2021; however, his legal assistant, Konnie Budreau, will continue to staff the Lincoln office on a full-time basis.  In addition, attorneys from Clark, Mize & Linville, Chtd. will be present at the Lincoln office every Monday and Tuesday.  The firms will work closely with their clients and partners to make the transition process as smooth as possible.

The Metz Law Firm, Chtd. was founded in 1925 by Theodore M. Metz.   Ted also served in the Kansas legislature and as a Lincoln County Commissioner.  Dan joined the firm in 1968 after active Navy duty, law school, and two years in the Kansas AG office in Topeka.  Legal assistant Konnie has been with the firm since 1981.

Elder Law v. Estate Planning

Sep 08

Although there is often overlap between elder law and estate planning, the two are not the same.  Elder law attorneys help individuals and their families navigate the important, and sometimes challenging, questions they must answer in order to have a plan for their later years of life.  Elder law can encompass many practice areas, such as:

  • Estate planning, including planning for the management of one’s estate during life and its disposition on death through the use of trusts, wills and other planning documents;
  • Long-term care and Medicaid planning, including avoiding spousal impoverishment with a marital division of assets;
  • Asset preservation and asset transfers;
  • Access to Social Security, Medicare, and health benefits or insurance;
  • Access to veterans’ benefits, including pensions and aid and attendance;
  • Guardianships and conservatorships;
  • Probate and estate administration;
  • Caring (and providing) for children—or clients—with disabilities, including drafting special needs trusts;
  • Long-term care placements in nursing home and care communities along with nursing home rights; and
  • Elder abuse and fraud cases.

When you consider longer lifespans and the baby boomer generation becoming senior citizens, the U.S. will become much “older” over the next few decades.  In fact, by year 2030 seniors are projected to outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history.  An elder law attorney can provide their clients with assurance that, if long term care is needed, the care will be provided without totally derailing the clients’ other objectives, such as providing for a spouse or disabled child or leaving a legacy for the next generation.

By:  Jessica L. Stoppel

Five Selected for Inclusion in Best Lawyers in America©

Aug 25

Clark, Mize & Linville, Chartered, 129 S. 8th Street, Salina, is pleased to announce that it has five attorneys named to the 2021 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America© publication.  Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Best Lawyers lists are compiled based on an exhaustive peer-review evaluation. Almost 108,000 industry leading lawyers are eligible to vote (from around the world), and is has received over 13 million evaluations on the legal abilities of other lawyers based on their specific practice areas around the world. For the 2021 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America©, 9.4 million votes were analyzed, which resulted in more than 67,000 leading lawyers being included in the new edition. Lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed; therefore inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor.  The following attorneys were named:

Peter L. Peterson has been included since the publication’s inception in 1983 and currently is listed in the practice areas of Trusts and Estates, Non-Profit/Charities Law, Tax Law, and Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law.

Greg A. Bengtson has been listed in the practice area of Municipal Law.

Eric N. Anderson has been listed since 2013 in the practice areas of Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships) and Trusts and Estates.

Dustin J. Denning has been listed since 2018 in the practice areas of Medical Malpractice – Defendants and Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants.

Peter S. Johnston has been listed since 2016 in the practice areas of Medical Malpractice – Defendants, Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants, and Insurance Law.

Protecting Assets For Your Children

Jul 27

Assets can be left to beneficiaries in any number of various ways, and the grantors are able to choose the “what, whom, how, and when.”  In discussing the options, it is often best to start by describing the two ends of the spectrum:

     1.  Outright and Free of Trust – At one end of the spectrum is to leave the entire inheritance all at once, in one fell swoop.  This is sometimes referred to as the “cash on the barrelhead” approach.  The beneficiaries are free to do with the assets as they please – spend them, invest them, etc.  The advantages of this approach are, of course, simplicity and accessibility.

     2.  Held Back in Trust – The other end of the spectrum is to not leave the beneficiaries the entire inheritance all at once, but rather continue the trust, with the assets retained, to be held, managed, and distributed to the beneficiaries, over an extended period of time.  The advantage of this approach is reducing the risk of loss of the trust assets due to the following reasons:

           a.  Mismanagement.  More than a few dollars are lost each day via fear, greed, ignorance, inattention, waste, mistrust, bad judgment, and lack of common sense.  A continued trust with professional money management can greatly reduce these risks.

           b.  Taxes.  The IRS takes different bites at different times – income taxes, estate taxes, sales taxes, etc. – but they all add up to a significant amount of a person’s assets.  Income and estate taxes may be reduced, simply because the continued trust is another entity – separate and apart from the beneficiaries.

           c.  Divorce.  Assets acquired during the course of a marriage – including inherited assets – are generally considered to be part of the “marital estate” and are therefore subject to division in a divorce proceeding.  Assets in a continued trust are not reachable by a divorcing spouse.

           d.  Lawsuits.  Lawsuits are increasingly common and can cause someone to lose a substantial part of their net worth.  Ongoing trust assets are similarly not reachable by lawsuit claimants.

           e.  Bankruptcy.  This is the ultimate depletion of wealth – a person losing all of his or her non-exempt assets due to the inability to pay off debts.  Assets held back in a trust are generally not subject to a bankruptcy.

Assuming one opts for the continued trust approach, the next issue is to decide upon the terms and conditions for the continuation.  The trust assets could be held for a period of time or for a beneficiary’s lifetime.  Distributions of income and principal could be either discretionary or mandatory.  Additional rights of a beneficiary to demand a withdrawal, remove a trustee, or re-write the trust can also be structured into a trust.  There are almost limitless options in this arena that should be discussed with knowledgeable estate planning counsel.

Written by:  Joshua C. Howard

Related Practice Area: Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning

The Benefits of Like-Kind Exchanges

Jun 04

Normally, when you sell real estate for more than you paid for it, you pay tax on the gain at the time of sale, even if you plan on reinvesting the proceeds in another property.  The payment of tax on the gain, however, may not be necessary if you instead choose to exchange your property for a similar property. Such exchanges, called like-kind exchanges, allow you to postpone paying tax on the gain until a later time.

Requirements

These exchanges must meet the formal requirements found in Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code, which is why they are sometimes referred to as 1031 exchanges.  The main requirements are as follows:

  • You must exchange your real estate, not sell it, for another one.
  • You must hold both the property traded and the property received for business or investment purposes.
  • The properties must be of similar nature, character, or class, regardless of quality or grade. For example, improved real estate can be traded for unimproved real estate.
  • The properties must not be held primarily for sale, such as inventory.

Benefit

Section 1031 allows you to postpone paying tax on the gain if you reinvest the proceeds in a similar property.  At the time of transfer, taxable gain and the consequent capital gains tax is deferred until a later sale.

Deferred-Exchange Example

If you purchased a tract of farmland for $100,000, and 15 years later you sold it for $150,000, you would typically have to pay capital gains tax on the $50,000 of built-in gain.  Instead, if you structured the sale as part of a 1031 like-kind exchange and purchased new farmland or pasture for $175,000, no tax would be paid.  Your new basis in the purchased property would be $125,000 – your $100,000 basis from the previous property plus the additional $25,000 cash paid.

The attorneys at Clark, Mize & Linville, Chartered can help you thoroughly understand like-kind exchanges and choose whether a “simultaneous” exchange, traditional “deferred” exchange, or a “reverse” exchange will best meet your needs.  Even though the structure of like-kind exchanges can be complex, the benefit of the tax deferral often makes the process worthwhile.

Written by:  Joshua C. Howard 

Related Practice Areas:   Business Formation and Governance and Real Estate Law

Clark, Mize & Linville Announces New Shareholder

Jan 02

Clark, Mize & Linville, Chartered is proud to announce that Jessica L. Stoppel has become a shareholder in the firm.  Please join us in congratulating her on this achievement!

Jessica concentrates her practice in the areas of estate planning, elder law, long-term care & Medicaid planning, probate & trust administration, real estate, and business law.  She attended Kansas State University where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.S. degree in marketing and leadership studies, and she is a graduate of the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.  Prior to joining the firm in 2015, she practiced at Davis & McCann, PA in Dodge City, Kansas.

Jessica is active in the Salina community. She is a member Salina Professional Business Network, Salina Area Young Professionals, and Noon Network AMBUCS. She also volunteers her time by serving on several not-for-profit boards and committees.  Jessica is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is an officer of the Kansas chapter of NAELA.  

Jessica and her husband, Blake, reside in Salina with their two young children, Colt and Chloe.

Four Selected for Inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America©

Aug 15

Clark, Mize & Linville, Chartered, 129 S. 8th Street, Salina, is pleased to announce that it has four attorneys named to the 2020 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America© publication.  Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence.  Best Lawyers lists are compiled based on an exhaustive peer-review evaluation.  Lawyers are reviewed on the basis of professional expertise, and undergo an authentication process to make sure they are in current practice and in good standing.  Lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed; therefore inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor.  The following attorneys were named:

Peter L. Peterson has been included since the publication’s inception in 1983 and currently is listed in the practice areas of Trusts and Estates, Non-Profit/Charities Law, Tax Law, and Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law.  Previously, Mr. Peterson was selected as the 2013 Best Lawyers in America Lawyer of the Year in the Wichita/Salina Area for the practice area of Trusts and Estates.

Eric N. Anderson has been listed since 2013 in the practice areas of Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships) and Trusts and Estates.

Dustin J. Denning has been listed since 2018 in the practice areas of Medical Malpractice – Defendants and Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants.

Peter S. Johnston has been listed since 2016 in the practice areas of Medical Malpractice – Defendants, Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants, and Insurance Law.

What You Need to Know About LLCs

May 10

New business ventures can be structured in many different forms, including as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporations. With that being said, limited liability companies (“LLCs”) have become one of the most common forms in Kansas. An LLC can limit the liability of the owners, so they are not liable for the debts of the entity. Members of an LLC are generally only at risk to the extent of their investment in the LLC, and their other personal assets are protected.

One of the biggest advantages of LLCs is that they can be a bit more simple and flexible than corporations. Some formalities, such as annual minutes, are not required of all LLCs unlike other entities in Kansas. The members of the LLC often actively participate in the management of the business. The use of an LLC is a good choice for many business types with a limited number of owners.

Although LLCs can be used in myriad different contexts, a common usage is for rental real estate. In this case, once the LLC is properly established, the rental real estate can be transferred into the LLC. If an accident subsequently occurred on the real estate premises, the liability may be limited to the assets of the LLC and not reach the other assets of the owner.

To form an LLC, Articles of Organization must be prepared and filed with the Kansas Secretary of State. Next, internal documents controlling the LLC are prepared including an operating agreement, organizational minutes, and a membership certificate. LLCs in most cases also receive a taxpayer identification number that is used for tax purposes.

LLCs are most commonly taxed as partnerships for federal tax purposes. Accordingly, LLCs are not subject to two layers of tax. Instead, income or loss from the LLC flows from the LLC to the members and is reported on the member’s individual tax returns. LLCs with only a single member are a bit different, however, and are treated as sole proprietorships, which means that the single-member LLC’s income is reported directly on the member’s tax return.

An often overlooked benefit of LLCs is that they can provide for ongoing and centralized management of assets. For example, some families create LLCs to allow for inherited or family assets to remain jointly owned with a management structure in place.

Please contact the lawyers at Clark, Mize & Linville, Chartered to discuss the formation of a limited liability company to protect your assets.

Written by:      Joshua C. Howard

Related Practice Area:            Business Formation and Governance

 

Clark, Mize & Linville Named a Tier 1 Law Firm by U.S. News and Best Lawyers®

Nov 09

Clark, Mize & Linville, Chartered, is once again pleased to announce that it has been named a Tier 1 law firm, the highest ranking level, for the Salina/Wichita Metropolitan regions in the 2019 Edition of the U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms.” Firms included in the 2019 “Best Law Firms” list are recognized for professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. Achieving a tiered ranking signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise.

The firm’s Tier 1 rankings are in the areas of Health Care Law, Trusts & Estates Law and Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants. In addition, the firm received a Tier 2 ranking in the practice areas of Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants, Insurance Law, Non-Profit/Charities Law and Tax Law, and a Tier 3 ranking in Business Organizations (including LLC’s and Partnerships) and Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law.

Receiving a tier designation reflects the high level of respect a firm has earned among other leading lawyers and clients in the same communities and the same practice areas for their abilities, their professionalism and their integrity.  The U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in their field, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process.