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Latham New York Legal Blog

Elder law: Preventing financial abuse

Elder abuse, sadly, is alive and well. There are rules in place under elder law in New York, but some senior citizens still find themselves on the receiving end of abuse, which can also put a dent in their pocketbooks. According to recent statistics, about one in five Americans 65 years of age or older has suffered some kind of financial scam or financial abuse to the tune of more than $36 billion in total. 

Modern technology has made it easier for scammers to get money from unsuspecting and trusting senior citizens. Scammers impersonate all sorts of individuals and the highest on the list is impersonating an IRS agent. These types of phone calls and correspondence illicit fear in seniors. There are ways seniors can protect themselves from such scams and the first way is not to trust any unsolicited phone callers.

Three considerations when drafting a durable power of attorney

A durable power of attorney is a document used to give someone the legal ability to handle your financial matters for you. It can help make sure your financial interests are protected even if you become incapacitated, and it can help prevent the need for guardianship. However, a poorly planned power of attorney could leave you vulnerable.

Be thoughtful when selecting an agent

Real estate, technology go hand-in-hand in New York

The 21st century and The Big Apple seem to have come head to head when it comes to real estate. Technology has been given a new lease on the way real estate deals take place and that has been especially apparent in New York City -- the real estate hub of the world. A venture capital fund outfit has opened up new digs in Manhattan and PropTech Place aims to be the center of all things tech-related to property with a view to helping the city continue to break record growth in terms of real estate.

The CEO of the company said technology devoted to all things real estate needed a home base -- a place leaders could head to when they need inspiration. He hopes PropTech Place will be the choice for go-getters in the real estate industry -- as well as New Yorkers in general -- to go when they're searching for leading real estate innovations when it comes to technology. The company already has plans to add an additional 10,000 square feet to the facility.

Estate planning & administration for average income people

Many people make the mistake of assuming that planning for the future is only for the old, the sick and the wealthy. In reality, estate planning & administration matters pertain to people of all ages and income levels. In fact, one estate planning tool that can benefit people of average income and estates of normal size are trusts. 

Trusts are a specific type of estate planning tool that allows a person to set aside and protect assets for a specific use while maintaining control over them in his or her lifetime. This is not something that only benefits the extremely wealthy. This is a practical tool by which a New York reader can maintain control over the assets he or she worked hard to accumulate over a lifetime.

Luxury real estate purchases slow down in New York City

The luxury market in the Big Apple has slowed to a worm's pace. High-end real estate in New York City seems to be sitting on the market longer these days, according to a prominent developer and architect who says nothing is selling lately. Supply is definitely outweighing demand when it comes to multi-million dollar properties high in the sky.

Some New York penthouses have been sitting on the market for years and some have been chopped up to make more than one apartment. Most Manhattan luxury apartments with an asking price of $4 million or more ended up selling below their value last year. One penthouse that was listed for more than $80 million was turned into two units and listed for more than $40 million each after the original unit sat unsold for more than two years.

New York elder law: Many seniors vulnerable to financial abuses

The elderly are some of the most vulnerable people in society. Elder law in New York aims to protect seniors, yet there are times when some people fall prey to unscrupulous individuals who take advantage of many seniors' trusting natures. Sadly, in some instances, these individuals are the very people these seniors trust most.

Knowing the risks that go along with becoming an victim of financial abuse is the first step in thwarting it. Seniors who are most susceptible are those who have declining mental health (suffering from dementia) or who are very physically unhealthy to the point of needing assistance in their day-to-day lives. Seniors who have a comfortable nest egg are doubly at risk.

Estate planning and administration: Storing assets online

In this technological age, many people store important information online. But when it comes to New York residents and estate planning and administration, there are a few things people should know about storing their digital assets online in one place. For those who know a thing or two about technology, keeping important information online can be a great idea.

Using an online tool to store digital assets makes it easier to store all assets, including digital accounts like cryptocurrency, for instance. A comprehensive estate plan should include all assets. The Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act allows those appointed as fiduciaries to access some digital assets in most states, New York among them. In order for all online assets to be accessible, a testator must specify such in a legal document.

Benefits of having a revocable trust

Are you trying to decide which type of trust is best for you? Perhaps you are just gathering the facts right now to see what would suit your needs and future best. It is always wise to weigh out your options and discuss them with a trusted financial and legal advisor.

Revocable trusts just might be the best option for you. In general, revocable trusts allow the grantor (person signing the trust agreement allowing rights and allowance for someone else) to revoke or nullify the trust if need be. The grantor has power that influences what is stated and who and how specified assets are managed.

New York City real estate prices take a nose dive

A report commissioned by a realty company apparently shows a pretty hefty drop in prices in the Big Apple. In the last three years or so, the real estate market in New York City has seen between a 10 and 20 percent plummet in prices, which translates into a buyer's market. It doesn't look as though that's going to change anytime soon, either. 

To try to turn the heads of would-be buyers, many vendors have lowered the prices on their properties more than once. But, according to this recent report, it is expected the market will continue on a slippery slope for months yet.  But since the real estate market in New York is a mixed bag of sorts, there are still some bright spots like Brooklyn's brownstones, for example, or the luxurious offerings of Central Park West. Properties in these areas are still fetching top bucks.

Estate planning and administration: Who can contest a will?

Testators usually try to please all loved ones in a last will and testament. During estate planning and administration in New York, the question may arise of who is in a position to be able to contest a will? The short answer is not everyone. Those who can, however, must believe that if the terms of the will were to be accepted as written they would be  adversely affected personally and/or financially or those who have standing.

Heirs at law fit that bill. These people are closely related to the testator and those who would have inherited a portion of the estate if the deceased had died intestate, or without having written a will. This person could be a spouse, child or grandchild. The family member could be distant if the person didn't have close relatives.

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