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You Need a REAL ID to Board All Domestic Flights: Find out how to get one....

The deadline for needing REAL IDs to board domestic flights or access federal facilities or nuclear power plants is coming quick. Massachusetts drivers' licenses and state IDs must be REAL ID compliant by Oct. 1, 2020, when the change to bring state-issued identification in line with federal standards takes full effect.

Here are eight common REAL ID questions answered:

Do I have to get a REAL ID?

No. REAL IDs are optional. If you have a passport, you can use that form of identification to board flights and obtain entry into federal facilities. REAL IDs are not required to drive in Massachusetts.

Who needs a REAL ID?

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You need a REAL ID if:

  • You do not have a valid U.S. passport or passport card; AND
  • You use airplanes as a mode of domestic transportation; or
  • You visit military bases; or
  • You visit secure federal facilities.

Do I need a REAL ID to vote?

No. You do not need a REAL ID to vote.

How and where do I get a REAL ID?

Obtaining a REAL ID requires an in-person visit to an RMV location. You can find those here.

What documents do I need to get a REAL ID?

The requirements are different from a standard ID. 

One must provide any ONE of the following:

  • SSN Card (cannot be laminated)
  • W-2 Form
  • SSA-1099 Form
  • Non-SSA-1099 Form
  • A pay stub with the applicant's name and full SSN on it
  • SSN Denial Notice with passport, visa, and I-94

ONE of the following:

  • Valid, unexpired U.S. passport or passport card
  • Certified copy of a birth certificate filed with a State Office of Vital Statistics or equivalent agency in the individual's state of birth — A Puerto Rican birth certificate will only be accepted for identification if it was issued on or after July 1, 2010. For more information on the Puerto Rican birth certificate law, visit the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration website at prfaa.pr.gov
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) issued by the U.S. Department of State, Form FS-240, DS-1350, or FS-545
  • Valid, unexpired Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551) issued by DHS or INS
  • Temporary I-551 stamp in foreign passport
  • Unexpired employment authorization document (EAD) issued by DHS, Form I-766, or Form I-688B
  • Unexpired foreign passport with a valid, unexpired U.S. visa affixed — A non-US passport must contain a current visa and be presented with an I-94 Record of Arrival and Departure, unless you have a Permanent Resident Card or other change in status. The I-94 can be either a paper version from U.S. Customs and Border Protection or a printout of an electronic version downloaded from their website at cbp.gov/i94 — For applicable customers who have a Certificate of Eligibility (I-20) or Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status (DS-2019) documentation verifying the applicant's most recent admittance into the United States must be shown.
  • Certificate of Citizenship, Form N-560, or Form N-561, issued by DHS
  • Certificate of Naturalization (Form N-550 or N-570)
  • Re-Entry Permit (I-327)
  • Refugee Travel Document (I-571)

TWO of the following:

Massachusetts RMV- issued documents (can use one from the options below):

  • Current license, Massachusetts ID card, or learner's permit (liquor ID not accepted)
  • RMV-issued correspondence dated within 60 days and received via U.S. mail (including license/registration reminders) 

State/federal/municipal/city/town/county agency-issued documents:

  • 1st class mail dated within 60 days
  • Current MA-issued professional license with photograph
  • Medicaid statement dated within 60 days
  • Current firearms card
  • Jury duty summons dated within 60 days
  • Court correspondence dated within 60 days
  • Property tax for current year
  • Excise tax for current year

Bills

  • Utility bill (electric, telephone, water, sewer, cable, satellite, heating) dated within 60 days
  • Credit card statement dated within 60 days
  • Medical/hospital statement dated within 60 days
  • Cell phone bill dated within 60 days

Lease/Mortgage

  • Current lease/mortgage or similar rental contract

Financial-related documents

  • Bank statement that contains images of cancelled personal checks dated within 60 days
  • W-2 wage and tax statement from immediate prior year
  • Current pension statement (401k, 457, SEP, etc.)
  • Current retirement statement
  • Pay stub dated within 60 days
  • Current SSA statement
  • Current installment loan contract (car loan)

School-issued document

  • Official school transcript for current year
  • Official letter from school (proof of enrollment) dated within 60 days
  • Tuition bill for current year
  • Certified school record for current year

Insurance-related documents

  • Auto insurance policy for current year
  • Renter's insurance policy for current year
  • Homeowner's insurance policy for current year

Alternative Residency Affidavit

  • For applicants under the age of 18 only

What happens after I apply for a REAL ID?

First, you'll receive a temporary, secure paper DL/ID at the facility — but TSA and federal agents will not accept the temporary, paper document. After review and verification of documents have been conducted, your new permanent REAL ID card will be mailed to you within 15 business days.

How much does it cost?

$50, sorry.

Legal News: Social Security Scams.......be aware!

There are many scammers out there trying to get your money.

Please heed the following if you get a call:

Warning Signs

  • You get an unsolicited call from someone claiming to work for SSA. Except in rare circumstances, you will not get a call from Social Security unless you have already been in contact with the agency.
  • The caller asks for your Social Security number — again, something an actual SSA employee wouldn’t do.
  • A call or email threatens consequences, such as arrest, loss of benefits or suspension of your Social Security number, if you do not provide a payment or personal information.

Do's

  • Do hang up if someone calls you out of the blue and claims to be from SSA.
  • Do be skeptical if a caller claims to be an “officer with the Inspector General of Social Security.” Scammers appropriate official-sounding and often actual government titles to make a ruse seem authentic.
  • Do set up a My Social Security account online and check it on a monthly basis for signs of anything unusual, even if you have not yet started collecting benefits.
  • Do install a robocall-blocking app on your smartphone, or sign up for a robocall-blocking service from your mobile network provider.

Don'ts

  • Don’t call a phone number left on your voice mail by a robocaller. If you want to contact SSA, call the customer-service line at 800-772-1213.
  • Don’t assume a call is legitimate because it appears to come from 800-772-1213. Scammers use “spoofing” technology to trick caller ID.
  • Don’t give your Social Security number or other personal information to someone who contacts you by email. SSA never requests information that way.
  • Don’t click links in purported SSA emails without checking them. Mouse over the link to reveal the actual destination address. The main part of the address should end with “.gov/” — including the forward slash. If there’s anything between .gov and the slash, it’s fake.

It's better to hang up and not wait for their spiel than be taken in by what they have to say. The Social Security office will NEVER call you for anything over the phone unless previously connected with a specific person.

Legal News: Wills and Trusts: Rule Against Perpetuities

Copied from the Lawyers Weekly Newspaper 2/10/2020 (This Week's Decisions):

Where a 1956 will devised real property to a congregational church on the condition that it be used as a parsonage or for church purposes, a judgment declaring that the church's title to the property is absolute should be affirmed based on changes to the statutory rule against perpetuities, G.L.c. 184A, S3.

"In this case, decided on summary judgment, a church seeks to sell real estate restricted to church use by a bequest. Our resolution of this appeal requires us to consider the interplay between the terms of a testamentary gift of real property to a charitable entity, the applicable rule against perpetuities, and other provisions of the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code. We also consider whether a 1989 decision of a judge of the Probate and Family Court has preclusive effect on the issues before us. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the judgment of the Superior Court, in which the judge concluded that a charity's fee simple subject to a right of entry for condition broken became a fee simple absolute as a result of changes to the statutory rule against perpetuities, G.L.c. 184A, S3, as amended by St. 1961, c. 448, S2. ...

"Sara Joy Mayhew (decedent) died testate on March 12, 1956, having executed a will on January 2, 1956. The will provided in pertinent part: 'I hereby give, devise and bequeath the family homestead property (75 South Water Street, Edgartown) in which I now live and all the land on which it stands and adjoining, which I own and the improvements thereon ... to the Congregational Church in ... Edgartown so long as said homestead is used as a parsonage for the minister of said church or the Federated Church or so long as said property is used for church purposes (ental being one of such purposes), but if said homestead property is not so used as a parsonage or for church purposes, I give, devise and bequeath the said homestead property to The Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, Inc., a corporation having a usual place of business in Boston.' ...

"On September 26, 2016, the church commenced this action in the Superior Court seeking declarations that (1) it owned the homestead property in fee simple absolute and Historic New England had no enforecable right to the homstead property; (2) Historic New England had no right to impose preservation restrictions on the homestead property; and (3) the church was authorized to sell the homestead property and devote the funds to 'church purposes' either under the terms of the will or by application of the doctrine of deviation or cy pres pursuant to G.L.c. 214, S10B. A Superior Court judge declared that, pursuant to G.L.c. 184A, S7, inserted by St. 1989, c. 668, S1, the church owned the homestead property in fee simple absolute, and he dismissed the remaining requests for relief as moot.

Legal News: How do you Choose an Executor for Your Estate?

You know that you need to create an estate plan, but one of the essential parts of creating such a plan is choosing an executor of your estate. Do you know what an executor is?

This is the person that will carry out your wishes after you pass away. Making a decision who this person is will help you feel confident that your end of life wishes will be taken care of the way you wanted. 

Unfortunately, making this decision isn’t as simple as it sounds.

Knowing what an executor will need to do will help you make this important decision. The executor doesn’t have to be a financial professional or attorney. They will have to ensure that your creditors and debts are paid and that your property and money is distributed as you wish.

These duties are called fiduciary duties and they must be done in good faith and honesty. They do not get anything from the estate except for a reasonable administrative fee, or they can be one of the beneficiaries of the will. 

Now that you know exactly what an executor does, here are 3 tips for helping you choose the executor of your estate:

#1. Choose a person with a good head on their shoulders. 

As mentioned above, the person doesn’t have to be a financial genius, but they do need a basic knowledge of managing finances. They should also tend to be a bit on the conservative side when it comes to managing money. They also need to be willing to research things they don’t understand and ask for help from those that do.

#2. Make sure they will be there to do their job and have a backup.

The executor needs to be capable and present to do their duties. If you choose someone that is older than you or in poor health, they may not be able to do their duties when the time comes. That’s why it is typically more advisable to choose a person that is younger and healthier.

Because life is so unpredictable, it is also a good idea to name a person to be the backup executor, also referred to as a successor, in case the first executor isn’t able to perform their duties. 

#3. Understanding the pros and cons of a corporate executor.

You can name a bank or financial institution as your executor, however, the fees you will pay them will likely be much more than if you paid an individual. Their work for your estate will be less personable and there will likely be different people handling your affairs for you. 

Bottom Line

Knowing the right person to list as the executor of your estate can be complex and overwhelming, but it shouldn’t keep you from creating your estate plan and securing your peace of mind.

Call Alexander Matulewicz at 508-660-0331 and he can guide you in making a decision that is right for you. 
 

Legal News: Bankruptcy: Post-petition financing-Spouse

This Week's Decisions (Mass Lawyers Weekly Newspaper dated 2/3/2020)

Where a debtor has moved for authority to engage in post-petition borrowing from her husbnad, the motion should be denied because the debtor has not met her burden of showing that the proposed borrowing is in the best interest of the estate.

"The Debtor seeks authority to incur debt under 11 U.S.C. S364(b) and (c)...To establish its entitlement to such authorization, the debtor-in-possession - vested by 11 U.S.C. S1107 with the rights and powers of a trustee under S364 - bears the burden of establishing that (a) the borrowing facility is a sound exercise of the debtor-in-possession's business judgment as estate fiduciary and (b) that the resulting debt would constitute an administrative expense under 11 U.S.C. S503(b)(1); that is, it must constitute an actual and necessary cost or expense of preserving the estate. Because Christopher is an insider, 11U.S.C.S101(31)(A), the loan facility is subject to stricter scrutiny than would a loan with a non-insider.

"...What the Debtor proposes is to borrow from Christopher to pay her litigation expenses and the carrying costs on her residence and vacation properties. In return, Christopher will receive a lien on her 'free' assets, which would otherwise inure to the benefit of her unsecured creditors. By this facility, she would remove equity from the estate, reduce dollar for dollar the equity available to unsecured creditors in the event of a liquidation, and, on the same dollar for dollar basis, reduce the amount she would need to pay them in order to satisfy the requirement of S1129(a) in order to obtain confirmation of a chapter 11 plan. She is proposing to pay for this borrowing not with surplus monies but with the creditors' funds. ...

"...I am satisfied that the facility and the present motion have not been proposed in a good-faith exercise of a fiduciay's discretion to protect the estate. Certainly they do not serve that purpose. By transparent intent and design, they serve the interest of the Debtor and her husband at the expense of the estate and especially of the unsecured creditors."

Legal News: Parent and child (Termination of parental rights - Visitation)

Mass Lawyers Weekly (This Week's Decisions) 1/27/2020

Where a mother's parental rights were terminated based on a finding of unfitness, a remand for further proceedings is necessary regarding postadoption visitation. 

"An order of 'visitation between a child and a parent whose parental rights have been terminated'  is authorized 'where such visitation is in the child's best interest.' Adoption of Ilona, 459 Mass. 53,  63 (2011). Two questions must be asked: 'First, is visitation in the child's best interest? Second, in cases where a family is ready to adopt the child, is an order of visitation necessary to protect the child's best interest, or may decisions regarding visitation be left to the judgment of the adoptive family?'...

"In the present case, after the judge announced her decision to terminate the mother's rights, she said, 'So, I do want to talk about post termination and post adoption visits because I do think that the mother and maternal grandmother are important parts of the child's life and I do want to hear from the parties as to what post termination and post adoption visits should look like. Because I do think it's appropriate. ...They do seem to have a bond. ...I think it's important to have that continued contact. This is a very young child who has a relationship with these two woman in his life.' In her written decision, however, the judge made no findings whether post adoption visitation would be in the best interests of the child, did not enter a specific order of postadoption visitation, and simply concluded summarily that 'visition with mother is in the sole discretion of th pre-adoptive parents.' The mother and child argue that the judge erred in failing to enter an order for postadoption visition.

"In the absence of findings sililar to those in Adoption of Ilona, 459 Mass. at 66, concerning the willingness of the preadoptive family to support visitation (and, hence, the likelihood that visitation of the sort acknowledged by the judge to be in the child's best interests would occur), or other explanation why an order for postadoption visatation was not warranted despite evidence that visitation would be in the child's best interests, we are without a basis to evaluate on the present record the contention by the mother and child that the judge abused her discretion in failing to include a specific order for postadoption visitation in her decision. Accordingly, we remand the case for the judge to consider this issue and make appropriate findings. The judge may hear further evidence if she deems it necessary.

"The decree finding the child in need of care and protection, G.L.c 119, S26, and terminating the mother's parental rights, G.L.c. 210, S3, is affirmed. The case is remanded for further proceedings regarding postadoption visitation."

Legal News: Landlord and Tenant (At-will tenancy - Notice - Waiver)

Mass Lawyers Weekly ("This Week's Decisions") 1/27/2020

Where a Housing Court Judge awarded a defendant tenant $918.95 after a summary process trial, a remand must be ordered because the judge did not find either that the plaintiff landlord waived written notice of the termination of the at-will tenancy or fats that would compel that finding.

"Here, in the 'the totality of the circumstances, the trial judge found that the Tenant ceded possession of the Premises with his final rent payment at the end of January of 2018.' The trial judge further found that the tenant's son, who did not live in the premises, 'paid rent for the Premises to the Landlord for the months of February of 2018 and March of 2018.' The facts that the tenant  had vacated the premises and the landlord accepted payments from another is evidence supporting a finding of a waiver of notice, but they do not compel such a finding. ... Accordingly, in the absence of further factual findings, we cannot conclude that the judgment was proper. ...

"The judgment is vacated and the case is remanded for further findings on the question whether the landlord explicitly or implicitly waived notice of the termination of the tenancy. Should the judge find such waiver, the judge may reinstate the judgment. Should the judge find that the tenant failed to meet his burden of showing that the landlord so waived notice, the judge should proceed in accordance with this memorandum and order."

Legal News: Examples of Authority Usually Granted in a Health Care Proxy

When mental incapacity arises, attention is often directed to the asset management problems, but equal and sometimes greater problems related to health care decisions are also presented. Perhaps too much attention had been placed on the ultimate decision of terminating life-support systems. That is a decision you must make for yourself and you might decide, on the contrary, that your agent should make every effort to keep you alive. However, there are many other decisions which you should be considering as they relate to your personal care during a disability which have nothing to do with death, but which are important to your care during the long-term disability.

Examples of Authority Usually Granted in a Health Care Proxy:

  1. To have access to any and all medical and related information and records.
  2. To disclose your medical and related information to others.
  3. To employ and discharge medical and related personnel on your behalf.
  4. To consent or refuse to consent to medical care, on your behalf.
  5. To consent or refuse to consent to psychiatric care, including the right to voluntarily commit you to a psychiatric care facility if it becomes necessary.
  6. To provide you with appropriate relief from pain.
  7. To arrange for your care and lodging in a hospital, nursing home, or hospice.
  8. To do anything else which may be appropriate in your sepcific circumstances which you should be prepared to state explicitly.

Legal News: Real Property: Resulting Trust - Joint Tenancy

Lawyers Weekly Newspaper dated 1/20/2020, This Week's Decisions:

Where a plaintiff and his defendant brother own real property as joint tenants, a judgment should enter declaring that the defendant holds his interest in a resulting trust for the benefit of the plaintiff.

"...[Defendant Jong-Ping Hsu] (JP) did not contribute any funds directly to the purchase of the Maynard Property. JP co-signed for the mortgage loan, but I find that he did this as an accommodation to his brother and not as an indication that he expected to acquire an undivided one-half interest in the property. ...

"...I find that the understanding and intent was that the property would be owned by [plaintiff Nien-Hsi Hsu] (Jesse), who contributed all the funds for the down payment other than funds loane3d or gifted to him by his mother, who managed the property without any help from JP or the rest of the family, and who paid for all the expenses of owning the property. ..."

Legal News: Examples of Authority Usually Granted in a General Durable Power of Attorney (Part 2 of 3)

Examples of Authority Usually Granted in a Genearl Durable Power of Attorney:

  1. To make deposits or withdrawals from your bank account or cash management accounts or to open new ones in your name.
  2. To buy or sell your stocks, bonds or other assets as prudence dictates.
  3. To buy, sell, mortgage or lease real estate which you may own and to fulfill agreements which you have made.
  4. To have access to your safe-deposit box or open new ones in your name.
  5. To sign your tax returns and to represent you if your tax returns are audited or hire professional help to do so.
  6. To make decisions concerning any retirement plan you may have including IRA (individual retirement accounts), IRA roll-overs, existing pension or profit-sharing benefits, or other employment benefit which may be provided by your employer.
  7. To fund a trust which you may create as a stand-by trust, or which you may authorize your agent to create for you when it is appropriate.
  8. To borrow on your life insurance policies to avoid sale of your other assets.
  9. To deal with your life and casualty insurance policies including increasing or decreasing coverage when appropriate.
  10. To deal with your business interests including the right to enter into or modify partnerships or shareholder agreements which may be needed to protect your interests.
  11. To continue a gift-giving program to your family if this should appear to be appropriate in the future.
  12. To complete or continue any charitable gifts for a cause in which you believe.
  13. To institute, settle, appeal or terminate any administrative proceeding or other litigation in which you are involved or is or has been instituted on your behalf.
  14. To nominate a person to act as your guardian or conservator should one be necessary despite the existence of your Durable Power of Attorney.

To be continued: Part 3