All of us at Ainsworth, Thelin & Raftice, P.A. hope you and your family are safe and well.
Our attorneys and staff continue to closely monitor coronavirus-related developments in our area. The firm has always followed general health and safety guidelines, including those relative to office cleaning.
However, given the nature and extent of this virus as an extremely contagious pandemic, we’ve taken additional steps out of an abundance of caution.
Currently, we intend to continue to staff our offices and remain available to assist our clients. That being said, we have secured our offices at 7 Ocean Street in South Portland so that we can control access, thereby safeguarding the well-being of our staff, attorneys, clients, and the public at large.
The best manner of contact for the firm remains by telephone.
Our general office number is (207)767-4824. Attorneys and staff also stand ready to communicate via email and facsimile, as needed.
To the extent that you believe that in-person, in-office legal assistance is necessary, please contact the firm by telephone to discuss your particular matter with the appropriate attorney.
Clients experiencing fever, coughing, or shortness of breath must cancel any scheduled appointments. And, of course, clients who have any reason to believe they experienced exposure to the virus must cancel appointments.
In the event that in-office assistance is deemed necessary, please be aware that we have reviewed and reinforced cleaning procedures throughout the firm’s offices, including the prompt, regular cleaning and disinfection of surfaces throughout the firm, such as those found in our conference rooms, reception area, and rest rooms.
Our firm’s attorneys and staff must stay home if they do not feel well, or have any reason to believe they were exposed to the virus.
As a small, local business, we appreciate your support and understanding in these difficult times. If our situation changes, we will update answering machine messages, our firm website, as well as our firm Facebook page, including contact information in the event of a legal emergency.
Ainsworth, Thelin & Raftice has serviced Mainers for decades. On June 14th, 2019, Governor Mills signed “An Act to Update the Laws Governing Child Safety Seats and Seat Belts”. Feel free to click the link to read the version loaded with legalesee, but the major updates are addressed below:
Children Under the Age of 2 Must Be: (<2 yrs, unless exceeding manufacturer’s weight limit)
- Properly secured in a rear-facing child restraint or convertible child restraint system in accordance with the manufacturer’s and vehicle’s instructions;
- However, if your under 2 year old child exceeds the manufacturer’s recommended weight limit they may be secured in a forward-facing system.
Children 2 Years or Older AND Weighing Less than 55 Pounds: (>2 yrs,<55 lbs)
- This section applies to any child above the age of 2 AND weighing less than 55 pounds;
- They must be secured in a child restraint system in accordance with the manufacturer’s and vehicle’s instructions.
- No requirement to be rear facing.
Children Less than 8 AND, Less than 80 Pounds, AND Less than 57 inches in height: (<8 yrs,<80 lbs, <57 inches)
- Remember this is once again “AND” language, which means all of the criteria need to be met to apply!
- This group must be secured in a “properly secured belt positioning seat” (booster or car seat), in accordance with manufacturer’s and vehicle’s instructions.
Children Less than 12 Years Old AND Less than 100 Pounds: (<12 yrs, <100 lbs)
- If possible, properly secured in the rear seat of the vehicle (seat belt).
- The key language here is “if possible” but it is safe to assume most circumstances will make this possible. Remember, this update to the law requires that for children less than 12 years of age AND under 100 pounds.
- Example: If you have a car full of 11 year olds, 3 of them weigh 90 pounds and 1 weighs 101 pounds, the 11 year old who weighs 101 pounds should sit in front.
All Other Children Under 18: (<18 yrs, doesn’t fit other categories)
- Must be properly secured with a seat belt.
While there are the new laws of Maine, we ALWAYS recommend utilizing a seat belt. It does not matter how old you are or how much experience you have on the road, an accident can happy at any time and without warning.
Maine is fast becoming a popular place to retire. We recently covered that Money Magazine named South Portland as the top place to live in Maine for the second year in a row. Not to be outdone, Forbes has announced their top two places to retire in Maine. If you want to be surprised, click the links below to find out who won (warning, spoilers below the links).
I am not surprised to see Portland come out on top. With an abundance of cultural and culinary destinations there is a reason young professionals, families, and retirees are flocking to the state. Jerome Gamache, Jake Bowie, and I have worked with clients on real estate matters all over Maine. With a median home price of $301,000, Portland offers affordability that cities like Boston cannot.
Not quite ready to retire? Jerome has been working with buyers and sellers of Bed and Breakfasts’ and Inns for those ready to transition into a new rewarding career.
Lewiston is another great option, and is even more affordable than Portland. The median home price is $141,000 and is home to Bates College.
Ainsworth, Thelin & Raftice offers a wide variety of legal services. Elly Dominguez and her team can assist in all your Elder Law needs. Bob Raftice has been helping families with their estate planning and probate matters since the firm was founded more than 30 years ago. Our team of Chris’s, Chris Leddy and myself are here to help with any criminal and family law matters. Mike Vaillancourt, John Turcotte, Jake Bowie and Chris Piasecki can assist with all litigation and business law matters. Our team approach allows our clients to reach out to one firm for almost all of their legal needs.
For those of you who already live here, you already know the perks of being a “Mainer”. For those that don’t, we welcome you to join us. If you want to discuss any legal matters please do not hesitate to reach out to us below.
An applicant for pension benefits from the VA must meet certain medical and/or financial requirements. There is a disability requirement for the pension benefits, which is satisfied if the veteran is sixty-five (65) years of age or older, or permanently and totally disabled. If the veteran or surviving spouse has additional medical needs, then additional allowances like an aid and attendance allowance may be awarded.
The current law reads that an applicant’s net worth “must not be excessive”, taking into consideration the applicant’s age, income and expenses, life expectancy, and rate of depletion of the applicant’s net worth. The financial rules also require that household income must be less than the benefit the applicant is seeking; however, income may be reduced by out-of-pocket medical expenses.
The long-anticipated changes to the eligibility rules for veteran pensions have finally come. In October 2018 the VA officially changed two major eligibility requirements for veterans seeking pension benefits.
- There is now a thirty-six (36) month look-back period when applying for needs-based pension benefits. Historically there has been no look-back period and veterans could transfer assets freely without penalty, allowing for maximum asset planning. Now veterans cannot transfer assets, for less than fair market value, during the thirty-six (36) month period immediately before applying for benefits, without suffering a penalty. Any penalty assessed by the VA should not exceed five (5) years.
- In order to qualify for pension benefits a veteran may not have a net worth of more than $123,600.00 (2018). Prior to implementing this most recent set of rules, the VA had no bright-line asset limit, making it difficult for those applying for veteran pension benefits to know if an application would be approved. Now that there is a concrete asset limit, veterans can rest assured that their benefit applications will be reviewed uniformly.
By a vote of 6,375 to 5,378 South Portland will regulate short-term rentals. Since the emergence of companies like Airbnb and HomeAway, cities have struggled to find a balance between maintaining the integrity of residential neighborhoods and satisfying a new industry.
South Portland has been at the forefront of this debate in Maine as it continues to grow in popularity due to its many attractions and proximity to downtown Portland. The Press Herald reported that there were 282 short-term rentals in South Portland as of November 2017.
Now that the dust has settled, what will be the law after January 1, 2019?
- “Unhosted Short-Term Rentals of 30 Days or less in residential zones” are banned.
- “Unhosted”= Owner Not on Premises During Stay
- All short-term rental units must be inspected, licensed and insured by South Portland.
- City officials with use new technology to monitor for illegal short-term rentals.
What will not be impacted?
- Unhosted Short-Term Rentals in Commercial or Mixed-Use Zones.
Details still need to be worked out. For instance, “Hosted” short-term rentals will be allowed in residential zoning areas under certain conditions. The City Clerk’s office will release information about registration as it becomes available and recommends checking their website for new updates.
The attorneys at Ainsworth, Thelin and Raftice handle all types of real estate matters. Every case is fact dependent and even the smallest detail can impact how the law will apply to you or your building.
The information in this blog is not designed to be specific legal advice. If you have a question or wish to set up a consultation, please click below or call us today.