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Real Estate Planning Blog

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

What a Homebuyer Should Look for in a Real Estate Contract


If you are buying a home, you will need to enter into a purchase and sale contract with the seller, which is typically a standard document prepared by the real estate agent. Nonetheless, it is important to have an experienced real estate attorney review the contract to ensure that your interests are protected.

Real Estate Contracts 101

There are a number of essential elements that must be included in a real estate contract. As you know, buying a home requires obtaining a mortgage loan to finance the purchase, and getting approved for a loan can be a difficult process that is often met with unexpected delays.

For this reason, it is important that the contract explicitly states that the deal is contingent on your loan application being approved.


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Monday, June 26, 2017

Probate: An Overview of Letters Testamentary


An individual who has been named as the executor in a will has a number of important duties that are centered on collecting the decedent's property and transferring it to the rightful heirs through probate. This is a court-supervised process that governs how an estate is managed and distributed.

How is the Probate Process Started?

Before the probate is opened, the person named as the executor in the will must obtain Letters Testamentary. This is a legal document that gives the executor legal authority to carry out his or her duties, including:

  • Collecting and inventorying the estate assets
  • Having the assets appraised
  • Paying valid debts to creditors
  • Filing the decedent's final income taxes
  • Paying applicable estate taxes
  • Distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries

In order to obtain this document, the executor needs to petition the surrogate court in the county in which the decedent lived. This requires submitting the death certificate with the court clerk as well as completing an application.


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Thursday, June 1, 2017

Pitfalls to Avoid in a Commercial Lease in NY


Do I need a real estate lawyer to review my commercial lease?

Signing a lease on a building is often one of the most critical first steps to starting your successful new business.  By signing a commercial lease, you will obligate yourself to pay large sums of money for several years to come.  Given the seriousness of your lease obligations, and the fact that most leases will be written pro-landlord, it is critical that your Staten Island real estate attorney review your lease with an eye for the following potential lease traps: 

  1. Personal guarantees:  A personal guarantee will obligate you to pay the lease balance in the event your business does not succeed.


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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A Look at Irrevocable Trusts


Should my estate plan include an irrevocable trust?

While clients often come to us for assistance with creating a will, we also design estate plans that consider other estate planning objectives, particularly asset protection, minimizing taxes, and providing for loved ones. In these situations, many individuals are well served by establishing an irrevocable trust.

What is an Irrevocable Trust?

An irrevocable trust is one that becomes effective during a person's lifetime, however, unlike a revocable trust, it cannot be amended or modified. The trust maker (or grantor) permanently transfers property into the trust so that he or she no longer owns the property. Instead, a trustee is designated to manage the assets for the beneficiaries.


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Monday, May 29, 2017

Updating an Estate Plan After a Divorce


How will a divorce affect my estate plan?

In our last blog post, we wrote about the importance of having an estate plan, but there are a number of lifestyle changes that may require modifications to your plan, not the least of which is getting a divorce. Because a marital break-up is a difficult and confusing experience, it helps to have an objective estate planning attorney at the ready to make the necessary changes to your essential documents.

Although some documents cannot be revised until the divorce is settled, it is important to make plans as the case is proceeding and tackle any issues that may affect your estate.


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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Trusts and Estate Planning


 A trust is a valuable legal tool that can have numerous benefits. To create a trust, a person, referred to as the “settlor” or grantor,” transfers assets into the trust to be managed by a trustee for the benefit of the trust beneficiaries. When putting an asset in trust, you are actually transferring ownership of the asset from you personally to the trust. Some trust benefits include, reducing estate tax liability, protecting your estate property, avoiding probate, and protecting your assets from your creditors or the creditors of your heirs.

The knowledgeable estate planning attorneys at the Law Firm of Merlino & Gonzalez are here to create an estate plan that maximizes the benefits for you and your family.


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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Proper Estate Planning Brings Peace of Mind


Q: Why do I need an estate plan?

“…in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”~ Benjamin Franklin

There’s any number of reasons why people continually put off seeing an estate planning attorney. Some are uncomfortable with the thought of dying; others can't decide on legal guardians for their children or make other important decisions that are part of a proper estate plan.
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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Welcome

Welcome to our new website and blog, please check back regularly for updates.


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