Before the end of 2011, 20% of judges in the Massachusetts Probate & Family Court will be stepping down. Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly reports.
So what does this mean for me?
With significantly less Probate and Family Court judges, the Probate process will slow down dramatically, leaving your assets in probate for an extended period of time and in the hands of the remaining overwhelmed judges.
How do I pass down my assets to my children without being affected by the Probate Court?
Set up a Trust! Setting up a trust is the safest way to make sure your assets get to your children without entering Probate.
Why a Trust and not a Will?
A Will “comes to life” when you die and passes your property on through the Probate Court System. A Trust, or “living trust,” “comes to life” when your your still alive and after your death while avoiding Probate Court.
Who can help me set up a trust?
We can! At Phillips Garcia Law we specialize in protecting families by helping them legally pass down their assets in the safest and most precise way possible. Contact us using the Contact Form, call us at 508-998-0800, or email us at [email protected] As always, you can find out more information on protecting your family and creating Trusts at our website, www.phillipsgarcia.com.
It’s one of the most exciting times of the year, the sun is finally out, the Sox and Bruins are winning and guess what, it’s prom and graduation season! Prom is an incredible experience that culminates a whole year of hard work and perseverance during one of the most confusing times of a person’s life, high school. This can also be said for many high school seniors who are graduating this spring and ready to celebrate. You should celebrate! You deserve it. Celebration along with year ending ceremonies is a right of passage and it is important for you and your child to understand how to celebrate safely and within the limits of the law.
This week we are going to be discussing a variety of topics ranging from prom safety, minors and drinking, to texting while driving. We truly believe that this special time in our lives should be cherished and completed safely so that we can all look back and remember our wonderful young years.
To start off I’ve compiled a few local articles with great information about these topics. Enjoy!
A great tip from Safeandsober.com
“Weekends and especially Prom night are the worst times to be on the road. There are more drunk drivers at that time. Be sure to drive carefully and know where you’re going. Keep your cell phone charged in case of an emergency and take extra precautions like pausing another second at a red light or stop sign.”
“Durfee Seniors Win Prom Safety Video Contest” Congrats to the local seniors at Durfee High for winning “Dance, Don’t Chance” video contest. Great stuff, check it out!
To speak with Attorney Garcia call him at (508) 998-0800 or email him at [email protected] For more information on how to protect your family visit us at www.phillipsgarcia.com. Have a smart-phone? Scan below!
Today, Attorney Andrew Garcia from Phillips & Garcia Law is scheduled to appear at Federal Court in Sacramento, Ca. Today’s meeting is for a Rule 16 Scheduling conference for a case against America’s largest bank, . Your probably wondering “what exactly is a Rule 16 Scheduling conference?” Check out this link from the Cornell Law School.
You can follow Andrew’s twitter here, where he will be updating us on his day.
Phillips & Garcia is known for being a small yet powerful firm always fighting for the common consumer’ family and their rights. They specifically select only a handful of clients in order to exert the right amount of time and care into each case. “All too often the rights of consumers are ignored by BIG corporations who are looking out for their bottom line.” From the insurance company to the big bank, Phillips & Garcia is always fighting for the rights of the common consumer.
If you are interested in learning more about his Business Legal Planning services, just contact him at [email protected] or by calling (508) 998-0800.
Local Dartmouth Ma. lawyer Andrew Garcia of Phillips & Garcia Law is currently flying over the continental United States on his way to California Federal court to take on the largest American bank, Bank of America. Andrew’s trip is for a widely publicized illegal lock-out and trash-out case.
You can follow Andrew for updates on twitter.
Check out earlier discussions about illegal lockout and trash-out cases with Phillips & Garcia featured on the Today Show and Countdown with Keith Olbermann.
For more information on illegal lockout, trash-out cases and how to protect your family check out our website here. If you have a smartphone scan below.
Raise your hand if you’ve created an UTMA “custodial account” for your minor child?
(UTMA, by the way, stands for the Uniform Transfer to Minors Act under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 201A).
I know that many of you have because I see it all the time in my Family Legal Planning practice. And, the question that always comes up is “when” can my child get the money in that custodial account?Well, the answer generally is when he/she turns 21.
Yes, you heard me correctly – age 21!
Now, that’s not all that bad if the account only has a few thousand dollars in it because you’ve been putting away a few dollars here and there from birthdays and holidays. But, it becomes terribly bad if you’ve been putting away tens of thousands of dollars in an investment account because that child can have complete and total access to that money when they turn 21 and you can’t say a darn thing about it.
You see, UTMAs were created as a simple way of holding money or other investments for a minor child because minor children can’t own assets or investments before they turn 18 in Massachusetts. And UTMAs allow parents or grandparents to become the custodian of these investments without having to go to an attorney to draft up a more formal written trust agreement for the child. You can go to the bank or call your financial planner and easily set up an UTMA account just by making a deposit or placing money in a mutual fund. Just fill out a quick application, sign a few forms and you can start investing for your child’s future right away – no lawyer, no legal fees, no trust agreement. Sounds great.
The trouble with this, though, is that every time you put money in that UTMA account, you are making an irrevocable gift to that child. You may be the custodian, but you are transferring assets that belong to your child – the income growth of that UTMA account is even taxed at the child’s tax rate. However, since the funds in an UTMA account belong to that child, when that child turns 21 they can have unfettered access to that entire account without anymore oversight by you.
If that account contains $40,000, $50,000 or even more, that may not be the result you ever wanted or intended. I don’t know about other parents, but I wouldn’t want my 21 year old daughter having uncontrolled access to thousands and thousands of dollars (no offense to my daughter, of course).
A far better alternative to an UTMA account is a living trust that you create for the benefit of your minor child. By establishing the living trust, you can create far more control over distributions so that you can protect your child’s investments long into their future. I often recommend setting guaranteed distribution ages very high (for example, in one case the age for a guaranteed distribution to the child is 50 years old), while at the same time leaving the parent or trustee with the power to make discretionary distributions for the care and maintenance of the child.
For a complimentary Family Legal Planning session with Andrew Garcia to discuss UTMAs or a living trust for your minor child, just call (508) 998-0800 or email him at [email protected]