Quincy Legal Issues Blog

What is title insurance and why should I pay for it?

A Massachusetts resident who is trying to purchase a home may upon reviewing their paperwork notice that they are paying several hundred dollars for title insurance on their home.

In some cases, this may be required by their bank, and so they simply pay the bill and chalk it up to an expense associated with the sale of residential real estate.

Understanding commercial leases

If you are starting a new business in Massachusetts, one of the first things you must do is find a location from which to operate it. Welcome to the world of commercial leases. If you have never before negotiated one, you will find the process considerably different than merely signing a normal preprinted residential lease like the one you signed for your apartment or rental house.

While many commercial leases contain various preprinted boilerplate paragraphs, you will find that you have far more flexibility to negotiate many of the lease‚Äôs terms. You likely also will discover that a commercial lease contains fewer protections for both you and the lessor. This is because the law presumes that you and your potential landlord have more knowledge and sophistication in business negotiations.

Undue influence in a Massachusetts will

Allegations of undue influence are among the more common reasons a will may face challenges. It is important to understand what this concept means and how Massachusetts probate courts tend to approach it.

Part of planning your estate is taking steps to protect your will and other instruments against likely challenges. While you cannot guarantee a smooth probate, you can increase its likelihood by identifying potential weaknesses and taking protective action.

Understanding probate as part of estate planning basics

Many Quincy residents will have one major question surrounding their estates or the estate of a loved one: how to avoid probate. Before delving into the subject of avoiding probate, we will spend some time making sure that our readers are clear on just when it is necessary to probate an estate.

First of all, what is probate? Probate is a legal process that takes place after a person has died. Probate transfers ownership of the deceased person's property to other parties and resolves any questions or issues related to that property. If certain property automatically transfers upon death, such as life insurance proceeds or property that married spouses own jointly, then probate is not required for those assets.

What constitutes burglary?

The crime of burglary has been around for a long time. So long, in fact, that the definition of the crime has evolved. We'll take a closer look this week at what constitutes burglary in 2018 with the understanding that the information is general in nature only and not intended to be taken as legal advice.

Generally speaking, a crime has to meet several elements in order to be charged as burglary. The first is that the defendant "broke in" without authorization. Breaking and entering actually covers many different types of actions. It could be picking a locked door or breaking a window, or even simply opening a door or window that has been left unlocked. Even threatening or tricking an occupant to gain entry, with no physical force, would still fall under the definition of breaking and entering.

Police accuse five of multiple break-ins in Quincy and elsewhere

When Quincy residents are arrested on criminal charges, it can be difficult to know where to turn. Those individuals facing criminal charges often feel like they have no say in what is happening. They may not even understand their rights in terms of criminal defense.

As a recent example, after a break-in at a bakery in a nearby town, local police sought assistance from the Boston Regional Intelligence Center. Soon, state police working under the Attorney General got involved, and the investigation soon drew in police from six other communities, including Quincy. Officials became convinced that a criminal organization had been breaking into restaurants (including a fast-food restaurant in Quincy) and other businesses over a period from 2016 to 2017.

Shared parenting bill could bring changes to child custody

When couples in Quincy decide to end their marriage, custody of their children may not be as black-and-white of an issue as many expect. There are different types of custody, and a shared parenting bill recently passed by the Massachusetts House of Representatives could affect how courts rule in these cases if it passes the Senate and is signed into law.

Generally speaking, in a divorce a court will assign one parent primary custody of the children. The other parent would then pay child support to that parent and would have a schedule for visitation with the children. Sometimes one parent will have primary physical custody while the two must jointly make decisions on the children's behalf. This arrangement is known as joint legal custody.

What if you cannot pay for a divorce?

In some divorces, even high-asset divorces, there are clients who have virtually no income to pay for a lawyer. In fact, many delay filing because they think a divorce is not possible due to their financial situation or that their spouse would end up with everything because of being able to afford a lawyer.

If you have no income and want a divorce (or your spouse wants a divorce), how to pay must weigh heavily on your mind. Here is a look at a few common options, and they should not affect your chances of getting child custody or child support.

Massachusetts law and fair debt collection (Part 2)

We'll continue our earlier discussion of debt collection and Massachusetts law in this post. The information regarding fair debt collection practices is intended not as specific legal advice, but as a general background on the topic.

We noted previously that the number of attempts collectors may make to contact you within a given time are limited, but so are the hours of the day within which they may make such attempts. Collectors have to assume that your normal waking hours are between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m., unless you tell them otherwise. They may not try to contact you outside of these hours. This applies to phone calls as well as attempts to collect in-person at your home.

Massachusetts law and fair debt collection (Part 1)

It's a nightmare situation for many Quincy residents: the phone rings and the caller starts making demands, eventually escalating to threats. They won't say who they are, but they keep calling back, sometimes in the middle of the night. They call at work. It seems they can get away with all manner of harassment and intimidation, all because a debt has fallen into collection.

What too many Quincy residents do not realize is that there are laws in Massachusetts designed to protect consumers from this kind of treatment and ensure that creditors use only fair debt collection practices. These regulations hold true regardless of whether the collection is being attempted by an original creditor (i.e., the entity that loaned out the money), a collection agency, or someone who purchased a debt after it became delinquent. With the understanding that the information is general in nature only and not specific legal advice, let's take a look at what Massachusetts law considers to be fair debt collection practices.

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