Legal Blog

In general, tax debts are not necessarily dischargeable. However, there are some circumstances where tax debts do become dischargeable in Bankruptcy. If your taxes have been due for at least the three prior years when the return was actually filed and least two years since any assessment.


There are some different issues that can arise in determining the time standard; including, if filing an extension to file a return or making an offer to try and compromise some of the monies that are owed may in fact make the time be increased. In addition under McCoy, which is in the 5th Circuit Court, which is not the jurisdiction for Massachusetts, but how that a late tax return is not a tax return at all and it is unclear what it would mean for people in Massachusetts or overall, but it could mean that if you do not file a timely tax return you will not be able to discharge your income tax debt.

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Recently, a student loan was discharged due to the debtor having Asperger’s Syndrome and it was reported that a student loan debt was about $350,000.00 and $100,000.00 was discharged. The cardinal rule is that student loans are not discharged into bankruptcy, but in order for that to occur; the student loan must show that the loans are undue hardship on the debtor and/or his dependants. One of the examples of ways to show this is to show that you are not able to prove to the court that you are not able to work again in the future. In this circumstance, a Judge found that there is little likelihood that the debtor would be able to work. 


There are a lot of different issues that come up with student loans, but it’s an exception rather than the norm of being able to get a discharge and there is a high burden on the debtor

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The answer is in Massachusetts nothing prevents you under the Law from leaving one or all of your children out of your Will. You should generally use specific language to identify the child you wish to disinherit. There are some limitations with that, but there are more difficulties now under the new probate code; which if there is not a surviving spouse at all, then there are some issues in terms of being able to completely disinherit children and this is under the Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 190B Section 2403.

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What Probate means is the process of proving a Will and administering the estate of the deceased and that is called a Probate Estate. If there are assets in the Probate Estate, you have to have that listed in a form or an inventory file for the Probate Court and the Probate Estate must pay taxes and claims before it is distributed to heirs.


Marital Deduction in Massachusetts generally allows our money to pass tax free to a surviving spouse. It applies to both Massachusetts and Federal Estate Taxes and may be used to avoid some of the Estate taxes.

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A Living Trust also commonly called “Revocable Trust” is created during the lifetime of the donor, meaning that rather than doing a Will at the person’s death, it is created during their lifetime. With a Living Trust, the donor or the person that has the assets maintains control over the trust and the right to amend revoke or terminate the trust at any time. 


What the Living Trust can do, is allow your estate to pass who you want at the time you want and how you want and only generally allow your estate to pass to your heirs, but without necessarily being in the public view and some of the expenses that you might otherwise have and there is not a delay at Probate Court. It has the potential of having the Federal Estate Taxes reduced or eliminated so that more of the Estate can pass directly to your heirs not the government and you can have your affairs managed, as you might like rather than including the person that you designate, even if an illness or injury keeps you from being able to handle it yourself; there is less of a chance for people to contest or upset your plans with a Living Trust.

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The first one, can the marriage be saved? Divorce can be stressful and expensive along with having an emotional toll for the spouses and the children.  If there is a way to get counseling or some other steps to keep you and your spouse together that should always bee considered.


Second would be, examining the Massachusetts State Divorce Laws in terms of what needs to be looked at to keep you and the children secure and safe and the different requirements with that.

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Many law offices, including mine, offer free initial consultation and you don’t need to bring anything to your lawyer’s office.  However, the more prepared you are for the first meeting the better off you will be and the less time and money you will end up spending.  If you can have some information regarding your personal and business background a little bit in terms of how to be contacted that would be a good thing.


The higher level of a schedule of what your assets and debts might be; is something that might be necessary with a bankruptcy court.  So the better idea of that you have ahead of time is helpful; although, you would generally be given a questionnaire as well. Any documents that are relevant to the case; including, if there is any litigation going on; if there are any lawyers or law firms or court dockets that are representing the other side; and basically a disclosure of what your financial documents are is the most important; including any written documentation of your liabilities, your debt and copies of any loan or financing documents that you might have in your possession.  For example things like Promissory Notes, Guarantees, Deeds, Trusts, Mortgages, Bank Statements, cancelled checks, money orders.  If you are involved with a foreclosure, copies of any related documents to foreclosure, any correspondence with any creditors that you have.  If any one has guaranteed a loan or lease for you; if you can provide that Guarantor and any phone numbers and things like that would be beneficial.

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A name can be changed at any time for any reason that is basically not a lie or fraudulent.  You don’t have to go to court necessarily to do this, however, if you want your name officially changed and you cannot obtain the official documents, such as a drivers license or a passport, you do need to go to Probate and Family Court, there is a filing fee of a $165.00; which may be waived if you are indigent and a certified copy of your birth certificate or other pride judgment record amending your name.


Most times as aside for people that are going through a divorce, it makes sense to ask the court to be allowed to resume your former name even if that is not your intention because you can choose not to resume your former name or choose to resume it after along period of time even several years and you don’t have to go to court or pay the filing fee. 

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For most parents this is one of the most important steps to occur and generally the parents work together to name the child, basically any name that they choose.  However, if married parents disagree upon the name to use, they may have to actually go to court in an extreme case to resolve this dispute and the child may end up with one parent sir-name or a hyphenated version.


The city or town clerk is the one that is responsible for recording information regarding the child’s name.  If you are married and the husband it NOT the father what ends up happening, there is a presumption under the law that the biological child is from the husband, but however, if the husband’s whereabouts is unknown, both he and the mother may sign Affidavits available in Probate and Family Court, showing that he is not the father and his name would not be recorded.  If the husband’s whereabouts is unknown, then the mother signs an Affidavit stating that his whereabouts are unknown and that he is not the biological father, then the husbands name would not be recorded as well.

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It is stated that all the Judges have received from the Massachusetts Association of Family Conciliation Court a pamphlet regarding shared parenting.  Some of those things that are factored in that provide the courts that may seem straight forward, but the children do best when both parents have a stable mean for involvement with their children’s lives.  Each parent has different valuable contributions to make to the children’s development.  The children have structured routine time as well as unstructured time with each parent and the parents often find that it is better for the young children to spend more time with the parents and less time with a third party caregivers; particularly, in need of a transitions and the need for the child’s stability.


The parents should work together to provide if the younger children an appropriate daycare provider are just some of the things along with the parent should be allowed to bring personal items back and forth between the home, no matter who purchased them, that they will need to be a parenting plan that will need to be adjusted overtime as each family member need schedules and circumstances changed.

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