Quincy Legal Issues Blog

Massachusetts considers raising felony larceny threshold

Massachusetts state law treats larceny differently depending on the amount or the value that a defendant has allegedly stolen. The current distinction, as well as proposed changes to the law, are important to understand for anyone facing charges associated with this type of crime.

Currently, Massachusetts regards theft of $250 or less in property to be a misdemeanor. While still serious, a misdemeanor is generally more likely to be punished with probation, fines or some other consequences as opposed to jail time. Larceny of over $250, however, is a felony and therefore a defendant will face more serious consequences if accused of felony larceny.

3 big life decisions you should get legal advice about

There are many decisions in life that do not require the advice or counsel of a legal expert. However, when faced with some major decisions in particular, a legal consultation can provide valuable information that may make your situation easier to navigate. 

Here are three areas where you would do well to seek the advice and counsel of a qualified attorney before proceeding. Often, if you seek a legal consultation, you will have better information about your options, and this can help you make the decision that is best for you. Especially in situations where emotions run high, an attorney can help provide not only the necessary legal information you need but also help you see things from a more logical and rational perspective.

More seniors are turning to bankruptcy for debt relief

It seems that, as we age, our bodies simply can't keep up the way they did in our younger years. Seniors in Massachusetts and across the nation may find that they are increasingly racking up medical bills all while living on a fixed income. This can put them in a very precarious financial situation. While some may find that they just need to "tighten their belts" for a little while, others may find that their medical expenses are more than they could ever afford.

In fact, according to one report, medical debt is the number one reason that individuals ages 65 and up file for bankruptcy. This makes up approximately eight percent of those who file for bankruptcy -- a one percent uptick from 2008. And, for some, bankruptcy is a godsend. It is the answer they need to address their debts in a responsible way.

Don't jump into the commercial real estate market alone

The "Great Recession" is behind us and many people in Massachusetts are looking for opportunities in the commercial real estate market. They may want to develop a factory, a warehouse, an apartment complex or a shopping center. Mixed-use development is also a popular option for commercial real estate developers these days. Any of these can be financially worthwhile endeavors.

However, when it comes to commercial real estate, purchasing or developing real estate can be complex. Many parties may be involved in the process, and there are many laws and regulations that must be followed. If the proper steps are not taken, it could lead to legal problems down the road that slow down the purchase or development of the property, or even put an end to it altogether.

How social media can help (and hurt) your legal proceeding

No matter if you are divorcing, facing criminal charges, have civil litigation pending or another legal issue going on, keep an eye on your social media use. In fact, your lawyer may even advise you to stay off social media altogether.

This is because just one errant post or misinterpreted phrase can be devastating to your legal proceeding.

Blow the dust off that estate plan, and take a second look

Estate planning isn't something that is done in one attempt, and then set aside forever. In fact, failing to revisit one's estate plan from time to time can be a critical error. This is because life brings constant changes that could affect how a person wants their affairs and property handled at the end of their life and upon their death. The following are some tips for Massachusetts residents to keep in mind if they have an estate plan.

First, a person should review their estate plan if their spouse or child passes away. While these are certainly tragic events, once that person is able to, they should make sure their affairs will be handled by someone who is still alive and that their assets are passed onto their chosen heirs who are still living.

Business structures that reduce personal liability

If you own or are thinking about establishing a small business, you may have concerns about whether you could be held personally liable in the event that someone files a lawsuit against your company. Virtually all small businesses are at risk in some manner or another, and this holds true even if you do not own a business in which the risks are obvious, such as a food-service entity.

So, what can you do to prevent those who may sue your business from coming after your personal assets, such as your home or your car? A key component in protecting yourself involves creating the right type of business structure from the outset.

Prenups can be valuable in the event of death or divorce

Who in Massachusetts needs a prenuptial agreement? Is it only the old or well-to-do? Not necessarily. Prenups can be an effective way for spouses of any age and financial status to protect their interests should their marriage not last or should they pass away. They may not be romantic, but they are practical.

First of all, a prenup can protect not only a spouse, but also that spouse's children from another marriage. Clauses can be included stating that the children from a previous marriage will receive certain assets if their parent passes away or divorces the second spouse.

Is it the end of the world after going bankrupt?

After going through a personal bankruptcy, it is understandable that you would be worried about your financial future. Will your credit ever recover? Fortunately, you and other Massachusetts residents can rest assured that although it is stressful, a bankruptcy does not necessarily carry the bad rap that many people seem to think.

It is true that your bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for 10 years; there is nothing you can do about that. However, the financial decisions you make in the months to come will have a significant impact on your credit either continuing to suffer or gradually bouncing back.

Alcohol may have played a role in wrong-way car accident

Many people in Massachusetts partake in an alcoholic drink from time to time. They may be celebrating a special occasion, they may be enjoying a night out with friends or they may simply be relaxing at home. However, when one drink becomes two or three or more, people can behave irresponsibly. One of the most dangerous things they can do if they are drunk is get behind the wheel of a car. Unfortunately, one person recently did just that, with catastrophic results.

A car accident caused by a person driving the wrong way on Route 95 seriously injured another motorist. The incident, which took place in Reading, Massachusetts, began when a woman, age 26, operating a 2013 Honda Civic drove due north in the southbound lane of Route 95. The woman proceeded to crash into a 2013 Volkswagen Jetta, which was heading due south.

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