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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:

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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

Estate Planning Outside of the Federal Estate Tax

For a large majority of Americans, the recent doubling of the federal estate tax exemption from $5 million to $10 million, adjusted for inflation annually, in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, will have no effect on their estate. It is important, however, to remember there are numerous reasons for estate planning outside of estate tax savings.  Those reasons include:

 

New York State Estate Tax

New York currently imposes an estate tax of 16% on estates over $5,250,000.  However, New York state has an “estate tax cliff” meaning if your estate exceeds the exemption amount by more than 5% your entire estate is subject to tax, not just the amount exceeding the exemption.  Additionally, unlike the federal government, New York does not allow the surviving spouse to use their deceased spouse’s unused estate tax exemption, referred to as portability.  Therefore, if your estate exceeds the New York state estate tax exemption amount then you will still need to do some estate planning to minimize New York estate tax.

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We Want You For The Construction Industry – Contractors Need Veterans

A majority of surveyed construction contractors have reported that the lack of qualified workers is the number one problem impeding growth.  However, industry leaders in need of motivated and capable workers should look no further than the growing number of veterans who are interested in finding a new career after leaving the military.  These service members represent a key pipeline of professional workers for a wide variety of construction vocations and trades.

 

In order to encourage business owners and construction contractors to hire veterans, the U.S. Department of Labor recently established the HIRE Vets Medallion Program as part of the Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing American Military Veterans Act, or HIRE Vets Act, which was signed into law by President Donald J. Trump on May 5, 2017.  The new program recognizes employer efforts to recruit, employ, and retain veterans.  The program, which is scheduled to launch in 2019, will recognize employers meeting criteria established in the rule through the award of a “HIRE Vets Medallion” which may be displayed on employer websites, social media and other public spaces.  As described in the Act, there are different awards for large employers (500-plus employees), medium employers (51-499 employees), and small employers (50 or fewer employees). Additionally, there are two award tiers and levels of recognition: Gold and Platinum.

Construction contractors who wish to participate in the program will be able to apply through the U.S. Department of Labor website, which also provides a hiring tool kit to assist in efforts to proactively recruit and integrate veterans into the workforce.

Despite growing concerns about a shortage of labor and its impact on the construction industry, contractors who actively recruit and employ veterans not only have a chance to combat the labor shortage, but to signal their commitment to veterans hoping to launch a post-service career.

Take advantage of these new resources now.

For further information:

https://www.hirevets.gov/

https://www.dol.gov/vets/ahaw/

 

About the Author:

Craig H. Handler is an experienced attorney dedicating much of his practice to working with construction industry professionals and property owners in contract drafting and negotiation and in disputes related to defective construction, delay, scope of work, mechanic’s lien foreclosure and defense, OSHA violations, ECB violations, and Labor Law claims. Mr. Handler is also a Judge Advocate assigned to the 7th Legal Assistance Detachment, 88th Brigade, New York Army Guard.  Mr. Handler presently holds the rank of Captain, and is honored to assist soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines with their legal needs.

 

 

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