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White Plains Legal Issues Blog

New York developer seeks variances for massive housing complex

A New York developer is seeking a zoning change to build two 39-story housing towers in Brooklyn, New York.

The developer wants to build the structures on what Curbed New York called a "large and underutilized site" in the area of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. The developer is proposing to make half of the planned 1,578 apartments affordable units.

Understanding cohabitation agreements in New York

If you are living with your romantic partner but you are not married, you may want to sign legal papers so that your rights are protected. The right legal paperwork will not only help you feel protected as a couple, but it will also ensure that your individual rights are protected if you do separate.

It is important that you draft a non-marital agreement, which is often referred to as a "living together contract," before you buy a property with your significant other. It is essential that it is written with all the appropriate clauses in place to suit your situation and that it is valid and enforceable.

Why should I make my business website accessible to the disabled?

New York business owners are familiar with many of the requirements of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

For instance, businesses need to provide a certain number of handicapped parking spaces. How many depends on the number of spaces in the lot. They also need to make the business accessible to those with disabilities by providing ramps for those who can't use stairs.

Follow the advice of professionals if you're getting a divorce

There is no official manual if you're going through a divorce. There are, however, some really good pieces of advice that professionals, such as your financial adviser or attorney, can give you.

Let's start by bringing to your attention four mistakes in a divorce that could wind up costing you in the long run.

  1. As you're pondering divorce, get together all the financial paperwork that you can. You'll want the account numbers of your bank accounts, retirement and brokerage accounts, credit cards and such. Also get together Social Security statements that detail how much money your spouse has made, paperwork showing benefits expected to come upon retirement and documents that show what you paid for major assets, such as your home (including home improvements).
  2. Stay quiet on social media. You don't want to speak badly of your spouse; that could be frowned upon in court, especially in a child custody case. You also don't want to brag about your life during a pending divorce. If you've told your soon-to-be ex, for example, that you can't afford this spousal support or that proposed financial deal, you don't want to plaster your Facebook page with news of your promotion, your new sports car or the European vacation you're about to take.
  3. Close joint accounts. Your spouse might say they'll pay off the debt, but you'll still be liable if your name is attached to the account. Creditors and lenders don't have to abide by your divorce agreement.
  4. Consider the tax consequences on down the road of assets you have now as well as spousal support. The way your retirement accounts are set up, for example, will have bearing on the amount they are taxed down the road. A home sold by a couple can achieve a greater profit before taxes are owed than if a single person sells it. And because of tax changes, spousal support no longer is deductible for divorces finalized in 2019 and beyond.

How can I recognize undue influence in an estate plan?

If you have an elderly loved one, it is likely that you will want to ensure that they have all of their affairs in order. You probably won't want to ask too many questions about their estate plan for fear of intruding. But it is normal to have concerns about the way that they are managing their estate.

You may also have concerns that another family member or someone close to your loved one is manipulating them in order to get a portion of their estate as an inheritance. Your loved one might be particularly vulnerable to this type of manipulation if they suffer dementia, are mentally unstable or if they live alone. It is important that you observe the situation and look out for the warning signs of undue influence before taking any action.

Starting a New York nonprofit? Turn to an attorney for assistance

You've long thought of starting a nonprofit organization in New York to benefit your passion project. But you tell yourself you couldn't possibly do it. After all, you've never run a group or a business other than a lemonade stand.

Before you give up, find out the answer to this: Just how do you start a nonprofit organization?

The types of investing opportunities in New York

If you are considering starting to invest in real estate in the state of New York, you may not know where to start in your search. There are many different types of potential real estate investments, each with their own risks and opportunities associated with them.

Therefore, it is important that you take the time to conduct thorough research and to consider different options before taking action in your endeavor. The following are some of the most common types of real estate investment opportunities that you may want to consider.

New York is one of the top states for divorce costs

Divorce is slowly decreasing among younger couples with the current divorce rate sitting at 46 percent in the United States. However, the costs of divorce continue to increase as court fees, attorney fees and asset division pile up on couple’s wallets.

According to a recent study done by Nolo, a legal publisher, a standard divorce costs around $15,500 with average hourly rates for divorce attorneys around $250. The standard prices do not include circumstances such as lengthy trials or child support.

A will is valid only when certain steps are understood, followed

Your mother has just died, and the executor fills you in on the specifics of her will. You're surprised at some of the details you hear. Was this really what she wanted? Is this a valid will?

There are several checkmarks that are required to make a will valid, and a will typically must meet the following requirements.

  1. A person must be 18 or older, legally married or a member of the military to consent to a will.
  2. A person must have what is known as testamentary capacity. That means the person signing the will must understand that they are creating a will, understand what that means, know just what their estate includes and be aware that they are determining the distribution of their assets.
  3. They must understand the intent of the will – that is to distribute their property at the time of their death.
  4. Making the will must be a voluntary action. That means if someone is forced to sign the will or signs it under what is believed to be duress, a court will not consider the will to be valid.
  5. All property and assets to be distributed to family or others must be properly accounted for in the document.
  6. Two disinterested people must witness the signing of the will. Those people cannot benefit from the will in any way, such as gaining money or property when it is distributed.
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