The following highlights some new state laws, reminds you to review your estate and financial plans when doing taxes, and announces our new seminar. We hope you'll find this information useful!
NEW Telemarketer Consumer Protection Law
On Wednesday, the FCC issued Report and Order FCC 12-21: In the Matter of Rules and Regulations Implementing the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991. According to the FCC,
The Order adopted today helps put an end to these intrusions by empowering consumers with increased rights under the FCC's telemarketing rules. The new rules reduce regulatory uncertainty with minimal burden on industry and maximize consistency with those of the Federal Trade Commission. Specifically, the rules protect consumers by:
Requiring telemarketers to obtain prior express written consent from them, including by electronic means such as a website form, before placing a robocall to a consumer;
Eliminating the "established business relationship" exemption to the requirement that telemarketing robocalls to residential wireline phones occur only with prior express consent from the consumer;
Requiring telemarketers to provide an automated, interactive "opt-out" mechanism during each robocall so that consumers can immediately tell the telemarketer to stop calling; and,
Strictly limiting the number of abandoned or "dead air" calls that telemarketers can make within each calling campaign.
The provisions of the new rules take effect over the next year.
* The preceding is courtesy of Massachusetts Trial Court Law Updates
Alimony Reform Act of 2011 expected to go into effect on March 1, 2012
The new law sets limits on alimony and ends lifetime alimony. Duration of marriage will determine duration of any alimony award. The new Act reads, in part, as follows:
(1) If the length of the marriage is 5 years or less, general term alimony shall continue for not longer than one-half the number of months of the marriage.
(2) If the length of the marriage is 10 years or less, but more than 5 years, general term alimony shall continue for not longer than 60 per cent of the number of months of the marriage.
(3) If the length of the marriage is 15 years or less, but more than 10 years, general term alimony shall continue for not longer than 70 per cent of the number of months of the marriage.
(4) If the length of the marriage is 20 years or less, but more than 15 years, general term alimony shall continue for not longer than 80 per cent of the number of months of the marriage.
(c) The court may order alimony for an indefinite length of time for marriages for which the length of the marriage was longer than 20 years.
Alimony can also be modified or terminated upon cohabitation of the payee spouse.
Tax Time = Review Your Estate Plan Time
Your estate documents include 1) a Will or Trust; 2) a Health Care Proxy, and; 3) a Durable Power of Attorney, the latter two of which should be "refreshed" every 2 or 3 years in order that they will not be considered "stale" dated when needed. Use tax season to gather and review your materials with your estate planning team - your attorney, insurance agent, accountant, Certified Financial Planner, and investment advisor. You should also review your plan whenever a life-altering event occurs in your family. The birth of a grandchild, death or disability of an heir or sale of an asset all can affect your plan. Frequent reviews can also account for changes in your budgetary needs.
New Seminar, presented by Attorney Suzanne Benfield:
Date & Time:
Wednesday, February 29th, 2012 at 7:00PM
Topic: Estate Planning for Parents of Minor Children
10 Jeffries Neck rd.
Call 978-468-9000 to reserve your seat.