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Defining the Important Role of Local Counsel

Earlier this week, the New York City Bar Association issued an opinion that defines the professional obligations of attorneys who act as “local counsel.”
Lawyers very often use the term “local counsel” to describe an attorney who provides assistance on a matter within their jurisdiction, while the attorney primarily responsible for the matter, or “lead counsel,” practices in a different jurisdiction. Continue reading Defining the Important Role of Local Counsel

Popular Estate Planning Tool May Now Be Subject to Tax

For years estate planning practitioners used a sale to an intentionally defective grantor trust (“IDGT”) to freeze the value of property from the taxable estate of a client. Although not codified in the Internal Revenue Code or regulations as an acceptable estate planning tool, sales to IDGTs have withstood IRS scrutiny. Continue reading Popular Estate Planning Tool May Now Be Subject to Tax

Contesting Assessments Can Save Thousands

The attached interview with Twomey, Latham, Shea, Kelley, Dubin & Quartararo’s Tax Grievance Coordinator was published in The Hamptons Real Estate Showcase, Presidents’ Day 2015 edition. The deadline for filing a tax grievance in the Towns of Southampton, East Hampton and Southold is May 19, 2015. Continue reading Contesting Assessments Can Save Thousands

The First-Time Homebuyer Exemption to the Peconic Bay Real Estate Transfer Tax

NYS_Dept_Tax_SealSince 1998, New York’s Tax Law § 1449-aa et seq. has allowed the five East End towns to impose upon buyers of certain real estate in those towns a 2% real estate transfer tax (the “Peconic Bay real estate transfer tax”) in order to fund the Peconic Bay region community preservation fund established pursuant to Town Law § 64-e. Continue reading The First-Time Homebuyer Exemption to the Peconic Bay Real Estate Transfer Tax

2015 Cost-of-Living Adjustments for Retirement Plans

Tax_and_CalculatorThe Internal Revenue Service announced the cost of living adjustments affecting dollar limitations for pension and retirement plans for tax year 2015.
Continue reading 2015 Cost-of-Living Adjustments for Retirement Plans

Legal Ethics Update: Legal Services May Now be Donated for Charitable Auctions

raffle_ticketsIn 1980, the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) Committee on Professional Ethics issued an opinion (Opinion 524) that concluded it was improper for a lawyer to donate legal services to a charity auction. New York has since adopted the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, which prompted the Committee to reexamine and reverse that long-standing opinion. Continue reading Legal Ethics Update: Legal Services May Now be Donated for Charitable Auctions

New Law: NYS Homeowners Must Re-register to Qualify for Basic STAR Exemption

The NYS School Tax Relief (STAR) Program provides an exemption from school taxes for owner-occupied, primary residences where the combined income of the owners and spouses who reside on the property does not exceed $500,000. This is known as the Basic STAR exemption. Continue reading New Law: NYS Homeowners Must Re-register to Qualify for Basic STAR Exemption

U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down Defense of Marriage Act

This past Wednesday, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act (the “Act”). In a 5-4 decision, the Justices voted to hold Section 3 of the Act unconstitutional. Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act excluded same-sex couples from the definition of “marriage” and “spouse” in federal laws, which meant meant that, while individual states were still free to legalize gay marriage, gay spouses would not be treated as married under federal law. This provision has had far-reaching effects. Over 1,000 federal laws relate to marital status in some way. Continue reading U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down Defense of Marriage Act