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Estate Planning in Detail

estateSince estate planning is on my mind this week, I decided to feature a series of blogs that will give information about the many areas of estate planning in detail.  With these general guidelines and information, it is my hope to lessen the stigma of estate planning so that it becomes an easier task to complete for my clients.

Let’s face it. Nobody really wants to think about dying. Right? We all want to think that the day will never come and we will be here for many a day. Even if we realize that it is going to happen, we don’t want to think about it.

While I wish that were the case, it is not reality. What’s left behind from our lives, other than our impressions, memories and legacies, is our “stuff.” Without proper planning, you lose the ability to control to whom your “stuff” goes, including to the federal government, and the ability to make the transition of your loss easiest on your family.

Over the coming weeks you will read about the following topics:

Why do I need an estate plan?

Why do I need a trust?

Why do I need a will?

Can I afford an estate plan?

Follow me this month for a series of articles about the many areas of estate planning. Always remember to check out my answers to questions posted on our FAQ page, follow our Facebook page and our Twitter feed for other relevant news and check back often for more news, blogs and law updates on estate planning! As always, contact me when you are ready to meet and discuss, or update, your own estate plan.

Communicating on Social Media During Divorce

If you have read the news recently, you probably noticed that social media has come under fire for a couple of things.  First, social media outlets have been accused of creating fake news.  Second,  Facebook has been accused of allowing hackers to integrate its system...

Do I have to pay child support without a court order?

Do I have to pay child support without a court order?  This is a question that I see often in my practice. The answer is two-fold: there’s the legal advice and the practical advice. Picture this:  you and your partner have separated. You’ve moved out of the home. ...

Can I Keep My Home

In the first part of this series, we discussed the marital home and what happens in a divorce to that home.  Click here for our last article- What Happens to the Family Home in a Divorce.  Continuing that series, we will start with the next question which involves...

Why Family Should Not Provide Your Legal Representation

It's a common situation.  A person is in need of legal representation for one reason or another, and because of restricted funds, reaches out to a family member who is also an attorney.  The family member, be it a brother, sister, aunt, uncle, parent or child, wants...

What is a CWOF? Continuance Without a Finding

People often ask me "What is a CWOF?" in Massachusetts?  It's a funny term but it's really just an acronym.  A CWOF is a “continuance without a finding.” This is a disposition that is meant for a first time offender, one that has not had a criminal matter in a long...

Should I Stay Married For the Sake of My Children?

I often see the question posed to me in the middle of a conversation with a potential client, current client or even an acquaintance who knows I practice family law:  should I stay married for the sake of my children?  Should I wait until they are older before we...

Can I be arrested for a warrant in Massachusetts if I go to the local DMV in Massachusetts?

Q:  Can I be arrested for a misdemeanor warrant in Massachusetts if I go to the local DMV in Massachusetts? If there is a warrant, you can be arrested at any time. They don't specifically have people standing by to take you into custody at the DMV, but certainly, law...

Massachusetts Contempt: Need to Know

 Massachusetts Contempt: What is it? How do I address it? What are the remedies? I hear people use the word “contempt” all of the time, but there is a lot of confusion about contempt and what to do about contempt. Here’s more information about this issue. What is it? ...

I missed my (criminal) court date! What do I do?

You’re going about your day and suddenly realize that you were supposed to be in court. Last week. You thought it was next week, but it was actually last week. Oh no! What do I do!? First, understand that you are in default and a warrant has likely been issued for...

West Memphis 3 – Reopening of Original Murder Case

UPDATE April 2020: Oxygen Network aired its long awaited show about this case.  It featured Bob Ruff's Truth & Justice working with famed former FBI profiler Jim Clemente and others to re-start an investigation in a manner they believe it should have been done...

Can my parents get their money back that they loaned us when we got married?

My parents lent my husband & I money while we were married. I now want to make sure that they get their money back during our divorce. Can my parents get their money back that they loaned us when we got married? Maybe. If your parents lent money to either or both...

What does Child Support Cover: Medical Bills

We are continuing the series about Child Support and the things it covers.  This article will focus on expenses incurred that are outside the actual child support payment but perhaps still required by the court as a form of supporting your child.  Our previous article...

2017 Child Support Guidelines – Part 3

In part 3 of our series on the 2017 Child Support Guidelines, we will be addressing child support for children between 18-23 years old and parental contribution to post-secondary educational expenses. If you would like to read about other changes, please see Part 1 -...

Family Vacation After the Divorce

The reality of a divorce or separation often hits families the hardest over holidays and vacation time.  Family vacations may have been where many memories were created over the years.  Now, after a breakup of the family, it's an emotional time since nobody is quite...

Avoiding Legal Issues

In my previous article, “What Type of Attorney Should I Hire,” I wrote about the importance of speaking with an attorney early on in your case to maximize any potential outcome you may have as well as choosing the right attorney for the type of situation, rather than...

Topics You Should Discuss With Your Divorce Lawyer

Hiring a divorce lawyer is the first important step in a long list of your divorce. Once you retain a lawyer it is vitally important that you communicate openly and honestly with her.  She is there to to advocate for you to get the best solution for your situation. We...

Five Tips for Attending Court

Often I am asked "what do I wear?" or "is there anything that I need to know about going to Court?" Below are tips for attending Court that I find rather useful. 1. Dress appropriately. It is not necessary to wear a suit or formal outfit to Court. Wear an outfit that...

Kid’s Corner: The “Don’ts”

I’m not a therapist by any means, but I do have children of my own and I do help my clients deal with their children’s issues in the course of my representation during divorce or other family law cases. There are two important lists for kids. First is the “do’s” and...

New Hampshire: Child Impact Seminar – Updated Link

In New Hampshire, all parties to a divorce, or any case that surrounds parental rights, activities and/or responsibilities, must attend the Child Impact Program. This program is an educational program.  It is four hours long and discusses methods to help your child...

Post Divorce Parenting: Helping Your Child Succeed

Life for a child of divorce can feel like a war zone. They often feel torn between two people who have completely different opinions and different life styles. The rules can vary from household to household which leaves the child with a sense of confusion and anger....

Quality Time With Kids

Children of divorced or separated parents have a bum rap.  There is just no other way to state it.  No matter what parents do, kids dream of having mom and dad together.  Behind the scenes this is not always the best solution for the children so what is the best plan...

Delphi Murders Update

May 2021 Update: As we all work to keep this case in the headlines for as many eyes as possible, we often see other arrests that may appear to be similar to the person who killed Abby & Libby.  Those persons will be investigated thoroughly by the local police, the...

What Constitutes Parental Abduction?

It's a sickening thought, wondering if your child may be abducted by your ex-spouse and taken without your consent, outside of the court's order, maybe even across state lines. Parental abduction is a form of kidnapping in many states.  But what are your legal rights...

Prenuptial Agreements: Why Would I Want That?

It's hard to think that a divorce might happen when you are in the midst of planning your marriage and happily dreaming about the rest of your life, isn’t it?  How do you plan a happy life while deciding what to do if it all goes south?  The problem is that most...

The Importance of an Appeal

Aaron Hernandez, famed football player who was convicted of murder and later, committed suicide has, once again, been in the news.  You may recall that before his death, his murder conviction was working its way through the stages of the Appeal's Court.  Aaron...

Legal Meaning of the Cosby Mistrial

I’m sure you’ve all heard by now that Bill Cosby’s trial resulted in a mistrial on Saturday.   The jury came back to the judge, for the second time, on Saturday and informed him that they could not reach a verdict.  As a result, the Court declared a “mistrial.” So,...

Protecting Your Children From Sexual Predators – Part II

In our last post, we wrote about ways you can take precautions to protect your child from sexual predators who are related to the child - either by blood or marriage.  In the second article of this three part series, we will discuss protecting your children from...

Can my husband force me to sell our marital home?

This question is dependent on many factors. The very general answer is that the home will be awarded to one party or sold to a third party.  To decide what will happen, the Court will look to the wishes of the parties (who wants to stay in the home?), the ability to...

Relocating with Children After Divorce

Clients often tell me that when their divorce is complete they are "done with marriage".  The hurt has jaded them.  The fight over custody, home, financial assets, and more has left them emotionally void.  Until next time, that is.  People have a wonderful ability to...

What Happens If a Spouse Dies During Divorce

Over the past few days, we’ve seen a “celebrated” story that reminds me of a topic that arises every so often within my practice.  Have you seen the stories about Lamar Odom fighting for his life after being found unresponsive earlier this week?  The media reports...

Massachusetts OUI Laws

People often ask me what can happen in the event they (or a family member or friend) are pulled over and suspected of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol.  Here is some information from the Massachusetts website to help explain the Massachusetts OUI...

What Happens to the Family Home in a Divorce?

A large concern during divorce consultation is the marital home. What will happen? Can I stay? Will I be forced out? Can I afford it? How will the Court decide to which party the home is awarded? The answers to these questions will often determine the outcome of other...

New Hampshire: The First Appearance

    You’ve filed for divorce and you’ve received a notice that you must attend something called a First Appearance. So, what is this?     If you are a party to a divorce action, and you have children of the marriage that are...

Annulment: Legal vs Religious

Annulment:  Legal versus Religious – an important distinction In the past  I wrote an article about annulment in each state:  Massachusetts and New Hampshire.  As I wrapped up the last article, I realized that I should discuss just one more point about annulment that...

Shared Physical Custody: A Growing Trend

Years ago, when a couple parted ways, it was simply assumed that the children would live with their mother and have visitation with their father. Typically, the father's visitation with his children was for two weekends per month and if feasible for him, a "dinner...

Grandparent’s Rights in Massachusetts

The issue of visitation rights for grandparent’s rights is governed by Massachusetts G.L. c. 119, s. 39D. Grandparents may seek visitation, “grandparent’s rights,” through the Court with their “unmarried minor” grandchildren if: (1) the parents are divorced, married...

Who Gets the Engagement Ring?

The contemplation of marriage, instituted by the engagement of the parties, traditionally brings with it an engagement ring given from one to another.  Some have sentimental value:  engagement rings are handed down and are often heirlooms.  An engagement ring may have...

NH: Can I Hire an Attorney During COVID-19

For my New Hampshire clients, here’s the update:   Currently, the Courts are closed.   You may not go to the court, but the Family Division is conducting some of the court's business behind closed doors.   Here’s what to expect: In an emergency situation,  you will...

Child Support: Two Part Series on Common Issues – Intro

Certain questions become very common in the practice of divorce and parenting.  Particularly with the commonality of changing jobs more often than in the past and second marriages and/or new relationships post-divorce, issues rise that may not have been an issue many...

Absent Parents: The Parent Who Used to be Absent

Absent parents is a topic that I see frequently in my practice. Here’s a perfect example: Mom was pregnant but dad wanted nothing to do with her, or the baby, during pregnancy and for a while thereafter. At some point, for whatever reason, the dad becomes interested...

Is It Safe To Leave an Abusive Marriage?

A co-worker, "Pat",  confides to you during lunch one day that her "marital bliss" has all been a sham and that she thinks she has just learned to accept her husband's abusive behavior.  All of the stories she shares at work about her family are lies and have been for...

I am going to file for divorce myself. I may hire a lawyer later. However, when do I have to move out of the home?

This is a tough question to answer without knowing more about your case. The status of the marital home varies from case to case and is different in New Hampshire than it is in Massachusetts. Is the home being sold? If so, by whom and when? Is your spouse keeping the...

Legal Lessons From a Mistress

The following is from someone who asked to share her story so others could learn from her Legal Lessons From a Mistress. Several years ago I went through a nasty divorce after 17 years of marriage.  At the end of it, I vowed never to allow myself to fall for another...

Filing a Protective Order: Preparing to Leave

Filing a protective order is an extremely difficult decision.  It takes a toll physically and emotionally on a person.  After the filing, many decisions still have yet to be finalized.  This article is not intended to override your existing plans regarding self help;...

How do you defeat a prenuptial agreement? (The Bobby Flay Story)

How do you defeat a prenuptial agreement? I’m sure that you’ve seen the latest celebrity news scandal about Bobby Flay and his wife, Stephanie March: Bobby allegedly cheated on her with various women and has now filed for divorce (just after being thrown out of the...

Divorce: Moving on When Others Won’t

Divorce is rough.  It's an emotional roller coaster for everyone involved.  Just getting to the point where a couple decides that divorce is the only solution left is often devastating.  After the dust settles, and the divorce is completely finalized, both parties are...

Supervised Visitation: The Brad and Angelina Case

Brad and Angelina I’m sure you’ve seen recently that Brad and Angelina have made strides in settling their parenting agreement.  Angelina is maintaining primary custody of the children.  Brad will have “therapeutic visits” with the kids.   Basically, that amounts to...

Can my wife take my inheritance in the divorce?

Very popular question!  I often get this question - can my wife take my inheritance in the divorce? or can my husband take my inheritance in the divorce? In my experience, most judges look to keep “family money” within a family.  If your parents saved their entire...

Should You Date Before Your Divorce Is Final?

You filed a Complaint for Divorce and are ready to move on with your life. Should you date before your divorce is final?  Can dating someone hurt you while you are going through the divorce process? Could dating hurt you at all? Although it is always best to wait...

How to Survive the Holidays During Divorce

The holidays are a time for family.  It's supposed to be a time to look back and reflect on those wonderful memories together.  When you are in the midst of a divorce, or you’ve recently completed the divorce process, it's not always easy to recall those happier...

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