I may possibly need a group of several attorneys?

[Read more…]

If I give a durable power of attorney with full authority can I still give a will to somebody else or do I give up that

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

I gave full poa to my friend 5 years ago and gave a will to my sister a few months ago. is that will valid.

ATTORNEY ANSWER BY MARGARET L. CROSS:

A durable power of attorney is a document in which you give another the right to make financial [Read more…]

What actions can be taken?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Our father died 7 years ago. Left the house to my brother and i. My brother lives in our father’s house and owes me foe half of what it is worth. He promised to pay 3 years ago but nothing has been received.

ATTORNEY ANSWER BY MARGARET L. CROSS:

As a joint owner, both you and your brother have full rights to use and occupy the home. Your issue is not an estate administration issue as it appears the house has already been probated. Your issue is that you wish to have your brother buy you out of the house, correct? If this is correct, and your brother refuses to purchase your half, there is a way to petition the court to force a sell of the house, its call a petition to partition.

Legal Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on since each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. A lawyer experienced in the subject area and licensed to practice in the jurisdiction should be consulted for legal advice.

Beliveau Law Group: Massachusetts | Florida | New Hampshire

The probate litigation attorneys at the Beliveau Law Group provides legal services for estate and asset protection planning. The law firm has offices and attorneys in Naples, Florida; Boca Raton, Florida; Danvers, Massachusetts; Waltham, Massachusetts and Salem, New Hampshire.

I, a beneficiary, have requested a copy of my Uncles’ trust but haven’t got any response.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

My Uncle past away a year and a half ago. I have requested a copy of the trust from his trustee, and the trustee’s attorney several times. [Read more…]

I was served with divorce papers and she has power of attorney on me. How do i get it removed?

ATTORNEY ANSWER BY MARGARET L. CROSS:

To revoke a power of attorney, you will need to sign a revocation document and deliver it to your future ex-wife.  You should also execute a new power of attorney.  Also, you should execute a new Last  Will and Testament because if you die before you are divorced, she will inherit all of your probate property.

Beliveau Law Group: Massachusetts | Florida | New Hampshire

The estate planning attorneys at the Beliveau Law Group provides legal services for estate and asset protection planning. The law firm has offices and attorneys in Naples, Florida; Boca Raton, Florida; Danvers, Massachusetts; Waltham, Massachusetts and Salem, New Hampshire.

In MA are assets in a revocable trust counted for estate purposes?

ATTORNEY ANSWER BY MARGARET L. CROSS:

Massachusetts has a $1,000,000 threshold (not an exemption) to determine if the decedent owes Massachusetts estate taxes. All assets owned by the decedent, including what is in a revocable trust, are counted. This includes life insurance, jointly owned property, revocable trust assets, as well as many others. Also, if the decedent made taxable gifts during his lifetime, he would have effectively lowered the threshold from the million by the amount of the taxable gift. If you are worried about estate taxes, it is best if you consult with an attorney who is knowledgeable in estate taxes. Many offer free consultations. CPAs may also prepare estate tax returns, but there is no attorney-client privilege that will apply if the return is selected for audit.

Beliveau Law Group: Massachusetts | Florida | New Hampshire

The estate planning attorneys at the Beliveau Law Group provides legal services for estate and asset protection planning. The law firm has offices and attorneys in Naples, Florida; Boca Raton, Florida; Danvers, Massachusetts; Waltham, Massachusetts and Salem, New Hampshire.

If a caretaker does not get a doctor for an elderly person who is not of sound mind, what is their liability if the person dies?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

The person who is not of sound mind is 71 and will not eat or get out of bed. He only wants alcohol which his wife gives to him.

ATTORNEY ANSWER BY MARGARET L. CROSS:

Elder abuse is a serious offense. Being a caretaker is a hard job, which also carries much responsibility. The Massachusetts Appeals Court in Commonwealth v Cruz 2015 WL 5164397 (Mass. App. Sept. 4, 2015) recently held that [Read more…]

Estate; gift before passing away

[Read more…]

What happens when a senior residing in a nursing home has an appeal denied for medicaid?

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Her application was denied. I know an appeal is next but what happens after that? I am POA, but am on disability and the lawyer has used up nearly all of the retainer, and there is no more money to pay anyone.

ATTORNEY ANSWER BY MARGARET L. CROSS:

It would be helpful if you stated the reason that the application was denied. The first step to challenging the denial is to request a fair hearing. The request for a fair hearing must be submitted shortly after the denial in order to preserve the requested start date.

One reason for the denial could be that you did not supply the requested documents within the allotted time frame. This can be easily addressed by supplying the documents during the [Read more…]

Do I need a estate attorney?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

to find out if i joint power of attorney over my dad now that my brother is not avaialble to care for my dad, or is my sister in law

ATTORNEY ANSWER BY MARGARET L. CROSS-BELIVEAU:

A Power of Attorney is not filed with any type of court. You must track it down through your family members or through the attorney which prepared it for your father. If you can’t find a copy or if you weren’t named as a successor attorney in fact, the easiest thing to do is to have your father execute a new Power of Attorney, if he is still competent. If your father is no longer competent, then you will need to start a guardianship and/or conservatorship for him via the court system.

Legal Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on since each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. A lawyer experienced in the subject area and licensed to practice in the jurisdiction should be consulted for legal advice.

Beliveau Law Group: Massachusetts | Florida | New Hampshire

The estate planning attorneys at the Beliveau Law Group provides legal services for estate and asset protection planning. The law firm has offices and attorneys in Naples, Florida; Boca Raton, Florida; Danvers, Massachusetts; Waltham, Massachusetts; and Salem, New Hampshire.

 

Short-term rentals (such as Airbnb) can create tax issues

If you lease your home to someone for a week or two through Airbnb, HomeAway, FlipKey, or some other short-term rental service, do you have to report the income on your taxes?

Maybe! The answer can be complicated.

In general, the key question is whether you lease your home in this way for more than 14 days a year. If you do, then you have to report all of your rental income on your federal income taxes.

That’s true even if you lease the home for less than 14 days at a time – so if you lease it for a week in February, a week in June, and a week in September, you will have to report all the income. [Read more…]

Should divorcing couples sell their house?

Aside from child custody, the most emotionally charged issue in a divorce is usually who gets to keep the house. For most couples, a house is their most valuable asset, and it has an enormous symbolic value as well.

But while couples often fight over who gets the house, keeping the house isn’t always the smartest plan. In some cases, the better route is to jointly sell the property, split the proceeds, and then buy or rent a smaller home. Most people going through a divorce would be wise to at least consider this option.

As an example, let’s say Jason and Elaine are getting divorced and deciding what to do about their house. [Read more…]

My mother passed away a few days ago. She has a conservator. What things does she handle and what things do I need to attend to?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

I am the Executor of the Estate. I have never had to deal with this issue. Also what has to been done with her guardians now that she has passed away?

ATTORNEY ANSWER BY MARGARET L. CROSS-BELIVEAU:

The conservator’s authority over your mother’s assets ended upon your mother’s death. The conservator will still have to file a final accounting with the court.
Your mother may or may not have had assets which need to be probated. Any assets held jointly or had a beneficiary named to be paid after her death (life insurance is a good example) will avoid probate and pass directly to the new owner. Any assets which your mother owned in her own name will need to go through probate.
Depending on the values of the probate assets and where your mother resided when she died, she may or may not qualify for a small estate probate, sometimes called a voluntary, which does not have all the requirements of a full blown probate and is open for a shorter period of time.
In order for you to have access to the probate assets, you will need to present a petition, the last will and testament, and a death certificate to the probate court. I suggest that you speak with a probate attorney to walk you through these requirements. A full blown probate is a long, drawn out cumbersome process with deadlines and filing requirements.

Legal Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on since each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. A lawyer experienced in the subject area and licensed to practice in the jurisdiction should be consulted for legal advice.

Beliveau Law Group: Massachusetts | Florida | New Hampshire

The estate administration attorneys at the Beliveau Law Group provides legal services for probate, estate administration, and trust administration. The law firm has offices and attorneys in Naples, Florida; Boca Raton, Florida; Danvers, Massachusetts; Waltham, Massachusetts; and Salem, New Hampshire.

Direct Knowledge of Severity of Senior’s Injuries Not Required to Support Conviction for Elder Abuse (Mass. App.)

91-year-old Olivia Cruz died of sepsis caused by wounds developed sitting stationary in her feces and urine while under the care of her son, Filip. When paramedics were called to her home after she suffered a stroke, they were overwhelmed with the odor of urine and rotting flesh. A jury ultimately convicted Filip of wantonly or recklessly permitting serious bodily injury to an elder under his care and with wantonly or recklessly committing abuse, neglect, or mistreatment of Olivia. On appeal, Filip argued that there was insufficient evidence to show that he acted wantonly or recklessly and that the two convictions were duplicative.

The Massachusetts Appellate Court affirmed the convictions. The court held that wanton or reckless conduct, which involves a high degree of likelihood a substantial harm will occur to another, may be based on the defendant’s actual knowledge or what a reasonable person should have known given the circumstances. Even without direct evidence that Filip knew of the severity of his mother’s condition, the court said, there was plenty of circumstantial evidence to support the jury’s verdict. The extent of the foul smell, coupled with the fact that Olivia’s sores were the size of softballs, would have alerted a reasonable person to the severity of the situation. As to Filip’s second claim, the court held both offenses require “proof of an element that the other does not” such that Filip may be punished for two separate crimes arising from the same course of conduct. One count required a showing of abuse, neglect, or mistreatment of an elder while the other required a broader showing of serious bodily injury. Thus, both convictions were affirmed.

Commonwealth v Cruz, 2015 WL 5164397 (Mass. App. Sept. 4, 2015)

Beliveau Law Group: Massachusetts | Florida | New Hampshire

The litigation attorneys at the Beliveau Law Group provides legal services for elder law. The law firm has offices and attorneys in Naples, Florida; Boca Raton, Florida; Danvers, Massachusetts; Waltham, Massachusetts; and Salem, New Hampshire.

 

‘Longevity insurance’ sales are growing fast

There’s a new product on the market called “longevity insurance.” This is really just a new name for an old concept, the deferred annuity. Unlike most annuities, which are purchased with a lump sum and begin paying out soon afterward, these policies typically don’t begin paying anything until some 10 or 20 years after you buy them.

Sales of these annuities were up 35% last year from a year earlier.

The idea is that, if you outlive your life expectancy, you can receive fairly large annual payments in your later years for a relatively small investment upfront. But there are downsides, too, as there can be with any annuity. [Read more…]

Estate planning for people who don’t have families

A growing number of older people don’t have a spouse, children, or other close relatives. One of the biggest concerns in such a situation is how to prepare in case the person eventually becomes disabled or incapacitated.

Such a person could, of course, give a power of attorney to a friend, and assume the friend will take care of things. However, friends the same age might die or become incapacitated themselves. They might be overwhelmed with all the responsibilities of taking care of a disabled person, especially since it might be a stretch to ask their own family members for help with someone who is not part of the family. And sadly, there have been many cases where friends have gotten into financial straits and ended up taking advantage of a power of attorney. [Read more…]

Some bequests that ‘look’ equal really aren’t

When you’re deciding how to divide your assets among multiple heirs, it’s very important to consider who will pay your estate’s debts out of their share. Two bequests that look equal in theory might be very different in practice once debts are taken into account.

Generally, when a person dies, his or her outstanding debts must be paid out of “probate assets.” This means the assets that pass to someone according to the person’s will. But many assets don’t pass via a will. For instance, a jointly held bank account, jointly owned real estate, an IRA, a 401(k), and a “transfer on death” brokerage account might all pass to someone outside of a will, and thus not count as probate assets.

Also, life insurance proceeds aren’t dependent on a will and aren’t considered probate assets either. [Read more…]

Supreme Court alters estate planning for gay couples

The Supreme Court’s recent ruling extending same-sex marriage throughout the U.S. has changed the estate planning landscape for gay couples.

The biggest change, of course, will be for couples living in states that didn’t recognize same-sex marriage before the decision. But the ruling is also important for couples in states that previously permitted same-sex marriage, because in the past, their estate planning had to take into account the fact that they might travel, own property, or retire in a state that didn’t recognize their union. This is no longer true. [Read more…]

Help your heirs avoid capital gains tax

In the past, estate planning was mostly about reducing the impact of the federal estate tax. The tax was so onerous, and potentially affected so many people, that the goal was to avoid it like the plague.

One way to reduce estate taxes was to put assets into an irrevocable trust. The tax savings could be accomplished in a number of ways, but the key was that, when the person who created the trust died, the trust assets would go on to benefit his or her heirs, and would not be subject to the estate tax.

This was very smart planning at the time. Over the last few years, however, the situation has dramatically changed. [Read more…]

High quality work, excellent service

Mary helped my wife and I execute a for-sale-by-owner sale. She was an outstanding help. We live out of state and she was able to coordinate the entire sale, from drafting to organizing all of the necessary documents, on a super tight time frame. She was highly accessible and very efficient. I’d highly recommend her.

~Tom, a real estate client

Understand mutual fund expenses

Are you familiar with the charges imposed by the mutual funds you own? Since fund expenses affect your investment return, understanding the costs is an important step in making sound investment decisions. Here are some common charges you’ll want to know about before you invest.

  • Load. A load is a sales charge imposed by the fund. You might think of it as similar to the fee you pay a broker to purchase a stock. Mutual funds fit in two broad categories: load and no-load.

Load funds include front-end, back-end, and level-load. A front-end load, as the name implies, is charged when you make your initial investment. A back-end load is charged when you sell your investment before a specified period of time has passed. A level-load charges you an ongoing fee (for instance, 1% per year) as long as you own the shares. A no-load fund has no sales charge. Keep in mind that no-load is not the same as no-fee. No-load funds can still charge purchase fees, redemption fees, exchange fees, and account fees. Look for information on fees and charges in a fee table located near the front of a fund’s prospectus under the heading “Shareholder Fees.” [Read more…]

Finish the year with effective tax planning

The fourth quarter is often make-or-break time in sports. Likewise, tax-cutting steps you take in the last three months of the year can transform a financial plan into a bona fide winner.

Late-year tax planning is often a matter of reviewing your inflows and outflows. For instance, income from capital gains can be subject to both capital gains tax and the 3.8% Medicare surtax. To offset capital gains, you might sell investments that have lost value since you purchased them. Net capital losses can be used to reduce ordinary income by up to $3,000. A tax-saving examination of your portfolio is also a good time to rebalance your holdings between asset classes. [Read more…]

Roth re-do deadline approaching

It turns out you can go back after all – at least when it comes to last year’s decision to convert your traditional IRA to a Roth. The question is, do you want to?

You might, if your circumstances have changed. For example, say the value of the assets in your new Roth account is currently less than when you made the conversion. Changing your mind could save tax dollars.

Recharacterizing your Roth conversion lets you go back in time as if the conversion never happened. You’ll have to act soon, though, because the window for undoing a 2014 Roth conversion closes October 15, 2015. Before that date, you have the opportunity to undo all or part of last year’s conversion. [Read more…]

Tax due dates

  • September 15 – Third quarter installment of 2015 individual estimated income tax is due.
  • September 15 – Filing deadline for 2014 tax returns for calendar-year corporations that received an automatic extension of the March 16 filing deadline.
  • September 15 – Filing deadline for 2014 partnership tax returns that received an extension of the April 15 filing deadline.
  • October 1 – Generally, the deadline for businesses to adopt a SIMPLE retirement plan for 2015.
  • October 15 – Deadline for filing 2014 individual tax returns on extension.