If you are a native of the Greater New Bedford Region you may be familiar with the works of our local artist, Arthur Moniz. Quite a few of Mr. Moniz's works of art depict local landmarks such as the Whaling Museum and Johnny Cake Hill, the four seasons at Buttonwood Park, Padanaram Harbor and Fort Phoenix. He also has done beautiful nautical scenes with scallop boats, whaling vessels and simple dories. I have some of his artwork at my own home and I really do love them. I want to get some more and I think I am leaning towards his Azorean works this time.
If you haven't been to his gallery, you really should stop by! His gallery is located at 22 William Street in historical Downtown New Bedford, right across from the Whaling Museum. The gallery holds his extensive collection of originals done in watercolors, graphites or oils to beautiful giclee prints. The gallery also sells Nantucket baskets, scrimshaw pieces, jewelry, Italian tiles, Sailor Valentines and books by local authors! But please be advised: this is not a gift shop, so you won't see any t-shirts or bumper stickers. The Arthur Moniz gallery is a place for a someone who loves and appreciates great artwork and is looking to decorate their home with a statement piece (or two). You can view Arthur Moniz's incredible art by clicking here, but to truly value them, you have to visit the gallery in person.
Monday, Wednesdays, Thursdays & Fridays: 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Saturdays & Sundays: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The gallery is open Tuesdays, by chance or by appointment. They are also open until 8:00 pm every 2nd Thursday of every month for New Bedford’s AHA celebration!
There have been many advertisements for websites where you can write your own Will and other Legal documents. Citing the fact that basic estate plans may run from $500 to $1,000, some people are choosing to go online to prepare those documents because they feel that it is cheaper. This is often "penny wise but pound foolish", as the old saying goes. Estate planning isn’t something most people do for themselves, rather it is something they do for those they love. After all, it’s your loved ones who will have to deal with consequences of your decisions. Estate planning isn’t just about documents and it is not just about death planning. Estate planning is about developing a relationship with a qualified estate planning attorney who can be there for your family to guide them through a difficult time. This will often save them money, time and heartache. It is one of the most important gifts you can give them.
In our Firm, estate planning is about developing a lifetime relationship with our clients. We custom craft documents to assist you and your family. Estate planning documents should not be done and then put up on a shelf and forgotten until you die. Life changes and we want you to have the peace of mind knowing that your documents work for you when you need them to. We meet with our clients for free at least every three years to check-in and see if anything needs to be updated or changed. We charge for the changes but not for the consultation. Often we find clients don’t need new documents but are glad to be reminded of what they did and why they did it.
One do-it-yourself website starts you off with a questionnaire but then has a non-lawyer “specialist”, who cannot give legal advice, “review your answers”! A U.S. News & World Report (U.S. News & World Report, December 24, 2007) article states, “Each state has different rules for wills, so any legitimate form or service must be tailored to your state.” Do you want to guess whether or not the website you turned to is “legitimate”? Believe us when we tell you we have seen many documents, particularly Durable Powers of Attorneys that supposedly were suitable for Massachusetts, but in fact were totally inappropriate. The article goes on to say, “Most experts agree that do-it-yourself Wills are best suited for people worth less than $2 million, the current threshold for triggering estate taxes.” Not so! $5 million is the threshold for federal estate taxes and a Massachusetts estate of $1 million triggers an estate tax -- requiring tax planning. Furthermore, if you are concerned about protecting your assets from having to be spent on nursing home care during your lifetime or protecting your assets from your children’s creditors after your death, a do-it-yourself Will won’t meet your needs.
The U.S. World News Report says, “You don’t want to have the witnesses be people who will inherit under the Will.” What it does not say, and what often happens, is that relatives of those who inherit under the Will should not be witnesses to the Will. This leaves the door wide open for someone to contest the Will by charging undue influence and duress. Totally independent witnesses are an absolute necessity. The article goes on to warn that the Will should be put in a safe place, and suggests a fireproof box at home. Left unanswered is what happens should a disgruntled heir come across that fireproof box! What the article does state correctly is that real life situations don’t always fit into a fill-in-the-blank online will. Do you want to entrust the future of your family to a $19.95 online Will?
If you do not have your basic estate planning documents, consider scheduling a no obligation consultation to discuss your unique situation. Call our office today at 508-994-5200 today!
1 (16-oz.) container fresh crabmeat, drained and flaked
5 cups hot cooked long-grain rice
Garnish: chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Peel shrimp; devein, if desired.
Melt butter with oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat; stir in flour, and cook, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until caramel colored. Add chopped onion, green pepper, and celery; cook, stirring constantly, 4 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add minced garlic, and sauté 1 minute.
Stir in chicken broth, white wine, and next 6 ingredients, and cook, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Add shrimp. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.
Stir in crabmeat; cook, stirring often, until thoroughly heated.
Spoon shrimp mixture into individual serving bowls. Spoon hot cooked rice on top of shrimp mixture. Garnish, if desired.
*2 (16-oz.) packages frozen unpeeled, raw shrimp, thawed according to package directions, may be substituted.
Did you know that it takes about 2 hours to release your inner Picasso? All that it takes is a few friends, a couple of cocktails and some very talented artists that will help guide you in creating your own masterpiece! You will be pleasantly surprised at how talented you are once you are in a relaxed , fun and creative atmosphere! Paint Nite Providence provides will provide everything that you will need: canvas, paints, brushes and even a smock.
And don't worry, this isn't a contest and you need no prior painting experience, whatsoever. Where is this all happening? At your favorite Providence bars and bistros! Be sure to check the calendar to see where and when by clicking here. Be sure to hurry, they fill up quickly! The events last approximately two hours. At the end of the night you have a new masterpiece for your home! But, as always please drink responsibly and if necessary have a designated driver.
Ranked as #1 in the top 10 things to do in the providence area, Roger Williams Park & Zoo is a great way to spend the day with your children! Even on a cold, wintry days, you are able to enjoy the grounds and the animals. There is so much to see and do with over 40 acres of land and more than 100 species of animals. Despite being one of the oldest zoos in the country (it first opened in 1872!) it is constantly being updated and is "user" friendly as well!
The Roger Williams Park Zoo is open every day -- with the exception of a few major holidays -- from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission costs $12 for adults and $8 for children ages three through 12 years old. Check out the zoo's website for more information by clicking here!
2 large eggplants (about 3 pounds total ), sliced lengthwise (about 16 slices total)
kosher salt and black pepper
1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
2 large eggs
1 15-ounce container ricotta
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 cups grated mozzarella (8 ounces)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (1 1/2 ounces)
1. Heat oven to 450° F. Divide the oil between 2 rimmed baking sheets. Dividing evenly, arrange the eggplant slices in a single layer on the baking sheets and turn to coat in the oil; season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
2. Bake the eggplant, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until soft and beginning to brown, 12 to 15 minutes; let cool. Reduce heat to 400° F.
3. Meanwhile, in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch or some other 3-quart baking dish, spread ½ cup of the marinara sauce. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, ricotta, oregano, 1 cup of the mozzarella, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
4. Place about 3 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture on one end of a slice of eggplant, roll it up, and transfer it to the prepared baking dish. Repeat with the remaining eggplant slices and ricotta mixture.
5. Top the eggplant rolls with the remaining cup of marinara sauce and the remaining cup of mozzarella. Sprinkle with the Parmesan.
6. Bake until the cheese has melted and the sauce is bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld said it best when he said “there is nothing common about common sense”. I couldn’t agree more. In fact, common sense has almost become a super power!
I would like to tell you about our client “Joe” and his dealings with MassHealth for his Mom, “Rose”. Joe was his mom’s eligibility representative. I say “was” because she unfortunately passed away. Shortly after her passing, MassHealth sent both Joe and his now-deceased mother a denial notice of eligibility. What was the reason for the denial? Because she was dead, of course! I am sure the family was well aware of that fact. Clearly, Mass Health was aware of that fact, but still took the time, money and resources to send a deceased woman a notice of her ineligibility! Fortunately, Joe has a great sense of humor and took it in stride.
All kidding aside, these types of actions are not funny and are rather frustrating. MassHealth is both illogical and unpredictable, making it very difficult for clients to file applications on their own. Even to seasoned professionals like an elder law attorney, MassHealth seems to create more work for themselves. More often than not, they request information that has already been submitted or making an applicant wait until the fair hearing is scheduled before changing a denial into an approval when the “missing” information was already submitted!
So if you, or someone you know, are having difficulty dealing with the complexities of MassHealth, we can help! Although we can’t bring back your loved ones, we do have a red cape in the office that has the word “common sense” stitched on it. Just be sure to bring your patience and sense of humor, and we will help you navigate through the process!
When you are sick or if you die it is your family who will be dealing with any issues related to your care and property. I have never had a client tell me they wished they had waited to do their estate planning. I have had many who have said that they wish they had done it sooner. Good estate planning asks not only the question of what happens when you die, but also what happens if you become incapacitated but don’t die. I often hear “I just want to make it easy for my kids or my spouse”. Estate planning is what makes it easy.
Most couples assume they can make decisions for one another if one should become incapacitated but this is not always true. For example, usually a spouse cannot access the other spouse’s IRA while the sick spouse is alive even if the person is the beneficiary of the account. A good durable power of attorney avoids the need to go to Probate Court to get permission to manage the other spouse’s financial affairs. A health care proxy avoids the need to go to the Probate Court to get permission to make health care decisions for each other. The Guardianship process usually takes at least a couple of months, costs at least $2000, and requires a public notification of the person’s incompetence. Most families want to avoid this.
Any property that is in your own name alone (not joint or without a beneficiary) will transfer at your death through your Will or through the intestate process in the Probate Court. If you die without a will you are “intestate”. The state has a law that says to whom your property will go when you die if you are intestate. Most married couples don’t realize that in certain circumstances not all of the estate will be left to the surviving spouse. The surviving spouse may have to split the estate with any surviving children. If you want to make sure your property goes to whom you intend you need to have a Will.
Do you have minor children?
If so, you need to name guardians for the children. If you do not name guardians the court will select the guardian and it may not be whom you would want to raise your child. Beyond that, you should also name temporary guardians who are authorized to take care of your child until the permanent guardians arrive. For example, If you have a car accident while you are out on a date the police are not going to leave your child with the 17 year old baby sitter or even a family member unless you give legal authority in writing for that person to watch your child. If you want to avoid your child going into the system even for a night, a temporary guardian nomination should solve your problem.
If you are over age 60 or your parents are over age 60, your estate planning should also plan to protect your property if you should need nursing home care. If your estate is over $1,000,000 you have a Massachusetts taxable estate in 2014 and if your estate is valued at more than $5,340,000 you have a federal taxable estate in 2014. The federal estate tax rate is scheduled to be 40%. Estate taxes can be minimized and sometimes eliminated through proper planning. These are just a few of the issues that need to be considered when doing your estate planning.