Friday, February 13, 2009

Love is free... but divorce will cost you $20K

Happy Valentine's Day (almost)!

I am reflecting on the fact that, in this past week, I have had 3 consults for divorce & divorce-related matters. I now have a couple of new clients, in an area from which I did not expect to see much work.

According to my latest newsletter from the Massachusetts Bar Association, divorce business is booming for practitioners, and yet miscellaneous articles in the mainstream media have been saying that "people cannot afford to get divorced" in this economy, and that Bankruptcy attorneys are the ones making a killing.

I have heard that financial difficulties or differences in handling finances are often the root of divorce. All I can say is, from my personal experience, people seem even likelier to split now, under the tremendous stress that this economy is causing. Even more likely, people will seek modifications of their existing alimony or child support payments, in order to survive the downturn.

This has been my first-hand experience, and I expect that my family law practice will probably continue to expand.

Somehow I feel a little guilty about being the grim reaper of love during this particular holiday!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

How to Avoid Probate

I have had several people mention that they could not attend my evening seminar last month, so I am repeating the seminar, this time scheduled for a Saturday morning, at my office (pictured here)

TOPIC: How to Avoid Probate
DATE: Saturday, 2/28/09 at 10:30am
PLACE: Law Office of Denise M. Kent, 254 Bay Rd (Rte 1A)
Hamilton, MA 01982

This seminar will address many common questions regarding the probate process, and the various tools and strategies employed to create an effective estate plan. We will also cover the basics of estate planning, including wills, trusts, health care proxies, and powers of attorney, and discuss exactly what these instruments are designed to do.
There will be examples and illustrations in order to help you understand what you need to consider in planning your own estate.

Light refreshments will be provided.

(978) 468-9000

Presentation by
Denise M. Kent, Esq.
254 Bay Road
Hamilton, MA 01982

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Lawyering is fun when....

Over the years, I have had some humorous experiences in the law. Here are a few that still make me chuckle:

Probating a will: the very first article of the will directed the executor to burn the decedent's bedroom furniture! But why? Were her memories in that room so good or so BAD?! I wish I could have been the lawyer who drafted that will, because I would definitely have asked why. I do not know if the executor actually carried out this directive, but by law he should have!

Probating another will: decedent directs his executor to clean out his extensive video collection before letting family into the house. 'nuff said.

Trust administration: Most families fight over money, but in this 6 million dollar trust estate, we had the two beneficiaries fighting over the family photo collection. Family photos. We had to collect them and hold them in safekeeping and negotiate how they would be duplicated and divided. The two beneficiaries ultimately ended up suing each other.

Criminal Defense case, assault & battery charge- the defendant is a woman, accused of attacking her boyfriend with a tire chain. Where did she get the tire chain, was it just lying around the kitchen, or what? And aren't those things REALLY heavy, how did she swing it??