M. Beth Burger
I have concentrated my practice for over 23 years in the areas of estate planning, elder law, tax reduction planning, charitable giving, special needs trust planning for disabled or elderly individuals, asset protection planning, business law, and business succession planning. In addition, I represent fiduciaries and beneficiaries with respect to trust, estate and guardianship administration. I was, in fact, among the first Indiana attorneys to be certiﬁed as a specialist in estate planning and administration by the Indiana Estate Planning and Administration Specialty Certification Board.
As an estate planning attorney, I help and guide my clients in choosing the most appropriate options for maintaining and transferring to future generations the assets they have accumulated during lifetime, with the ultimate objective of passing those assets to my clients’ family and other chosen beneficiaries in the manner and under the terms my clients feel are most desirable, while taking into consideration the associated laws and tax consequences. In many situations, this involves suggesting options that will not only meet my clients’ wishes regarding the transfer and distribution of their assets, but will also minimize the death tax consequences of their estate plans and help protect the assets from risk of loss through such things as creditors, divorce, long-term care, and undue influence. I often have the opportunity to work with clients who are business owners, and I assist with the succession of the ownership and management of the business to future generations.
In order to ensure my clients have a well-rounded and comprehensive estate plan, I also assist my estate planning clients with putting in place documents such as a Durable General Power of Attorney, a Health Care Power of Attorney, and a Living Will Declaration, which allow my clients to choose who will handle their property, ﬁnancial affairs, and health care decisions if at some time during life they are unable to do so themselves due to incompetency, incapacity, or even inconvenience, whether temporary or permanent.
When incapacity or death occurs, I stand ready to work with and guide those responsible for stepping in. I assist the incapacitated person’s family members and others in seeing that the person’s needs and best interests continue to be met through the implementation of Power of Attorney documents, trust administration, and, in some cases, the establishment and administration of a guardianship. I am also proactive in assisting clients and their families in navigating the complex areas of asset preservation and paying for long-term care assistance when the need arises. Upon a person’s death, I assist those left behind in settling the decedent’s affairs and carrying out the decedent’s estate plan through the administration of the decedent’s estate and/or one or more trusts. Where an individual or loved one is facing a disability or incapacity, I assist with estate planning, asset protection planning, and eligibility for government benefits (such as Medicaid and SSI). I assist clients who wish to leave an inheritance for disabled loved ones without causing ineligibility for needs-based government benefits, and I help disabled clients to maintain eligibility for government benefits while preserving assets received through such things as inheritance or personal injury settlements.
I also assist business clients with their legal needs, such as choosing the best type of entity when starting a business, assisting with the legal issues that arise for the business, and planning for the future of the business and the succession of the business ownership, just to name a few. In fact, I have found that my practice and experience in both estate planning and business law complement each other well, enabling me to provide more comprehensive legal services and advice to my individual clients who are also business owners.
I often speak and write on topics related to estate planning and tax. Some of my most recent articles include "Federal Tax Laws May Be Trumped," "What if You Pass Away Without an Estate Plan?," "Non-Tax Reasons for Estate Planning," "Recent Changes to Laws Affecting Individuals with Disabilities," "Basics of the Federal Gift Tax," and "Leaving Assets to Persons with Disabilities Through Third Party Special Needs Trusts."
• Estate Planning and Personal Services
1990 - University of Evansville - Bachelor of Science, Accounting, Summa Cum Laude
1993 - Indiana University School of Law (Bloomington) - Doctor of Jurisprudence, cum laude
• 1993-State of Indiana
Member - Indiana State Bar Association
Member - Evansville Bar Association
Past Chair - Evansville Bar Association Probate, Elder Law and Guardianship Section (2011-2012)
Board of Directors, Member - Evansville Estate and Financial Planning Council
Service to Community
Member - Riley Children's Foundation Southwest Indiana Regional Leadership Committee
Lector - Saint Benedict Cathedral (2011-Present)
Lector - Holy Redeemer Catholic Church (1995-2009)
Past Executive Board, Past Board Member, Past Committee Chair, Past Member - Junior League of Evansville (1993-2005)
Past Member - Leadership Evansville (1995-1996)
Board of Directors - Vanderburgh Community Foundation (2003-2009); Past Scholarship Committee Chair
Board of Directors - Community Foundation Alliance (2003-2004)
Past President and Member - Crescent City Toastmasters Club