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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.

When Children Take on Parenting: After Effects of Divorce

The son of recently divorced parents finds Mom crying in the kitchen.  "What's wrong, Mom?" he asks.  "Your Dad doesn't love me.  He has a  new girlfriend. How could he do that to us?"  The boy is angered and hurt.  He hugs his mother as she cries.  He consoles her in...

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...

Paternity: How can I establish paternity of my child?

If you are wondering how to establish paternity of your child, chances are, you have read up on some of the variety of ways and may have become confused on the right path to take.  There are a number of valid ways you can go about this and there are good reasons on...

Custody Case Takes a Turn – The Brad Pitt Saga

If you’re not living under a rock, and if you are a loyal reader here on my site, I am sure you’ve heard about the custody battle between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Some months ago, Angelina claimed that Brad abused their child and sought full custody of all six...

I Want to Fire My Lawyer!

If you have every said "I want to fire my lawyer, you are not alone".  Many times during a case it can seem confusing or overwhelming.  If you are frustrated or dissatisfied with your attorney, are not happy with the speed, outcome or method of the case, or are at the...

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? ...

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...

Visitation Part 2: Pick up, Drop off and Last Minute Schedule Changes

It’s very rare that parties to a divorce, or parents who are no longer in a relationship, get along very well. After all, if you did, you’d likely still be together, right? It is more typically the case that parents do NOT get along. As a result, dealing with...

The Queen Had Soul But No Will

Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, was recently laid to rest.  Her service was like no other in our history.  Musicians from all genres came out to pay respects with praise and song for a women who battled against the odds to become one of the true legends of our...

Losing Custody of Your Child

Losing custody of your child is one of the most heart-wrenching things a parent can endure.  As a family attorney, I am often asked about the types of things that will result in losing custody of your child.  This article will point out a few actions that can lead to...

What is the role of a Guardian Ad Litem in Massachusetts?

I recently received a question on our website about how much input a GAL (Guardian Ad Litem) has with a judge during a divorce and custody case.  That's a complex issue so rather than write a quick answer to the question, I decided to write about it here on our blog....

After Divorce: Why is my Child So Angry?

Part of my practice in family law deals in working with parents after the divorce and the adjustment of the families after the "dust settles", so the speak.  Often the parents move on with the lives but the child of that previous marriage has a difficult time dealing...

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...

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...

Filing a Protective Order

Filing a protective order (209A) can be a scary time.  Maybe you aren't sure where you will go.  Maybe you have children to consider.  Perhaps your family is not as supportive or available as you need.  There are places and ways to get help so that you are not alone. ...

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...

Is Sexting Cheating?

Some say it's harmless; just flirting and having fun.  Others say it's much more than that - it's a form of cheating whether there is physical contact or not.  While the term "sexting" is certainly not new, it has been in the media more in recent weeks, both with the...

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...

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...

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...

CWOF – May I have another?

A while back I wrote an article telling you about a CWOF. What is it? How does it work? What does it entail? You can check that article out here: What is a CWOF.   Recently I have had a number of questions about the process of CWOF, including whether it can be done a...

Paying Child Support Without a Court Order

Paying child support without a court order Paying child support without a court order is a question that comes up very often in my practice.  This can apply anytime there is a child between two people, whether the couple is married, or unmarried.  Here is a common...

Divorce Without Consent: Can I divorce without my spouse’s consent?

A very common question is whether you can get divorce without consent.  Of course! The old adage that you need your spouse to “give you a divorce” is no longer. You can proceed with a divorce even if the other party does not want to divorce. You don’t need a spouse’s...

What Type of Attorney Should I Hire?

This article is part of a series about why it's important to hire an attorney and the reasons behind hiring an attorney.  The purpose of this series is to help you determine the types of situations where a lawyer is most needed and to know when to reach out for...

Modification: The In’s and Out’s

As life changes, you may find yourself in a situation where your current order (or judgment) no longer applies to your circumstances or seems fair, given your life changes. If you find yourself in this situation, speak with an attorney to determine if you would...

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...

New Child Support Guidelines 2017 – Part 2

Welcome back to part 2 of our series on the new Child Support Guidelines (2017 version).  This section will address the increase to the minimum child support order.  If you missed our previous article, you can find it here, at:  New Guidelines Overview. Increase of...

Questions You Should Ask Your Divorce Attorney

When seeking a divorce attorney, there are a million questions running through your mind.  It’s wise to make a list of the topics you wish to address so that you can make the most of your time together.  Here are some questions you should be sure make that list: 1. ...

Massachusetts: How does Separate Support Differ from Divorce?

In Massachusetts, I am often asked about the difference between Separate Support and Divorce.  Actions for Separate Support and Divorce are two very distinct options that are separate filings in the Probate & Family Court. It is important to understand the...

What Does Child Support Cover? Part I

Paying child support is a double-edged sword.  Parents are court ordered to pay but have little, or no, say-so on how it is spent day to day.  There are some court mandated requirements governing child support and because I receive many inquires about it, this is part...

Child Support and Attribution of Income

I hear this statement a lot (more out of frustration than anything else):  “You can’t get blood from a stone. I will just quit my job and she won’t get any support!”   It sounds like the perfect move in theory.   Too bad that it is not true!  Child support and...

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...

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...

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. ...

Appeal a Judgment

I recently came across this article "How to Appeal a Judgment without an Attorney."  Being fairly intrigued, I read the article looking for holes that I could use in writing this post.  However, I must admit, it was well written and it was thorough.  It began by...

Changing Attorneys Mid-Case

Changing Attorneys Mid-Case Often, folks just like you call me part way through a divorce, or even after a divorce is over, that say that are not satisfied with their attorney.  Most people feel that if they have hired someone, they “probably shouldn’t” switch...

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...

Wait! We Didn’t Mean to Divorce! Can’t We Get a Do-Over?

During the month of December, the New Hampshire Supreme Court upheld a lower Court’s decision that a couple cannot “un-divorce,” or “vacate” their divorce, by joint motion to the Court. In this particular case, a couple that had divorced after 24 years of marriage...

Custody: Can My Child Decide?

Very often I am asked “when can my child decide choose where he lives?” or “at what age will the Court listen to my children’s input?” The short answer to this question is that there is no “magic age” to answer "can my child decided" which the court will let the child...

Brangelina: What If They Divorced in Massachusetts?

I can’t imagine you’ve listened to the news or radio over the past week without having heard something about the pending divorce of Brad Pitt and Angelia Jolie.  The two separated recently and Jolie filed for divorce.  It's become a nasty case with all sorts of...

Parenting Your Special Needs Child

Penny and Zach had a stormy relationship from day one.  They argued over food, traveling and holidays.  After they were married, they could not agree on anything except their child's name.    When Baby Levi was 3 and still behind developmentally, Penny sought out...

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...

Massachusetts Complaint for Contempt – Serve that Summons!

Many times a case gets dismissed for failure to provide adequate notice to the other party that a complaint has been filed.  This is because the the other party has a right to be given notice of any actions taken against them or that they are named in a proceeding. ...

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...

​ Can you get a restraining order on behalf of your child?

​As a parent it is our number one job to protect our children. In today's world, with all of the technology, there are more ways than ever for a child to be targeted. Children can be targeted by their own peers, by adults pretending to be other children or by...

Expectations after Divorce

           In a relationship, we have certain expectations of our spouse, our partner and perhaps the other parent to our children. Often, the other party will try to do what you’d like. But what happens when the relationship is no longer? Is it realistic to have the...

Can My Childs Dad Go To NH Court for Physical Custody?

Question: I am moving to NH can my childs dad go to NH court and try and get 50 physical custody? He has shared legal right now. Answer: If you have an order, it might address this issue. Look within it to see if it talks about either party moving his or her residence...

Creating an Irrevocable Trust Can Save Your Loved Ones

The words "irrevocable trust" often seem intimidating to many of my clients.  However, when used properly, this can be an effective estate planning tool.   If designed properly, it can prevent an estate from staying tied up in probate for years.  It can help families...

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...

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...

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What qualities do I look for when hiring an attorney?

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