Quincy Legal Issues Blog

Tips for people who work from home

There are many great reasons for people to work from home. In fact, while some must work from home out of necessity, quite a few gladly choose this option. After all, you can save on office rentals as well as gas costs and other commuting costs.

Of course, you are still working even if you do so from home. That means you must take most, if not all, of the same business steps you would if you leased an office. Here is a look at a few tips.

Actor's divorce auction highlights property division issues

When Quincy couples reach the end of a marriage, it's not for them to find that they need to downsize. At least one partner (if not both) may be moving out of a house and into an apartment. Even couples in a high-asset divorce may find that it is time to let go of assets acquired during the marriage as they move on with their lives.

Actor Russel Crowe and wife Danielle Spencer, who have been separated for more than five years and are in the process of finalizing their divorce, are going through this same experience, albeit on a much larger scale. Crowe is hosting a high-profile auction which will include luxury watches (just one of which is estimated at $50,000), art, automobiles, jewelry, furniture and even a guitar collection. Naturally, memorabilia from Gladiator and other Crowe films is generating significant interest from bidders.

Truck driver charged in child's death

When companies send their employees out driving for work on the roads in Quincy or anywhere else in Massachusetts, they are taking on the responsibility for any negligent acts committed while those employees are driving for work. In some cases, this may include liability for injuries or even fatalities when car accidents result from employee negligence behind the wheel.

Last fall, in a community just south of Quincy, a Comcast employee was driving a truck when, police say, he struck a 4-year-old girl who reportedly ran out into the street. The accident proved fatal for the young girl; her grandmother also went into shock and had to be taken to the hospital. The truck driver did not try to flee the scene and cooperated with authorities. With the accident investigation now complete, he is facing serious criminal charges in the death of the child.

How to know when it is time to change your business structure

When you started your Massachusetts business, the first thing you decided was what type of business structure you wanted. Each kind of business structure has its own pros and cons, and you chose the one that best fit your needs at the time. Now you are several years down the road, and your business is bigger, better and more profitable than it was when it began. Is it time to change your business structure

The answer to this question depends on your current needs and your plans for further business growth. For instance, if you are a sole proprietorship, are you thinking about taking on a partner? Do you want to attract investors? Do you need to hire employees? Do you want to stop paying your company’s income taxes yourself as part of your personal income taxes? Do you want to have more control over your company’s management and operations, or conversely, would you prefer to share those responsibilities with others?

Can Chapter 11 offer debt relief to a small business?

After we wrote recently here on our Quincy legal issues blog about two major grocery chains struggling with debt and reportedly preparing for bankruptcy, we should pause to address a question some readers are likely to have. While it's true that bankruptcy can allow big businesses to reorganize in an effort to return to profitability, does Chapter 11 offer debt relief for a small business?

The answer is yes: in fact, an overwhelming majority of Chapter 11 filings are made on behalf of small businesses (that is, businesses with under 500 employees). Small businesses receive the same protection from creditors under Chapter 11. They will have roughly six months to develop a business reorganization plan and try to work out better terms for repaying their debts. This is exactly what many small business owners need to overcome their financial challenges and return to profitability.

Grocery store chains reportedly preparing to file for bankruptcy

Many retail businesses in Quincy are used to getting by on tight margins and increasingly tough competition, but perhaps none more so than grocery stores. Factor in cuts to food stamp subsidies as well as Amazon's recent acquisition of Whole Foods in preparation to expand its own presence on the ground, and some grocery stores are wondering what their exit strategy will be if business is no longer sustainable.

The parent company of one major grocery chain, Winn-Dixie, is reported to be anticipating filing for bankruptcy next month. It is expected to close some 200 locations as it seeks a way out from under the more than $1 billion it owes. Another company, which owns Tops Friendly Markets, might file for bankruptcy yet this month as it struggles with debt, acquired in part through a series of ownership transactions.

Tips for first-time business owners before they make that buy

It can be exciting when you are about to buy a business for the first time. As with many things, though, you are determined to not let excitement overrule good judgment.

To that end, here are a few tips to help ensure you are making the best purchase for your situation.

Estate planning and caring for elderly parents

Adult Quincy residents in their forties and fifties today are part of what has been referred to as the "sandwich" generation. They are sandwiched, that is, between caring for their kids and caring for their own elderly parents.

Providing care for aging parents -- without being paid for it -- is becoming more and more a part of life for adults in this age range. Care may include everything from cooking their meals and running errands for them to bringing them to appointments, managing their medications and handling their bills and finances. Over 43 million Americans have engaged in this type of parent support within the past year, according to a recent study. Nearly 20 percent of those responding to the study indicated they do this on a full-time basis.

Residential real estate owners in Quincy stung by tax lien sales

Quincy residents all know that not making one's mortgage payments can lead to foreclosure. What they may not know is that Quincy is one of several cities in Massachusetts that practices the dubious, albeit legal, sale of tax liens to private companies. These companies are then free to move aggressively to foreclose upon owners of residential real estate who had no idea they were at risk.

The way a tax lien sale works is as follows. Say a property owner falls behind on tax payments, utility bills or other payments to local agencies. The city can place a tax lien on the title to the property. Rather than go through the process of trying to collect the money owed, the city can sell the tax lien to a third party. Companies funded by private investors may even pay more than the actual amount owed in order to take over the tax lien.

The "armed career criminal" charge in Massachusetts law

We used a term in passing in one of our recent Quincy legal issues blog posts that we should pause to define in some detail. The term was "armed career criminal" and has a specific meaning under Massachusetts law, along with specific potential consequences for anyone facing such a charge.

The state's Armed Career Criminal Statute applies to residents in a couple of possible situations. The first is residents with prior convictions for what Massachusetts law calls "serious drug offenses" -- usually, drug crimes like distribution or manufacturing that are punishable by at least 10 years in prison. It also applies in cases of prior convictions for "violent crimes," which may mean any crime that carries a minimum sentence of one year in prison.

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