Author Archive | Daniel W. Doherty

The Probate Process

What is the Probate Process? Probate is the process by which a deceased person’s property, known as the “estate,” is passed to his or her heirs and legatees (people named in the will).  The entire process, supervised by the probate court, usually takes about a year.  However, substantial distributions from the estate can be made […]

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Estate Planning Terms

No one likes to think about one’s own death.  However, planning ahead can help your family avoid unnecessary complications, delay and expense.  This may be done through wills, trusts, joint ownership, and life insurance.  In addition, modern estate planning also includes “life” planning through powers of attorney and health care proxies.  These enable someone else […]

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Tax Update – Fiscal Cliff

Congress passed legislation, which President Obama indicated he would sign, to avoid the fiscal cliff.  The legislation would allow tax rates to rise on the nation’s highest earners while also extending dozens of tax cuts for individuals and businesses. Specifically, the bill: Raises the top tax rate to 39.6% for married couples earning $450,000; single taxpayers […]

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LEGAL UPDATE: New Massachusetts Homestead Legislation Signed Into Law

On December 16, 2010 Governor Patrick signed into law “An Act Relative to the Estate of Homestead”, a comprehensive revision of the Massachusetts declaration of homestead law. Under prior law, a declaration of homestead protected up to $500,000 of equity in your primary residence.  This protection was available only if the homeowner actually filed a declaration […]

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Tax Update – 2010 Tax Relief Act

Congress approved and President Obama signed into law on December 17, 2010, the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010. This letter is intended to inform clients about changes made by this far-reaching tax law and impress upon them the many ways in which the new law will impact their personal […]

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Legal Update – Massachusetts Adopts Additional Foreclosure Requirements

The Massachusetts legislature recently enacted emergency legislation which requires lenders to comply with new rules before foreclosing on a residential property.  The new law essentially (i) expands existing pre-foreclosure notice requirements and (ii) creates a new statutory chapter granting additional protections to tenants impacted by foreclosures. Pre-Foreclosure Notice Requirements. The new bill, S 2407, (Chapter […]

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Tax Update – Small Business Jobs Act

On September 27, 2010, the President signed the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, passed by Congress the prior week.  The Act’s title “Small Business Jobs Act of 2010” does not reflect its true scope; its provisions impact businesses of many sizes. In addition to the many non-tax provisions related to small business lending and […]

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Back to School Time

It’s that time of year where students head back to school.  If you’re like me and your oldest is heading off to college, you might want to take some time to familiarize yourself with FERPA.  FERPA is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99).  It is […]

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Estate Planning – Estate Tax Marital Deduction

First, an explanation about why this letter discusses the estate tax marital deduction at all. Technically, the estate tax marital deduction is no longer available for 2010 because there is no estate tax, period, currently on the books for 2010. Consensus, however, is that this interim 2010 period with no estate tax will be repealed […]

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