All posts by Robert Bevans

Your trust might be OK after all

There is a constant battle between Medicaid applicants and MassHealth that is “David-and-Goliath-Like”. The applicant wants to minimize the amount of assets included in their application so they can qualify for Medicaid Assistance and have their long-term care paid for by the government and MassHealth wants to include as many of the applicant’s assets as possible to limit the assistance provided to the applicant. Many of the debates between applicants and MassHealth involve the use by applicants of trusts. This battle over the use of a nominee trust was brought to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court by Joellen Guilfoil as the personal representative of the estate of Dorothy E. Frank. (Joellen Guilfoil, personal representative vs. Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services)

As a background to the case, MassHealth governs the Medicaid program in Massachusetts. Medicaid eligibility is based upon the applicant’s countable assets. The value of the applicant’s countable assets cannot exceed $2,000.00. Countable assets are basically those assets of the applicant that are in their control and those assets given away by the applicant for less than fair market value during the 5 years preceding the date of their application. Many applicants will transfer assets to a trust in the hope of excluding them from their countable assets and therefore qualify for Medicaid benefits. In an effort to prevent this from happening, Congress has enacted the “any circumstances” rule. This rule is defined as “if there are any circumstances under which payment from the trust could be made to or for the benefit of the individual, the portion of the corpus from which, or the income on the corpus from which, payment to the individual could be made shall be considered resources available to the individual”. If any circumstances are found, the assets are considered as being in control of the applicant and therefore a countable asset.

Dorothy Frank, the David of the case, created a nominee trust entitled “the Frank Family Realty Trust” on December 16, 1999. She was the trustee of the trust. She also named the beneficiaries of the trust. The beneficiaries were her five children as joint tenants with rights of survivorship and herself with a retained life estate. She then conveyed her Fitchburg home to the trust at the same time she created the Trust. Dorothy applied for long-term benefits from MassHealth, the Goliath, in 2017. The only potential countable assets she had were the Fitchburg home worth $109,000.00 and a credit union account worth less than $2,000.00. MassHealth denied her application ruling that the trust property was in her control and therefore a countable asset. Based upon the value of the credit union account, if the home was not a countable asset Frank would have qualified for Medicaid. A hearing was held next and the MassHealth denial was upheld. The Superior Court later upheld the decision of the hearing officer denying the application. Frank appealed the Superior Court decision and the SJC decided to take the case.

The SJC framed the issue presented to them fairly simply as, “whether the entire interest in a property transferred to a nominee trust is a countable asset in a MassHealth eligibility determination where the trustee retains a life estate in the real property”. The Court, in its discussion, focused on what a nominee trust is and what it is not. A nominee trust is usually created for the sole purpose of holding title to the property. The trustee has a minor role in the application of the trust and its assets. The Court stated that a Nominee Trust is not a “True Trusts”. True Trusts are either revocable or irrevocable trusts. A True Trust creates a fiduciary relationship requiring that the trustee act for the benefit of the beneficiary of the trust, a much greater role than the trustee of the nominee trust.

The Court stated that there are qualitative differences between nominee trusts and True Trusts. The initial difference it discussed was the limitation of the trustee powers.  Trustees iof a Nominee Trust are unable to act with respect to trust property without the direction of the beneficiaries. This limitation was included in the Frank Family Revocable Trust. This limitation creates a principal and agent relationship and not a fiduciary relationship. The central concept of the True Trust is the fiduciary relationship. The trustee of a True Trust may have broad powers it can undertake for the benefit of the beneficiaries without their input. There is a true delegation of power to the trustee.

The next level of review by the Court was whether the grantor of the nominee trust has the power to revoke the trust. If the grantor’s power to revoke does not exist then the beneficiaries become the vested owners of the property, if there is a power to revoke then beneficiary’s interest does not vest until after the grantor’s death. The beneficiaries of the Frank Family Revocable Trust and not the grantor of the Trust had the right to terminate the trust and therefore the property ownership was vested in the beneficiaries. Based upon these factors the SJC ruled that the Frank Family Realty Trust was a nominee trust and not a revocable or irrevocable trust. Therefore, once the property was conveyed by Dorothy Frank to the Trust the property was vested in the beneficiaries.

The Frank Family Revocable Trust does give the power to revoke the trust to any beneficiary. Dorothy was a beneficiary and the grantor, so why is she not able to revoke the trust and get the property back? If the Frank Family Revocable Trust was terminated all assets of the Trust must be distributed to the beneficiaries pursuant to the terms of the Trust. So even if Dorothy as one of the beneficiaries was to terminate the Trust each beneficiary would get their interest in the property subject to Dorothy’s life estate. So, the initial transfer of the property to the trust created an irrevocable gift to the beneficiaries subject to Dorothy’s life estate. MassHealth has long held that if an irrevocable gift was made by an applicant and the five-year look-back period has expired the property given is a non-countable asset, here the look back period had long since expired.

The next issue reviewed by the Court, was whether the life estate retained by Dorothy Frank would make her ineligible for Medicaid? The SJC ruled that it did not. The life estate gave her the right to use and occupy the property but not the right to sell it and distribute the proceeds of the sale. Therefore, this property was not a countable asset for Medicaid eligibility purposes and Dorothy’s application should be treated as such. Based upon this the SJC reversed the Judgment of the Superior Court. Confirming that yes David can occasionally take down Goliath.

What Is Owner’s Title Insurance and Why Should I Buy It?

These are both very good questions. Let’s start with the first question and then the answer to the second question will be obvious.

What is Owner’s Title Insurance? It is Insurance that insures you against losses you may suffer as a result of issues affecting the title to your property. When you are buying a property in Massachusetts usually a title examination is completed that complies with MGL Ch 93 Sec 70. Based upon the result of this search a Title Insurance Policy can be issued and a Certification of Title may be issued to you. The Certification is dealing with the record title to your property. It is provided by the law firm closing your purchase. They may also be issuing the title insurance for the transaction.

They can issue two different types of policies. The policies issued in most transactions involving the purchase of real estate are:

  1. Owner’s Title Insurance and
  2. Lenders’ Title Insurance.

The Owner’s Policy protects you and the Lender’s Policy protects your lender. The lender will make you buy their policy, but your policy is optional. Even tough your interests may coincide with that of the lender their policy only protects them in the event of a loss. This often means not until they have acquired ownership of the property. At that point you no longer have an interest in the property.

When you buy your house, you are buying more than just the structure you will live in. You are also buying the property’s legal history. All the good and bad that comes along with it. Any title issue that impacts the property is now your problem. You may be able to look to the law firm that closed your purchase to address the issue or maybe not. There are numerous problems that can impact your ownership of your property that cannot be detected by a title exam and therefore are not addressed by the Certification. These title issues may be covered by your Owner’s Title Policy.

The Owner’s Policy will insure that:

  1. You are the legal owner of the property
  2. That there are no defects, liens or encumbrances effecting your property other than those listed on your policy
  3. In the event that there is a title defect, you may be able to convey your property to a potential buyer if they are willing to accept insurable title
  4. If you are trying to refinance a loan policy may be issued

     

    Things that are covered:

  5. Forgery and impersonation;
  6. Lack of competency, capacity or legal authority of a party;
  7. Deed not joined in by a necessary party (co-owner, heir, spouse, corporate officer, or business partner);
  8. Undisclosed (but recorded) prior mortgage or lien;
  9. Undisclosed (but recorded) easement or use restriction;
  10. Erroneous or inadequate legal descriptions;
  11. Lack of a right of access; and
  12. Deed not properly recorded.

     

    Things that may also be covered depending upon the type of Owner’s Policy you purchased:

  13. Off-record matters, such as claims for adverse possession or prescriptive easement;
  14. Deed to land with buildings encroaching on land of another;
  15. Incorrect survey;
  16. Silent (off-record) liens (such as mechanics’ or estate tax liens); and
  17. Pre-existing violations of subdivision laws, zoning ordinances or CC&R’s.
  18. Post-policy forgery;
  19. Forced removal of improvements due to lack of building permit (subject to deductible);
  20. Post-policy construction of improvements by a neighbor onto insured land; and
  21. Location and dimensions of insured land (survey not required).

Your Owner’s Policy will insure the entire value of the property. It will protect you from any legal action taken against you to enforce a lien or property right to your property. The amount of your coverage may increase each year for the first five years of your policy. It is automatically added to your policy with no additional premium due from you. Your policy will protect you during your entire ownership of the property. It may even protect your heirs depending upon the type of policy you purchased.

You should want to protect what maybe the largest investment of your life anyway that you can. The purchase of Owner’s Policy is that one-time investment that should not be missed. You will have the peace of mind that no matter what the issue that comes up with your property’s title you are protected, and the title company will defend your rights. It is no surprise that your lender requires it and so should you.

New First-Time Homebuyer Loan Program from Freddie Mac. It requires a down-payment of 3%

First-Time Homebuyers have another arrow in their quiver in their attempt to slay the great monster, purchasing their first home. On April 26, 2018, Freddie Mac announced a new loan program targeted at first-Time homebuyers. It is called HomeOne. The Program requires a down payment of 3% and it is provided to otherwise qualified borrowers who are first-time homebuyers. This is not a FHA insured loan but a conventional loan. According to Freddie Mac, HomeOne will be available to borrowers commencing on July 29, 2018, so it misses this spring’s market but it will be positioned for the late summer and early fall seasons.

Freddie Mac’s release stated that “HomeOne mortgage is part of the company’s ongoing efforts to support responsible lending, provide sustainable homeownership and improve access to credit,…The HomeOne mortgage will provide our customers the flexibility they need to help borrowers anywhere in the country achieve the milestone of homeownership and overcome the common down payment resource hurdle. HomeOne is a great solution for aspiring homebuyers to grab that first rung of the property ladder and enjoy the financial and social benefits of participating in homeownership.”

The underwriting of the loans will attempt to make a complete risk assessment based on several factors. It will review credit as it applies to the capacity to repay and the value of the collateral as well as other factors. It was stated that HomeOne mortgage will be offered only for conforming fixed-rate mortgages. The loan must be secured by a single unit primary residence. Not all of the borrowers have to be a first-time homebuyer, but at least one does have to be a first-time homebuyer. According to Freddie Mac it is also adjusting the area-median-income (AMI) limits in an effort to sharpen its focus on low- and-moderate income homebuyers.

So, if you are a first-time homebuyer looking for a property, you may want to consider this loan program. It is also important to note that this is not the only program available to first-time homebuyers nor is it our firm’s endorsement of the program. You should always seek the advice of a well-informed lending professional when you are purchasing a home. Our Firm is prepared to assist first-time homebuyers in their purchase of their home in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. We want to earn your trust and have you as a client for life.

Making the Most Out of Your Power of Attorney

Present and Future Protections Against the Unknown

A Power of Attorney is a legal document in which you grant a selected person or persons the ability to act on your behalf in financial matters. This can include, but is not limited to: signing on your behalf during a sale, accessing your bank account to pay your bills, adjusting your investments, etc. As such, it is an integral part of any estate plan.

Unfortunately, with this important document come some inevitable risks. The selected person or persons will have access to and control over some of your most valuable assets. More importantly, once the access and control is given, they will be able to take actions without obtaining permission or approval; unless and until the document is revoked.

For many this is cause for concern. They worry that they are sacrificing the safety of their present assets for the sake of future protections against incapacity. And, to some extent they are correct. To protect yourself in the future, there is a certain amount of control that must be given up in the present. But, there are several ways to mitigate these risks.

Here are some of the main ways that this can be accomplished:

Select a Power of Attorney that you trust.

It is very important to think long and hard prior to selecting a person or persons as your Power of Attorney (also known as your POA). But, this choice is more than just finding someone that you can trust not to steal your hard earned money. (Though that is important.)

You should be looking for someone that you trust to make financial decisions in the same manner that you would. To do this, you must first carefully consider your beliefs/opinions/values regarding money. Then, attempt to select someone that mirrors those same beliefs/opinions/values in their own life.

It is also important to consider whether or not the POA you select can handle the responsibility of being your Power of Attorney. Handling the finances of another person can be a difficult responsibility that not everyone is capable of taking on. Carefully consider how the POA will balance their own responsibilities with your own. And, whether the POA will know when to seek assistance if the responsibility becomes too great.

Finally, it is important to make changes to your Power of Attorney Document if circumstances change. As time passes, life events may occur that give you reason to change your POA. Do not hesitate to make such changes, as you never know when you will need your Power of Attorney Document

Carefully Crafted Provisions within the Document.

Even when a POA has been carefully selected, your assets may still be vulnerable. The future is unpredictable and the person you once trusted may disappoint you. Therefore, it is important to have your Power of Attorney Document drafted to restrict the actions your POA can take.

One such provision could be a Restriction on Gift Giving. This provision would not allow your POA to make a gift of your assets to themselves. For example, should the POA wish to acquire your property, they would be forced to pay fair market value for it. Another provision could be to restriction the POA from making amendments to your Estate Plan. This could protect your Will and Trust from being amended in a way you would not have wanted.

Not all protective provisions will work in every situation. Carefully discuss your individual circumstances with your Attorney. They will be able to suggest specific provisions that will fit your needs.

Keep the Signed Power of Attorney Locked Away.

If you are still concerned regarding the safety of your assets, it may be an option to sign your Power of Attorney Document but keep it in your possession. As the signed original is required for the POA to act, without it they are powerless. You could then choose when you wish your POA to have access by simply delivering the signed document to them.

It is important to note that this course of action does not come without risk. If need arises for the POA to act, but they do not have access to the signed original, they will be powerless. If the Power of Attorney Document cannot be located or the POA does not know the document exists, it could then become necessary to petition the court for the authority to act on your behalf. A court petition could be a lengthy and costly procedure. And, it could ultimately result in a POA being selected that you would not have appointed.

Consider a Limited Power of Attorney.

This may be a good option for you if you have a specific task that you need done that you either cannot or do not want to do on your own. Often, this document is used during real estate transactions. For example, an attorney will be requested to attend a closing on behalf of a buyer or seller. In this case, the Limited Power of Attorney Document will allow the POA the ability to sign documents at the closing. Once the closing is complete, the powers granted to the POA by the Limited Power of Attorney Document cease.

Though this type of document may assist with protecting present interests by limiting the POA powers, it leaves much to be desired. A Limited Power of Attorney Document does not and cannot anticipate every need you may have in the future. Therefore, when the unexpected occurs, your POA may be left seeking court approval to handle the matter.

Consider a Springing Power of Attorney.

A Springing Power of Attorney is as all encompassing as a general Power of Attorney but it includes a specific provision that requires a certain event to occur before it becomes active. Normally, this event is incapacity.

Theoretically, this document offers the best of both worlds. You maintain sole control over your assets while you are capable then your POA can take over as soon as the activating event occurs. However, there can be significant downsides.

The significant downside and a reason why this type of Power of Attorney Document is not always recommended is the trigger event. If a need arises prior to the triggering event, a court order will be necessary. And, if the triggering event is incapacity, there can be several steps necessary to activate the Power of Attorney Document. These can include providing incapacity to a Doctor or court, which can take time that the POA may not have.

Do I need a Healthcare Proxy and/or Power of Attorney?

The short answer is… YES.

The Basics: A Health Care Proxy is a legal document that allows another person to make medical decisions on your behalf. A Power of Attorney, on the other hand, is a legal document that allows another person to make and/or execute financial decisions on your behalf.

Why a Health Care Proxy is Important: Medical emergencies can occur at any age. If or when that day comes, someone must make medical decisions on your behalf.

Every person has different beliefs/opinions regarding medical decisions. These decisions range from long term care facility preferences to medical procedures you would and would not like performed. These are intensely personal decisions that have taken you a lifetime to develop. By selecting a Health Care Proxy (HCP for short) in advance of a medical emergency, you have the ability to choose someone that shares in these beliefs/opinions. Without such a document, family members or a court appointed individual may make decisions on your behalf without this knowledge. And, in some cases, this results in actions being taken or not taken that you do not agree with.

Therefore, a HCP is an essential document, in order to make sure that your wishes are carried out, when you are no longer able to make the decisions yourself.

Why a Power of Attorney is Important: Again, medical emergencies can occur at any age. If or when that day comes, someone must make and execute financial decisions on your behalf.

One of the biggest reason to select a Power of Attorney (POA for short) prior to a medical emergency is TRUST. As with health decisions, financial matters are intensely personal. By creating a POA, you can select someone that you know has similar beliefs/opinions regarding money as you do.

A second major reason to select a POA is that the future is UNPREDICTABLE. For years you have planned for your future. You have been putting away money for a house, children’s college tuition, retirement, etc. But then the unexpected happens. That money you have been saving now needs to be used for a different and unforeseen purpose; such as a child with disabilities, the unexpected loss of a job or medical bills. When you are in charge of your finances, you can make these alterations and move forward. However, if you are unable to make financial decisions on your own, a POA will be able to continually monitor your finances and make the necessary changes to protect you into the future. Without such an individual, you may be stuck with the plan that you created prior to your incapacitation that is no longer in your best interest.

As with the HCP, if you do not have a POA the court can appoint someone to act on your behalf. However, this person may not share your beliefs/opinions, may be appointed too late to correct financial errors or may be unwilling/unable to make the decisions/changes you would have. Therefore, it is important to select your own POA, and understand how your finances will be handled when you are no longer capable of handling them on your own.

Conclusion: The future is unpredictable. Put together a Healthcare Proxy and Power of Attorney now so that your future is a little more protected from the unpredictably negative turns life can take.

Should I Put My Child On My Deed?

There are many options when it comes to estate planning. These options can often seem overwhelming and unnecessary. This can feel especially true when dealing with relatively small estates.

In an attempt to avoid the estate planning process, many consider placing their children on the deed of their home. The thought is this: The home is the only asset they have of great value and this will allow the property to go to their children upon their death without dealing with the courts. It is also seen as a relatively cheap alternative to estate planning; making it even more appealing. However, under most circumstances, this is ill advised and can have disastrous consequences.

The main problems with adding a child to your deed are:

  1. Creditors
  2. Control; and
  3. Spouses

Creditors:

As the largest asset that most people own, a home is very valuable. It is often more than just a place to live but is used as collateral to pay for college, weddings, and/or retirement. The home is also one of the first assets creditors go after when a debt is owed. Once a child is placed on a deed, that property becomes open to that child’s creditors. Even if the child has little to no interaction with the property (i.e. does not live there or contribute to mortgage payments) creditors will still have rights over the property.

Though many believe their children to be financially stable, the future can be unpredictable. Unforeseen events, including sickness, can lead to financial instability. This instability can jeopardize your property and leave you with little choice or control. Your children’s creditors may then end up with rights to the equity you have developed, putting you into financial situations you are ill equipped to handle or recover from.

Control:

Once placed on the deed, a child will have an interest in the property. This means that they will need to sign off on any decision made by their parents; whether that is refinancing, selling or otherwise. Though for most this will only be a slight inconvenience, for some it can become more.

If a child decides they do not wish to cooperate, wish to have more control in what happens to the property or wish to gain something financially from the property, a child may have rights to do so. Though the problems may be fixable, it could cost an incredible amount of time and money in court.

Spouses

We all hope that we love, or at least like, our child’s spouse and that their love lasts forever. Unfortunately, for many that is not the case. And, as a child has a degree of control over the property once they are on the deed, so will their spouse.

This control can come in the form of influence over the child or through divorce. If it does turn out that the parents do not care for the spouse, this could lead to animosity that is taken out on the property. Also, in the event of divorce, the property may be up for debate when assets are split.

Conclusion

It is only natural to want to find the quickest and cheapest way to accomplish your goals. However, it is important to understand the risks involved in those decisions. For most, their home is the most valuable asset they own and decisions regarding title should not be taken lightly. Always consult an Attorney prior to making decisions regarding title, to fully understand your options and the consequences of any action.

Homestead Protection for Trusts

Revocable Trusts can be a good way to protect your assets from the probate process. Properly drafted and executed, assets will automatically transfer to your loved ones upon your passing. It also allows you to retain control over your assets while you are alive and gives you the ability to alter the trust as you see fit.

A common misconception regarding a Revocable Trust, however, is that they have some ability to protect your assets from creditors. It is important to know that this is not the case. Because you retain primary control of your assets, with the ability to alter the trust at any time, creditors are still able to access the assets to satisfy debts.

Fortunately for Massachusetts Residence, there is a way to protect your home from most creditors while having it in a Revocable Trust. This protection is known as the Homestead Protection Act.

The Homestead Protection Act, protects your primary residency from unsecured creditors. These creditors are, for example:

  • Someone that slips and falls on your property
  • Medical Bills
  • Credit Card Bills
  • Someone that sues you for something that happens while you are on the job
  • Someone you get into a car accident with; and
  • Many more

The Homestead automatically protects the equity in your home for up to $125,000.00. But, many Massachusetts residence own homes that are worth more than $125,000.00. For these individuals, a Homestead can be filed with the Registry of Deeds and the protection will be increased to $500,000.00. For many this is the difference between a completely protected home and a home that is vulnerable to creditors.

Before March of 2011, this protection was only available to individuals that owned their homes in their own name. Once the property was placed into trust, the protection was lost. However, in March of 2011 the Homestead Act was extended to properties held in revocable trusts if proper requirements were met. A homestead must be filed with the registry of deeds and it must state that the property is owned in trust and that the primary beneficiaries currently or intend to live in the property as their primary residency. Once this is done, your home will have the best of both worlds; the future protections of a trust and the present protections of the Homestead Protection Act.

By putting your property in trust, you are saying that you are concerned about the loved ones that you will leave behind. You are allowing your loved ones the ability to avoid the probate process and the time and money that goes along with it. It only makes sense that you would want to take this simple step to protect one of your most valuable assets while you are alive. By putting your property into a trust with a Homestead Protection, you are protecting it from both the probate process and most creditors.

Click here to read the homestead law.

Please contact Topkins & Bevans to learn more about this important protection and how to obtain it today. firm@topbev.com or bmartin@topbev.com

March 2015 Newsletter Trending Now

T&B Trending March 2015 Vol 2-2015
 

Housing Market Continues Slow Climb Toward Stable Levels

 

Source: Dsnews.com

 

The latest Multi-Indicator Market Index (MiMi) from Freddie Mac, released Wednesday, showed that the U.S. housing market showed continued stabilization for the fourth straight month in December.
Read more >>

 

 

Q4 2014 Commercial Real Estate Cycles from Dividend Capital

Source: Ted C. Jones

There is one blog topic that I write about quarterly that is preceded by several calls and emails as to when it is scheduled to be available – The Cycle Monitor – Real Estate Market Cycles from Dividend Capital, prepared by Dr. Glenn Mueller from the University of Denver. Read more >>

 

FHA launches historic homebuyer ‘care package’ for 2015

 

Source: Inman.com

 

After several years of lackluster participation in the housing market, first-time homebuyers are getting a boost from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) this year.
Read more >>

 

March 2015 Newsletter Trending Now

 

Source: Topkins & Bevans Blog

 

This is the time of the year when all of us have no choice but to pour through our bank statements, credit card statements, checks and acknowledgments from charities regarding contributions….. While you are going through this data-producing exercise, you might want to consider your Will, and other elements of your Estate Plan, at the same time.
Read more >>

 

Topkins & Bevans

Offices in

Boston, Braintree and Waltham

rbevans@topbev.com

www.topkinsandbevans.com

Tax Time Considerations: Estate Plan? Yes

This is the time of the year when all of us have no choice but to pour through our bank statements, credit card statements, checks and acknowledgments from charities regarding contributions. Whether you prepare your own tax returns, or have a professional assist you, the first step is always to gather together data from the past year and assemble it into a form which will permit the preparation of an accurate tax return.

While you are going through this data-producing exercise, you might want to consider your Will, and other elements of your Estate Plan, at the same time. While your Estate Planning documents focus more on whom you would want to take charge of your assets, and to whom, and in what amounts you wish your assets to be distributed, preparation for getting your Estate Plan in shape is not that much different from getting your tax information together. Perhaps, you have an Estate Plan, but it was executed many years ago and the people you selected to serve as executors and trustees, or health care agents, are no longer living or have moved away. Maybe, your children have achieved a level of maturity where you can trust them to take care of things when you are no longer able. Maybe you have developed a relationship with a bank, or other financial institution, which you are comfortable with, and whom you want to get involved.

The point is just like your tax returns take some effort to gather information; your Estate Plan requires the same type of thinking and assembling. It matters not that you have located all the information concerning your income for 2014, if you do not get same on the return; you are in jeopardy with Federal and Massachusetts tax-collecting authorities. Similarly, even if you have located your old Will or Trust, your wishes will not be served unless you make the effort to meet with an attorney and inform him or her whom you want to be in charge, and to whom your assets should be distributed. Sometimes, all you need to do is “tweak” your current Will or Trust with a Codicil or Trust Amendment. Other times, you may need to prepare entirely new instruments, because the ones you have in place are so “dated”.

If you are one of that majority of Americans who have no Will or Trust in place, AT ALL, tax time may be the time that you climb off the fence and stop procrastinating with your family’s future. You really owe it to your spouse and children to put down in writing to whom you want your assets distributed, and which people you want involved in making it happen. Not everyone in your family will be happy with your choices, but no one will be able to say “Mom would have wanted this” or “Dad would have wanted that”. You do not have to rely on the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to distribute your wealth. You will have made it perfectly clear what you want.

T&B Trending January 2015

 T&B Logo
T&B Trending January 2015 Vol 1-2015
Top StoryNovember 2014 Job Growth – 7th Best Month in 10 Years Source: Dr. Ted C. Jones

Job growth continues to accelerate into the fall and winter as November 2014 saw 321,000 net new jobs (preliminary) added on a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate. That was the seventh best month of job growth in the past 10-years. Read more >>

In The News

Forecast: Full Steam Ahead for Housing

Source: Themreport.com

The housing market will continue its gradual recovery and gain momentum in 2015 after a disappointing 2014.

Read more >>

What’s Happening

Home Sales, Housing Starts Expected to See Significant Growth in 2015

Source: Themreport.com

Improvements in economic fundamentals, notably employment growth among millennials, will fuel significant increases in home sales and housing starts and a modest rise in home prices in 2015. Read more >>

In Our Neighborhood

First-time homebuyers given more options to buy a home by FannieMae and FreddieMac:

Source: Topkins & Bevans Blog

Earlier this week new lending guidelines for first-time homebuyers were released in a statement by the FHFA Director Melvin L. Watt . Watt wrote “The new lending guidelines released today by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will enable creditworthy borrowers who can afford a mortgage, but lack the resources to pay a substantial down payment plus closing costs, to get a mortgage with 3 percent down. Read more >>

Topkins & Bevans
Offices in Boston, Braintree and Waltham Name
rbevans@topbev.com
www.topkinsandbevans.com