Trusts and Estates

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Joint Ventures For Small Business From The Legal Perspective

Elena Volkova, Esq. on October 14, 2015

“When I go into business with someone, I want to know two things: am I going to make money and am I going to get [taken advantage of].” Murray Stark This simple wisdom from our family friend Murray Stark is by far the best advice on joint ventures that I know. Murray is a veteran real estate developer. He has seen amazing highs and gut-wrenching lows in his business. He loves risk. He loves making money. He loves finding good deals. He also happens to know his stuff inside and out, and he is relentless with due diligence. He also Read More…

Ask Cari: Can I Copyright that Recipe?

Cari Rincker, Esq. on September 18, 2015

Dear Cari, I am writing a cookbook and developing some of my own recipes. Do I have copyright protection with my recipes? Ann. M. Dear Ann: To answer your question, one must first look at what can be copyrighted. Under the U.S. Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. ยง 102, copyright applies only to “original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.” (Emphasis added) Under the statute, these original “works of authorship” include Read More…

5 Reasons to Hire an External General Counsel

Jodi Erlandsen, Esq. on August 21, 2015

All companies are facing increased legal, compliance and regulatory requirements, often alongside significantly shrinking operational expense budgets. Start-up ventures and small businesses are particularly feeling that pinch. In an ideal world, entrepreneurs and small businesses could simply hire their own general counsel to manage their companies’ legal entity formations, transactions, litigation, corporate governance and regulatory compliance programs. However, when that is not possible, a sound alternative is to hire an external general counsel who provides legal support on a periodic or ongoing consulting basis rather than as a full-time employee. There are a number of reasons that this model could Read More…

Are You Investing Money or Lending Money? And Why Does It Matter?

Corey Lederman on July 14, 2015

Contracts are promises that the law will enforce. When confronted with conflicting interpretations of a contract, as in almost any contract lawsuit, New York courts look to the substance of the promises to decipher the parties’ intent – even if that means ignoring contrary language. In late April 2015, the New York Supreme Court decided in Lesches v. The Estate of Alejandro Omes that when Lesches gave money to music festival promoters to fund a music festival in Miami, it was not an equity investment, bearing the risk of loss, but instead a loan, which needed to be repaid in Read More…

Sending Your Child Off To College: Part 2: Estate Planning: Why Does Your College-Bound Child Need It?

Michael Feinfeld, Esq. on July 14, 2015

Upon turning 18 years old, children in most states are considered adults. Therefore, as their parents, you will no longer have the ability to make financial or legal healthcare decisions for them. As they go off to college, you want to ensure that, in the event of an emergency, you’re able to access their healthcare records and have enabled yourself to care for them and make decisions on their behalf. Indispensable Estate Planning Documents For Your Child 1. Power of Attorney Allows an agent (such as yourself) to conduct financial and business affairs on behalf of your child. It can Read More…

Sending Your Child Off To College: Part 1: Need-Based Financial Aid Planning, College Planning, And Asset Protection

Michael Feinfeld., Esq. and Corey Lederman on July 14, 2015

Here we’ll explore how your assets and income affect your child’s ability to receive financial aid and strategies to maximize the amount of financial aid offered. COLLEGE PLANNING There are two primary tax privileged college savings vehicles: the 529 plan and the Coverdell ESA. The 529 College Savings Plan (“529 Plan”) This college savings plan provides some of the most generous tax benefits for parents and students. It’s very powerful because an individual can give up to $70,000.00, per beneficiary, either gradually or all at once in a lump sum (couples can give double this amount, i.e., up to $140,000 Read More…

Get Your Business Off To The Right Start By Incorporating and Putting The Proper Agreements And Disclaimers In Place

Corey Lederman and Elena Volkova, Esq. on July 14, 2015

Incorporate Incorporating allows you to protect your personal assets, your intellectual property and allows for better estate planning by ensuring that the business you’re creating will live and operate independent of you. While you’re doing the wonderful work that you do, you also need to be thinking about the worst: What if I get sued? All it takes is one disgruntled client that misunderstands or misrepresents what you told them or what they thought you agreed upon to take you to court. The cost of defending that suit, even if you win, could be thousands of dollars – coming straight Read More…

How Do I Start a Home-Based Food Business in NYC?

Sarah Trepel, Esq. on July 14, 2015

You have a love for cooking, baking, blending spices, pickling vegetables, smoking meats, or roasting coffee… You’re a food connoisseur and you create tasty concoctions in your home kitchen all the time… You’ve daydreamed about turning your passion for food into a business… But then you think yourself, “How do I make it happen from my own kitchen?” The good news is that you can start your own home-based food business. However, there are a number of laws regulating how homemade foods can enter the hands – or mouths – of consumers. Anyone who is considering starting their own home-based Read More…

Hiring Virtual Workers Overseas? Here’s What You Need to Know About Taxes

Albert Bloomsbury, Esq. on May 2, 2015

It’s a trend that’s not going away anytime soon: more and more small businesses are turning to the internet to outsource tasks to virtual workers. And, thanks to lower costs of living in other countries, you can easily get good quality work done for a much smaller investment by outsourcing to workers around the world. It almost sounds too good to be true, right? There has to be some kind of catch, right? The truth is… yes – there is a catch. A tax catch. Sometimes. International Taxes – do you have to pay them? Your foreign employee’s host country Read More…

Ouch! Reality TV Host Learns Harsh Legal Lesson

Corey Lederman on April 22, 2015

His “biggest disappointment,” lamented Marcus Lemonis in an interview with Inc. Magazine, was his failed acquisition of A. Stein Meat Products – a New York City-based wholesale meat distributor. Lemonis is an entrepreneur and host of “The Profit,” a CNBC Reality TV show where he invests his own capital in family-owned “sick businesses” (as he calls them) in his quest to prove to viewers and himself that “every single business can be reinvented and fixed.” In the March 4, 2014 episode featuring A. Stein Meat, Lemonis initially offered to buy a 50% ownership interest in the company for $1 million. Read More…

What Does Intellectual Property Mean To Your Business And What Kind Do You Need?

Rita LIn, Esq. on April 20, 2015

When starting a new business or sustaining a growing one, there is a real fear that someone might steal your work product and siphon your success. So how can you best protect yourself? Intellectual property is the way to “mark your territory” by legally protecting your ideas and designs. There are essentially four different categories of intellectual property and choosing which one is best suited to your business and budget is the first step in ensuring the protection of your creations. Copyright Copyright protection is the easiest protection to get, since it’s instantaneous the moment you create something, such as Read More…

Breaking Disability Law News

Michael J. Feinfeld on April 20, 2015

Do you have a disabled relative receiving government benefits but not enough money to set up a supplemental needs trust? Relief may be coming later this year. At the end of 2014, President Obama signed into law new legislation allowing the parents or relatives of disabled individuals receiving government benefits, such as Medicaid or SSI benefits, to establish a tax deferred 529 plan to pay for certain expenses, a so called “529 ABLE account.” The new law, which only allows for the establishment of one account per disabled individual, is slated to be enacted by individual states later this year Read More…

Think Like a Buyer: How to Boost the Value of Your Business, Starting Now

Corey Lederman on April 20, 2015

I know what you’re thinking: “I’m not planning to sell my business any time soon, so I don’t need to worry about the value of my business yet.” The reality is, by the time you start thinking about selling, there’s a good chance it’s too late to make any real changes that can boost your business’s worth. But there are things you can do throughout the entire life of your business to make sure that, when the time comes, you have a very tempting offer for buyers. The key is start thinking about what buyers look for (and what sends Read More…

Ensuring the Hand That Feeds: Estate Planning for Your Pet

Michael J. Feinfeld on April 20, 2015

A client recently came to our office with concerns about how to properly plan her estate to include taking care of her pets in the event of her incapacity or death – an issue frequently raised by single, widowed, divorced or elderly clients with pets. She was rightly concerned that her family members or social networks would not be able to step in quickly enough to take care of her pets. While non-pet owners, individuals with large immediate families or people who view pets simply as property may minimize such concerns, pet owners in New York State do have several Read More…

Guardianship 101: What to Consider When Planing for Young Children

Michael J. Feinfeld on February 3, 2015

Unless you are blessed with lots of close family members, choosing a person to act as the guardian for your children upon your death (or incapacity) is a difficult matter to think about, let alone talk about. And it’s not just determining who will be responsible for raising your children and caring for them. You also have to decide how your assets and possessions are to be managed and held for their benefit. Daunting problems to say the least. In fact, fears over how to make these decisions often keep parents from planning for the future. Perhaps you do not Read More…

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