What we do
Estate Planning & Elder Law
My law practice is concentrated in the areas of estate planning and elder law. The two areas are related, elder law being that part of estate planning which deals with issues that may be unique to the elderly population. An example of this would be planning for long term care. Protecting one’s assets should one need to enter a nursing home has become increasingly difficult over the years. One has less time to do so as there is currently a five year look- back period for uncompensated transfers.
The period of Medicaid disqualification no longer begins at the time of transfer, but at the time one might otherwise qualify for benefits but for the uncompensated transfer. Therefore, the five year look- back needs to be carefully analyzed before any transfers are considered. Where appropriate we oftentimes draft irrevocable trusts and/or deeds with reserved life estates. Long term care insurance, when affordable, may also be advisable.
Estate tax avoidance or minimization is also an important goal in estate planning. Although the federal threshold for a taxable estate has increased considerably so that most estates are largely unaffected by the federal estate tax , the Rhode Island estate tax has remained comparatively low so that it is still an issue that needs to be considered and planned for in the estates of many Rhode islanders.
Wills & Trusts
Younger couples may be primarily concerned with appointing a guardian for minor children through their wills. In addition, testamentary trusts contained in their wills can be receptacles for life insurance and qualified accounts so that there is a trustee in place to handle funds beyond the age of majority and until a child may be ready to handle these funds.
Many young couples need simple wills, essentially as stop gap measures, just in case something happens. In all likelihood, these wills will be revised, sometimes several times, during their lifetimes. Generally, I will discuss the advantages of a revocable living trust at some time, if not initially, as a way of avoiding probate for older persons. This is particularly beneficial for those who have sufficient funds to self-insure or purchase long term care insurance for the possibility of nursing care, as one cannot hold a primary residence in a revocable trust and qualify for Medicaid in Rhode Island.
My other areas of practice include primarily probate, real estate, small businesses, and litigation.
I practice before all probate courts in the state of Rhode Island in both uncontested and contested matters involving decedents’ estates and guardianships. When involved in a contested case, I try to take a reasonable approach toward settlement.
Real Estate Law
I represent both buyers and sellers in real estate transactions, residential and commercial. As a qualified title agent, I perform title searches and examinations, and issue title insurance policies. I also conduct closings for many of my clients who request my services when obtaining a mortgage or in a cash deal.
Several of my clients own small businesses which I have incorporated as S-Corps or organized as limited liability companies. I am able to assist them with their annual filings, contracts and leases, and real estate acquisition and financing, as may be necessary.
In addition to probate court, I make frequent court appearances in district court representing both landlords and tenants. I also represent clients in the superior court on various commercial matters and appeals. Through the years, I have developed the skills necessary to negotiate, and if necessary to go to trial, in litigated matters.