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Can’t I Just Download These Documents Online? The Pitfalls of Internet Wills

In the age of the internet, with a vast amount of knowledge a few keystrokes away at all times, we are in an unprecedented era of Do It Yourself. We are fortunate enough to live in a world where you can watch a YouTube video to learn how to play guitar or fix your sink, all for free! Invariably, in these Do It Yourself times, I will occasionally be asked if estate planning form documents can be downloaded online. The answer is, obviously, yes. However, Bobby Flay also posts his recipes online, yet for some reason my food never quite comes out as good as his. Continue reading Can’t I Just Download These Documents Online? The Pitfalls of Internet Wills

Domicile: A State Tax Consideration for Snowbirds

In my last article, “Estate Planning for Snowbirds,” I briefly mentioned that for people who divide their time between New York and Florida, an important question is domicile or in which state you are considered a resident. In this article, I will address the tax advantages of being a Florida resident, rather than a New York resident, and the process of becoming a Florida resident, even if you intend to spend significant time in New York each year. Continue reading Domicile: A State Tax Consideration for Snowbirds

Historic New Copyright Act Signed Into Law

The Orrin G. Hatch – Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act was enacted by Congress and signed into law on October 11, 2018.

This welcome and significant law was unanimously enacted by Congress after years of effort by many to update music licensing to better facilitate legal licensing of music by digital services. The copyright laws had not kept up with changing consumer preferences and technological developments in music. This new law will benefit songwriters, publishers, artists, record labels, digital services, libraries and the general public.

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Estate Planning for Snowbirds

As fall comes to New York, it brings with it football, pumpkin spice everything and cooler weather. The cooler weather is the first signal to all of New York’s snowbirds, people who split their time between New York and Florida (or another warmer state), that the time to head south is approaching. Before winterizing their house and merging onto I-95 South, it is important for all New York snowbirds to consider what impact dividing their time between New York and Florida will have on their estate plan.

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Contractor Warranty vs. The Correction of the Work Provision: What’s the Difference?

Contractors and owners alike often operate under a common misconception that the “industry-standard” for construction contracts limits the contractor’s responsibility to correct defective construction to one year after completion of the work.

However, such a one-year “industry-standard” really does not exist.  The likely culprit for the misconception is found in common construction documents, such as the AIA Document A201–2017, General Conditions of the Contract for Construction Projects. Specifically, Section 12.2.2.1 provides that:

Continue reading Contractor Warranty vs. The Correction of the Work Provision: What’s the Difference?

Estate Planning Opportunities with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

In my last article I wrote about the numerous reasons estate planning is important outside of estate tax planning, in light of the recent doubling of the federal estate tax exemption as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This article is devoted to the other end of the spectrum, the new opportunities for estate tax planning under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

 

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act doubled the federal estate tax exemption from $5 million to $10 million, adjusted for inflation annually. This means that the use of typical estate tax planning techniques, such as sales to Intentionally Defective Grantor Trusts (“IDGT Sales”) and the creation of Spousal Lead Access Trusts, to implement transfers of wealth can be leveraged to unprecedented estate tax savings.

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European Union’s New Privacy Laws Set to Take Effect

Any U.S. based business that sells products or provides services via the internet, no matter how large or small, is technically a global business. Although having a global reach is normally a good thing, it can also come with serious responsibilities. For instance, if your business has any customers residing in the European Union (“EU”), then there is a good chance that the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), a new set of laws designed to protect the data security and privacy of EU citizens, may impact your business.  The new regulations, which replace the EU’s Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC, is set to go into effect on May 25, 2018, and is applicable to every citizen residing in the EU and any business that transacts with them, regardless of where the business is located.   Continue reading European Union’s New Privacy Laws Set to Take Effect