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April 17, 2009

Over 100 Million American adults have not designated an agent to make medical decisions or documented the type of care they desire. Although it can be a difficult issue to tackle, it is important for all adults to think about who would make certain medical decisions for them in the event they were too sick to convey their wishes personally. In some cases, the individuals assume that their spouses or children can step in and take over the medical decision-making. However, New York is one of a few states that do not automatically authorize families to make critical medical decisions for loved ones who lack the capacity to decide for themselves. Unfortunately, this fact is often not discovered until it is too late. As a result of the failure to specifically designate an agent to carry out your wishes, your family members and doctors could face bitter, lengthy legal battles in an effort to determine what treatments you would want.

April 7, 2009

Did you know that your educational degree or professional license can be considered marital property within the meaning of the Domestic Relations Law of New York State?

March 31, 2009

Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky and Warren Buffett have at least one characteristic in common besides their fame and fortune. All three of these men were among the best in their respective professions at anticipating what was about to happen, rather than reacting to conditions or circumstances. This is the same approach everyone should take when evaluating their insurance needs. After one sustains a loss or damage from storm damage, a collision or a liability claim, it is then too late to obtain sufficient coverage to ease the financial blow.

March 23, 2009

Your customer list is the very heart and soul of your business. Should it fall into the hands of a competitor, your business could suffer a loss of some or its entire customer base. This can jeopardize the success if not the very survival of your business. However, there are specific steps that businesses can take to help prevent the disclosure of its customer list.

March 16, 2009

Given the current state of the world economy and recent local events, many of our clients have expressed a desire get their financial and household business matters in order. There are three basic estate planning documents that all individuals should consider when planning and organizing a life plan strategy, although the specific content of those documents will differ by personal circumstances.

March 9, 2009

It is becoming very common for contracts to contain a clause stating that “Any and all disputes arising under this contract will be settled by arbitration.” Arbitration is simply an agreement between parties that their disputes will be settled through arbitration rather than in court. Arbitration is favored by federal and state courts as a form of “Alternative Dispute Resolution” (ADR) and is one of the fastest growing means of settling disputes. The dispute is submitted to a private, non-judicial person who often has practical knowledge of the matter in dispute.

March 2, 2009

You might be surprised to find out that despite your level of income or assets, you may need a prenuptial agreement.

Many people fail to consider signing a prenuptial agreement because they mistakenly assume that such agreements are only appropriate or necessary for especially wealthy individuals or couples. Others overlook the option of executing such an agreement simply because the topic is a difficult one to broach and they do not want to risk offending their future spouse. In reality, people of all income levels can benefit from a prenuptial agreement and it can be executed in an amicable way with the cooperation and education of both parties.

A prenuptial agreement should not be seen as an anticipation of divorce or separation, but simply as a means of planning for the future and protecting the parties in a worst-case-scenario. It is no secret that the divorce rate in this country is relatively high, usually reported at a rate of around 50%. Therefore, it is no surprise that more couples are choosing to protect themselves with prenuptial agreements today than ever before.

February 20, 2009

What is the Family Medical Leave Act and who qualifies?
The Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) was enacted to protect the jobs of employees in need of time off from work to assist family members.  More specifically, it gives employees the right to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job protected leave in any 12 month period to care for a newborn or newly adopted child or a seriously ill parent, child or spouse.  The employer must hold the employee’s job or provide a similar job upon his/her return, continue group health benefits, and continue the accrued benefits earned by the employee prior to the leave (e.g., vacation time, seniority).

To qualify, the employee must work for an employer that has 50 or more employees, and the employee must have worked for the employer for at least 12 months and 1,250 hours in the year preceding the leave.

By Doreen Letty on February 16, 2009

Every homeowner should be aware that the responsibility for keeping up your real property, whether it is your personal residence or a rental property, is not merely a personal preference to be exercised only when you desire. The condition and appearance of the property is also a matter of public interest and, if you fail to maintain said property to the satisfaction of the municipality in which the property is located, you could find yourself being called before a judge in Housing Court.

February 10, 2009

In New York State Grievance Day is the opportunity for owners of Real Property to challenge their property’s assessment for real property tax purposes.

Each municipality has its own Grievance day. Generally towns hold Grievance Day in the spring – in Erie County towns it tends to be the fourth Wednesday in May; the City of Buffalo’s is near the end of December. You can check on the website for the New York State Office of Real Property Services (ORPS).

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