Cohen & Lombardo, P.C.
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Estate planning and probate and the voluntary administrator

With estate planning and probate in New York, there are a litany of rules that must be followed. Some have terms and requirements that can be confusing to a great many people. However, understanding them is crucial to the process and failure to do so can be a major hindrance. One such law that must be understood with estate planning is the voluntary administrator and how circumstances impact who it will be. This can differ depending on whether the person had a will (was testate) or did not have a will (was intestate).

If the person died intestate, the voluntary administrator will be the surviving spouse of the decedent. If there is no spouse or that person renounces this right, it will then fall in the order specified by the statute to a child, grandchild, parent, sibling or other relative of the decedent, provided this person is a competent adult. Eligiblity to act will systematically go beyond the surviving spouse to the first distributee and so on. If none of those people provided for in the statute will act, the responsibility will fall to the county's chief fiscal officer, who in Erie County, New York is tghe Public Administrator.

Do you need a social media prenup?

For engaged couples, creating a prenup is usually an act of financial responsibility, allowing you and your fiancé to protect your assets in case your marriage ever comes to an unforeseen end. But did you know that you can also use a prenup to protect yourself on social media?

According to a report by ABC News, more young couples are acknowledging their active social media usage, and see their online reputations as an asset worth protecting. This means that couples can draw up prenups that include a social media clause, ensuring that both parties agree not to post embarrassing photos about the other person.

Retired athlete says family law and divorce agreement is too high

Former baseball star and current broadcaster Alex Rodriguez is embroiled in a dispute with his former wife about support. Mr. Rodriguez has been trying to reduce the amount -- approximately $155,000 per month -- paid to his ex-wife and for the support of his two daughters, ages 13 and 10. They divorced a decade ago. According to the documents, the amount of support was supposed to be changed after his retirement as a player.

Since Mr. Rodriguez earned $30 million per year as a player and that has been reduced to $3 million per year in his post-career endeavors, he wants the payments lowered. Another factor in the attempt to lower the payments is that his ex-wife has a new fiancé, a child, owns multiple properties and vehicles, and has a substantial amount in the bank. He believes he is paying for her new lifestyle. Mr. Rodriguez wants to pay $20,000 monthly for his kids, which is around $1,000 more than is needed. His ex-wife wants $50,000. The case is ongoing.

How does an emancipated child impact family law and divorce?

When a couple in New York State decides to end their marriage and there are children from the relationship, it is likely that one parent will be ordered to pay child support to the other. There can be many contentious issues in a family law and divorce case, and one of the most complex is determining the payments required to provide for a child. The supporting parent might not want to pay the amount ordered, and the custodial parent will frequently ask for more.

There are numerous factors which the court will consider when determining the amount required for child support. Of course, there are other issues to consider as well besides the proscribed amount. Payments will stop once a child  is emancipated. But what is emancipation?  Understanding when this will take place is important for both sides. Obviously, when a child reaches the age of 21, he or she is responsible for their own circumstances and is emancipated. However, there are other times when a child can be under 21 and be emancipated.

With business law in New York, should I use a C corp?

It takes a certain amount of intestinal fortitude and fearlessness for anyone to start a business, but when that business will begin in New York, it is even more impressive given the competition and challenges. Regardless of the business idea and how viable it is, there are aspects of business law that cannot be ignored. One is determining what type of corporation to use. One of the most common is a C corp. Knowing the difference between the different alternatives is key to making an informed decision and avoiding problems as time passes. Legal help is always critical in any such endeavor.

With a C corp, the entity itself will be separate from the owners. Using this method provides protection for the owners. They can be taxed, garner profits and be legally liable for issues, but it also provides protection from personal liability issues. The tradeoff with using a C corp and having that protection is that it costs more than other types of corporations. The records must be kept more accurately and extensively, there are different processes for operation, and reporting requirements differ.

How is abandonment defined in New York family law and divorce?

With family law and divorce in New York, there are certain requirements that a person must meet when they are ending their marriage. Understanding this is critical to a successful resolution to a case. While couples who want to divorce can simply say there is an irretrievable breakdown in the relationship - also referred to as "no-fault" - it is not an automatic guarantee that the divorce will be granted. For many, it is wise to be more specific with the reason(s) they are parting ways.

One issue that might come up is abandonment. Knowing when there was abandonment in a marriage is integral to citing it as a reason for the divorce. If the plaintiff in the divorce case asserts that the defendant abandoned him or her for at least one year before the filing, it is justification to claim abandonment. Abandonment can fall into the category of the defendant simply leaving the marital home without intending to return for at least one year before the action commences. This will be done without a viable reason and without the plaintiff giving consent.

From popping the question to breaking the news you want a divorce

Arguments may have evoked threats of separation or divorce. Many couples find themselves verbally pushing hot buttons, making assumptions, accusations and expressing suspicion. But when do you know it is really time to go your separate ways? How do you make it clear to your partner that the arguments are over and you are resolute in your decision to legally divorce?

It can be a painful time to face the destroyed state of your relationship and feel there is no hope re-building it, especially if you have already sought counseling and therapy services. The mental process of divorce can last long after the legal process is finalized. You may feel a push and pull towards and away from this person, depending on the memories and the moments you cherish and wish to feel again.

What is an Order of Filiation in family law and divorce?

One of the most important aspects of child support, child custody and visitation rights in a New York State family law and divorce is identifying the biological father. Frequently, this is referred to as paternity. Part of establishing paternity is seeking an Order of Filiation in Family Court. There are certain circumstances when this might be necessary. For parents who fall into this category, it is important to understand these circumstances to ensure they enjoy all the rights they are entitled to under the law. Having legal assistance is an important factor in any family law case.

When a mother and apparent father have not signed an Acknowledgement of Paternity which names the biological father and they are not married, or the mother is married to someone other than the man who is believed to be the father, there can be an Order of Filiation. With the Order of Filiation, there will be a court order naming a man as the child's father. The father will subsequently have the rights accorded to any legal parent including visitation and custody. It is also possible he will be ordered to pay child support.

Creating a legal will for estate planning and probate

It is common to see news stories of people in dispute over an estate in New York. In some instances, it will be due to the decedent dying intestate and not having a will at all. In others, it is because the estate planning and probate did not yield what many heirs and prospective heirs expected to receive. To avoid any rancor and confusion, drafting an estate plan should adhere to the law. Knowing the basic requirements to creating a will and how it can be created is a key factor in its validity and effectiveness.

When creating a will, there are certain requirements that must be in place for the testator. He or she must be at least 18-years-old and be of sound mind and memory. Sound mind refers to the person understanding what they are doing when they create the document. When the document is completed, the testator must sign it or acknowledge it with two witnesses there to attest to its validity. Should the testator request that the witnesses sign it, they must do so and write their addresses.

Family law and divorce and modifying child support payments

For noncustodial parents in New York State, the requirement that they pay child support to the custodial parent is an important issue in family law and divorce. The amount they are ordered to pay will be deemed sufficient to provide for the child and the custodial parent's needs and to meet the child's best interests. However, it is not unusual for noncustodial parents to want to modify what they are paying. It is also possible that the amount due will be changed because of a cost of living adjustment (COLA). Understanding the details about these issues is critical.

The noncustodial parent can request a modification by filling out a form. For it to be approved, it is required that the person show there was a "substantial change in circumstances." It can also be modified if it became effective on or after Oct. 13, 2010 and one of the following factors are in place: it has been three years since the order went into effect, was changed, or altered; the gross income of the noncustodial or custodial parent has changed by at least 15 percent since it went into effect, was changed or altered; the noncustodial parent is incarcerated.

Cohen & Lombardo, P.C.

4140 Sheridan Drive
Amherst, NY 14221

Phone: 716-262-8428
Fax: 716-881-2755

343 Elmwood Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14222

Phone: 716-262-8428
Fax: 716-881-2755
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