Newsletter

Summer 2015: Practical Tips for the Massachusetts Homeowner: Trees: Cutting, Trimming and What You Need to Know About Your Potential Liability

Every Spring and throughout the Summer, homeowners contemplate home and yard maintenance and with that annual rite of seasonable weather comes, “What about those trees?” In Massachusetts, a homeowner is responsible for trees located on their property. Massachusetts follows the “Healthy Tree” rule where generally, a homeowner does not bear responsibility for a healthy tree (more…)

Summer 2015: Inclusion of a Trust Protector Provision in a Trust

Trusts are a popular estate planning tool for various reasons. Among them, a trust, if properly funded, will allow the grantor’s assets to avoid probate, the document itself can remain private, as it is not necessary that a trust be filed with the court after the grantor’s death, it allows a grantor to provide a (more…)

Summer 2015: Choosing A Trustee

Many times, we will assist clients in establishing trusts as part of their estate plan. One of the more difficult issues to address in establishing a trust is the identity of the trustee. Often times, the client establishing a trust for the benefit of his or her children will be inclined to name a family (more…)

Summer 2015: Massachusetts New Sick Time Law Effective July 1, 2015

This past November, Massachusetts voters approved a ballot measure allowing Massachusetts employees to earn and use sick time under certain conditions. Under the new law, employees who work for employers with 11 or more employees will be eligible to earn and use up to 40 hours of paid sick time per calendar year. Employees working (more…)

Winter 2013: Fiscal Cliff Avoided (?)

As everyone will recall, the federal government, in a last minute scramble, avoided its self-created fiscal cliff at the beginning of 2013 by passing sweeping new legislation, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. The commonly reported aspects of the new law are the individual income tax rate increases, the end of the 2% social (more…)

Winter 2013: Estate Planning for your Digital Life

A new estate planning area of concern that has been developing recently is the protection, control and use of one’s digital life. Whether it is a Google Gmail account, Microsoft Hotmail account, Yahoo! Mail account, Facebook account, an employer–provided email account or even pictures posted on Shutterfly, it is important to be sure that a (more…)

Winter 2013: New Trust and Probate Codes

In 2012, both the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code (the “MUPC”) and the Massachusetts Uniform Trust Code (the “MUTC”) were enacted or more fully implemented and integrated. The goal of each of these new codes is to streamline and simplify the probate process in Massachusetts, as well as expand upon current trust law. While many of (more…)

Winter 2013: Real Estate Law – Adverse Possession

What happens when your fence, driveway, or landscaped garden is determined to be over your property line and encroaching on your neighbor’s property or when your neighbor is encroaching on your property? Massachusetts courts have long recognized the common law doctrine of adverse possession, whereby a person can establish title in another’s real property. To (more…)

Fall 2013: New Members to the Firm

We are pleased to welcome Tricia DelBove as an associate with the firm. Tricia is a cum laude graduate of the Commonwealth College Honors Program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a cum laude graduate of Suffolk University Law School. While attending law school, Tricia interned for the Honorable Karyn F. Scheier, Chief Justice (more…)

Fall 2013: Condominium Buyers Need to Be Cognizant of Condominium Phasing Rights

For the past six years, following the burst real estate bubble, residential condominium sales remained slow. Recently, however, condominium sales have begun to recover in certain markets, including Boston. Along with this recovery will come not only new project submissions but also construction of additional phases of already existing condominium projects. Condominium projects are often (more…)

Fall 2013: Amending an Irrevocable Trust?

Irrevocable trusts are often used as a tool to remove assets from the a taxable estate, and preserve tax benefits for the trust beneficiaries. Although the grantor of an irrevocable trust may retain some ability to remove or replace trustees or amend administrative provisions of the trust, there is generally no ability to modify the (more…)

Spring 2012: Enforceability of Non-Compete Denied Due to Changed Circumstances

In this ever increasing competitive business marketplace, in order to protect intellectual property, customer relationships and good will, more and more employers are requiring their employees to enter into non-competition, non-solicitation and non-disclosure agreements. In most instances, these standard agreements are signed at the time of hire, placed in the employee’s personnel file and remain (more…)

Spring 2012: The Importance of the Beneficiary Form

Once you have signed your estate planning documents, one more critical task is at hand – properly completing the beneficiary forms on your accounts and assets such as retirement accounts and life insurance policies. All too often, significant attention is devoted to estate planning documents and scant attention to the beneficiary designation. As a general (more…)

Spring 2012: More on Retirement Account Beneficiaries

Most people are aware of the tax rule that requires you to begin taking distributions from your IRAs by April 1st of the year following the year they turn 70 ½. These rules generally require you to withdraw your IRAs over your life expectancy or the joint life expectancy of you and your spouse. If (more…)

Spring 2012: Gift Planning Opportunities

The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Authorization and Job Creation Act of 2010 (the “2010 Tax Act”) provides unprecedented gifting opportunities for 2012 for the transfer of family wealth. The 2010 Tax Act increased the lifetime gift tax exemption to $5 million, indexed for inflation. In fact, the IRS recently announced that the 2012 gift tax (more…)