News & Insights

Tax Benefits of Using Your IRA Distributions to Donate to Charities

Donating to charity your IRA distributions can be an excellent way to both support causes that are meaningful to you and reduce your taxes. Fortunately, a provision of the Internal Revenue Code, which gives donor’s a significant tax benefit, was made permanent at the end of 2015 so individuals can now take advantage of the rules as an integral part of their tax and estate planning.

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Buying a Home with All Cash? Additional Disclosure Requirements May Apply

In an effort to combat money laundering, the U.S. Treasury Department requires additional disclosures in certain types of real estate transactions. First passed in March 2016, the disclosure requirements apply to a non-individual (corporation, LLC or partnership) who purchases a residential property for “all cash.” The rules were recently renewed and apply at least through … Read more

Has the government “taken” your property with too many regulations?

Under the Federal (and most state) constitutions, the government cannot “take” private property for public use without just compensation. Historically, this meant physically seizing or intruding upon all or part of your property and is often referred to as “eminent domain”. But takings are not necessarily physical. They can result from government regulations restricting the use of your property. It can be difficult to determine when the regulations go so far that they constitute a taking and require compensation.

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Can an “Irrevocable” Trust be Changed?

Under New York law, a trustee can modify an irrevocable trust in certain situations. The process, called “decanting,” permits alteration of a trust by “pouring” the existing (invaded) trust into a new trust. This gives the trustee surprising flexibility to create a new trust that will better accommodate changed circumstances, notwithstanding that the trust is irrevocable.

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Risks of Personal Use of a Work Email Address

In our busy lives it’s not uncommon for many employees to send personal emails from their business email account. However, there can be unintended repercussions for both employers and employee in a litigation setting. New York law establishes a variety of “privileges,” which protect parties from being compelled to disclose certain broad categories of communications. Those privileges can be easily lost because of an employer’s email policy, thereby allowing an opposing party to get such emails as evidence.

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Why There Is No Equal Pay between Men’s and Women’s Basketball Coaches

Both Equal Pay Day and the NCAA women’s and men’s basketball championship games occurred last week. With the popularity of the tournaments, questions have been raised by the media and public about the differences in coach salaries. Within the last six months, the University of Connecticut (“UCONN”) extended the contracts of both of its basketball head coaches — Kevin Ollie and Geno Auriemma. Ollie, as the men’s team coach has had one national championship during his tenure; while Auriemma, the women’s coach, has won 11 national titles. Despite Auriemma’s impressive record, Ollie received a more lucrative package from UCONN, which is typical in the sports world.

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An Executor’s Guide to Settling an Estate

Executors are responsible for handling the administration of an estate until it is “settled” or closed. Once the assets have been marshaled, bills have been paid, specific bequests distributed, and any outstanding issues resolved, the fiduciary (the executor or administrator) must prepare an “accounting.” An accounting must be done before the estate’s remaining assets (called the “residuary”) can be distributed to beneficiaries and before the executor will be released from all claims regarding the administration of the estate.

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When Can Executors Honor a Power of Attorney?

One of the responsibilities of an estate executor or administrator is dealing with beneficiaries of an estate. What appears to be a straightforward task can be complicated when the executor is contacted by someone who claims to hold a power of attorney (POA) for a beneficiary of the estate (also known as an “attorney-in-fact”). An attorney-in-fact is typically involved when a beneficiary is elderly or disabled and cannot act on his/her own behalf. There are special rules in place for New York executors when they deal with an attorney-in-fact. They cannot necessarily recognize the POA unless certain requirements are met.

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Changes to Employer Responsibilities under the Family Medical Leave Act

Employers should be aware of a recent court decision regarding their responsibilities in considering an employee’s request for a medical leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). FMLA is a federal statute, which applies to employers with 50 or more employees. It requires an employer to provide “qualified employees” with up to 12 weeks of leave in a year for family or personal medical circumstances. The court case which was just decided clarified who is responsible for determining whether an employee is eligible for FMLA and what steps employers have to take before they make a decision about eligibility.

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