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Latham New York Legal Blog

Estate planning and administration matters for single parents

Many people put off the process of estate planning because they believe they are too young, too healthy or not quite wealthy enough to justify the effort. In reality, this is an important step for many adults in New York, especially those who may be raising children by themselves. There are important estate planning and administration matters to consider for single parents.

No parent wants to think about what will happen in the event that he or she passes away, but it is prudent to have plans in place. Through certain estate planning steps, such as drafting a trust, a parent can ensure that his or her children have what they need well into the future. A trust can set assets aside and protect them, ensuring these assets are only used for their intended purpose, as outlined in the trust. 

Certain areas in New York hot for real estate, others not so much

There are certain parts of the Big Apple where the housing market is hot and areas where it's relatively tepid. There are many factors that affect the New York real estate market, one of which includes inventory, and there seems to be a shortage of properties on the market right now that are in a mid-price range, while a glut of higher-end properties continue to remain unsold. A new federal tax law capping tax deductions locally have also been negatively affecting the market, according to experts.

The New York suburbs seem to be faring well in terms of market activity, along with the lower Hudson Valley area. With the advent of spring, the market seems to have rallied and properties in those areas are starting to shift. But the areas in which homes are more high-end seem to still be on the cool side -- homes with values in excess of $1 million.

Elder law: Banks, brokerage firms aim to thwart financial abuse

Banks, financial advisers and brokers are geared up to take a bite out of elder financial abuse. Elder law in New York is in place to help protect senior citizens from abusive situations, including bilking seniors out of their savings. Now, loved ones who are worried about their elder family members have the Senior Safe Act in place to help.

FINRA, the self-regulator for the brokerage industry, aims to protect seniors from unscrupulous types looking to take advantage of them financially. The new trusted contact rule assures that financial advisers and brokers make every effort possible to get a contact person on file for those opening new accounts or updating existing ones. That way they will be able to notify the contact if they suspect something untoward is going on. Experts say it's a step in the right direction in an effort to thwart financial abuse of seniors.

New York does not love all children equally

Given how common it is for Americans to divorce and remarry, you might expect inheritance laws to account for stepchildren. But they don’t—at least, not in New York.

New York’s laws for intestate inheritance govern those situations in which a person dies without a will. They’re basically the state’s plans for your estate, and they do not account for any stepchildren you might have raised but didn’t legally adopt.

Elder law: Seniors in care are vulnerable to abuse situations

Senior citizens are among the most vulnerable groups in society. Elder law in New York is in place to protect these vulnerable individuals, but there are things family members can do to protect their loved ones from abusive situations whether they're financial, physical or emotional. The fact is, there is abuse happening in many long-term care facilities and family members can educate themselves on the signs that their loved one may be on the receiving end of abuse from caregivers in nursing homes and other assisted living residences.

The prime objective of many nursing homes is to generate a profit, and sadly, giving compassionate care is not high on the agenda of some of these homes. This leaves residents open to abusive employees and even other residents who may act out physically. Nursing homes are known to cut costs, which may further escalate the problem since there are likely not enough employees to see to the needs of residents on a regular basis.

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.

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