Wednesday, December 24, 2014


Congratulations to the more than 6,000 Nassau homeowners hit hard by Superstorm Sandy who are now receiving property tax refund checks from Nassau County.

Enjoy this holiday week and I'll be back after the New Year.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


I first heard about this a few weeks ago at a CLE at Hofstra on Surrogate Court practice.

Right now, it is marked as the "Most Read" article in the ABA Journal. To read about the "dark side" of adoptions:

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Today I will be a volunteer lawyer with Nassau Suffolk Law Services at Landlord/Tenant court in Hempstead:
"Volunteer Lawyers Project
What is the Volunteer Lawyers
Attorneys are encouraged to volunteer to provide free legal assistance to the poor in Nassau County through the Volunteer Lawyers Project. NCBA partners with the Nassau/Suffolk Law Services Committee to support VLP, which helps maximize the quantity and quality of pro bono assistance provided for the county's low-income community.
What programs are part of the VLP?
Volunteer attorneys handle a wide array of cases including matrimonial matters, individual bankruptcy, personal injury and negligence defense, estate matters, release of accounts blocked by judgment creditors, and various other civil matters.
     • The Landlord/Tenant Project's Attorney of the Day Program assists thousands of men, women and children in court to prevent homelessness.
     • The Bankruptcy Clinics assist families either with advice or the filing for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, when appropriate.
     • The Matrimonial Project assists hundreds of individuals in obtaining divorces, child support and custody.
How does it work?
An attorney based at VLP’s offices in Hempstead conducts client intake interviews and refers clients to appropriate volunteer attorneys. The VLP attorney also recruits and trains volunteer attorneys to handle cases."

Thursday, December 11, 2014


 New York state has adopted a new statute that a Surrogate's Court advisory group said better defines and preserves inheritance rights and financial interests of children conceived after the deaths of their biological parents.

The full text and summary of the bill follows:

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Many of these are being promoted in breakfast/lunch seminars but of course "Trusts are a valuable tool, but they may not be for everyone. It pays to know the ins and outs before you put your trust in a trust."

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


As reported:

"Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac have set terms for letting borrowers put down as little as 3 percent of a home’s cost to get mortgages, a step criticized by Republican lawmakers as a return to risky lending.

Starting on Dec. 13, Fannie Mae will allow the lower down payments for first-time homebuyers and permit refinancing borrowers to reduce equity to 3 percent to cover closing costs, the company said today in a statement. Freddie Mac will begin a program in March giving breaks to lower-income buyers and first-time borrowers who get housing counseling."

Monday, December 8, 2014


I will be volunteering today, Monday, December 8, at the Nassau County Bar Association's free clinic for Mortgage Foreclosure, Bankruptcy and Superstorm Sandy issues. 
For more information, contact Nassau County Bar Association, 15th and West Streets, Mineola, NY 11501 at (516) 747-4070.

Friday, December 5, 2014


Reported that the plaintiff in the recent engineering report case and another Sandy victim recently filed a class action lawsuit against an insurance company and several associates, claiming they schemed to manipulate a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) program for profit. Same counsel team from LI case.


Thursday, December 4, 2014


The Uniform Civil Rules of the Supreme and County Courts were amended to require the omission or redaction of Confidential Personal Information from papers filed with the court. See 22 NYCRR 202.5(e), relating to the omission or redaction of confidential personal information, effective January 1, 2015. Compliance with this rule is voluntary from January 1 through February 28, 2015, and mandatory thereafter:

"(e) Omission or Redaction of Confidential Personal Information.

(1) Except in a matrimonial action, or a proceeding in surrogate's court, or a proceeding pursuant to article 81 of the mental hygiene law, or as otherwise provided by rule or law or court order, and whether or not a sealing order is or has been sought, the parties shall omit or redact confidential personal information in papers submitted to the court for filing.  For purposes of this rule, confidential personal information (“CPI”) means:

i.  the taxpayer identification number of an individual or an entity, including a social security number, an employer identification number, and an individual taxpayer identification number, except the last four digits thereof;
ii.  the date of an individual's birth, except the year thereof;
iii.  the full name of an individual known to be a minor, except the minor's initials;  and
iv.  a financial account number,  including a credit and/or debit card number, a bank account number, an investment account number, and/or an insurance account number, except the last four digits or letters thereof.

(2) The court sua sponte or on motion by any person may order a party to remove CPI from papers or to resubmit a paper with such information redacted; order the clerk to seal the papers or a portion thereof containing CPI in accordance with the requirement of 22NYCRR §216.1 that any sealing be no broader  than necessary to protect the CPI; for good cause permit the inclusion of CPI in papers; order a party to file an unredacted copy under seal for in camera review; or determine that information in a particular action is not confidential.  The court shall consider the pro se status of any party in granting relief pursuant to this provision.

(3)  Where a person submitting a paper to a court for filing believes in good faith that the inclusion of the full confidential personal information described in subparagraphs (i) to (iv) of paragraph (1) of this subdivision is material and necessary to the adjudication of the action or proceeding before the court, he or she may apply to the court for leave to serve and file together with a paper in which such information has been set forth in abbreviated form a confidential affidavit or affirmation setting forth the same information in unabbreviated form, appropriately referenced to the page or pages of the  paper at which the abbreviated form appears.

(4) The redaction requirement does not apply to the last four digits of the relevant account numbers, if any, in an action arising out of a consumer credit transaction, as defined in subdivision (f) of section one hundred five of the civil practice law and rules.  In the event the defendant appears in such an action and denies responsibility for the identified account, the plaintiff may without leave of court amend his or her pleading to add full account or CPI by (i) submitting such amended paper to the court on written notice to defendant for in camera review or (ii) filing such full account or other CPI under seal in accordance with rules promulgated by the chief administrator of the courts."

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


On April 21, 2014, the Uniform Adult Guardian Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act (UAGPPJA) took effect in New York as Mental Hygiene Law Article 83.

According to an earlier American Bar Association press release:

"In adult guardianship, state courts give one person or entity the duty and power to make personal and/or property decisions for another person who is determined to be incapacitated. Our increasingly mobile society creates complex jurisdictional issues concerning which state should have jurisdiction, how to transfer a guardianship to another state and whether a guardianship in one state will be recognized by another.  For example, what happens when an incapacitated person owns property in multiple states?  Or when family members, who may need to care for that person, are spread across the country?  Which state's laws govern the situation?  When conflict occurs, it often means a cumbersome and expensive loss of time and resources for family members, courts and lawyers.  Additionally, lack of clear rules of jurisdiction can foster “granny snatching” and other abusive actions.

Because of the myriad problems arising from multi-state guardianship cases, in 2007 the Uniform Law Commission approved the Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act to provide a roadmap for addressing dilemmas in such cases."

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


The New York State Kinship Navigator is a program of Catholic Family Center located in Rochester, NY. Some helpful legal information and forms are available at their web site at:

Monday, December 1, 2014


"Lawyers struggle with anxiety and depression at rates substantially higher than average, clear evidence that the law is a uniquely stressful profession that requires healthy coping skills and stress management techniques to guard against falling into personal crisis. This is especially true during the holidays, an enormously stressful and oftentimes emotionally challenging time in their own right. Please join Patrick R. Krill, Director of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation Legal Professionals Program, for an enlightening look at why the legal profession presents so many pitfalls for our mental health, as well as some useful strategies for avoiding those traps this holiday season."