Law Articles

Massachusetts Enacts Private Right of Action to Enforce Workers’ Compensation

Under the new amendment, three private citizens can bring an action against an employer for failing to make contributions to a workers’ compensation insurance plan. In order to bring a private action, the individuals must first provide written notice to the employer and insurer of the substance of the action with notice of their intention (more…)

Changes to the Massachusetts Criminal Offender Record Information (“CORI”) laws

Massachusetts recently approved significant changes to the Massachusetts Criminal Offender Record Information (“CORI”) laws. The two principal changes, which affect Massachusetts employers, relate to the use of CORI in pre-employment screening and the access and use of CORI records. Effective November 4, 2010, an employer will no longer be permitted to seek information on a (more…)

New Massachusetts Personnel Record Employee Notice Requirement

Massachusetts recently enacted a significant amendment to the Massachusetts Personnel Records Statute, G.L. 149, §52C. The amendment now requires that “an employer shall notify an employee within 10 days of the employer placing in an employee’s personnel record any information to the extent that information is, has been used or may be used, to negatively (more…)

Dramatic Changes in Massachusetts Wage Laws and Use of Independent Contractors

With the recent enactment of M.G.L. c. 149, § 150 on April 14, 2008, the Massachusetts Legislature has enacted a new law that will impose automatic triple damages in civil actions against violators of certain existing Massachusetts wage laws. Examples of the affected laws include, but are not limited to: failure to properly pay overtime (more…)

Liability Insurance : Do You Have Adequate Coverage?

You may ask how an attorney can provide assistance to you in the review of your insurance coverage, when insurance agents are, of course, available to advise you in this area. While there are many exceptional insurance agents who are available to advise you on your insurance needs, in many cases consumers purchase policies without (more…)

Preventative Law : Annual Check-up with Your Attorney May Be the Right Medicine

Many of the problems clients speak with us about, both business and personal, can be prevented, or at least minimized, if clients would meet with their attorney to review their affairs on a periodic basis. To protect against potential problems, a thorough check up may include the review of insurance coverage (automobile, personal, life, disability, (more…)

Medicaid Planning Update

We are often asked how to protect a client’s assets from the costs of long term care or nursing home expenses. By now, you probably know that Medicaid planning has become more difficult, certainly in light of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. While a few key provisions of that law make planning more difficult, (more…)

A Primer on the Charitable Remainder Trust

Recently, a client, whom I will call Mr. Jones, contacted me to prepare his estate plan. Of all Mr. Jones’s assets, one asset in particular caught my attention. Mr. Jones owned an undeveloped parcel of land in a desirable location which he acquired a number of years ago for $50,000 and was now worth about (more…)

Time to Review your Estate Plan?

We are often asked how often an estate plan should be reviewed and/or updated. While you may not want to constantly think about your estate plan, estate planning is a dynamic process. Certainly, if your family or financial circumstances have changed, your estate plan should be review, modified or updated. Otherwise, we generally advise that (more…)

Naming your Revocable Living Trust as an IRA Beneficiary

Retirement planning and estate planning often conflict with each other. Often times, a recommended retirement plan has adverse estate tax consequences. In fact, until recently, it was not clear if and how a revocable living trust could be named as the beneficiary of an IRA or 401(k). The IRS, in a series of rulings and (more…)

Estate Planning for Retirement Benefits

The Internal Revenue Service recently issued proposed regulations pertaining to required minimum distributions from qualified retirement plans, individual retirement accounts (IRAs), certain nonqualified retirement plans, section 403(b) annuities, custodial accounts and retirement income accounts. Given the breadth of the new proposed regulations and the potential impact to many of our clients, we have prepared this (more…)

S Corporation Salary

Recently, the IRS successfully challenged a common tax strategy that is often used by owners of S corporations. An S corporation, as many of you may know, is a corporation operating under state law that elects to be taxed as an S corporation under the Internal Revenue Code. In general, the corporation’s income is taxed (more…)

2010 Tax Relief Act

As most people are aware, President Obama recently signed into law the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (the “2010 Tax Relief Act”), extending, for two years, the so-called Bush Tax Cuts. Individual Tax Rates The 2010 Tax Relief Act extends all individual rates at 10, 15, 25, 28, 33 (more…)

Using IRAs for Charitable Gifting

The Pension Protection Act of 2006, enacted into law in 2006, provides a potentially valuable tax planning opportunity for individuals over the age of 70 ½. In order to take advantage of the planning opportunity, action must be taken before the end of 2007. Prior to the new law, if an individual wanted to make (more…)

Nonqualified Deferred Compensation

Deferred compensation arrangements have been used by businesses to allow its employees and/or owners to defer the taxable income payable on account of their wages or other compensation. The deferral of income is beneficial because the tax liability is also deferred. Moreover, if the employee is in a lower tax bracket when the deferred amount (more…)

Deferring Capital Gains with a Like-Kind Exchange

Recently, a client consulted with our firm to represent him in the sale of his commercial rental property. Considering the property’s appreciation and the tax depreciation that the client had taken over the years, the sale of the real estate was going to result in a $500,000 capital gain to the client. In discussing the (more…)

Charitable Split Dollar

Recently, there has been some publicity of a type of charitable gift, called charitable split dollar, that generated a significant income and estate tax deductions and resulted, in essence, with a deduction for insurance premiums. Basically, under a so-called charitable split dollar arrangement, a donor would contribute an appreciated asset to a charitable organization which (more…)

New Massachusetts Homestead Law

On December 16, 2010, Governor Patrick signed into law important modifications to the Massachusetts homestead law. Under the new homestead law, every homeowner is automatically entitled to a homestead exemption of $125,000.00. The exemption, which generally protects a homeowner’s equity in his or her home from claims of creditors, can be increased to $500,000.00 by (more…)

Can a Vacation Home be Exchanged in a Like Kind Exchange?

If a transaction is properly structured, the sale and purchase of vacation homes may qualify for like kind exchange treatment. In one recent Tax Court case, however, the taxpayers did not properly structure their vacation property exchange and were denied like kind exchange treatment. In the case of Moore v. Commission, T.C. Memo. 2007-134 (5/30/07), (more…)

Offers to Purchase Real Estate in Massachusetts: Buyers and Sellers Beware

The process of purchasing or selling real estate, whether a residential or commercial property, consists of many steps, all of which require careful thought and consideration by both parties to the transaction. One of the first steps in the process of purchasing and selling real property, the significance of which many underestimate, is the execution (more…)