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Do I need a guardianship or a health care proxy to help make medical decisions if my spouse, parent, or grandparent is diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s?

Do I need a guardianship or a health care proxy to help make medical decisions if my spouse, parent, or grandparent is diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s?
The short answer is yes, but do not panic.

There are several possible courses of action that you can take if your loved one is diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s. It is important to first find out if your loved one has executed a health care proxy. A health care proxy is an estate planning document that allows your loved one to formally nominate a person to make health care decisions for them if your loved one is deemed incapacitated by a doctor. If they have executed one, upon a doctor determining that your loved one cannot make health care decisions for themselves, the named individual in that health care proxy will then be in charge of making medical decisions on behalf of your loved one. If your loved one has not executed a health care proxy nominating a health care agent, and has not been deemed incapable of making medical decisions, you should discuss with them who they will want to make medical decisions on their behalf. It is important that you move with great haste and have your loved one execute a health care proxy as their mental capacity can quickly change.

If your loved one has already been deemed incapacitated hope is not lost, but the process will take some additional time. You will have to petition the court to have a guardian appointed. A guardian is an individual officially appointed by the court to make health care decisions on the behalf of your loved one. You can seek to have yourself, another family member, or a […]

Is An Employee In MA Protected For Using Medical Marijuana?

Is An Employee In Massachusetts Protected For Using Marijuana?
The landscape of marijuana tolerance in the United States is no doubt changing. This includes those who advocate for the medicinal use of cannabis and those who are willing to tolerate its recreational use. We question, Is an employee in MA protected for using medical marijuana?

Currently there exist 23 different states that have passed some form of medicinal marijuana use law, not including the District of Columbia and the seven states where legislation is currently pending. That means an astonishing 30 states, or 60%, could have legislation legalizing the medicinal use of marijuana. Of the 23 states that currently allow for medicinal marijuana use, 4 states plus the District of Columbia have passed legislation allowing for the recreational use of marijuana.

While Massachusetts has not gone as far as to allow for recreational use of marijuana, they are 1 of 19 states which has decriminalized certain possession laws for small amounts of marijuana. In addition to its liberal views of marijuana, Massachusetts is also happens to be one of the most civil rights minded states, being one of the first states to implement anti-discrimination laws in education (1855), public accommodations and employment (1944).

So as one of the more lenient states in the country in their opinion of marijuana and their history of being pioneers in the fight against discrimination one could easily assume that Massachusetts would allow for the use of medicinal marijuana as a reasonable accommodation for those employees who are lawfully prescribed cannabis for treatment of serious and chronic disabilities, however that is likely not the case. Unfortunately that is an issue which has yet to be decided in Massachusetts.

Colorado was one of the first […]

By |December 21st, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Should I hire an Attorney if I am charged with an OUI/DUI?

Should I hire an Attorney if I am charged with an OUI/DUI?

If you have been arrested or charged with Operating Under the Influence (OUI) or what many states commonly refer to as Driving Under the Influence (DUI) then you are already discovering the complicated procedures to get your license back.  If you have been charged then your license has already been suspended. It is important to hire an attorney to represent you if you have been charged with either an OUI for drugs or alcohol due to the consequences on your license and potential for jail time. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the complex laws that can prevent you from getting your license back. In many cases if your license was suspended for refusing a breath test the only way to get your license back before the 6 month minimum loss of license is to have your case dismissed or be found not guilty.

If you are going to proceed in your case by having a trial, it is always in your best interest to be represented by an attorney that knows the rules of evidence, the trial procedures, and the best way to defend against these charges. An experienced attorney will also be able to look at the evidence against you and determine what motions need to be filed on your behalf. For example, to admit the results of a breath test against you at trial certain procedures needed to have been adhered to, and an attorney can look at the evidence and see if the proper procedures were followed. If the procedures were not followed your Attorney can file motions to prevent the results of your breath test from being used […]

Should I hire a lawyer if I am injured in a car accident?

Should I hire a lawyer if I am injured in a car accident?

The short answer is yes!

If you have been in a car accident and have suffered personal injuries you are entitled to receive compensation for all of your injuries. It is typical to receive payment for property damage to your vehicle as well as payment of some of your medical expenses for your injuries. After filing a claim with the insurance company you will often be contacted and asked to provide a written or recorded statement. You also may be offered payment for damage to your vehicle and some medical expenses and asked to sign a release. If you sign that release you may be agreeing to accept less compensation than you deserve, which works out well for the insurance company but does not work out very well for you.

The automobile insurance company has trained professionals who look out for them. This is why it is important for you to have a lawyer who will fight to protect your rights and get you the money you deserve. Once you hired Cohen Cleary, P.C. You will no longer have to worry about what to say or what to do because we will deal with the insurance company for you. We will make sure that you receive payment for the damage to your vehicle, damage to your personal property, payment of all medical expenses, payment for lost wages, and payment for all of your pain, suffering, and emotional anguish that is caused by the car accident. If you have more than $2,000.00 in medical expenses or if you have suffered a permanent and serious disfigurement, broken bone, or loss of hearing or sight then you […]

Legal Issues in Same Sex Divorces

Legal Issues in Same Sex Divorces
After searching for love and the expensive wedding, you now find yourself in the same position as approximately half of all married adults in America: in need of legal representation for your divorce. With the quickly changing political climate in the country regarding same sex marriages you now need to navigate the laws of same sex divorce, and this blog will address some of the issues you may face including: parentage; child custody, and child support.

While the legal recognition of your same sex marriage should not be an issue in Massachusetts that does not mean you may not face some unique issues with your divorce proceedings. During divorce proceedings you will need to resolve the issues relating to the division of your marital assets, alimony, child custody, and child support.

The issues of parentage, child custody, and child support have the possibility of becoming the most troublesome aspect of your divorce. In general, the rules that govern heterosexual marriage regarding child custody and child support will apply so long as both parents are the legal parents. So long as both parents have a legal relationship with the child, custody, support, and parenting plans will be treated the same as heterosexual divorce.

Where there are potential serious issues are when both parents have not established a legal relationship with the child. In Massachusetts, children born via assisted reproduction within a legal spousal relationship are the legal children of the couple. This presumption is still there even when only one of the spouses has a biological relationship to the child. However, if the child was born using assisted reproduction before the legal marriage occurred the subsequent marriage of the parties does not legitimize […]

By |October 5th, 2015|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Legal Issues in Same Sex Divorces|

To Take or Not To Take the Breathalyzer? What you should know about refusing to take a breathalyzer.

You have been out with your friends, on a date, or coming home from a sporting event and while there you indulged in a few alcoholic drinks. You can function, but have no clue if you are close to the .08 blood alcohol level. On your way home, your heart leaps into your throat as you look in the rear view mirror at the sight of the blue lights. You know that you may have to make a choice, to take the breathalyzer or not.
If you elect to take the breathalyzer and blow a .08 or higher the penalties are different if it is your first offense. For a first time offender that blows a .08 or higher you are facing no more than a license suspension of 30 days after the conclusion of the criminal charge if you elect to take a plea bargain. You are also immediately eligible, upon completion of the charge, to apply and receive a hardship license. Melanies’ Law also allows extends the ability to receive a hardship license to second time offenders as well.
You may be asking yourself at this point why anybody would elect not to take the breathalyzer. The answer to this question is, without the breathalyzer results it is more difficult for the prosecution to prove that you were driving under the influence. Massachusetts Law allows the prosecution to prove that you drove under the influence in two different ways. The first way is the “per se” violation, this is where the prosecution proves that you drove under the influence by showing that your blood alcohol level was a .08 or higher. If the prosecution has a breathalyzer test with a result of a blood […]

By |July 13th, 2015|Operating Under the Influence, Uncategorized|Comments Off on To Take or Not To Take the Breathalyzer? What you should know about refusing to take a breathalyzer.|

Probating an Estate in Massachusetts

In 2012, Massachusetts adopted the Uniform Probate Code.  This new code changed the way the Commonwealth probates estates.  The process has been changed to allow more leeway based on the complexity of the estate.  Estates with smaller proceeds may be able to probate through the “Informal” process by which the Court has minimal supervision.  Estates with more substantial assets may need to proceed through the “Formal” probate process.

The complexity of an Estate depends on many factors such as the value of the assets of personal property involved, whether there is real property to be distributed, the number of potential heirs, whether or not there is a valid will, and whether or not the distribution of the estate may be contested.  This list, however, is not an all-inclusive list of potential factors to consider.

The Informal Probate process allows minimal oversight by the Courts and is less costly to the Estate.  Estates with or without valid wills may file for informal probate.  In addition, it is advisable to have an agreed upon Personal Representative (formerly “Executor/trix”).  The Personal Representative is the person who will ensure the proceeds from the estate are distributed per the wishes of the decedent.  If there is no will or the decedent died “Intestate”, a Personal Representative needs to be appointed to ensure the distributions occur per the laws regarding distribution.  There are instances; however, where the informal process may not be used.  Such instances include but are not limited to: unknown heirs, minors as heirs, an original will cannot be produced, or there is not available death certificate.

The Formal Probate process becomes necessary when there are issues such as the ones listed above, as well as when there are contested issues […]

The New Massachusetts Sick Time Law: Earned Sick Time for Employees— What does it mean for you as an employee?

On Election Day, Massachusetts voters decisively voted for a ballot referendum to require employers in the Commonwealth to allow employees to earn sick time. This citizen lead initiative bypassed years of frustration as similar legislation failed to garner enough support on Beacon Hill to become law. While this initiative is a huge step forward for Massachusetts employees, especially those working jobs that only pay minimum wage to just above minimum wage, there are still several unresolved issues. These issues will remain unresolved until Attorney General Elect Maura Healey takes office and has the opportunity to review the initiative and make recommendations on it. She will have time to do so as the new Earned Sick Time law does not go into effect in the Commonwealth until July 1, 2015. This blog post aims to provide a basic overview of what you, the employee, can expect to see under the new law.
Who does it apply to?
The common misconception of the new Earned Sick Time law is that it only applies to larger employers, employers with eleven or more employees. The law applies to all employers in Massachusetts, however, the requirements are different for employers with eleven or more employees.

The law takes into account full and part time, as well as temporary and seasonal, employees to reach the total number of employees. While the new law covers employees that work in both the private and public sectors, the law does exempt certain municipalities from following the new law. Nonetheless, these municipalities will be required to abide by the law if the state constitution requires it to, a local or state legislative vote makes the law applicable to the municipality, or the municipality appropriates sufficient funds to […]

Representation at My Unemployment Appeal Hearing

Every year thousands of people in Massachusetts find themselves in a situation where they have lost their employment. Like most other states, Massachusetts provides the ability to apply for unemployment benefits to assist persons who have lost their job. Eligibility for unemployment benefits can depend on a number of factors.

Many individuals are under the impression that it is the employer who makes the determination whether or not a former employee will receive unemployment benefits. This, however, is not the case. Often times employers will inform their employees they will not “contest” their unemployment request but it is important to realize that the Division of Unemployment Assistance (hereinafter referred to as DUA) has the sole discretion to decide if an individual is qualified to receive unemployment benefits. That decision is made by the DUA based largely off the information the claimant provides on their application and any information provided by the employer. The applicant will usually receive notice on whether their claim was approved or denied within a few weeks.

If a claim is approved, employers are generally provided with the opportunity to appeal that determination and oppose the former employee’s claim for unemployment benefits. On the other hand, if a claim for unemployment benefits is denied the claimant has a short window of 10 days to file an appeal. Once the appeal has been filed, the claimant will be given notice of a DUA hearing to determine if the initial decision should be upheld or reversed. It is important for claimants whose claim for unemployment benefits has been denied to continue to claim their benefits while their appeal is pending. In considering whether a claimant or applicant is eligible for unemployment benefits the DUA considers […]

The Benefits of Hiring a Lawyer

There are many reasons for hiring an attorney.  The law can be complex and confusing and it may be difficult to ascertain your rights amidst the barrage of advice from well meaning friends and family. The need for a lawyer can arise out of discrimination in the workplace, modification of a child support order, personal injuries, and assistance in securing unemployment benefits among other matters. In these and other situations there are distinct advantages to having an attorney who will fight for your rights.

Imagine a woman who has been mentally and possibly physically abused for years, shaking with fear while presenting her case to the Court.  On the other side, the husband is represented by an attorney who is able to verbalize the issues without emotion and present the facts in the light most favorable to the husband.  The wife, however, may be nervous and unable to verbalize her thoughts to properly convey her story and request the relief she is seeking.  The wife wants to explain how the husband has refused to get a job, managed to isolate her from her friends, filled the house with garbage, and convinced her that he would take her children away from her if she ever tried to leave.  While the situation may appear clear that information must be clearly conveyed to the judge who will make a decision based only on the information and evidence presented.  After losing some ground in an unsuccessful initial hearing, the woman was able to borrow money from a family member and secure her own counsel.

The attorney became the voice that this woman could not find. With the help of her newly hired counsel, the parties settled out of court and […]