Dana Hanley to Present at Quick Start Workshop Series

Community Concepts Finance Corporation is holding a Quick Start Workshop series for anyone who is thinking of starting a new business or has recently started a business.

This six workshop series is designed to provide all of the essential information and material for starting a business from forms for registering your business name, forms for applying for an EIN number to creating a business plan, cash flow forecasting, marketing and financial information.

There are two workshop series being offered in May, one in Lewiston and the other in S. Paris.

The S. Paris workshop instructors include Dana Hanley, Esq., of Hanley & Associates, Daryl Cote, CPA, with Ouellette & Associates, P.A., and members of the Oxford Hills SCORE team of business counselors – Steve Veazey, John Huffman and Charlie Peabody. The Lewiston workshop instructors include Steve Veazey, John Huffman,  Michael S. Malloy, Esq., of Brann & Isaacson Law, and  Bert LaBonte, CPA, with LaBonte Financial Services, Inc.

The cost to attend all six workshops is $50 and $10 for each individual workshop.

For more information, view the: Quick Start Flyer

Ask a Lawyer: Possible Perils of Joint and Multiparty Bank Accounts

written by Attorney Kirk G. Siegel

Q:  I am 83 years old and was thinking of adding the oldest of my three children as an account holder on my bank account. She lives near nearby and helps me with paying bills. Is this okay?

A:  Caution is advised in this situation as there are a number of possible problems.  A power of attorney for your daughter might be preferable.  First, the terms of a deposit account need to be read carefully because frequently each account holder will have the right to withdraw the entire account, regardless of his or her contribution.  That type of account would give your daughter more rights in your account than you might intend.  It also might make that daughter (and not your other children) the owner of the account at your death because 18-A M.R.S.A. §6-104 provides that “sums remaining on deposit at the death of a party to a joint account belong to the surviving party or parties (rather than the estate of the decedent) unless there is clear and convincing evidence of a different intention at the time the account is created.” Continue reading

Federal Borrower Protections Limit Seller Financing Choices

written by Attorney Kirk G. Siegel

As of January 10, 2014, banks face new federal regulations requiring them to assess the borrower’s ability to repay most residential mortgage loans, intended in part to protect the public from overreaching lenders. An unintended consequence, however, is that many new (but not existing) seller-financing arrangements will become illegal; and, even if sellers are exempt, they may need to become licensed mortgage loan originators. Seller-financed and privately financed mortgages (and potentially land installment contracts) are implicated. Vacant land, commercial property and multiple units (5 or more) are not included in the rule, meaning there are no restrictions on seller financing for these types of properties. The rules are being implemented by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) under the Dodd-Frank act. Continue reading

Are Personal Injury Attorneys Serving Clients’ Best Interests?

written by Attorney Linda P. Cohen If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of incurring an injury while in a vehicle or otherwise, it is important to find a personal injury attorney who has your best interest at heart. Not only should they excel in litigating personal injury claims, you want to know they will personally handle your case and watch out for your dollars (and pennies) being spent. Many attorneys, including some who have prolific ads on TV, refer their cases out to other attorneys. After you sign the paperwork, they get a fee and pass you on to someone else. You never see them again! It is crucial you have the confidence of the attorney representing you. A conscientious attorney will stay in contact with you, keep you updated on what is to come, and take the time to discuss your current and future health as well as your concerns. I have literally seen boutique trial attorneys hand clients off to their paralegals until it is time to go to trial. It is too inconvenient for some attorneys to communicate directly with their clients after they get them to sign the initial paperwork. Many of these same attorneys do not bother to find out what is important to their clients and so make important decisions without their clients’ input which often understandably frustrates their clients. Continue reading

Recovering Unclaimed Property in Maine: Does the State Have Property of Mine?

written by: Attorney Kirk G. Siegel

Maine’s Unclaimed Property Act Title 33 M.R.S.A. §1951 et seq. deals with money and other personal assets that are considered lost or abandoned when an owner cannot be located after a specified period of time. It could include checking accounts, certificates of deposit, over payments, gift certificates, paid-up life insurance policies, unpaid wages, commissions, uncashed checks, death benefits, dividends, insurance payments, money orders, refunds, savings accounts, stocks and contents of safe deposit boxes. (Real estate, animals or vehicles are not considered Unclaimed Property.)

Maine’s unclaimed property list contains over 150,000 names, along with some helpful tools for quickly and easily claiming lost property.  A quick visit to the online search webpage makes it simple to search under a person’s name.  According to the State of Maine, millions of dollars annually “escheat” to the State of Maine by entities unable to locate the owners.  The State then attempts to reunite the property with its owner.  No fee is charged to process an Unclaimed Property Claim with the State.  If a person finds their name on the list, the simplest option is to file an electronic claim-which can be done in as little as a few minutes at the above website (as the author of this article discovered with respect to an account of his wife’s). Continue reading

Honorable Dana C. Hanley Presents Seminars on E-Filing in Probate Courts

The firm’s senior attorney Dana C. Hanley, in his capacity as Judge of Probate for Oxford County as well as Chair of the Maine Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on Probate Rules, presented two separate sessions on “E-filing in the Probate Courts” at the two-day Elder Law Estate Planning Institute held on September 28th and 29th.  While e-filing is not yet possible in the other state courts in Maine, the Probate Courts have already initiated a pilot program in Oxford, Cumberland, Penobscot and York counties which has been ongoing since May 1, 2012.  The remaining twelve counties will be able to start the pilot program on May 1, 2013, at which time the original four counties will have mandatory e-filing for attorneys and it will remain optional for pro-se petitioners.

Legislative Update: Maine Tree Growth Tax Law and Open Space Tax Law

 

Owners of Maine forest land should be aware of recent changes to the Maine Tree Growth Tax Law and Open Space Tax Law recently enacted by the 125th Maine Legislature.
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LD 1138 (Public Law, Chapter 618) – An Act to Amend the Maine Tree Growth Tax Law and Open Space Tax Law

Beginning August 1, 2012, landowners in the Maine Tree Growth Tax Law program will have to attest at the time of enrollment and at each update of the forest management and harvest plan that the primary use of the enrolled property is commercial timber harvesting or other permissible purposes.For parcels of land that contain structures with minimum lot size requirements, the owner must exclude from the Tree Growth schedule at least 1/2 acre containing the structure. In a shoreland area, the excluded parcel must include 100 feet of shoreland frontage or the minimum shoreland frontage required by applicable law.

The law creates a multiple-step process for notification and imposing penalties when a landowner fails to comply with the requirement to update the forest management and harvest plan every 10 years. It allows the assessor to impose a $500 fine if the landowner misses the initial deadline and subsequent $500 penalty if the landowner has not met the requirement within 6 months. If the landowner has not complied with the requirement to update the plan or transferred the land to open space classification within an additional 6 months, the land will be withdrawn from the Maine Tree Growth Tax Law program and a penalty assessed.

One option created by the new law is a new category under the alternative valuation method in the Farm and Open Space Tax Law providing for an additional reduction of 10% for a landowner who provides and complies with a forest management and harvest plan. A landowner who fails to comply with the plan required under the Farm and Open Space Tax Law, however, loses the additional percentage reduction for 10 years. Also, if the landowner switches from Tree Growth to Open Space classification and then removes the property from current use tax programs entirely, the tree growth withdrawal penalty rather than the open space withdrawal penalty applies for the first 10 years after transfer.

Click here for the full text of the enacted legislation.

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Synopsis by Kirk G. Siegel, Esq.  This communication is not intended as a substitute for legal or tax advice, and should not be relied on as such.  Competent legal or tax counsel should be retained for any particular situation, as each is fact-specific.

“Do More With Less”

written by Attorney Dana C. Hanley and published in an April 2011 issue of the Portland Press Herald.

“Do more with less”; my father often shared that mantra with me and my three brothers when we were growing up. Forty years ago, I thought that was merely parent speak for “stop complaining” when my brothers and I grumbled about doing our chores.  In this era of declining state revenues and a $4.3 Billion dollar projected shortfall in Maine’s employee pension plan, I now see the wisdom in my dad’s words.

There are many in Augusta and throughout Maine with firm resolve that “doing more with less” is not possible.  I do not presume to have a magic panacea or all the answers to the multitude of questions and issues surrounding these troubling financial times. However, I do have a fairly unique perspective which may help to shed light on how we Mainers can frugally achieve meaningful reforms without further breaking the State’s piggy bank. Continue reading