Our Blog

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.

Continue reading Estate Planning Outside of the Federal Estate Tax

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.

 

 

Continue reading We Want You For The Construction Industry – Contractors Need Veterans

New Laws To Require Remote ID of Drone Operators

Private use of small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (“UAVs” or “drones”) for recreational and commercial use has been sky-rocketing.  This trending surge of UAV traffic has caused civil regulators at the federal, state and local levels to begin enacting various rules and guidelines for pilot certification and flight procedures.  However, it is not only hobbyists and entrepreneurs who have perceived the utility of UAVs. Now, criminals have begun using drones to further ever more sophisticated crimes.

Continue reading New Laws To Require Remote ID of Drone Operators

What Are Your Rights as a Trust Beneficiary?

Trust Beneficiaries are Entitled to Yearly Trust Reports and Other Information

Trust reports should be mailed out annually to the beneficiaries and should indicate the Trust’s income and expenses, including commissions paid. If, upon request, the trustee fails to send out at least one annual report and refuses to do so, the beneficiaries have the right to request a reporting of the trust from the court.  See Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act (“SCPA”) §2306-Annual Statements to be Furnished to Beneficiaries and SCPA §2102- Proceedings for Relief Against a Fiduciary (to supply information relevant to the interest of the petitioner, if the fiduciary fails to provide same after request made); SCPA §2114 Review of Compensation of Corporate Trustee.

Trust Beneficiaries Have the Right to an Accounting

Trustees must act prudently with investments, diversifying the investment of assets and not invest in high risk investments, which could limit returns. If a beneficiary has questions or concerns about the trustee’s investment decisions, they can request an accounting summarizing all of the Trust’s transactions. This accounting report will detail every transaction including every investment and its related capital gain and loss. SCPA 2205, Compulsory Account, Who May Petition.
Continue reading What Are Your Rights as a Trust Beneficiary?

New York Bans Firearms Insurance Program

New York State has recently fined Lockton Companies $7,000,000 for advertising and selling the NRA-branded firearm insurance program known as “Carry Guard” to state residents. The NRA program, which provides comprehensive personal firearms liability coverage for legal fees stemming from the use of a firearm in self-defense, is popular among law-abiding gun owners. The insurance promises to mitigate the financial and legal consequences that might arise from armed encounters, even if the member did everything right. This new interpretation of the insurance law by New York regulators is an abrupt change in policy and raises significant legal questions.

Continue reading New York Bans Firearms Insurance Program

Commission Agreements Conditioned Upon Verbal Agreements of Sale

The Appellate Division, Second Department recently issued an interesting decision concerning brokerage commissions in Regency Homes Realty Group, Inc. v. Leo and Laura, LLC, 155 A.D.3d 1075, 1077 (2d Dept. 2017). The case illustrates that, although a brokerage agreement can condition commission payments upon the seller and buyer reaching a verbal agreement of sale, there is often difficulty in proving that the parties reached a verbal agreement on the essential terms of a contract of sale.

Continue reading Commission Agreements Conditioned Upon Verbal Agreements of Sale