Yes, that is a very lawyerly answer that we give so often and under so many circumstances; however, we cannot, as lawyers, tell someone whether to identify as a male or female.
People recently highlighted a family with a six year old transgender daughter. The parents made the choice to allow their child, who was assigned male at birth, to fully transition to a female at the age of four. Although it was surprising to read about a child who had transitioned so young, it is not shocking that a child of that age made it clear to their parents who they were and how they identify.
Transgender laws are developing. Many of the current laws specific to the transgender community involve civil rights, but others include change of name and hate crimes. We expect that many other areas of law will continue to evolve and change as well.
Lawyers Weekly recently published an excellent article regarding branding during the 2016 Presidential Election. During the campaign, President Trump always wore a suit with a tie and Hillary Clinton wore a pantsuit; the consistency became part of their “logo,” and fodder for SNL. While reading the article, we started to think about what our logo represents: Service.
The true inspiration for our logo is the brave service of our military and love of our country. While many lawyers have scales of justice, our scales are enveloped by an American Flag.
We could not be the people we are today without those who have died protecting us, veterans, and their families. Our logo was developed with that gratitude in mind and the reason for the giant 9/11 flag that adorns our main hallway. We like the constant reminders of just how fortunate we are to live in the United States, where we have opportunities because of those who keep us safe, both internationally and locally.
To those who have given their lives, those who keep us safe, and their families, THANK YOU.
Do you remember the Rockwell and Michael Jackson song from the 1980’s? For some strange reason, we’ve heard the song a handful of times within the last week. Ironically, one member of our team has also been dealing with credit card information being stolen, likely by a digital pickpocket.
Cyber crime is a criminal act done to commit fraud by stealing personal information, resources, or money by using technology. Did you know that smart phones can be used to steal information from you? Any time you see someone with their phone out near you, the potential is there that they are trying to hack into either your cell phone or scan the credit cards in your wallet. Unfortunately, there is no way to be able to figure out who is a criminal versus someone who is merely looking at a text. Here’s what you can you do to protect yourself:
* Make sure you have reliable spyware installed on both your computer and cellular telephone;
* Choose strong passwords, change them often, and make them all different;
* Be cautious when using public Wifi or your own hotspot;
* Close your browsers and turn them off when you aren’t using them;
* Use a RFID protected wallet;
* Do not give out bank account or wiring information unless you confirm who is requesting it and the end destination;
* Review credit card and bank statements on a regular basis;
* If in doubt, block the person requesting to connect on social media or double check to see if you are already connected on that platform; and
* Be very cautious if someone makes an unsolicited telephone call you asking for identifying information, even if they introduce themselves as a representative from your credit card company, mortgage lender, bank, or similar.
Essentially, take the time to think before you act and trust your gut.
As always, please let us know if you have questions about this or anything other legal matters that you may have.
Department of Homeland Security:
Old Republic National Title:
Information of digital pick pocketing:
You know you want to listen to the song….:
Ahhhh, college. It was a great time with new found freedoms. We could eat french fries for lunch and dinner, yet not gain any weight. Weekends started on Wednesday and we never went out before 10pm. Our planning for the future consisted of mid-terms and finals, not 401k and flexible health spending accounts. This wasn’t just us, right?
If we went back to college now, we would be a lot more serious. The costs have skyrocketed and students are more competitive than ever. Our 40 something year old selves didn’t have the same pressure that the kids today have in part because college wasn’t as expensive. Had we known, we might have done things differently. We might have even start putting some of the money that we earned from part-time jobs into a Roth IRA instead of investing in a long gone 12 pack of beer (probably not).
We always recommend preparing for how you will pay college expenses long before the application process begins. It’s never too early to start planning for your child, especially if you need to prepare for college post-divorce.
The Massachusetts Bar Association provided some useful information about things to consider especially if are divorcing or already divorced:
Please let us know if we can help you with the negotiation and planning process or answer any questions that you may have. We even know an amazing person to help you select the best college based on family finances and educational goals; we would be happy to refer you in the right direction!
Whatever you do today, do not panic like Chicken Little. Are you going to spend the day wondering if you should train for the 2018 Boston Marathon?* Good for you! Will you spend today pondering a semi-legitimate excuse why you can’t work tomorrow so that you can celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Go for it! Whatever you do today, do not panic about the Federal Reserve’s slight increase in interest rates. The sky is not actually falling, but it is a great time to think about your mortgage.
Mortgage rates are cyclical. Interest rates go down, then they go up, before they go back down again. We have been spoiled for a very long time with historically low rates. For at least the short term, they will be on the rise; however, we have no idea where they will eventually peak or if they will ever return to the crazy low rates of recent years. What does this mean for you?
Now is a great time to refinance your existing mortgage. If you have an adjustable mortgage, now is the ideal time to lock in a stable, fixed interest rate. If you have owned your house for a while and have not recently refinanced, now is a great time to explore a lower, fixed interest rate.
This is an excellent time to sell your current home or buy a new home. The real estate market is currently in a very sweet spot where homes are still competitively priced and mortgage rates are still very low.
Does it matter which lender you work with on a purchase or refinance? Yes, yes, yes (did we say yes?). The reality is that most lenders have access to and can offer you similar mortgage programs; however, not all lenders are not all created equal. Can you keep a secret? At Weiner Jackson & Simmons, we have our favorite lenders (and real estate agents too). We love working with people who are detail oriented, communicate with everyone involved in the transaction, and who do not panic when we hit a detour, as so often happens. If this is something that you want to explore, let us know and we will point you in the right direction.
So, no, the sky is not falling. The sun is shining and spring is only four days away. Get ready!
* If you are thinking of training for the 2017 Boston Marathon and haven’t yet started, it is time to panic, unless you are Batman, in which case, you should be totally fine.
Disclaimer: The material contained in this website does not constitute legal advice or a legal opinion as to any particular matter. Nor is it intended to create an attorney-client, business or professional relationship. You should not rely on the information contained in this website without first speaking with an attorney. No claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this website are made. This material may be considered advertising under the rules of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.