News & Insights

Buying or Selling Real Estate on Long Island? Expect More Fees in 2017

Nassau and Suffolk counties are again attempting to raise revenue, this time targeting real estate transactions. Those buying or selling real estate on Long Island or looking to borrow funds should be aware of the following new and increased fees:

  • Suffolk County Mortgage Verification Fee. Effective January 1, 2017, there is a $300.00 charge at the time of filing of any “mortgage related documents.” It appears that this fee, which would be paid by the Borrower, would apply to mortgages, assignments of mortgage, subordination agreements, home-equity line of credit documents, satisfactions of mortgage and consolidation, extension and modification agreements (CEMAs), all of which are recorded in mortgage books of record (Libers).

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Beware of Zoning Changes: Protecting Your Non-conforming Use

ZoningLocal zoning codes established by a town, village, or city control and establish what you can do with your property, as well as the size and boundaries of structures. Those codes can change over time, resulting in potential problems for property owners. This is increasingly an issue for many owners as localities look to prohibit certain uses of property because of growing concerns of conservation, exposure risks, etc. However, owners are often protected from a change that makes a pre-existing use illegal because they are considered to have a “prior non-conforming use.”

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Minimizing Taxes When Inheriting Stock in an S Corporation

Generally, the property you inherit from a decedent receives a “step-up” (increase) in basis equal to the fair market value of the property at the time of death. The step-up is potentially valuable as it allows the beneficiary to avoid paying capital gains tax on any appreciation in the value of the asset prior to the decedent’s death upon the future sale of the inherited property. However, when it comes to inheriting shares of stock in an S corporation, beneficiaries can be hit with a significant tax bill if they are not careful about selling property owned by the corporation.

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NY Court Limits Effectiveness of Blanket Additional Insured Riders for Construction Companies

Construction companies and contractors are required to maintain insurance not only for their benefit, but for the benefit of the owner of the property where they are providing services as “additional insureds.” Many companies use what is known as a “blanket additional insured rider” to provide the required coverage to the property owners. However, a recent court decision has significantly limited the effectiveness of blanket riders.

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Estate Planning Musts for Liquor License Owners

Individuals who hold a liquor license face a number of restrictions on their business operations. In the context of estate and business succession planning, these limitations add an extra burden when passing the business on to heirs due to additional restrictions which may come into play after the death of a license holder. If owners do not plan appropriately, their estate may face legal difficulties and high costs which could reduce their assets.

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Do’s and Don’ts for Avoiding Personal Liability for Corporate Debts

Many companies choose to do business through a corporation or other limited liability entity (like an LLC). The reason is because a corporation is its own separate “person,” so shareholders or members are not liable for the company’s obligations or debts. This is true whether the corporation has a single shareholder or hundreds of shareholders. However, to take advantage of this benefit, the corporation’s affairs must actually be kept “separate” from the personal affairs of its shareholders.

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Avoiding Liability as a Trustee – Part 1

Trustees have the important responsibility of protecting property for beneficiaries. However, the position carries a great deal of responsibility and potential legal liability for trustees who don’t understand the rules. That’s because trustees are fiduciaries, which means they are held to a very high standard of care in exercising their duties and acting in the best interests of the beneficiaries. In order to avoid liability, they must understand their role and potential problem areas.

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Filling in the Gaps in an Adversary’s Email Production

It is not exactly news that the majority of business communications today are handled electronically by email. However, in the context of litigation, this can add new complications and twists to an age-old problem: How to obtain evidence from an opposing party who is motivated to avoid producing communications and willing to disregard their obligations under the relevant rules.

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