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Truth.

Truth.

I recently read Good to Great (2001) by Jim Collins.  Although the book is geared towards corporate executives, the messages can be carried into any career or life, in general. Some of the highlights are as follows:
1.” Great leaders combine tremendous personal humility with unwavering professional resolve;”
2.  “Companies that are trying to become great must force themselves to confront brutal facts and difficult realities in order to address them;” and
3. “The transformation from good to great does not come in a dramatic swoop or sudden action.”

I recently participated in a creative writing class. During that class, we had a discussion about humility as an essential aspect of being genuine.  Whether in business or in every day life, we tend to trust people who can admit when they are wrong or need assistance, because we, ourselves, are not perfect or indestructible.  During the class, I couldn’t help but also reflect on the book.

When I first started to practice law in December, 2004, I was over confident. While in law school, I had worked for as a student district attorney and for some amazing attorneys; of course, I thought that I knew everything that there is to know about practicing.

On the very first day that my practice was open, I received a referral from a close law school friend. Opposing counsel on the case was one of the most prominent attorneys in Boston, who (literally) started practicing before I was born. Within a month, I felt out of my league; while my experience was great, it was not that of a seasoned attorney. The brutal truth of admitting to myself that I had failed at being instantly brilliant was painful. Only once I admitted that I was lost could I truly ask for help and grow in to who I am eleven years later.

Sometimes the truth is painful, but it can be the gateway from good to great.

**This newsletter is dedicated to Lisa Hutchison, who taught the creative writing seminar and colleagues who never make me feel foolish.**

 

North Attleboro Plainville Wrentham Bristol Norfolk Real estate child support custody divorce real estate homestead title insurance Attleboro lawyer legal law office modification contempt estate plan planning will power of attorney old republic title company living will Norton Franklin Bellingham Canton Easton Marin School Association Representative Town Meeting Junior League of Boston Contractor Disputes Personal Injury Landlord Tenant  Deed paternity South Attleboro Cub Scout pack 65

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Seven.

How many signs for homes for sale do you see on a daily basis? It seems like they are everywhere right now. On my way home this week, I counted seven within a two mile area.

With so many realtors vying for your attention, how do you know who to call if you want to buy or sell your house? The best thing to do is to get a referral from someone that you trust. From my perspective, the two most important traits in realtors (and anyone providing a service) are really good communication skills and attention to detail.

I recently did a closing with a realtor involved in her first transaction. The most helpful thing that she did was tells me that this was her first closing, so that I wouldn’t assume that she knew everything I needed her to do to prepare; Although she was green to the process, she had excellent communication skills, which made the transaction seamless and a pleasure for all involved.

Similarly, a very experienced realtor that I am working with identified a potential, significant issue with a property that would have effected the use and enjoyment of the premises, before the purchase and sale was even initiated; because of her diligence, the Buyers saved a lot of time and money, not to mention stress.

On that theme, I found a recent article discussing the top 5 signs what makes a realtor not the one that you want to work with: http://www.propertycluster.com/blog/bad-real-estate-agents-top-5-signs/

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First Comes Love, but are you married?

I know a couple in their early 90’s. For over 30 years, they have identified themselves to friends, family, and the community as “Mr. & Mrs.*”

Mr. & Mrs. recently asked me to help them with the sale of their home. When I looked at their current Deed, there were two names listed, but they did not share a last name. Of course, I inquired as to whether Mrs. had changed her name at some point, including after the house was purchased. Mrs. told me that she had never changed her name legally after they were married.

After some additional inquiry, Mr. & Mrs. stated to me that they are common law spouses. They told me that they were wed in a ceremony performed by a friend, who was not an actual, registered officiant, and never obtained a marriage license. I found myself in the unfortunate position of needing to explain to them that while they are a loving, committed couple, Mr. & Mrs. are not actually married within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Mr. & Mrs. do not have any of the legal protections offered by the Commonwealth for married couples. Sadly, they both appeared surprised by and unprepared to handle the reality of their prior decisions.

This situation is not all that uncommon, especially among individuals who want to preserve existing entitlements or pension benefits; however, there is a way to protect yourself without getting married: Massachusetts recognizes Cohabitation Agreements, which outline how legal, personal, and financial matters will be handled if the couple breaks up or a partner dies. Similarly, some basic estate planning may also resolve some of the legal issues that committed couples, who are not married, face.

As always, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about this or anything else.
 * While this article refers to “Mr. & Mrs.,” the term is being used generically to include both the traditional marriage arrangements, as well as “Mr. & Mr.” and “Mrs. & Mrs.”

North Attleboro Plainville Wrentham Bristol Norfolk Real estate child support custody divorce real estate homestead title insurance Attleboro lawyer legal law office modification contempt estate plan planning will power of attorney old republic title company living will Norton Franklin Bellingham Canton Easton Marin School Association Representative Town Meeting Junior League of Boston Contractor Disputes Personal Injury Landlord Tenant  Deed paternity South Attleboro Cub Scout pack 65

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“Do I really need that?”

There was a ghost at one of my recent closings. Not an actual ghost, but someone who had died 60 years ago was very present at the closing table. When he died, his wife inherited the house and later sold it.  This sounds fairly typical, correct? It was, except that wife had not filed any probate documents related to his death.

What does mean? Potentially, if left issue  unresolved, there could be a problem with the Title when the (current) buyer tries to sell the property. For that reason, I strongly recommended to my client that he should get Buyer’s Title Insurance.

Buyer often ask, “Do I really need that?” Don’t tell anyone, but before I started doing real estate closings, I may have thought no. Why would I want to spend even more money than I’m already spending on this house? Shouldn’t I be putting that money towards a new set of plush towels and paint?

My answer is very different now. Reviewing titles regularly, I realize how easily there can be a issue with a title; it doesn’t have to be big, something like a missing death certificate or an old lien, can either delay or stop a house from being sold or bought.

What is Title Insurance? (click on the link)

Is Title insurance worth the investment? Yes, yes, yes. Sometimes the risk obvious, like the friendly ghost in the story above; other times, it is not as easily resolved and significant expense can be involved.

The one-time expense for Title Insurance is usually minimal, especially considering the overall cost of buying a house. On an average house, the cost of a policy is equal to two or three hours of legal services. Without insurance, the cost of correcting or litigating a Title dispute could easily cost thousands or tens of thousands of dollars.

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From the “REALLY?” File

Not everyone feels merry or bright during the holidays.For everyone who needs a laugh and those who just like to, I offer the following article which will, hopefully, make you smile: The Strangest 50 State Laws That Still Exist.

http://www.ijreview.com/2014/12/222618-50-state-laws/

My personal favorite is Georgia; what’s yours?

Happy Holidays!

North Attleboro Plainville Wrentham Bristol Norfolk Real estate child support custody divorce real estate homestead title insurance Attleboro lawyer legal law office modification contempt estate plan planning will power of attorney old republic title company living will Norton Franklin Bellingham Canton Easton Marin School Association Representative Town Meeting Junior League of Boston Contractor Disputes Personal Injury Landlord Tenant  Deed paternity South Attleboro Cub Scout pack 65