Retirement plan beneficiary designation forms are an important component of your estate plan. For many people, retirement accounts (IRAs, 401(k)s) are perhaps the biggest asset they own, second only to their house. As part of your estate planning, the beneficiary designation forms for your retirement accounts should be reviewed to make sure they are up to date. You may have named a beneficiary who is now deceased or you may have had a change of circumstances such as a marriage, birth of a child or a divorce. If you don’t name a beneficiary, the retirement plan may automatically... Read more
We recently finished a civil jury trial in Hillsborough County. Fortunately, we can report that we achieved a successful result. Although it is often hard to measure success in this business, the jury awarded our client almost three times as much as the insurance company offered before the trial. Setting aside the stress on our client of the trial process, the statistical analysis comparing the jury verdict with the last settlement offer provides us with an objective measuring stick for grading our performance.
As I prepared for the trial, I found one witness’ testimony somewhat... Read more
Many people understand the importance of having a valid Will. A Will can not only ensure that their assets will be distributed according to their wishes, but it is the only document they can designate a Guardian for their minor children. A Will can also make certain that family heirlooms are securely passed from one generation to the next.
But can having a Will avoid probate? NO! This is one of the most common misconceptions. A lack of understanding along with simple planning errors may cause families thousands of dollars of court and legal fees and months, if not years of delay... Read more
In 2008, a condominium in Milford, like many in New Hampshire, was feeling the effects of the dramatic turn in the economy. Receivables were on the rise and unit owners who had always paid monthly assessments on time were suddenly having trouble. Consistent with its collection policy, the condominium association began efforts to compel payment from a unit owing approximately $1,200.00. The legal process would not go well. Despite filing liens and a small claim action, turning the collection action into needed cash proved difficult. The unit owner abandoned the unit and consequently,... Read more
Recently, a unit owner in a condominium association that our firm represents wanted to attend a board meeting scheduled with us to discuss our defense of a pending lawsuit. We explained to the association board our view that the unit owner should not be present for fear that the conversation would not fall within the lawyer client privilege. The owner logically and clearly stated that since all unit owners are members of the association and pay the legal bill, all unit owners are the client and the communication should remain privileged. Unfortunately, the law does not support such a... Read more
There are many different labels that are typed at the top of the most important piece of paper delivered at a real estate closing alongside the word “deed”: warranty deed, quitclaim deed, foreclosure deed, trustee’s deed, fiduciary deed, release deed. There are others, but those are the most common. In New Hampshire, as elsewhere, the use of a foreclosure deed has seen a dramatic increase. What is it and how does it affect the transfer of real estate?
To understand a foreclosure deed, it may help to begin with an understanding of the purpose of a real estate deed. Many people... Read more
How many emails are in your inbox? Many of us who pride ourselves in our organizational skills and well ordered desks have hundreds of electronic messages on our systems. A company of ten or more employees could have more than 10,000 messages at any given time. This easy at-our-finger tips communication has replaced traditional correspondence with an actual ink signature. A telephone conversation is now viewed by many as an unnecessary waste of time. In the not too distant past, a simple business letter was likely dictated, typed, proofread and mailed. Two or more people may have... Read more
The owner of a 24 unit apartment building found out the hard way. A tenant-at-will began telling other tenants that the president of the corporate owner of the building had illegally entered her apartment and stolen her belongings. Although the tenant was current with rent, the landlord decided to evict her because of the statements. The landlord served the tenant with a notice to quit asserting the basis for the eviction as “other good cause” which is authorized under the New Hampshire landlord and tenant statute.
At the district court hearing, the tenant moved to dismiss. She... Read more
Over our many years of practice, we have assisted numerous condominium associations in matters relating to the enforcement of covenants and collection of assessments. The New Hampshire Condominium Act allows association to file liens on units as security for unpaid assessments. The value of the lien is dependent on its priority in relation to other lines and encumbrances. New Hampshire RSA 356-B. Despite legislative efforts to change the law, the statutory condominium lien is subordinate and junior to purchase money mortgages. In the event of a first mortgage foreclosure, the... Read more
When property held for investment is sold, the potential impact of the capital gains tax is often considered. Regardless of the tax rate, most would generally prefer to keep more proceeds and pay less tax. Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code allows a taxpayer to defer all or part of any gain on the sale that would otherwise be subject to capital gains taxes into the future as long as the transaction is properly structured to comply with the requirements of the statute. The most common type of property involved in a 1031 exchange is real estate - exchange of one parcel of... Read more