Tag Archive: trusts and estates

7 Resolutions to Get Your Legal House in Order for a Great 2020

January 17, 2020 12:10 pm Published by Mountain, Dearborn & Whiting LLP

Welcome to a brand-new decade! It’s halfway through January, and we hope you’ve already made progress on your life-changing resolutions for the coming year. Here are a few recommendations from our colleagues at Mountain, Dearborn & Whiting for law-related resolutions that you can add to your list—now, or anytime this year:

1. Katherine Bagdis, Partner, Litigation and Family Law: If you “popped the question” over the holidays, now is a good time to consider whether you and your soon-to-be spouse should execute a prenuptial agreement prior to the wedding.

2. Robin DeAugustinis, Partner, Commercial Lending and Real Estate Law: If you haven’t already done so, please execute and record a Declaration of Homestead ...

My Big Fat Message About Holiday Gifts

December 16, 2019 6:38 pm Published by Nina T. Dow

Have you completed your holiday shopping? For some people, the shopping season starts in August; others (including me) still have a few more days before the deadline. Choosing the right gift can be tricky—a book? a Roomba? a gift card (the easy way out)? Or how about a real surprise, as in the 2002 romcom My Big Fat Greek Wedding? In the film, Nia Vardalos, as Fotoula Portokalos, and her fiancé receive her parents’ wedding gift in advance of the holidays—a new home!

I’ll save the gift and estate tax issues that result from such a present for another blog post. Here, let’s take a closer looks at a different type of end-of-year gifting that people ...

Nina T. Dow Recognized by Super Lawyers

October 18, 2019 8:00 am Published by Mountain, Dearborn & Whiting LLP

Attorney Nina T. Dow of Mountain, Dearborn & Whiting is among the Massachusetts Super Lawyers and Rising Stars for 2019. Specializing in estate and tax planning, she joined the firm in 2018.

An associate who works closely with Attorney Ann K. Molloy, Nina enjoys the challenge of helping clients reach their unique estate planning objectives in a tax-efficient manner. She also advises clients on charitable giving, special needs trusts, Medicaid planning, trust and estate administration, and the preparation of estate and fiduciary income tax returns. She is a regular contributor to Mountain Dearborn’s Side Bar Blog.

Nina holds a J.D. from Suffolk University School of ...

Lessons from “Derry Girls” About Estate Planning for the Parents Next Door

August 1, 2019 8:00 am Published by Nina T. Dow

Yes, it’s still summer. But public school here in Worcester starts in less than a month (August 26). To ease the transition, I highly recommend the charming Netflix comedy series, Derry Girls, which explores the lives of four teenaged gals and one lad who attend a female Catholic school in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, during the 1990s. You must watch the show to understand why the boy in the group is allowed to attend an all-girls school.

Not only will it make you laugh—you’ll learn a bit about estate planning, even though the children and their families are not at all wealthy. When the kids hear of a school trip to Paris (Season 1, Episode 2), they quickly ...

For Love of Lassie: Pet Trusts Aren’t Just for the Wealthy

April 11, 2019 12:20 pm Published by Nina T. Dow

We love our pets. From Lassie to Garfield, pop culture has thrived on stories about bonds between humans and our furry friends. Today, as we celebrate National Pet Day, people feel closer than ever to their favorite animals. A 2011 survey showed that dog owners, in particular, considered their pets to be just as important as family members, treating them with the same level of care and discipline as their children.

Some of the rich and famous consider their pets even more important than family. Remember Leona Helmsley? The New York real estate tycoon left $12 million to her Maltese dog, Trouble, when she died in 2007—more than she left two of her grandchildren, whom she ...

Buying Your First Home? 12 Tips & Traps

March 21, 2019 8:00 am Published by Nina T. Dow Robin A. DeAugustinis

It’s finally March, the first month of spring and the start of house-hunting season. Buying your first home is a big deal. It’s a large financial investment, and it’s often an emotional commitment. No surprise that trying to navigate the homebuying maze can be a source of tension between you and a loved one. To avoid those pitfalls, consider hiring a good real estate lawyer who can make the process much easier for all involved. We’ve had many clients and friends say, after the fact, “I wish I’d hired a lawyer” or “I am so glad we hired a lawyer.”

Whether or not you choose to have a real estate attorney represent you, here are some tips ...

Mountain Dearborn Prevails in SJC Decision to Protect Spouses Who Are Left Out of Wills

January 11, 2019 12:19 pm Published by Katherine A. Bagdis

A January 8th decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) supported the claim of a second wife, represented by Mountain Dearborn, who sought to receive her legal share of the real estate that her husband left to his four children. The case highlights the importance of understanding the legal consequences of marriage, especially when you have children from a prior relationship.

When you marry in Massachusetts, your spouse automatically becomes entitled to receive certain rights and benefits, unless both parties agree otherwise. For instance, your spouse automatically becomes the beneficiary of any qualified retirement plan which you then have, or to which you begin contributing, during the marriage, such as a 401k or 403b plan. You ...

Want to Avoid Politics at Thanksgiving? Try This Important Conversation

November 16, 2018 4:38 pm Published by Ann K. Molloy

Ah, Thanksgiving—a time when families gather, usually at one table, for good food, good cheer and—well, maybe not always—good conversation. Politics is a non-starter for many families. So this year, instead of fighting across the political divide, why not talk about something that could actually help your family, emotionally and financially?

Having the family all together presents a golden opportunity to discuss an important issue: estate planning. True, this isn’t always an easy discussion (though we hope it’s easier than politics). As a parent, you may worry about discussing your mortality with your children. As a son or daughter, you may worry that your parents might think you’re greedy. But more often than not, parents and children alike are ...

Lessons from “Lady Bird”: Four Reasons Why You Need a Will to Determine Who Gets What

September 14, 2018 2:55 pm Published by Nina T. Dow

Lady Bird is my hands-down favorite film this year. Like the protagonist, I spent my formative years in Catholic schools. The movie prompted fond memories of plaid uniforms, cotton knee socks that never sagged, and recitations of prepositions (I can still rattle off the list to this day), as well as a renewed appreciation for my strong spelling skills and ability to write in cursive (now rare talents) that those 13 years gave me.

Aside from the trip down memory lane, the film also fascinates me as an estate planning lawyer, because it raises important reasons for “getting a will.”

Heirs Apparent

In one scene, the film’s protagonist, Christine McPherson (Saoirse [Shur-sa] Ronan) talks with ...

For Your Digital Assets, There Is Life After Death

August 16, 2018 9:00 am Published by Katherine A. Bagdis

You’re working on your estate plan with your attorney, and she asks if you’re on Facebook. Don’t be alarmed—she’s not trying to “friend” you. There’s a good reason for her question: your Facebook profile is a “digital asset.” It has personal value to you, and a business profile may also have monetary value.

While the word “asset” conjures images of wealth in the form of physical and financial property, the Internet and social media have created a new form of property that may be transferred upon the death of its owner.

What Are Digital Assets?

Digital assets include your email account; your personal online photos and videos; digital music; personal or business website; Facebook, Twitter, ...