On Friday, June 24th, New York became the largest state to legalize same-sex marriage. The law will take effect on July 25th, granting marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples. While the legislation is a major milestone in the national gay rights movement, it may be financially problematic for couples who decide to tie the knot.
On March 30, 2011, New York’s Final Budget Legislation amended Section 369 of the Social Services Law.
The Department of Social Services has a claim against the estate of any Medicaid recipient in the amount of Medicaid assistance issued. The value of the deceased recipient’s estate is used to repay the Medicaid benefits. This new amendment expands the list of assets that are considered to be in an individual’s “estate.” After the death of a Medicaid recipient, the Department of Social Services will be seeking to collect recovery on assets that were not previously permitted.
HoganWillig is pleased to announce that associates Emily M. Cobb, Daniel D. Day, Katherine V. Markel and Jeffrey B. Novak have been admitted to the New York State Bar. Ms. Cobb is a graduate of Vermont Law School; Mr. Day and Ms. Markel are graduates of the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School; and Mr. Novak is a graduate of the George Washington University Law School. The four newly admitted attorneys will begin their law practice within HoganWillig’s Litigation Department, focusing in personal injury, medical malpractice and general civil litigation. They join a litigation team of 17 other attorneys and an extensive support staff.
As spring rolls around and we get ready for warmer weather, our thoughts turn to spring cleaning. Take this time to clean up your current estate planning documents and determine if they need to be revised. It is suggested that your estate planning documents be reviewed every five years to make sure they still comply with your wishes. If any of the categories listed below apply to you, it may be a good idea to embrace the season and make the necessary changes to your Last Will and Testament, Living Will/Health Care Proxy or Power of Attorney documents.
On February 16, 2011, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles announced that it will be imposing a two-point penalty, in addition to the $100 fine already in effect, for drivers caught talking on their hand-held cell phones while driving. New York was the first state in the country to ban hand-held phone use while driving in 2001 in an attempt to decrease the number of driver distracted accidents. Today however, one in five car accidents is driver distraction related. New York is hoping that by adding the points punishment, drivers will obey the laws more seriously.
Divorce has been depicted in Hollywood, both by films and by the celebrities featured in them, as endless wars between spouses. This portrayal represents how divorce proceedings can drain both individuals financially, damage relationships and cause emotional trauma for children stuck in the middle. Recently though, couples have found an alternative with the help of marital mediation.
At the end of 2010, Governor Patterson signed a new bill into law which set realistic limits on the current levels of exemption values which will reflect today’s values and households and bring New York State into accord with other states exemption statutes. This law will be a welcome face lift to the current Debtor Creditor statutes and the Civil Practice Law and Rules!
HoganWillig PLLC works to improve and sustain our environment in a number of ways, as demonstrated by our annual highway clean-up, increasingly paperless office, and occupancy of one of Buffalo’s “green” buildings, a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) registered office building located at 2410 North Forest Road. These are among our more public efforts, but within the office we serve a number of clients in their pursuit, adoption and acquisition of renewable energy or other “green” technologies and the requisite legal and industry expertise that is incidental to these activities.
The newest additions to New York’s DWI law are Leandra’s law and the ignition interlock device. Leandra’s law makes it a felony to drive a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs with a child who is fifteen years of age or younger in the vehicle. The ignition interlock device is like a breathalyzer that is installed inside your vehicle and prevents the vehicle from being operated if the driver has consumed alcohol.