More Than 15 Years of Experience in Real Estate Law, Estate Planning and Probate Law
 

Frequently Asked Questions

REAL ESTATE:

Q. What is the process when a person buys a house?
A. Usually, the purchase of real estate involves a basic cycle:

A house is listed for sale by the Seller;
A Buyer attends a showing of the house;
The Buyer delivers a written offer to purchase the house;
The Seller accepts and signs the offer to purchase the house;
The Buyer conducts a home inspection;
The parties sign a formal purchase and sale agreement;
The Buyer secures financing from a lender;
The parties close on the sale of the house.


Q. Do I really need an attorney if I am buying or selling my house?
A. Absolutely. This is one of the largest transactions of an individual’s life; thus, one should have a legal advocate for advice and protection.

Q. When should a landlord serve a 30 day notice to terminate tenancy as opposed to a 14 day notice?
A. You should serve a 30 day notice to terminate tenancy (for no reason stated) when you are evicting a tenant at will for possession on your property. You should serve a 14 day notice when the tenant has failed to pay you the monthly rent in a timely fashion.

Q. If there is a residential lease, is a landlord able to serve a 30 day notice?
A. Yes, however, you cannot serve a 30 day notice to terminate with no reason stated. A landlord whom wants to terminate a lease for reasons other than nonpayment must serve a 30 day notice to terminate for cause (for a reason); in addition, the landlord must establish (prove) that cause at trial.

Q. How should a landlord accept and hold a security deposit from a residential tenant?
A. A landlord who demands and receives a security deposit must follow specific procedures set forth in G.L.c. 186 sec 15B. During the tenancy, the security deposit REMAINS the property of the tenant.

ESTATE PLANNING:

Q. What is a will?
A. A will is a written instrument controlling the disposition (or division) of an individual’s property at death.

Q. What happens to a person’s property when there is no will?
A. When a person dies without a will (“intestate”), his or her property is distributed to his/her heirs at law according to the laws of Massachusetts. The laws are inflexible and make no exceptions for families with special situations. The law provides that after payment of the expenses of administration, funeral, last illness, debts, taxes and any family allowances, the deceased person’s property is divided as follows:

The intestate share of a surviving spouse (living husband/wife) is:


The entire estate (all the assets) if:
• No descendants (children or grandchildren) or parents of the deceased person survive the person who passed away;
• All of the deceased person’s surviving descendants (children or grandchildren) are also descendants of the surviving spouse (children or grandchildren of the marriage) and there are no other kids of surviving spouse from another marriage (step children).

If no other kids of deceased person survive the deceased, but the parent(s) of the deceased person is still living, the surviving spouse receives the 1st $200,000.00 plus ¾ of the balance of the estate.

If all of the deceased person’s children or grandchildren are also children of the surviving husband or wife and the surviving spouse has one or more children or grandchildren from another marriage, the first $100,000.00 to the living spouse plus ½ the balance of the remaining estate.

If one or more of the decedent’s surviving children/grandchildren are not children/grandchildren of the surviving spouse, the first $100,000.00 goes to the living spouse plus ½ of the remaining estate.

If there is no surviving spouse:
Then the estate goes to the children/grandchildren PER CAPITA.

If there are no children/grandchildren, the estate goes to the deceased person’s parent(s).

If there are no children/grandchildren and no parents living, the estate goes to the deceased person’s siblings (brothers/sisters) PER CAPITA.
If there are no children/grandchildren, parents and no siblings, then the estate goes to the next of kin PER CAPITA.

If no surviving relatives (at all), then the estate goes to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Q. What is a Health Care Proxy?
A. Under Massachusetts law, you may appoint another person (called your Agent) to make decisions about your health care if you should become unable to do so. The document in which you name this person is called a “Health Care Proxy.”This is very similar to what some call the “Living Will.”

Q. What is a Power of Attorney?
A. Powers of Attorney are simply a formal written documents by which an appointed person (called the Attorney-in-Fact) is authorized to act or hold the power to act on behalf of the person signing the document (called the Principal).

PROBATE:

Q. What type of probate court processes do you handle?
A. Our office typically handles guardianships and conservatorships for families whom require assistance with caring for a loved one; our office also estates when people pass away.

Q. What is a guardianship?
A. After a legal action is approved in probate court, this is an arrangement under which one person (a guardian) has the legal right and duty to care for the person of another.

Q. What is a conservatorship?
A. After a legal action is approved in the probate court, this is a person appointed to manage the financial affairs (the money or funds) of an incompetent person or minor.

INCORPORATIONS:

Q. What are the most common entities formed for a small business?
A. Incorporations (S-Corporations) and Limited Liability Companies (LLC’s).

Q. Which entity makes the most sense?
A. Our office usually recommends, S-Corporations (for small, closely held corporations). However, it depends upon the agreements and objectives of the officers/managers.