Revised: Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: What the Tax Reform Bill Means for You

Revised: 12/28/2017

Congress has passed a tax reform act that will take effect in 2018, ushering in some of the most significant tax changes in three decades. There are a lot of changes in the new act, which was signed into law on Dec. 22, 2017.

You can use this memo as a high-level overview of some of the most significant items in the new act. Because major tax reform like this happens so seldom, it may be worthwhile for you to schedule a tax-planning consultation early in the year to ensure you reap the most tax savings possible during 2018. [Read more…]

Tips for choosing your executor

Choosing your executor, who will administer your estate and carry out your final wishes, may be one of the most important decisions you make when preparing your will.

Before you name someone, get his approval and make sure he feels up to the task. An executor’s responsibilities including filing court papers to start probate and validate the will, inventorying the estate, notifying banks and government agencies, sorting out finances, maintaining all property until it’s distributed or sold, filing a final tax return, and distributing assets.

Depending on the size and nature of your estate, this work can seem like a complicated, daunting task. Recognize that serving as executor can be particularly complicated for someone who lives out of state. He or she will likely have to travel for probate appearances, and some states require a state resident to co-serve as executor or agent. [Read more…]

Pre-litigation claims can be effective in estate tax disputes

Pre-litigation is activity that occurs before a legal suit is filed. If you are involved in an estate transfer and your rights are unclear, pre-litigation may be an effective way to establish your position and head off a more costly legal conflict.

Pre-litigation claims are typically made in an effort to get the other party to back down or engage in negotiations. This process may be the first step in claiming a will or trust is invalid, challenging a premarital agreement, or charging that an executor is engaged in misconduct.

In a much-publicized conflict over the estate of former “Growing Pains” star Alan Thicke, for example, his sons filed a pre-litigation complaint to enforce their father’s trust, claiming that Thicke’s widow intended to challenge her prenuptial agreement. (Thicke’s widow denied such intent and a judge subsequently dismissed the sons’ claim.) [Read more…]

Documenting your rationale

In addition to telling your children why you plan to leave an unequal gift, consider providing a written explanation of your decision that can be attached to your trust or will. Such a letter communicates facts and feelings that are not otherwise included in estate planning documents and may deter an unhappy heir from contesting your will. Consult your attorney about any estate planning letters you intend to leave to ensure you don’t create any confusion in your plans.

Beneficiary designations
Talk to your estate planner and be sure you understand the implications of naming certain children as a beneficiary on a retirement account or life insurance policy. In such cases, those assets would pass to the named child directly and would be excluded from your estate, meaning those assets won’t get divvied up among your heirs.

Even if your child recognizes this was a mistake and wants to redistribute the funds, it can be a costly and difficult issue to fix. Regifting assets to their siblings could trigger gift taxes. Alternately, the child could disclaim part of the inheritance, but that is best done with legal counsel and a full understanding of potential implications. [Read more…]

Communicate with your kids before leaving unequal assets

When it comes to leaving money to the kids, some parents struggle to reconcile “equal” with “fair.” An equal inheritance treats each child the same, regardless of life situation or special circumstances. On the other hand, sometimes an unequal distribution can seem like the fairest thing to do, given a child’s age, financial wherewithal, or previous track record.

To avoid unpleasant surprises and contentious family squabbles, be transparent about your plans and talk with your children ahead of time. That helps children understand your point of view and gives them an opportunity to share concerns or life issues you may not be aware of.

Imagine, for example, that you intend to leave more to your daughter, the social worker, and less to your son, the small business owner.  Disclosing this plan could encourage your proud son to reveal that business is declining and the operation has far less value than you thought. [Read more…]

How to leave your home to the kids

Deciding when and how to relinquish the family home can be one of the most challenging issues seniors face. For many, a home is their most valuable asset and a cornerstone of the wealth they’d like to transfer to their family.

If you’re one of AARP’s estimated 87 percentage of older adults who wants to stay at home and “age in place,” you may be planning to stay put as long as possible with the goal of transferring your house to your heirs after you die.

Here is a review of the ways you can go about leaving your home to your children: [Read more…]

Proposed regulations curtailing valuation discounts withdrawn

The Treasury Department and the IRS have announced that proposed regulations that would have drastically limited valuation discounts for transfers of family businesses are being withdrawn.

The regulations would have curbed valuation discounts commonly used when family business owners transfer minority shares to other family members.

The withdrawal means that family business owners will still be able to transfer a portion of their business to their children while applying valuation discounts. Primarily, those discounts include adjustments for lack of control and lack of marketability. [Read more…]

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: What the Tax Reform Bill Means for You

Congress has passed tax reform that will take effect in 2018, ushering in some of the most significant tax changes in three decades. There are a lot of changes in the new bill, which is expected to be signed into law soon.

You can use this memo as a high-level overview of some of the most significant items in the new bill. Because major tax reform like this happens so seldom, it may be worthwhile for you to schedule a tax-planning consultation early in the year to ensure you reap the most tax savings possible during 2018. [Read more…]

Selling a house in probate in Massachusetts

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

I understand there is a year for creditors to submit claims to the estate. Does this mean the heirs have to wait a full year to sell the house? Thank you!

ATTORNEY ANSWER BY MARGARET L. CROSS-BELIVEAU:

Yes, you may sell the house during probate.  In order to pass a clean title to the buyers, a formal probate proceeding is required.  Unless the will has specifically waived the requirement, the personal representative will need to petition for a license to sell from the probate court.   You will still need to wait until the creditor period is over before distributing the proceeds.

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 provide legal services for probate, estate administration, and trust administration. The law firm has offices and attorneys in Naples, Florida; Waltham, Massachusetts; and Salem, New Hampshire.

How would i get q legal god mother for my two children if anything ever happens to me i am not relgous at all?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Just want to make sure if anything is to ever happen to me that my kids will be able to stay together and be taking great care of.

ATTORNEY ANSWER BY MARGARET L. CROSS-BELIVEAU:

A Godparent is a religious designation, not a legal one.  You wish to appoint a guardian.  In order to do so, you should execute a will.

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 provide legal services for estate and asset protection planning. The law firm has offices and attorneys in Naples, Florida; Waltham, Massachusetts; and Salem, New Hampshire.

During divorce proceedings, can a person who was placed as an executor of real property use or sell that property?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Land was purchased during the marriage and put into a trust for the children. The wife was placed as the executor. They are now divorcing and the husband is concerned that the wife will sell the property, in part or in whole, to fund her part of the divorce.

ATTORNEY ANSWER BY MARGARET L. CROSS-BELIVEAU:

Wife was named as a Trustee of a trust.  As a trustee, she has fiduciary responsibilities to follow the terms of the trust.  This trust may allow her to make distributions to herself.  It is impossible to answer your question without knowing the provisions of the trust.

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 provide legal services for estate and asset protection planning. The law firm has offices and attorneys in Naples, Florida; Waltham, Massachusetts; and Salem, New Hampshire.

Court decision muddies the waters for ‘safe harbor’ for user-generated online posts

A recent decision from a federal appeals court in California will likely have broad implications on what screening procedures, if any, a service provider adopts for user-generated posts and material.

The case, which is called Mavrix Photographs LLC v. LiveJournal Inc., limits the availability of safe harbor protection for social media platforms and other sites that use moderators to review user-submitted posts, even when the website has processes in place for expeditiously removing materials identified in takedown notices under the federal Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Safe harbor protection can shield you from liability for the copyright infringements of your site’s users if you establish effective notice-and-takedown procedures and promptly remove content when you’ve been notified it is infringing. [Read more…]

Is a patent enough? How to protect your intellectual property

You had a great idea and you started a business around it. Now, you need to protect that intellectual property.

First, check to be sure that your idea is original. Conduct patent and trademark searches early in the development of new products and processes to make sure there isn’t anyone else already protecting the same ideas or concepts.

If you do have an original, patentable idea, go ahead and file a patent application. Filing an initial patent application gives you time to develop or sell your idea, complete market research and/or raise money. [Read more…]

Traditional office vs. co-working space: Which is right for your business?

Collaborative work environments with shared spaces are an increasingly popular take on traditional office space, but can come with less than ideal leasing terms.

Most co-working spaces operate using an occupation license agreement that allows members to use the space for a particular purpose or set of purposes. But it is much easier for a landlord to revoke a licensee’s right of access to than it is to evict a tenant.

A commercial leasing agreement for traditional office space provides tenants more rights and a greater level of security. Such leases can be overly restrictive for startup operations planning to grow quickly, however. Those with smaller teams and budgetary constraints may benefit from the collaborative environment and reduced costs a shared space can provide. [Read more…]

Cybersecurity essentials for small to mid-size businesses

A strong cybersecurity program is designed to protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of a business’s information systems. These systems can include any computer or networked electronic system used by a business, and certain sensitive business and consumer information.

Programs should be designed to perform three primary functions:

  • Identify and assess threats and risks;
  • Protect information systems and sensitive information from malicious use and unauthorized access; and
  • Detect, respond to and recover from cybersecurity “events” such as breaches.

[Read more…]

Know the risks associated with using targeted advertising for your business

Many companies employ third-party advertising services that use online consumer data and automated software to place advertisements on websites, in apps and within user-generated video services.

But this wide-reaching marketing tool comes with the risk that your advertisement and brand could be displayed alongside offensive content. Third-party targeted advertising services, such as AdSense from Google and Bing Advertising from Microsoft, offer the ability to exclude targeted ads from pornographic or gambling sites. But beyond that it is difficult to prevent your ad from appearing on a website that you would prefer not be associated with your business. Many times, when an advertising service identifies a user that matches the intended audience of the advertisement, the user will see the advertisement even on offensive sites.

The rise of fake news sites further complicates matters, as new sites are created every day in an effort to reap advertising revenue. In one recent example of the challenges this presents, Allstate saw one of its ads appear next to an article denying the occurrence of the Sandy Hook school shooting on a fake news site. [Read more…]

What should I do with a municipal bond that is part of an estate and cannot be redeemed?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

I am the court appointed personal representative of the estate of my mother. This concerns a bond entitled, “Port Authority of the City of Saint Paul Industrial Development Revenue Bond Series 1988-F”

This bond, which matured in 1988, has a face value of $5,000, but is no longer redeemable. The projects the bond supported never generated enough income to redeem the bonds, due to the real estate ”bust” of the 1980’s. After five years of litigation, the city of St. Paul established the “876 Fund” and will continue to make tax-exempt interest payments on the bond until 2032, according to an article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune by Rochelle Olson, September 20, 2011. (On this particular bond, these payments have been anywhere from $100 to $300 per year for the last 5 years).

So, do I leave the Estate open for the next 14 years? Can I transfer the bond from the estate to myself, with the notorized permission of the two other beneficiaries of the estate, (My sisters, and we get along really, really good). Could I make this bond the payment for my work as a beneficary? Or is there some other, better option?

ATTORNEY ANSWER BY MARGARET L. CROSS-BELIVEAU:

The bond is an asset of the estate. Assets should be transfer to the beneficiaries in accordance to the terms of the Will. No one can answer what better options you have without reviewing the probate asset list. Any fiduciary fee you take is considered income and must be reported on your 1040.

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 provide legal services for probate, estate administration, and trust administration. The law firm has offices and attorneys in Naples, Florida; Waltham, Massachusetts; and Salem, New Hampshire.

Do I pay tax for child support?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

I will pay few hundreds of dollars to my husband for the child support. Do I pay tax for it? Does my husband pay tax for it? Thanks!

ATTORNEY ANSWER BY MARGARET L. CROSS-BELIVEAU:

Child support is neither deductible by the payor nor is  it income to the recipient. Alimony is deductible by the payor and income to the recipient.

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 tax attorneys at the Beliveau Law Group provide legal services for taxation. The law firm has offices and attorneys in Naples, Florida; Waltham, Massachusetts; and Salem, New Hampshire.

How can I take care of my unmarried brother’s financial obligations now that he is in a coma and has no Power of Attorney?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

My brother is in a coma and will likely not recover to the point of being able to work or care for himself. I need to take care of his bills, loan accounts and bank account and start the process of obtaining disability benefits and Medicare for him. He has no Power of Attorney, spouse or children. Upon discharge from the hospital, he will be moved to a Long Term Acute Care Hospital. How can I obtain the legal authority to take care of his financial responsibilities and obtain the financial and medical assistance he needs?

ATTORNEY ANSWER BY MARGARET L. CROSS-BELIVEAU:

You will need to apply for a conservatorship in order to gain control over his bank accounts and any real estate.  To make medical decisions, you will also need to file for a guardianship.  You do not need these to begin the application process for Medicaid. (However, you will have to provide the state agency financial records to receive the approval.) You will have upfront costs, such as filing fees. However, once you are appointed as guardian and conservator, you can reimburse yourself for the expenses from your brother’s assets. You should consult with an attorney who is also well versed in elder law. [Read more…]

How do I get my dads name off of my mother’s estate?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

My mom is gonna pass away soon and my dads name is still on the title, he hasn’t been around in 20 years. He didn’t have much to do with the payoff at all. I don’t know where he is to ask him to sign the paperwork for my mother

ATTORNEY ANSWER BY MARGARET L. CROSS-BELIVEAU:

I am sorry for your loss. If your parents had divorced, the property division should have been addressed in the divorce decree.  Unfortunately, if your parents did not divorce, your father will become the sole owner of the property if he owns the property jointly with your mother. You can hire an heir search firm to track down your father. Perhaps he has already passed away, in which case filing a death certificate at the registry of deeds will clear your father’s name from the title.
[Read more…]

Can we take action to immediately change locks and take possession of property and all remaining content?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

My sister and her husband moved into the family home place after our parents passed… About 3 months ago my sister passed, her husband eventually moved back into his original home , but left lots of his “junk” behind…saying at some point he may return and clean it up. he has the only keys to the property. what legal rights do we have as far as,Immediately having all locks changed and demanding he remove ALL his belongings,and we take total repossession of our property? [Read more…]

Center for Medicare Advocacy Has a New Observation Status Toolkit

Medicare-eligible patients may find themselves in the hospital, receiving medical services, tests, and treatment, sometimes for many days, but find out too late that they are considered outpatients, in Observation Status, not admitted inpatients. Observation status continues to harm Medicare beneficiaries and their families. With generous support from the John A. Hartford Foundation, the Center for Medicare Advocacy has put together an Observation Status Toolkit that can be used by patients and their advocates. This information is provided to help you understand and respond to an “outpatient” Observation Status designation.

Click here for toolkit.

Tips are considered wages, court decides

Employers in the service industry should consult with an employment lawyer before requiring workers to pool their tips. That’s because the laws regarding tip pooling can be complex and employers who engage in certain tip-pooling practices run the risk of violating the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and state wage laws.

This happened recently in South Carolina. Zen 333, a restaurant in Charleston, didn’t allow bartenders or wait staff to take tips directly from customers. Instead they had to put them into a tip pool that was divided among the staff. Servers also had to contribute 4.5 percent of their gross food and alcohol sales directly to “the house” and 3.5 percent of their alcohol sales to the bartenders, who in turn had to contribute a percentage of their alcohol sales to “the house.” According to bartenders and waiters, the restaurant’s owners would withdraw these mandatory contributions from the tip pool and if the cash tips didn’t cover those contributions they’d take the difference from credit-card tips.

The bartenders, who were paid $40 plus tips for all shifts worked, and the servers, who were paid $2.25 an hour plus tips, took the restaurant to court, claiming that this practice violated FLSA and the state wage law because it resulted in them not being paid the wages they earned. [Read more…]

Employers take note: ‘Hostile environment’ claims can be costly

A “hostile” work environment is one where an employee is constantly confronted with offensive behavior by co-workers or supervisors. This can include sexually charged or bigoted comments and jokes, repeated requests to engage in sexual activity, taunting, or insulting personal comments. An employer that doesn’t properly investigate workers’ complaints of a hostile environment , or that investigates but fails to take proper action in response, can face discrimination and sexual harassment claims, as Kansas City, Missouri recently found out.

In that case, LaDonna Nunley, an African-American woman who had worked as a chemist for Kansas City’s water department for 24 years, claimed that a co-worker had engaged in a pervasive pattern of offensive speech directed toward her, including comments referencing genitalia and comments comparing President Barack Obama to a bowel movement. She said she reported the comments to supervisors but they failed to discipline the co-worker.

Ultimately Nunley, who also claimed that she was passed over for promotions in favor of less qualified, younger white workers, brought age, sex and race discrimination claims against the city along with a claim of hostile work environment. [Read more…]

Signature not enough to bind worker to arbitration clause

Mandatory arbitration agreements, which require employers and employees to forego court if they get into a legal dispute with one another and take the case to a private third-party arbitrator to resolve, are a popular way for employers to avoid the unpredictability and expense of the court system.

But if you plan on subjecting workers to such agreements, it’s critical to give actual notice of the terms, as a restaurant in North Carolina recently learned.

In that case, two white employees who worked under a Latino supervisor alleged that he often made racist remarks to them, saying among other things that because they weren’t Hispanic, they couldn’t relate to customers or co-workers or handle day-to-day situations. [Read more…]

Disabled workers may need accommodations beyond FMLA leave

Under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), companies with more than 50 employees must allow workers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to deal with medical issues. But if a worker isn’t ready to return after 12 weeks, employers should talk to an employment attorney before taking any disciplinary action. That’s because an employee who’s used all of his or her FMLA leave may still be entitled to more leave time as an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

In a recent Massachusetts case, bank employee Amanda LePete took 12 weeks of FMLA leave when she had a baby. While she was out she developed post-partum depression. As her return date approached she was still suffering symptoms so she sought medical help and tried to extend her leave. When her counselor couldn’t pin down a specific date when she might be able to return the bank sent her a letter setting a hard deadline, telling her she’d be fired if she didn’t return on that date. Panicked, she and her attorney appealed to human resources to extend her leave but the request was denied. She subsequently got a letter telling her she was fired.

LaPete filed a disability discrimination claim against the bank under the ADA and state anti-discrimination law. [Read more…]

When is employee travel time compensable?

If you’re a “non-exempt” employee — typically someone who doesn’t work in a professional, executive or managerial capacity and who earns an hourly wage — your compensation structure is pretty simple. Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) you get paid for the hours you work and if you put in more than 40 hours in a week, you get overtime.

But what about time you spend traveling for work? That seems simple too. You don’t get paid for commuting time to and from work. But you do get paid for time you spend traveling around during the workday.

This seems straightforward on the surface. But there are little wrinkles and nuances that workers and employers need to understand. [Read more…]

Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) Information for 2018

Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 66 million Americans will increase 2.0 percent in 2018. The 2.0 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to more than 61 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2018. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 29, 2017.

To read more about COLA, click here.

If I find out 25 years later I have a daughter?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

I was just contacted by a old girlfriend that her 25years old daughter is mine. I will be willing to take a dna, but I have all kinds of worries, I’m married and have other children, if she is my daughter what it the law states I have to give to her. Can actually take a legal matter for depriving me with my parental rights.  what can they possible want after 25 years.?

ATTORNEY ANSWER BY MARGARET L. CROSS-BELIVEAU:

This could be spurred by the fact that your daughter just wants to know her father. If they are asking for back child support, they could force you to take a DNA test. Most likely you are past the statute of limitations, but a family law attorney should verify that. This is not a guardianship issue because the daughter is over 18. If she is your daughter, she is your heir. You may wish to consult with an estate planning attorney because you may want to specifically disinherit her.

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 provide legal services for estate and asset protection planning. The law firm has offices and attorneys in Naples, Florida; Waltham, Massachusetts; and Salem, New Hampshire.

What constitutes elder abuse?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Our mother is 89 years old and relatively good health. My dad passed away 2/2016 and my older sister moved home due to losing her job. She now takes care of my mom although my mom is in assisted living. She has said to my mom “spend all your money” My dad left her with 3 million dollars that he worked extremely hard for. My mom is spending the money like crazy. Trips , dinners out all to the benefit of my sister. My brother is in charge of the financial matters along with my mom who is still competent. He sees the money being spent. As far as we know the will has not been changed and is distributed among the five surviving children and if any of us pass away our share goes to our [Read more…]

Can I evict a renter from my sisters house if I have a simple real estate contract with sister but mortgage is in her name?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

My sister has agreed to sell her house to me and had a friend residing in the house with her daughter. I agreed to my sister she could stay as a renter for $600 a month. She has failed to make a complete payment and has only paid $425 in the past three months. In the beginning of October I had my sister sign, as did I, a Simple Real Estate Contract. The agreement is that I pay the house payment and that the mortgage will stay in her name. I have payed all mortgage payments on time. I have told the renter I am evicting them due to none payment and they are now pushing back that the house is still in my sisters name. Do I have a legal right to evict the renter or would it have to come from my sister?

ATTORNEY ANSWER BY MARGARET L. CROSS-BELIVEAU:

The renters are correct that you do not own the property. Your sister must sign over the ownership of the house by executing a deed and you must record the deed at the Registry of Deeds. Right now you have no ownership interest in this property.

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

deferral, estate administration, probate, accounting, inventory, estate planning, estate recovery, estate tax, inheritance, MassHealth, probate, separation, waiver, disclaimer, qualified disclaimer, capital gains, foreclosure, 1041, 1040, income tax, will contest, real estate, deed, life estate, joint ownership, trust, living trust, revocable trust, Medicaid trust, irrevocable trust, durable power of attorney, guardianship, springing power of attorney, incompetency, Trustee removal, trustee succession, trustee appointment, elder abuse

I am heir to a portion of my grandpas estate and home with sister, brother, aunt, uncle. Can’t sell because brother has liens.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Grandpa had 3 kids and my dad passed away before grandpa and me , my sister and brother own my dad’s portion of home. My uncle lied to us about not being able sell the home due to my brother tax lien and we waited for 2 years and now he said the title search came back with my brother now has 30k lien on property and we cant close. We want to know if that would hold up a closing and can we use a quitclaim deed so we can close or take executor to probate court? What’s best advice for this situation?

ATTORNEY ANSWER BY MARGARET L. CROSS-BELIVEAU:

Use a lawyer to close the sale of the house. The attorney can obtain a release of lien from the IRS so that the sale of the home can proceed. The attorney would collect your brother’s share of the proceeds and then pay the IRS. The money will never go to your brother. [Read more…]

I have two sisters and we all got 1/3 of money that comes in each year! My sister died so where will her share go?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

It was not stipulated in will if any of us die before the 5 years are up! It also doesn’t say pay to next of kin in the will it only states the money is divided 1/3 each! What do we do because my brother in law is asking for the money!

ATTORNEY ANSWER BY MARGARET L. CROSS-BELIVEAU:

You need to consult with a probate attorney to review the will and its testamentary trust.  A certain word may be meaningless to you as a lay person but have legal meaning. If the testamentary trust truly does not have succession instructions, you may need to request instructions from the court. You should not make any distributions until you have sought counsel.

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 provide legal services for probate, estate administration, and trust administration. The law firm has offices and attorneys in Naples, Florida; Waltham, Massachusetts; and Salem, New Hampshire.

If a living trust and last will gets modified within 180 days of death, is it valid?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

I was named as executor of a last will, and trustee of the living trust. My brother moved in next door to my Mom (the grantor) and now the trust has been restated with my brother as the executor of the last will and trustee of the living trust. Mom has fallen ill. How many days must pass before the newest last will/living trust is valid? Is there a minimum number of days that must pass between the time a last will/living trust changes to the time of death? Perhaps cold but objective question.

ATTORNEY ANSWER BY MARGARET L. CROSS-BELIVEAU:

The new versions are valid as soon as they are executed. Unless you can prove either your brother exerted undue influence over your mother causing her to execute different provisions where your inheritance is now diminished or your mother was incompetent at the time of the signing, the new will and restated trust will stand.

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 provide legal services for probate, estate administration, and trust administration. The law firm has offices and attorneys in Naples, Florida; Waltham, Massachusetts; and Salem, New Hampshire.

New year, new job

5 tax tips for job changers

There are a lot of new things to get used to when you change jobs, from new responsibilities to adjusting to a new company culture. You may not have considered the tax issues created when you change jobs. Here are tips to reduce any potential tax problems related to making a job change this coming year.

  • Don’t forget about in-between pay. It is easy to forget to account for pay received while you’re between jobs. This includes severance and accrued vacation or sick pay from your former employer. It also includes unemployment benefits. All are taxable but may not have had taxes withheld, causing a surprise at tax time.
  • Adjust your withholdings. A new job requires you to fill out a new Form W-4, which directs your employer how much to withhold from each paycheck. It may not be best to go with the default withholding schedule, which assumes you have been making the salary of your new job all year. You may need to make special adjustments to avoid having too much or too little taken from your paycheck. This is especially true if there is a significant salary change or you have a period of low-or-no income. Keep in mind you’ll have to fill out a new W-4 in the next year to rebalance your withholding for a full year of your new salary. [Read more…]

4 business year-end tax moves

Even though the end of 2017 is near, it is not too late to get your business into the best possible tax position for the new year.

Here are some year-end tax moves to consider:

  • Update the office. A fresh coat of paint and new office furnishings not only make your place of business more comfortable, they also provide another tax deduction. How you handle deducting these expenses will vary depending upon whether you own or lease your office space, so reach out for assistance if you have questions. [Read more…]

Get ready to save more in 2018

You can save more for retirement next year using tax-advantaged accounts, thanks to a boost in the maximum 401(k) contribution rate by the IRS. The maximum rate increases by $500 to $18,500, which is the first increase in three years. Those aged 50 or older can still contribute an additional $6,000 on top of that amount.

This is good news, because a 401(k) is one of most potent tools in your retirement arsenal. It offers many benefits over other forms of saving, including: [Read more…]

Tax filing reminders

  • December 15 Due date for calendar-year corporations to pay the fourth installment of 2017 estimated income tax.
  • December 31 –
    • Deadline to complete 2017 tax-free gifts of up to $14,000 per recipient.
    • Deadline for paying expenses you want to be able to deduct on your 2017 income tax return.

Can my siblings petition my mothers “irrevocable trust” to have me removed if I have done nothing wrong?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

My brother and sister have indicated that they want access to my moms money in the bank and will get a lawyer to help them. I am the sole trustee and POA for all of her assets and medical care and have done nothing wrong. Can they have me removed by majority, as the other two beneficiaries?

ATTORNEY ANSWER BY MARGARET L. CROSS-BELIVEAU:

As Trustee, you are allowed to hire experts to help you in your duties. You should consult with an estate planning attorney who can review the trust to determine what prerequisites must be met in order for your siblings to remove you as Trustee. In most cases, the trust will pay for the legal fees incurred by the Trustee.
The attorney can also advise you about making distributions from the trust. As you stated in your question, your mother funded the trust but your siblings are beneficiaries of the trust. As beneficiaries, unless the trust states otherwise, your siblings do have rights to information and possibly distributions.

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 provide legal services for estate and asset protection planning. The law firm has offices and attorneys in Naples, Florida; Waltham, Massachusetts; and Salem, New Hampshire.