Articles

Massachusetts Estate Planning: What to Do When Your Health Care Proxy Cannot Be Relied Upon

The Best-Laid Plans You did it. You did what so many of your friends and family members have not, what you yourself dragged your feet on for years longer than you should have. You made arrangements for your estate, appointed a health care proxy, and relaxed, knowing that your family and doctors will have a clear idea of your wishes even when you are no longer able to communicate those wishes. And then you hit a

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Right to ‘maintain lifestyle’ not absolute after divorce

It’s a common notion that a divorcing spouse has an unshakeable right to support which will maintain the lifestyle he or she became accustomed to during marriage. But this is not always true. A recent Massachusetts case makes this clear in the alimony context. There, a divorcing wife received custody of the children, child support and alimony. Four years later, she caused a fatal accident while driving drunk and went to prison for eight years. During

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Adultery allegations may form basis for alimony reduction

A recent Virginia case suggests that engaging in extramarital affairs can come back to hurt you later on, even if your spouse did not raise your alleged adultery as an issue in the initial filings. That’s because in some states the divorce itself and spousal support may be separate issues with different considerations. The case in question involved Julia Karabaic-Chaney and Jacob Chaney. Julia filed a complaint for divorce, seeking equitable distribution of their property (in

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Child support may terminate only with judicial emancipation

If you pay child support for a teenaged son or daughter who leaves the other parent’s home to live elsewhere, do you still have to keep paying? Though it may vary from state to state, a recent North Carolina case indicates the answer is “yes.” The parents in that case, Shannon Morris and Dean Powell, married in 1994 and had two children before divorcing 2013. The judge granted joint custody of their son “Richard,” with Shannon

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Despite divorce agreement, ex-wife gets insurance benefits

If you are getting a divorce and you want someone other than your soon-to-be former spouse to receive benefits under your life insurance policies and retirement plans, a recent case from a federal appeals court shows how important it is to review these documents and update your beneficiaries accordingly. The case also shows how important it is to be represented by a knowledgeable attorney capable of picking up on ambiguities in divorce documentation. In this case,

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Do you need a prenup for your ‘grey’ marriage?

Last year, Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie ended their 25-year marriage, joining hundreds of thousands of other couples who’ve obtained a “grey divorce” after age 50. Even after MacKenzie walked away with shares of Amazon.com valued at $38 billion, Jeff remains the world’s wealthiest person with his $115 billion stake in the company. But if Jeff remarries, he’ll very likely get a prenuptial agreement that lays out in advance exactly what the new

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Dying Without a Will in Massachusetts

What Happens When You Can’t Take It with You? As of 2020, up to 60% of Americans had not created a will. While it may seem like a hassle that can be put off for another day, tomorrow is never guaranteed, and the hassle of dying intestate (without a last testament) is far greater than investing in the peace of mind that a will brings. Without a will, everything and everyone that depends on you—real estate

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Hiring Family Members – What You Need to Know!

Many business owners hire their children, their spouse, or other family members to work in their business. Sometimes this works out well. Other times it causes problems. Let’s look at the pros and cons of putting family members on your payroll. Hiring your children Hiring your kids for a summer or part-time job usually has more tax advantages and fewer drawbacks than hiring other relatives. The financial advantage is that if you’re paying your child to

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Protect Your Tax Return With This Secret Weapon!

The Problem You hang up the phone with a huge smile on your face. You just learned that you’re getting a pretty sizeable tax refund this year. Now all you need to do is kick back and wait a week or two for the IRS to wire the money into your bank account. This good news, however, is unfortunately short lived. The very next day you get another phone call. “I’m sorry to tell you this,

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Your Identity is NOT Your Own!

How companies use your identity and what you can do to protect it. One of the most valuable things you own is YOU. Your identity includes the basics – where you live, your age, and your gender. But it also includes your interests, who you know, and what you buy. So, do you know who has your identity? Here’s the life cycle of your identity and what to do to protect it. It gets collected. Think

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