Welcome to Louisville Law Clinic

Welcome to Louisville Law Clinic. Questions are always welcome, but please make sure you don’t leave any confidential or even personally identifiable information because this is a very public place!  Use the contact page to initiate contact and then you can get advice on how to share information safely!


If you have a question, you can send an email from the contact page or you can post the question as a new post or as a comment, but registration is required for those. Feel free to use a fake name in posts and comments. You email address is not shared, sold or used in any way. It is best not to share personal data in any post or comment and better to wait for a responsive email before sharing any confidential information even by email.

Vincent F. Heuser, Jr.
3600 Goldsmith Lane
Louisville KY 40220
(502) 458-5879

How Can I Minimize or Avoid Disputes in My Estate?

Minimizing and avoiding estate disputes can be accomplished with attentive planning and communication. Here are some steps that can be taken:

1. Work with an attorney to create a clear, detailed and comprehensive estate plan which outlines your wishes for the distribution of assets and the appointment of a beneficiary or beneficiaries. it is important to get professional help in order for things to be carried out correctly and as smooth as possible.

2. Regularly review and update your estate plan to make sure it reflects any changes in your life circumstances, such as getting married, having children, or acquiring new assets. Outdated plans can lead to confusion and family feuds.

3. Choose an executor who is trustworthy, competent, and capable of carrying out your wishes. The executor will play a crucial role in administering your estate and resolving any potential disputes.

7. Keep accurate and organized records of all your assets, debts, and estate planning documents. This can help prevent confusion and disputes, as well as make it easier for your executor to carry out your wishes.

Read more @ Heuser Law Office or at Louisville Probate Clinic

Contact an estate lawyer today: Contact Us

Vincent F. Heuser, Jr.
3600 Goldsmith Lane
Louisville KY 40220
(502) 458-5879

Why Hiring a Probate Lawyer Can Simplify the Estate Settlement Process

Dealing with the loss of a loved one is emotionally challenging, and the subsequent process of settling their estate can be overwhelming, especially when faced with legal complexities. If the Will talks about ademption, lapse and exoneration, be glad. It means that the scrivener has probably covered all the bases.

If you find yourself dealing with an estate where there is no Will or the Will is not very artfully drafted, it’s crucial to consider hiring a probate lawyer to guide you through the probate process. There are many pitfalls and potentially expensive mistakes that can occur. A good attorney can alleviate the stress associated with estate settlement.

1. Expertise and Understanding:
Probate laws can be complex considering the interplay of Will terms, laws of descent and marital interests. Hiring an experience probate lawyer can help avoid costly mistakes and streamline the process.

2. Efficient Administration of the Estate:
A probate lawyer acts as a reliable guide to navigate through the paperwork, deadlines, and potential conflicts that may arise during the probate process. Having an experienced probate lawyer by your side will help ensure the accurate and efficient administration of the estate, minimizing delays and maximizing the value of the assets to be distributed.

3. Resolving Disputes and Contests:
Unfortunately, disputes among family members or beneficiaries regarding inheritances can arise during the probate period. These conflicts have the potential to escalate quickly and cause further distress. A probate lawyer possesses the necessary skills to mediate or resolve disputes, preventing them from turning into lengthy and costly court battles.

4. Expert Asset Evaluation and Distribution:
Probate lawyers have the competence to assess the value of assets within an estate accurately. They will conduct thorough research and ensure the fair and equitable distribution of these assets as per the deceased’s wishes and applicable laws. This expertise minimizes the likelihood of errors resulting from potentially undervalued or overlooked assets.

5. Tax Implications and Minimization:
One of the complex aspects of probate is understanding and managing the tax implications associated with the estate. Probate lawyers possess the knowledge and experience required to identify potential tax obligations and explore legal strategies for tax minimization, potentially saving the beneficiaries a significant amount of money.

6. Emotional Support and Peace of Mind:
During this difficult time, having a competent professional by your side can offer immeasurable peace of mind. A probate lawyer not only offers legally sound advice but also helps to reduce stress and anxiety during the estate settlement process.

Engaging the services of a probate lawyer is a wise decision when navigating the complexities of estate settlement. From guiding you through the paperwork and deadlines to resolving any disputes that may arise, a probate lawyer provides invaluable expertise, ensuring the smooth and efficient administration of the estate.
It is sad but true that navigating the intricacies of probate law without training can increase the likelihood of costly mistakes and stressful delays. By partnering with a trusted probate lawyer, you can achieve peace of mind knowing your loved one’s estate will be settled correctly and in accordance with their wishes.

Vincent F. Heuser, Jr.
3600 Goldsmith Lane
Louisville KY 40220
(502) 458-5879

Alternatives to a Mechanics Lien?

In another post, we discussed the requirements for protecting your work with a mechanic’s lien. There are strict deadlines and often contractors don’t realize that they are being cheated until the deadlines have passed. There is no substitute for knowing what you are doing but if you miss the deadlines because of something the property owner said or did to mislead you, there may be alternatives.

Under certain circumstances, a contractor may have a right to impose an equitable claim of lien or even a judgment lien on real property. A common scenario where an equitable lien may apply is where a customer continually promises the contractor that he will pay the contractor for construction work performed but then fails or refuses to pay the balance after the lien window has expired. Some customers may even make partial payments in order to lull a contractor into believing he will pay the final balance. In that scenario, the contractor may be entitled an equitable claim of lien.

Equitable liens arise when (a) a written contract provides for charging some particular property with the debt or obligation, and (b) when declared by a court of equity out of general considerations of fairness as applied to the parties and the circumstances in the particular case. Further, there is the obvious possibility of suing either the person who signed the contract (contract claim) or the property owner who was benefits by your work (unjust enrichment) and obtaining a simple judgment lien, which would apply to all real estate owned by one of more of those persons.

Where a contractor supplies labor, materials, or equipment in the improvement of real estate, filing an equitable claim of lien upon the improved property as security for payment may be appropriate. The fact that a contractor may have a legal claim through construction or mechanic’s lien law does not preclude that contractor from seeking equitable relief by using the improved property as security for payment of the amount owed him. The Court will examine the facts of each case and determine whether it would be equitable (or “fair”) to impose a lien for the unpaid balance.

An equitable claim of lien may be an option for a contractor who has missed the filing deadline for a construction lien.

Our thanks to Attorney Vince Heuser, Louisville, KY, (502) 458-5879, for the suggestion of the idea in this post.

Vincent F. Heuser, Jr.
3600 Goldsmith Lane
Louisville KY 40220
(502) 458-5879

Has the Covid Shut-down Hurt Your Business?

Has the Panicdemic got your business shut down? Don’t forget that some commercial insurance covers business interruption and some policies may not be limited to physical damage causes. Read your business insurance policy carefully!

For advice or help reading your policy visit:

Heuser Law Office

Hirsh and Heuser Attorneys

Louisville Business Clinic

Or visit Louisville Business Bankruptcy to discuss bankruptcy options.

How to Become a Notary in Kentucky

To apply for a Kentucky Notary Public State at Large appointment or reappointment, download the form
HERE and submit it online, or mail it with a $10.00 fee made payable to Kentucky State Treasurer to:

Notary Commissions
P.O. Box 821
Frankfort, KY 40602-0821

Once the application has been processed by the Secretary of State, your Certificate of Appointment will be sent to the county clerk in the county of application. A written notice will also be sent to you stating that your Certificate of Appointment is in the county clerk’s office. HERE is a sample of the notice. Within 30 days of receiving your notice, you must go to the county clerk’s office and:

1) Post bond. (Must be 4-year notary public surety bond in the amount of 1,000) You’ll need to contact a bonding company. Typical cost os $40 for a bond. You can get more information from Nikki at Logan Lavelle Insurance — Nikki@llvins.com.
2) Pay the county clerk recording fee of $19.
3) Take the oath of office.
4) File and record your commission.
5) Pick up your certificate.

Contact your county clerk for specifics on their local bonding and oath process.

Hope this helps!

Hirsh and Heuser Attorneys
3600 Goldsmith Lane
Louisville, KY 40220

125 Townpark Drive, Ste. 300
Kennesaw, GA 30144

Vincent F. Heuser, Jr.
3600 Goldsmith Lane
Louisville KY 40220
(502) 458-5879

COVID-19 Tax Credit

Wow! What a mess! Under the Families First Coronavirus Recovery Act, employers get a tax credit for wages paid out for emergency leave because of COVID-19 absences.

Figuring it out seemed ridiculously complicated, so we turned to Vince Heuser Attorney to get is up to speed. According to Mr. Heuser, the new law provides for payments to employees who are personally affected by COVID-19 or who have to care for family members who are affected.

Mr. Heuser created a table for us:

The employer then files a form (IRS form 7200) with the IRS to get the tax credit on the monthly or quarterly payroll return, Form 941:

It seems pretty straightforward with such a clear explanation! According to Mr. Heuser, employers can get more information here:
IRS page on the Tax Credit forms

Save Your Receipts and Records!
The tax credit is administered by the IRS so some employers will be subject to an IRS audit. DOL advises that an employer should retain appropriate documentation, including any needed substantiation to support the credit. For example, if an employee takes expanded family and medical leave to care for his or her child whose school or place of care is closed, or a child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19, it is advisable that the employer require documentation like that under the rules for FMLA requests. Documentation might also include such things as a notice that has been posted on a government, school or day care website, or published in a newspaper, or an email from an employee or official of the school, place of care or child care provider.

Certification requirements under the FMLA remain in effect for employees taking leave for one of the existing qualifying reasons under the FMLA. If an employee is taking leave beyond the two weeks of emergency paid sick leave because of a medical condition related to COVID-19 that constitutes a serious health condition, an employee must provide medical certifications under FMLA if required by an employer.

Don’t forget the Tax Credit for Health Insurance Coverage
Employers can get an additional tax credit based on costs to maintain health insurance coverage for an employee during the FFCRA-covered leave period. How this will be handled is not yet clear.

Our thanks to the Heuser Law Office, 3600 Goldsmith Ln, Louisville, KY 40220, for the information.

Vincent F. Heuser, Jr.
3600 Goldsmith Lane
Louisville KY 40220
(502) 458-5879

Mechanics Liens in Kentucky

Now, this isn’t legal advice. It’s just an outline of a process that lots of guys get wrong — mechanics liens — and what we see lawyers doing to get it right. We offer links to certain resources by permission, as does the law library, but this is not advice on how to practice law or handle your case. This material is provided so that you can have an intelligent conversation with your lawyer.

Before we jump into the details, we should say that filing a mechanic’s lien without having a written contract is like building a house without a foundation. The first thing a craftsman should get right is having the work described in writing and an estimate and terms signed by the owner, general contractor or other customer.  This is the only way you will be able to recover your attorney fees.

If you have not read the post on this and followed the advice then you should start here:
Contracts- Avoid Arguments and Lawsuits

Did you check the records to see who the real owner is before you bid on the job? Why not? Next time know who you are dealing with and get it in writing.
Find the Property Owner’s true legal name
In counties other than Jefferson, you may have to call the county Property Valuation Administrator for owner information or referral to their website.
According to attorney Vince Heuser, most counties have a taxpayer lookup page or a third party fee-based service that provides this information.

So there’s a Problem. It is too late?
Ok, so you didn’t verify the actual owner up front, are you doing it as soon as you got a hint of a  problem?  You should do this on any job where you can’t afford to be ripped off. If payment is overdue by 45 days or more, call your lawyer! The lawyers can check in minutes and save you thousands of dollars. (For a small fee, of course.)

Once the work has actually ended, you may have to send certain notices.  Let’s hope its not too late.  If you did not deal with the owner of a property, you have to send a notice of your intent to hold the property responsible. You have 75 days if the job was owner-occupied or under $1000 and 120 days if not owner-occupied and over $1000.  KRS §376.010 sets out the rules.  Take a look at:
Mechanic’s Liens — Filing of statement — Notice to owner

There are different styles of drafting documents and as long as a notice complies with the statute, it should be fine.  We’ve found some forms out there to give you an idea what that might look like.  Realize that there are many styles.  Here is one example:

Whew.  Glad that’s done on time! Now we can just sit back and wait for the check!  Oh wait!  Was that the correct person for sending the notice?  Hope so…

Within six (6) month of the end of the work, the next thing you have to do is prepare and file the lien statement. This is filed and sent regardless of who you dealt with. Again we got samples from the Heuser Law Office:

Don’t forget to include the property description which you can copy from the Deed.
Mechanics Lien Statement with Property Description
The Mechanics Lien Statement Must Include the Property Description to be Valid!

So now what do you do with this fine form?  It gets filed in the county clerk’s office where the property is located. It must be filed within six (6) months of the last work date and a copy sent to the owner of the property. That’s two notices if you didn’t deal with the owner. You might want to read the statute:
Filing of Statement (This is a second mailing.)

After proper notice and proper filing, you still may have to sue to get paid. Good thing you have an “attorney fees” clause in your proposal or estimate form! Otherwise, you might not find a lawyer you can afford.  The reason for a signed proposal is to shift the cost of collection to any deadbeats who don’t pay. You don’t want your profits going for attorney fees!

By the way, this isn’t legal advice. Don’t rely on it without talking to an attorney!

PS Hope you didn’t miss the deadlines but if you did… visit:
Alternatives to Mechanic’s Liens

Our thanks to
Vincent F. Heuser, Jr.
3600 Goldsmith Lane
Louisville KY 40220
(502) 458-5879

for sample forms and some clarifications.

Contracts Avoid Arguments and Lawsuits

We’ve been watching the filings of mechanics liens and noticing how the big guys always seems to win and the little guys often get the short end of the stick. We think there’s more to this than size. The main difference is preparation. Are you unprepared for business? We’d like to offer a proposal to improve the situation.
As a contractor, a craftsman or a worker, you have the right to expect to be paid for your work. Funny thing is, most working guys think they can’t afford a lawyer. It seems to us that he can’t afford to be without one. There are two times you can consult an attorney:

  • before things are a mess.
  • after things are a mess

Did I mentions that the former is much cheaper than the latter?

The first thing a contractor has to realize is that he is entering a contract. An unprepared contractor says to the customer, “I’ll do some work for you and you’ll for it. You’re good for it, right?” Often such a verbal contract will work out. Of course, the time it doesn’t work out will involve a bigger money or a more difficult job and the loss will be a big deal. That’s when you will end up paying your profits to the lawyer just to get your expenses back and that’s if your lucky.

A more professional approach is to use estimate or proposal forms with a cost estimate block and an acceptance and authorization signed by the customer. You’ll have a lot fewer arguments when you get it in writing. We contacted the Heuser Law Office for permission to copy some templates from their website that might be just what you need. This is a suggested style: Proposal1 or  Proposal2
(Created from templates found at Heuser Law Office in MS Publisher and MS Word)

When you start the relationship off right, you are in a better position to complaint about breaches and break ups.  The business contract is a lot like a pre-nup in life.  When the relationship is good, it seems unnecessary.  When the romance is over, you’ll b e glad you did it.    And if you want to really do right, you can have the form printed on multi-part paper so you can give the customer a signed “carbon” copy.

Vincent F. Heuser, Jr.
3600 Goldsmith Lane
Louisville KY 40220
(502) 458-5879

for other form and printing suggestions.

Overlooked Estate Planning

Most people can get by with a simple estate plan consisting of a power-of-attorney and a simple will or sweetheart wills.  That’s fine but what happens to computer records and social media accounts when someone dies?   Nothing!  That’s the problem.   You may leave your family with a mess in the form of online records and other things that are very difficult to deal with.  There is a solution.  Plan ahead!

Your executor or POA should have access to to the personal information they will need to carry out your plans. These items include:

  • Instructions in case of death or disability, such as burial or living-will wishes;
  • Important contacts: who to contact at your workplace, clubs, etc., name and telephone for your lawyer, accountant, Will executor, and insurance agents;
  • Locations of valuables and important papers, wills, passports, Social Security cards, birth certificates, and any other legal documents;
  • Recurring-bills details such as when bills are due and how they’re paid (autopay acct or where to send a check);
  • Financial account details like retirement and investment accounts, insurance, bank accounts, and credit cards.
  • Important logins or security codes including website logins, computer password, your phone PIN, the code to the fireproof safe, etc.

You can create a password-protected spreadsheet that contains this information.

You should also consider setting up dead-man switches and assign custody or successors for your digital accounts  A dead-man switch is a security feature on trains that requires operators to hold a handle on a control board so that if they let go, the switch applies the emergency brakes.

A dead-man switch can be a setting that notifies loved ones and can disable your accounts if you fail to respond to prompts. This feature is especially useful for people who live alone, because you want others to notice you’re gone as soon as possible.

Some online accounts have an “inactive account” setting to either delete your data or share your accounts information with someone you trust after a period of inactivity.  Pick a person to manage your social media accounts to either preserve your memory or delete those accounts. Most social media accounts offer options for enabling your loved ones to manage them, but you’ll need to set this up before you die, of course.

After you’ve done all the above, you should share the details with your family (you can also share select information in the password manager with a power of attorney or a trusted friend).  For security, many client provide their attorney with a CD, DVD or flash drive with the data, so that it is not found in the home and no one can get to it without a safeguard, but the right person would have no trouble getting what they need.

Vincent F. Heuser, Jr.
3600 Goldsmith Lane
Louisville KY 40220
(502) 458-5879

Hirsh and Heuser Attorneys
Heuser Law Office

Court Papers and How to Format Them

When you want something in court, you have to write up your request in proper format.  Getting the format right makes your request seem more reasonable!  There are lots of rules about the legal arguments and citations, but the one thing that makes you look silly is not knowing how to format your documents to be acceptable in court.

At the top of the front page, before your eloquent argument, you need a header.  At the end of your document, after your eloquent argument, you need a footer.  Courts vary on the style here, but in Louisville/Jefferson County, we can help.

Below are several different formats for courts operating in Jefferson County, Kentucky, both federal and state.  State courts are divided into district courts (including small claims, probate, and civil district court) and circuit courts (civil and criminal).  There is also a state court of appeals and the United State District Court.

Headers should include the name of the court, case number, division, names of parties and the title of the motion or pleading:  Jefferson Circuit is different from other courts.   Out in the state the circuit court header is the same as the district court headers.   Here are a few Louisville samples:

Jefferson Circuit Court Motion Header (.pdf)

Jefferson Circuit Court Motion Header (.doc)

Jefferson District Court Motion Header (.pdf)

Jefferson District Court Motion Header (.doc)

Footers:   Footers come after your brilliant argument and include your signature, address, telephone number and, perhaps, email address and a certificate that you served copies on all the other people in the case.  These look like this:

Jefferson Court Footer (.doc)

Jefferson Court Footer (.pdf)

Got a question?  Perhaps a limited representation is what you need.  Take a look here.


Vincent F. Heuser, Jr.
3600 Goldsmith Lane
Louisville KY 40220
(502) 458-5879