ARTICLES

Growing Up Smart: Estate Planning for Millennials Part Three: Married with Children

When you have a kid, everything else usually takes a back seat. But what would happen to your child if you and your spouse suddenly died or became incapacitated? Who will take care of your child's medical needs and daily care? Who will manage your assets until your child reaches adulthood? A well-crafted estate plan can address these issues and more and ensure that your kids are taken care of after you are gone. While previous parts of this series have discussed the importance of having an estate plan, having children makes having an estate plan even more important. There…

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Growing Up Smart: Estate Planning for Millennials Part Four: Tips for Unmarried Couples

According to U.S. Census Bureau data, the number of adults in cohabiting (unmarried) relationships is up 29% since 2007. That's about 18 million adults, roughly half of which are younger than 35. Marriage (or, rather, not being married) can have an equally huge impact on an estate plan. With this rising trend of cohabitation among Millennials, it is important — perhaps more now than ever — to understand the estate planning implications for unmarried couples. Remember that there are two sides of estate planning: What happens to your STUFF when you die and who takes care of your SELF when…

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Farm Laborers Fair Labor Act effective January 1, 2020

Governor Cuomo signed the Farm Laborers Fair Labor Act into law earlier in 2019 with an effective date of January 1, 2020. The new law provides many protections to farm laborers that have been previously unavailable for upwards of 80 years. Prior to the enactment of the Farm Laborers Fair Labor Act, farm laborers were excluded from the protections provided to employees across the State by the New York Employment Relations Act. The Farm Laborers Fair Labor Act (the “Act”) is anticipated to affect over 100,000 farmers and their families in New York State. Farmworkers are indeed the backbone of…

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Legislative Update: New York’s “Small Estate” Threshold Grows

On November 25, 2019, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a new bill into law increasing the maximum value allowable in a Small Estate proceeding from $30,000 to $50,000. Under the previous law, if a person’s estate contained personal property of $30,000 or less, the executor or administrator of that estate had the ability to begin a Small Estate proceeding. The advantage of these types of proceedings includes a smaller filing fee and a faster turnaround time to complete the proceeding from a tradition probate filing. This new legislation updates the threshold to $50,000, making this proceeding more accessible and available to…

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OPPORTUNITY ZONES ADVANCING SOCIAL AND FINANCIAL GOALS OF INVESTORS

Opportunity Zones

OPPORTUNITY ZONES- ADVANCING SOCIAL AND FINANCIAL GOALS OF INVESTORS Passage of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act in December 2017 created significant new opportunities for investors and developers through the existence of Opportunity Zones.  There are over 8,760 Opportunity Zones located in all fifty states, the District of Columbia and five US territories. This compares with only 40 empowerment zones and 40 renewal communities which had been established by Congress according to an August 2018 article in Forbes magazine.  Incentives of major tax benefit are subject to clarification as new regulations and clarifications are expected to emerge after the second…

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Trading Privacy for Property: How New York State’s new disclosure requirements expose LLC members

New York State has now passed new legislation which requires additional disclosures for Limited Liability Companies (“LLC’s”) in real estate transactions. This law, which is effective immediately, requires that the purchase or sale of residential real property be linked to an actual person as opposed to an LLC.  This required disclosure of information seems to conflict with one of the more common reasons many create LLC’s, namely to remain anonymous with regards to real estate or other transactions. On September 13, 2019, the State of New York enacted Chapter 297 of the Laws of 2019, which amends New York Tax…

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Medical Marijuana and Employment

What is the Compassionate Care Act (CCA)? New York State passed the Compassionate Care Act in 2014 which became effective in 2016. The New York State Department of Health states “[T]he purpose of the Compassionate Care Act is to comprehensively regulate the manufacture, sale and use of medical marijuana while striking the right balance between potentially relieving the pain and suffering of those in desperate need of a treatment and protecting the public against risks to its health and safety.” Since the law was passed, the list of serious medical conditions for which medical marijuana may be prescribed has been…

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Fair Play Construction Act

In recent years, government agencies and legislative initiatives at both federal and state levels have indicated that independent contractor arrangements will receive enhanced scrutiny.  Government interest in misclassification of these employment arrangements stems from the significance of revenue derived from employment taxes, FICA/FUTA, unemployment insurance contributions and workers’ compensation premiums. Misclassification has also highlighted various immigration issues. Specific to the construction industry, New York has enacted the Construction Industry Fair Play Act, effective Oct. 26, 2010, adding a new article (Art. 25-B) to the state Labor Law to further specify the circumstances when a worker can be classified as an…

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An Employee Raises a Safety Concern with Their Employer and Gets Fired for It. Now What?

New York State Labor Law Section 740 prohibits an employer from taking any retaliatory action against an employee who discloses or threatens to disclose a practice of the employer which poses a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety, or which constitutes health care fraud. Retaliatory action includes, but is not limited to, termination or demotion.  To recover under a Section 740 claim, the employee must show that he or she first reported or threatened to report the alleged illicit policy or practice to their employer or a supervisor before then making such disclosure to a public body.…

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Differing Site Conditions in Commercial Construction Contracts

Encountering unforeseen site conditions is a commonly disputed area of commercial construction, with litigation ensuing to determine whether the project owner or the contractor who performed the work should be responsible for bearing those additional costs. Naturally, it is in the interest of all parties to decide this when negotiating the terms of the contract, and to conduct sufficient research prior to excavation to minimize the chance of encountering unforeseen conditions. This research is often done through Geotechnical Data Reports (GDR), which are compilations of data gathered during site investigations.  However, sometimes even properly conducted boring samples provided to bidders…

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