Law Offices of Heather J. Lynham, PC

Operating as usual

06/06/2020

As we reopen Massachusetts in stages, are you facing overwhelming debt and/or loss of your home and other assets? Has the Covid-19 shutdown thrown you into financial distress?

Has unemployment, a furlough, business closing, reduced hours, and other negative effects, left you unable to sustain your present debt level? Want to keep your house? Did you take up your mortgage bank's offer to suspend your mortgage payments under the moratorium, and now you face paying all those back months at once? Do you want extra time to pay and the bank refuses? A Chapter 13 filing may get you time, and save your home. Need your car still so you can get to work but don't have the funds to catch up on the payments? Did a promise of financial assistance never materialize, leaving you spending down your savings and now there is nothing left? Is your line of work so altered by the pandemic that you may never work in your field again? Do you need time to retrain but have to manage your debt until you can work? Do you need a chance to reorganize? Do you feel you will never catch up and would like advice on how to weather this financial storm? Do you have old tax debt that may be dischargeable in bankruptcy, or new tax debt that may be eligible for an Offer in Compromise? Do you .....? Do you .....? Do you .....?

We can help you make sensible financial decisions before throwing good money after bad. Start your recovery plan today by making an appointment for a complimentary one-hour review of your situation. You have options! You just need to know what they are!

Call (508) 994-3205 now!

Sh*t Women with Law Degrees Say
05/11/2019

Sh*t Women with Law Degrees Say

~ MF Black Mamba

Hemp first, MJ next.
12/02/2018
Is Congress Going to Legalize Hemp?

Hemp first, MJ next.

Politics makes strange bedfellows. And that couldn't be more true than the Republican Congress pushing to legalize hemp prior to losing its majority, with the charge being led by none other than Mitch McConnell....

08/17/2018

Abridged from "When Is It Too Late to Write or Revise a Will?" Christopher Coble, Esq. on July 18, 2018

It's never too early to write a will. It may seem morbid or impractical but the sooner you have an estate plan in place, the better. Writing a will while still young gives you a handle on your assets and provides a framework you can refine and revise as the years pass, and removes worries that you were in your right mind when you left your fortune to your dog.

While there may be no time too early to write a will, there is certainly a time when it's too late. Can you guess when?

Written Wills and Probate Problems

If you have no will, when you die your estate goes into probate -- the legal process for transferring property after death and for sorting the legal issues related to the collection, management, and distribution of an estate. Going into probate without a will (intestate) means leaving the distribution of your estate up to your state's laws on intestate succession.

Intestate succession can be more expensive and take longer, and there is no guarantee the people you want to inherit your estate, will. While an administrator will attempt to track down heirs and close relatives for distribution, more distant relatives, friends, and charities are likely to lose out. And how your estate is distributed will be up to the courts, rather than up to you. Finally, if no surviving family members are found, most states take the entire estate.

Revision Reminders

If you have a will or estate plan in place, your death is also your deadline for revisions or changes. So it's best to continually update your will based on life changes like marriage, children, divorce, and financial changes like buying real estate and acquiring assets like investment or retirement portfolios.

Call (508) 994-3205 now for an appointment to discuss your will and estate planning.

Bankruptcies for seniors have tripled since 1990. And the latest tax bill didn't help them either, unless very wealthy.
08/05/2018
‘Too Little Too Late’: Bankruptcy Booms Among Older Americans

Bankruptcies for seniors have tripled since 1990. And the latest tax bill didn't help them either, unless very wealthy.

The rate of those 65 and older filing for bankruptcy is three times what it was in 1991, a new study finds, as more enter their later years in a precarious position.

Boston, MA:Those who owe fees in criminal cases can skip a trip to the courthouse and pay online with ePay, the Massachu...
06/07/2018
ePay in the Courts

Boston, MA:

Those who owe fees in criminal cases can skip a trip to the courthouse and pay online with ePay, the Massachusetts Trial Court's new on-line payment system.

The ePay system will start operation statewide in June 2018.

Users can pay probation fees, victim witness fees and most other criminal assessments. Use of ePay via PayPal or a credit card will include a small convenience fee for processing.

Currently, 75% of criminal case payments in Massachusetts trial courts are made in person by check or cash. The ePay system will shorten lines at local courthouses.

More information about the system is available at www.mass.gov/epay-in-the-courts.

Learn about online payments in the courts.

05/27/2018

Below is a list of events and life changes that should prompt you to write or review a will:

*Beneficiaries you have named are deceased.

*New beneficiaries should be named.

*A new executor/representative should be named.

*Divorce or marriage.

*New state laws. Has Massachusetts enacted new law since you last wrote a will? If you moved here from another state, don't assume your will conforms to Massachusetts law. Each state has its own legal requirements for making a will.

*Change in guardians or trustees.

*Children reaching the age of eighteen.

*A substantial change in the value of your estate.

*The acquisition or disposition of a significant asset.

*You should us about reviewing and updating your estate plans prior to reaching 70 1/2 years of age if you have an IRA, 401(k), or other qualified plans that require you to begin to take distributions at age 701/2. The beneficiary you designated will have an irrevocable impact on both your and your beneficiary's required distributions (RMDs).

*The passage of time is s good reason. You should review your will and estate planning documents every 3-5 years.

For more information, email [email protected], or send a message from "Send Message" at upper right of this page, or call (508) 994-3205 for an appointment.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Law Offices of Heather J. Lynham, PC's cover photo
10/19/2017

Law Offices of Heather J. Lynham, PC's cover photo

10/19/2017

Lying About Child Custody: What Are the Consequences? By
Christopher Coble, Esq.

There's no doubt that child custody determinations can be hotly contested battles between parents. So it's probably not surprising that not all parents play by the rules. Even though it may come from a place of love and caring for the child, some parents have been known to stretch the truth or lie during child custody hearings or on court documents in order to gain or maintain custody.

Parents have been known to fib about a child's proximity to friends and family, dissemble about their own drinking or drug use, and even falsify allegations of child abuse. Needless to say, you should never lie about child custody. And if you or your ex-spouse do, here's what can happen.

Custodial Appeal

Child custody decisions are always subject to modification if there is a significant change in circumstances. And the discovery of falsifying testimony or documents during custody determinations could qualify as such a change. In addition, parents can appeal a child custody ruling within a limited time period after the judge enters their ruling. And some states allow parents to file motions for reconsideration, which request a judge to re-review the judgment based on certain facts they may not have considered.

So if you can prove your ex lied to the court about child custody, you may be able to have the custody ordered modified or even revoked. And if you lied during the custody hearings, you risk losing any custody rights the lie got you.

A Parent in Custody

You may want to take matters into your own hands if you find out your ex lied regarding custody, but beware: if you decide to withhold child support, refuse to relinquish custody, or take your child against court orders, you risk losing both custody and your freedom. Disobeying court orders -- even in response to fabricated custody evidence -- can result in fines and jail time, neither of which will help you get custody of your children in the future.

If you think someone lied about custody or in order to get it involving your child, contact an experienced child custody attorney.

Here Is Exactly Why People Who File Bankruptcy Are Smart
12/03/2015
Here Is Exactly Why People Who File Bankruptcy Are Smart

Here Is Exactly Why People Who File Bankruptcy Are Smart

I seem to spend a lot of time educating people that most everything they know about bankruptcy is just plain wrong. In fact a friend of mine just told me they were going to file bankruptcy and my answer was, "congratulations."

08/11/2015

FindLaw:

What Happens To My Business if I Go Bankrupt?

By Le Trinh, Esq. May 27, 2015

When the debts start piling up, you may have to consider bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy may sound appealing. You get the creditors off your back and your debts discharged. Sure, it destroys your credit, but that can be rebuilt. However, what about your business?

What can happen to your business if you file for bankruptcy?

Sole Proprietorships

In a sole proprietorship, there is no boundary separating you from your business. If your business has debt, you are personally liable for those debts. If you personally have debts, creditors could go after your business assets to satisfy those debts

Chapter 7

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is often called liquidation. Under chapter 7 bankruptcy, the trustee will sell all assets, except exempt assets, to cover as much of your debts as possible. Since most business assets are non-exempt, your business assets will likely be sold too. So, a chapter 7 bankruptcy could potentially shut down your business. However, chapter 7 bankruptcy would be a good option if your business has little to no assets and no viable future.

While it may be disheartening to have to shut down your business due to chapter 7 bankruptcy, you'll also be free from most business debts, because they may be discharged.

Chapter 13

If you really want to hold on to your business and keep it open, you may consider a chapter 13 bankruptcy. Under Chapter 13, you make a promise to the bankruptcy court to repay debts according to a repayment plan. Depending on the size of your business debt, chapter 13 bankruptcy may last about three to five years.

Partnerships and Limited Liability Corporations

If your partnership files for bankruptcy, you can be liable for your portion of the partnership's debt. However, if you file for personal bankruptcy, your partnership business is unlikely to be affected. A bankruptcy trustee may take the profits disbursed to you, but cannot dissolve the partnership to sell the business' assets.

Corporations

A corporation is treated similarly to a partnership or LLC in a bankruptcy. Unless you are the sole or majority owner, the bankruptcy trustee cannot vote to sell or liquidate the business to cover your debts.

If you are considering bankruptcy but want to protect your business, call us at (508) 994-3205 for an appointment with an experienced attorney.

When the legal system works as it should.....
06/27/2015

When the legal system works as it should.....

06/09/2015

Rockland, Maine court, domestic violence case begs the question - why would a 24-year old man bring his mother to court if he is an adult?

From Bangor Daily News:

After Berry’s arrest, he was released on $250 cash bail and prohibited from contacting the victim or going to her home, school or place of work. On Wednesday, the judge addressed a motion by Berry to have his bail amended.

“You stated the bail conditions prohibit you from shopping in a particular store where you like to go,” Judge Worth said.

At that point, Berry’s mother interrupted the proceedings.

“Say you’re innocent,” she told her son.

“I’m innocent, your honor,” Theodore Berry said.

Judge Worth did not ignore the interruption.

“The person who just felt they had to tell the adult what to say can go,” Worth said, ordering Bethany Berry to leave the courtroom.

Methuen got theirs free as a demo. Cost to a school of this size (7500) - about $100K. What cost to lose a child?
11/16/2014
Methuen to debut 'active shooter' system in school

Methuen got theirs free as a demo. Cost to a school of this size (7500) - about $100K. What cost to lose a child?

METHUEN, Mass. (AP) — A city school will become the first in the nation to deploy an automated system to detect and track a gunman on campus.

10/24/2014
StudentLoans.gov

StudentLoans.gov

A Direct Consolidation Loan allows you to consolidate (combine) multiple federal education loans into one loan at no cost to you. Through your completion of the free Federal Direct Consolidation Loan Application and Promissory Note, you will confirm the loans that you want to consolidate and agree t…

06/04/2014

If you are struggling with debt, avoid companies that make unrealistic promises!

California's DebtPro123 claimed consumers could reduce debts owed by 30-70%, and promised they could “be debt free and enjoy financial independence” in as little as 18 months. Now the Federal Trade Commission has charged DebtPro 123 with billing as much as $10,000 based on deceptive claims it would provide legal advice, settle debts, and repair credit in 3 years or less. The scheme often left consumers in worse shape and the company rarely issued refunds to unhappy customers.

Avoid a company that:

1. Charges fees before it settles your debts

2. Advises you to stop communicating with your creditors

3. Guarantees unsecured debts can be settled for pennies.

If you are overwhelmed by debt, call us at (508) 994-3205 to discuss all options.

When privacy promises head to bankruptcy court | BCP Business Center
05/23/2014
When privacy promises head to bankruptcy court | BCP Business Center

When privacy promises head to bankruptcy court | BCP Business Center

A company collects personal information with the promise not to share it with others and later declares bankruptcy. What happens to those promises? The head of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection sent a letter to the Court presiding over the ConnectEDU bankruptcy to make sure consumers' interest…

Timeline Photos
02/07/2014

Timeline Photos

12/28/2013

Comical Case Names: Terrible v. Terrible Things

There is nothing funny about the opinion but it qualifies for Comical Case Names: Terrible v. Terrible, 534 P. 2d 919 (Nev. 1975).

The Terrible's were divorced in 1971, Terrible v. Terrible (hereinafter "Terrible I"). The marital assets included the primary residence. While married, the Terrible's were "joint tenants" - each had an undivided right to the whole property (one can't sell the property or part of it without the other's consent). The divorce decree stated the parties would be tenants in common, which means each of them had an undivided one-half interest. That means one tenant can sell his or her half-interest without consent, but has no right to sell the whole thing. Mrs. Terrible stayed.

A year later, someone offered to buy the Terrible property. Mr. Terrible wanted to accept. The former Mrs. Terrible did not. Mr. Terrible filed a case (hereinafter "Terrible II") to "partition his interest." Ordinarily, a tenant in common has that right, but Mr. Terrible was screwed because he waived his right by agreeing to let Mrs. Terrible live there. Terrible II, 534 P.2d 921 (Nev 1976).

This is akin to you waiving the right to complain about this not being funny by reading on after I warned you it would not be.

BTW: There's a couple who sued each other at least 28 times since their divorce over 10 years ago (both law professors).

(Abridged from Lowering the Bar Blog)

12/15/2013

Planning on winning the lottery? When you do, call (508) 994-3205 for a consultation on how to protect your assets.

(Abridged from FindLaw - Andrew Chow, Esq.)

Winning the lottery means stepping into legal issues costing time and money. Planning will pay off. The most common legal issues involve disputes over office lottery pools and ownership of winning tickets.

1. Make sure the lottery pool is legal. Some states prohibit all games of chance, including lotteries and office lottery pools. This may apply if you cross state lines to buy a ticket. Workplace rules, like those for federal employees, may bar lottery pools.

2. Get prize-splitting agreements in writing. Many lottery-ticket court battles focus on how lotto pools are supposed to split their winnings. The best way to avoid this is with a written agreement, as an oral agreement may not be enforceable.

3. Buy your ticket when witnesses are around. Witnesses and store surveillance video can help settle disputes about a winning lottery ticket's legal ownership. This happened recently in a Georgia case, in which surveillance video was used to show an undocumented immigrant was actually the rightful owner of a disputed ticket.

4. Consider the claim deadline. State laws determine how long a lotto winner has to claim a prize, even for multistate lottery games like Mega Millions and Powerball. Generally, winning tickets must be claimed within 90 days to 1 year of the drawing.

5. Pay your taxes. In general, the IRS counts lottery winnings as taxable income. Prize checks subject to federal withholding tax will come with a W-2G form to show tax withheld. Many states also impose a state withholding tax ranging from 3% to 10%.

Other legal issues can emerge when you win the lottery, such as concerns about privacy - not to mention long-lost relatives and friends who may try to cash in on your good fortune. Consult an attorney to protect your assets - after all, you'll be able to afford it!

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