How do I remove myself as Trustee from my mother’s trust?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

I don’t want the responsibility that my mother has written in trust. The trust give me power to evict my brother from her home if he doesn’t do repairs. [Read more…]

Can property in trust, made irrevocable after death of trustor, be refinanced?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Mom put her home in living trust that became irrevocable after she died. Title changed to reflect successor trustees, but still in name of Trust. Can we refinance? [Read more…]

Buying long term care insurance for your parents

Are your parents adequately prepared for retirement? If not, are you planning to help them out?

In many families, one or more adult children will step up to help Mom and Dad when they can no longer safely take care of themselves. That could mean time away from your family and job or pitching in financially to cover a variety of expenses. [Read more…]

When your parents die with debt

At any age, the death of a parent is a difficult experience. But these days more adult children are dealing with an added stressor: the realization that Mom or Dad died with debt.

In the past decade, there’s been a steep increase in debt among senior households. According to a report from the Employee Benefit Research Institute, half (49.8 percent) of families age 75 and older have debt, averaging $36,757.

Most senior debt is tied to housing expenses, but auto loans, medical bills, credit cards and student loans also factor in. If you think your parent may die with debt, here are some things to remember: [Read more…]

New tax law prompts IRA conversions

Lower income tax rates make this an attractive time to convert your traditional IRA into a Roth IRA. By converting, you’ll pay taxes on those funds now instead of at some future (likely higher) rate.

The main hurdle will be paying taxes owed. If you convert $50,000 from a traditional IRA to a Roth, your taxable income will increase by $50,000. If you’re in the 24% tax bracket, that amounts to $12,000 in taxes owed. That might feel like a hit now, but it could be a financially sound decision, particularly if you expect to be in a higher tax bracket later in life. [Read more…]

Protect work with lasting value: Estate planning for copyrights

Artists and their families have unique needs when it comes to estate planning. Be aware of the following strategies to protect the value of an artist’s work during and after his or her lifetime:

Copyright eligibility. The first step is understanding what constitutes a copyrightable work. Protection is available to original works that are either written or otherwise recorded, including literary, musical, artistic and certain other intellectual works. These categories are to be interpreted broadly and can include maps, architectural plans, buildings and mobile apps. [Read more…]

Make an estate plan for your digital assets

Today, 77 percent of Americans go online every day, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey, and most of us maintain at least some kind of digital data in the cloud. We save emails, post to social media, and store photos in online albums.

All of this digital information has created a new issue for you, your heirs, and the technology firms that hold your assets. The key concern is maintaining your privacy and security and determining who can legally access this information upon your death.

A statute called the Revised Uniform Access to Digital Assets Act provides a legal path for fiduciaries (such as your executor or attorney-in-fact) to manage your digital assets if you die or become incapacitated. But under the law, which has been adopted (often in slightly modified versions) by most states, a fiduciary can access your digital assets if, and only if, you’ve given proper consent. [Read more…]

My name is on the deed not on the title. Do I own the house?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

My grandmother bought a house and put it in my name. However, the title is in her name. She is now deceased. Trying to figure out if the house is mine or if it passes on to her (adult) children if no will.

ANSWER BY MARGARET CROSS-BELIVEAU:

The term title is synonymous with the deed.  Do you have an unrecorded deed so that the last one is not on record at the Registry of Deeds?  If your grandmother signed the deed putting your name on it but did not record the deed or deliver it to you to record, then you have a problem.  In order to legally transfer title, your grandmother would have had to done more than sign a deed and put it in a drawer.  If you have an unrecorded deed, see an attorney to determine if you can file it at the Registry.  If not, the house will go through probate and with no will in place, the state statute on intestacy will determine who inherits the property.

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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.

Can a durable poa take a payable on death account that was there for me 6 hours before moms death and against my moms will take that account?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

My sister had durable poa 6 hours before my moms death. She went to bank withdrew the pod account that my mom wanted me to have.  I have original pod account paperwork that I was sole beneficiary and have in writing that in case she died I could go to bank with death certificate and get that account!! [Read more…]

How do I show my former rental property is now my primary residence to reduce taxes at time of sale.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

I understand, if I convert a rental property into a primary residence for two years, I can save a lot on taxes at time of sale. What evidence does IRS require to substantiate this property has been converted to primary residence for a two year period? [Read more…]

Do I have the right to see my mother’s bank statements to reconcile them and make sure there have been no errors or fraud?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Hi, I have a simple question. Maybe someone can help?…. My 93 year old mother has dementia but is still cognizant part of the time. She has 24 hour care at home. My brother and sister have joint POA. There are seven siblings in our family. Another sister with a drinking problem has been doing the bills and paying the care givers. It was brought to my attention by one honest care giver that she had been mistakenly paid four times for the same week. The care giver was honest enough not to cash the checks. My brother and sister that are the POA’s are very secretive with the money. I want to do an audit of my mother’s check book for the last few years and have asked to see the bank statements. They have hidden the statements. My question is do I have the right to see my mother’s statements to reconcile her checkbook and make sure there have been no errors or fraud? If I do have this right how do I go about getting the bank statements from the POA’S? Thank you for your help, [Read more…]

Can I take the RMDs for an inherited IRA and my regular IRA, both from only the inherited IRA?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

I have two IRAs, a regular one that I funded and an inherited one. An RMD is required for each. Can I take both RMDs from the inherited IRA until it is depleted?

ANSWER BY MARGARET CROSS-BELIVEAU:

No, you can’t take it all from one IRA.  You can lump the traditional IRAs into one column and the inherited IRA in another.  With the traditional IRAs, you may make the withdrawal from one of them if you have several.  If you have inherited more than one IRA from the same person, you may make one withdrawal from those inherited IRAs.

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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.

My sister is on Medicaid and she will be getting a small inheritance what she be allowed to keep this money being that she’s on?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

My sister is kind of disabled and on Medicaid & Medicare.  She’s getting an inheritance.  Will she be able to keep the money? thank you for your help

ANSWER BY MARGARET CROSS-BELIVEAU:

As she is on Medicare, I am assuming that she is over 65.  Different rules apply for different ages.  Medicaid is an asset based program.  If she receives an inheritance, she will no longer be eligible for Medicaid if she keeps it.  Her options will be to establish a d(4)(a) trust, which is a self-settled special needs trust with a family member as Trustee, or set up an account with a pooled trust, which is also a special needs trust but run by a charity.  In both scenarios, any money remaining at your sister’s death will be paid over to the state to reimburse it for its expenses paid on your sister’s behalf.    She can’t make any other gifts without incurring a transfer penalty.

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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 elder law 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.

 

Does my brother have a right to sell my mother’s house?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

My mother is in a nursing home. Before that I was her caregiver. I am still her power of attorney. I still live in my childhood home and have started a family of my own. My brother just got out of prison and wants the house. He only lived in the house for one year and never paid even one bill. I used my retirement from a previous job to pay off the house and I’ve paid every bill for almost 10 years. My mother has 4 children in total and everyone else has started a family and lives elsewhere. Does my brother have any rights? Can he force my family out of the house? Can he even try to sell without permission from me and the rest of my siblings? [Read more…]

Can my landlord not renew my month to month lease because of one noise complaint ?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

I received a noise complaint while I was out of town, my sister was watching my dogs and received a couple complaints in one night. The next day I had a notice on my door saying they weren’t going to renew my lease. I’ve never had any problems or complaints about me. I called my landlord and she said it was due to the noise complaints and doesn’t want to talk about it. Is she allowed to do this?

ANSWER BY MARGARET CROSS-BELIVEAU:

A month to month lease can be cancelled by either the landlord or tenant for any reason, excluding discrimination or retaliation, by written notice.

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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 family law 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.

Mom passed away ?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Before my mom passed away she put the deed in my sisters name and told my sister split the house with me my sister took everything what can I do [Read more…]

Do any of you advise against using online template forms to create your own Will, Power of Attorney and Health Care Directive?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Some of my colleagues have used these forms to create their own Will and Power of Attorney–not sure about Health Care Directive. As long as they are notarized, I assume these documents are considered as legal as those created by an Attorney–or am I mistaken? Are there cautionary tales you wish to share? Is there an online resource for these forms that you recommend? What range of costs should I expect if I complete these forms and have an Attorney review them and advise me of any issues?

ANSWER BY MARGARET CROSS-BELIVEAU:

Online forms are not tailored to individual situations.  It is a gamble for you to rely on them.  It is very important that the Last Will and Testament is drafted and executed properly.  Too many times I have seen wills that don’t do what the testator wanted because of ambiguous language or weren’t executed properly so the will wasn’t in effect.  It ends up costing more in the long run because of the discrepancies which must be fixed on the back end.
[Read more…]

Can a LLC be the trustee of a nominee trust?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Looking to set up a nominee trust can a llc be the trustee? [Read more…]

Does an executor need to disclose how money is being spent?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

My mother had a stroke, but is very cognitive and alert , she is in rehab. My brother has taken over as executor to pay bills. As one of 8 siblings I have asked several times how the bills are being paid. I have asked for detail info since I knew exactly what was in her accounts. I have been told that I do not need to know, or how the money is being spent. Is this correct? Don’t we have the right to know how bills are being paid , what is in the accounts. I was having my mother sign her own checks which is capable of doing and now I have no idea if that is even happening since he asked for the checkbook. My are my rights as one of 8 children. [Read more…]

Tips when evaluating cyber-insurance policies

Cyber-insurance policies cover business liability for a data breach in which customer information (such as social security or credit data) is exposed or stolen by a hacker. Such policies may also cover data breaches due to employee error or malfeasance.

Depending on the policy, this insurance can cover a range of expenses associated with data breaches, including notification costs, credit monitoring, costs to defend legal claims, fines and penalties, and other applicable losses. [Read more…]

When you should mediate a legal dispute

If your business is involved in a legal dispute, you may voluntarily agree or be required to participate in mediation.  Mediation is an alternative way of setting disputes that involves negotiation with support from a neutral third-party.

Typically, mediation involves key decision makers from each party as well as their legal counsel. The mediator begins by leading the parties through a confidential review of the situation at hand. Then, depending on the nature of the conflict, the mediator may place each party in separate rooms and act as a go-between to facilitate a jointly-agreeable resolution. [Read more…]

How to shield your website or app from copycats

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. That’s all well and good if someone copies your new outfit. But imitation is a whole other issue when it comes to online innovation.

Let’s say you’ve just come up with a new online business idea and you’re convinced it has the potential to be the next big market disrupter, like Uber or Airbnb. Can you patent the website, app or software? The unhappy answer is that it depends. [Read more…]

Safeguard trade secrets

Your company’s proprietary information is your secret sauce. It’s what makes your company distinct and competitive in the market. Yet too few businesses put real time and attention into protecting this valuable information.

If information is stolen and you choose to pursue legal measures, you have an obligation to show that you took reasonable steps to protect your proprietary data. But this kind of litigation can be a slow process that may never really compensate you for your loss.  So don’t wait for your confidential information to walk out the door. Take action now by making a small but continued investment in protecting your business’s trade secrets. [Read more…]

Protect your business idea before you patent

The patent process is lengthy, complicated and expensive. So how can an inventor or small business owner move forward with an innovation? Eventually you’re going to have to share your idea with someone who will help develop it, manufacture it, or otherwise bring it to market. Here are three legal tools you can use, with assistance from an attorney: [Read more…]

FTC targets gaming influencers in first official enforcement action

The FTC is continuing its scrutiny of social media influencers who fail to disclose paid endorsements and other compensatory arrangements. In September of this year, the FTC took its first law enforcement action, settling charges with YouTube broadcasters Trevor Martin and Thomas Cassell, known on their channels as “TmarTn” and “Syndicate.”

Martin and Cassell were charged with using their platforms to deceptively endorse CSGO Lotto by failing to disclose they were joint owners of the online betting service, and with allegedly paying other influencers to promote the site without requiring disclosures. [Read more…]

Congress kills arbitration rule

Financial institutions can continue to block customers from banding together in class-action lawsuits, thanks to Congress’ decision to kill a pending arbitration regulation.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) “arbitration rule,” which would have barred companies from including forced-arbitration clauses in financial contracts such as credit card agreements and car loans, was slated to take effect in March 2018. The House passed a resolution repealing the regulation in July of 2017, followed by the Senate in late October.  [Read more…]

What if any is a recourse to trustee for giving items to named disinherited in the trust?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

The trustee bent over backwards to get personal property for 4 disinherited people named in the trust… they were not to receive anything but $1. Each. She disregarded beneficiaries and made sure these people got everything they asked for. Trustee wouldn’t listen to anyone and did what she wanted. [Read more…]

How do I remove my mother’s name from the title to my (our) home?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

My mother is 97 years old with dementia such that she needs 24 hour care. She is destitute and on Medicaid and is represented by an elder law lawyer who is her court appointed guardian. I am considering the possibility of selling our townhouse and moving to be near one of my children. I am not in a good financial place myself, another reason to move to somewhere less expensive with one of my children to keep an eye on me should it be necessary. I am 73 and without employment and with only my husband’s and my social security which do not come to enough to live on. [Read more…]

Is a will drawn up in Florida valid in NH?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

My parents had a will done when they lived in Florida. They have since moved back to NH so we can help them. Should we have the will redone? [Read more…]

Executor of a Trust refuses to provide both cash and deed I have been given. What do i do?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

The executor/daughter to the deceased does not want to give the cash and deed I was left in the Trust. What are my options or rights in this situation?

ANSWER BY MARGARET CROSS-BELIVEAU:

You as a beneficiary of a trust have the right to know about your inheritance, unless the trust is what is called a blind trust. You should consult with a trust attorney to determine what your rights are. Often a letter from an attorney is enough to move a Trustee along.

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.

Do I have to divide any money or estate left to me if not instructed to?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

I have just lost my grandmother.  She left me her 401k, life insurance, and I’m pretty sure her estate

ANSWER BY MARGARET CROSS-BELIVEAU:

As a beneficiary of the 401(k) and life insurance, you will inherit these assets outside of probate.  Her estate will be governed by her will.  If she named you as the sole beneficiary, then only you will inherit.  Legally, you are not required to share a bequest that a testator made to you.  However, the fact you are asking this question leads me to believe that others in the family believed that they would inherit from your grandmother, as well.  If your grandmother made statements to them that they were included in her estate plan, be ready for a fight, especially if she had a large net worth.  Some family members may claim that you exerted undue influence over your grandmother so that she changed her beneficiaries to be just you.

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 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.

Can children stop parent from placing headstone on deceased parent grave?

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

My mother passed away 3 months ago. I have two siblings….our dad had a new(old) girlfriend less than 2 weeks after we buried our mother. He is taking this new girlfriend to look at headstones and we do not agree with the choice. Can we stop him from placing headstone? Or at least make it where we all have to decide what goes on headstone?

ANSWER BY MARGARET CROSS-BELIVEAU:

Assuming the burial plots are owned by your father, legally you have no right to block his choice of headstone.

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.

 

6 tax benefits of owning a home

If you own or are considering owning a home, you can take advantage of many tax benefits. Here are six of the most commonly used homeowner’s tax breaks:

Mortgage interest deduction. You can deduct the interest you pay on your monthly mortgage bill when you itemize deductions on your tax return. This can be a huge benefit, especially in the early years of a mortgage. That’s because typically about 80 percent of your mortgage bill in your first year of home ownership on a 30-year mortgage goes toward interest. Principal payments don’t exceed interest until year 18 of your mortgage. [Read more…]

The new small business family medical leave credit

There’s a new business tax credit that partially reimburses employers for providing paid family and medical leave for select employees. But small businesses should be informed before they try to use this new Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) tax break.

Basics of the new credit

Employers who provide at least two weeks of paid family and medical leave to employees who earn $72,000 a year or less can claim the FMLA credit to offset some of the cost of that paid leave. Some details:

  • The credit ranges between 12.5 percent to 25 percent of the cost of the leave, depending on whether it pays 50 percent salary to a full salary.
  • At least 50 percent of salary must be paid during the leave for employers to claim the credit.
  • Employees must have worked for at least a year.
  • Up to 12 weeks of leave are eligible for the credit.
  • The $72,000 salary cap in 2018 will rise with inflation every year.

[Read more…]

It’s tax-planning time

Now is the ideal time to schedule a tax-planning session. Your tax return outcome is still fresh, and it’s early enough in the year to make corrective action to take advantage of the numerous new tax law changes taking place in 2018. Here’s a brief overview of some of the new tax issues that you need to plan for now.

#1 Income

Tax rates for both individuals and small businesses have changed substantially. Income tax deductions have also changed drastically, including a near doubling of the standard deduction and the elimination of most personal exemptions and miscellaneous itemized deductions.

  • You need to review your income tax withholding schedule and see where you fall in the new income tax bracket structure. Small adjustments here could save you hundreds.

[Read more…]

Tax filing reminders

June 15 – The second installment of 2018 individual estimated tax is due.