Thursday, May 27, 2010

Mortgage Interest Rates are Down Again

Besides being the most amazing assistant any professional could ask for, my intrepid sidekick Lynna Henderson is a news junkie. Thanks to her for pointing out this article in today's Wall Street Journal . If you missed the last refinancing wave, now is your opportunity!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Come to my Facebook page

I want to invite everyone to my office's new Facebook page. Become a fan! Follow frequent posts on timely news articles and other relevant legal topics. Click here:!/pages/Wellesley-MA/Law-Offices-of-Judith-R-Pike/118159531528358?ref=ts

Underground Oil Storage Tanks

If your home is heated by oil heat, you should be aware of a new law going into effect on July 1, 2010. The the "Oil Heating System Upgrade and Insurance Law" requires homeowners with oil heating systems that were installed before 1990 to install either a sleeve around the pipe that feeds the burner or a safety valve to prevent leaks. The new law also allows all homeowners to buy insurance coverage for the cleanup of a leak if their system is in compliance. If you have an oil tank and have not had it examined for compliance with this law, you are advised to do so before July 1.

If your oil tank is underground, you should be very diligent about ensuring that the tank is not leaking. The older the tank, the more likely it may be. Even if there is no current leak, you may want to consider removing the underground tank and replacing it with an above ground tank in your basement or a shed. Massachusetts state law does not mandate the removal of a residental underground tank if it is not leaking, but there may be local requirements in the municipality in which you live. Your local fire department can tell you about its requirements.

If you are planning to sell your home, you are likely to find that even if the underground tank is not leaking, a buyer will want it to be removed as a condition of the closing. If you are planning to put your house on the market, you should consider removing the underground oil tank before you do so. Removal should be done by a licensed and qualified contractor. The removal must be done in accordance with all state and local requirements, pursuant to a valid permit, and with the supervision of the local fire department. When the work is completed, obtain written documentation and certification from the fire department to verify the proper removal of the tank so you can provide that to potential buyers.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Witnesses to a Will

In Massachusetts, for a Will to be valid, it must be in writing, signed by an individual eighteen years of age or older and of sound mind, and attested and subscribed in his presence by two or more competent and independent witnesses and a notary public. Does this mean the witnesses must be physically present at the time the testator’s signature is affixed to the instrument? According to a recent Massachusetts Appeals Court decision, the answer is no. In the case of Jones v. Ouellette, the court found that a will was properly attested even though the testator signed the Will before the two witnesses entered the room and there was no conversation between the two witnesses and the testator. It is settled that it is not necessary for the witnesses to observe the testator actually sign the Will so long as he or she acknowledges the signature and stating it to be his or her Will. In the present case, the Court concluded that it was not also required that the testator verbally affirm that the signature was his, where the witnesses observed and it was readily apparent that the signature was the testator’s, and no attempt was made to conceal the signature.