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Latham New York Legal Blog

Real estate: 2nd Amazon store opening in New York

Amazon is bringing its first Go store to the Big Apple. Located in a prime area of real estate just across from the World Trade Center, Amazon's second store in New York City will open its doors soon. The store won't have cashiers and will be check-out free. Amazon hopes this will be the shopping way of the future.

The Go store is located in Manhattan's Battery Park City neighborhood. The company already has another store in the city – Amazon 4-star. This shop, in SoHo, opened in late September this year and sells items from Amazon's online store that have a rating of four or more stars.

Why do I need a living will and a living trust?

Whereas a living will designates your health care and end-of-life wishes, a living trust has significant advantages after you’re gone.

Both are important ways to ensure your intentions will be met, for the sake of your beneficiaries and/or your children. By legalizing important decisions before they become necessary, you absolve others from the guilt associated with deciding what happens to you or how your personal items will be divided. 

Estate planning and administration: Probate can be a dirty word

There are some words associated with estate planning that most individuals want to steer clear and one of those is probate. When it comes to estate planning and administration, many New York residents working on their estate plans wish they could sidestep probate. It can be costly and time-consuming.

Estate plans that fail to address certain issues like total assets will end up going through the probate process. There are a few reasons the process can be taxing when it comes to delays. If the estate has to file a tax return federally, it may take months before someone from the IRS even reviews what has been filed. The process could even go well beyond a year if there are problems with the return.

When to buy real estate in New York hinges on personal situations

There are criteria that may make certain times of year more favorable for buying a home, but the bottom line is a purchaser must be personally prepared for what likely may be the largest financial purchase of his or her life. There may be certain times of year when buying real estate in New York may be more advantageous. Although the summer is when many sellers list their homes, it might not be the best time to buy.

It's all about the law of supply and demand. Prices increase when demand increases, and there is more demand during the warmer months. In fact, prices seem to be highest in June and July. In any case, before even thinking of buying a home, a person's individual financial picture should look pretty healthy.

Relying on a will alone is an estate planning faux pas

It's a very smart move for adults to have a will. But relying solely on will when estate planning can be a big mistake. New York residents who really wish to be thorough in their estate planning should think about the other documents that are important to include in their plans. To negate documents such as a power of attorney or an advanced care directive could be incredibly detrimental.

When these documents are omitted from an estate plan, a court may actually end up deciding the fate of someone's estate in terms of who should make decisions regarding such important issues as end-of-life care. It could also decide who should look after a person's assets. Omitting these documents takes an individual's power away to make them before something unforeseen should happen.

Elder law: Keeping an eye on seniors' brokers

Most senior citizens have worked hard for their savings. Elder law in New York works to safeguard seniors who are vulnerable to unscrupulous individuals and that can mean brokers hired to look after those savings. Family members need to take stock of what is happening with any investment accounts their elderly loved ones may have.

For instance, when a New York resident had to move her mother out of a Manhattan apartment and into an assisted living facility due to the onset of Alzheimer's disease, she was counting on using the money that had accumulated in an investment fund her father had opened years back. Money was being drawn on that account to care for the woman's father who was already in a home. However, upon closer examination of that account, she noticed something very wrong. The account was minus $100,000 in one month.

Responsibilities in becoming a guardian of your parent

As your parent ages, you notice their health and hygiene deteriorating. You believe they cannot properly care for themselves, and you worry about them making sound decisions with their property and finances. In the state of New York, you may legally obtain guardianship of your parent if he or she proves incapacitated.

Applying for guardianship constitutes a selfless act. You want to ensure that your parent receives proper care, and you hope to provide them security in knowing their medical and financial decisions lie in your hands. Guardianship offers the opportunity for you to care for your parent as he or she may no longer have the ability to do so themselves. When applying for guardianship, you may wish to hire an experienced attorney to help you in developing a sound case for your guardianship rights.

New York elder law: 3 crucial documents regarding elder care

Not just anyone can make decisions for their elderly loved ones. Elder law in New York has very definitive rules about protecting seniors' rights and their welfare. So, for adult children or any family members caring for elderly loved ones, there is some documentation necessary to give them legal authority to act. It is better to see to these things sooner, rather than later.

Many family members don't realize that they can't just step in and make decisions for their elderly loved ones. If those documents aren't in order, a family court petition to obtain guardianship may be necessary. One of the first orders of business is to fill out a Health Information Portability and Accountability Act authorization form, which will let a health care team share medical information about a person with family members. The form states that the person allows this information to be divulged.

Estate planning and administration: Taking care of digital assets

The 21st Century has put an additional spin on planning for the future. When it comes to estate planning and administration, New York residents need to take into consideration their digital assets as well as concrete assets. Failing to do so means that an estate plan is not yet finished. 

Digital assets could include items that have financial value, like bank accounts, or credit cards that amass points, like air miles, or they may include those assets that are more emotional like family videos or digital photos. If people don't make mention of these types of assets in their wills or other estate planning documents, it may give family members the added burden of doing so amidst dealing with the grief of losing a loved one. As well, giving out passwords doesn't mean the law will look favorably on the person who is informally dealing with these types of assets. No one wants to be charged with fraud or unlawful use.

Real estate: What it takes to sell a home in New York

Selling a home can be both exhilarating and frustrating. But real estate transactions don't have to be intimidating when New York residents are armed with some tips to help selling a home to be an exciting and pleasant experience. Selling and buying are very different from each other and may be accompanied by different emotions, but the bottom line is getting the most out of the sale.

For a home to be competitive on the market, it needs to be priced and marketed correctly. An experienced real estate agent or a real estate appraiser may be able to help in this regard. Sales of comparable homes will be analyzed to come to a sale price. Once a price has been established, it's important to have the home looking as neutrally decorated as possible, so it might be a good idea to have the home professionally staged for the biggest impact. Removing personal items also goes a long way to helping to get offers.  

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