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Wife Seeks to Set Aside Judgment of Divorce After Her Husband Dies

divorce attorneyIn an unusual case, Judge Jeffrey Sunshine, sitting in the Supreme Court Divorce Part in Kings County, had a case before him where a woman sought to set aside a judgment of divorce by her husband after he died. In this case the wife claimed she was not aware of the divorce until after her husband died when she was served with a copy of the divorce papers. The divorce papers were served upon her by her deceased husband’s family. They took this action because they were challenging her ability to administer his last will and testament.

Guardian Appointed for Minor Children

Judge Sunshine appointed a guardian ad litem to represent the four minor children of the decedent. The wife stated she had no knowledge of the alleged divorce lawsuit. She had continued to live with her husband as a married couple until his death in the year 2011. Upon review of the divorce documents, she acknowledged there was a signature on her affidavit which resembled her own signature. She also acknowledged there was a signature on a Stipulation of Settlement in the divorce which resembled her signature. However, she denied any knowledge of executing these documents. She further denied any knowledge she had her signature notarized in the State of New York on either the Stipulation of Settlement or her affidavit related to the divorce.

Motion to Vacate Divorce Judgment

To set the divorce aside, she served herself with a motion to vacate the divorce judgment in her capacity as the estate administrator. She took the position that serving herself met the statutory requirements for service on the estate of notice she was seeking to set the divorce aside.

Motion to Set Divorce Aside Denied

Judge Sunshine denied the wife’s post judgment action to set the divorce aside. He found after he had appointed a guardian ad litem to represent the children, the wife refused to cooperate with this attorney. The wife ignored all of the requests by this attorney for information concerning the estate proceeding.

Conclusion

assisting in divorce and estatesThere is a saying, you are married until death or divorce. In this case, the parties were divorced and the wife sought to reassert the marriage after death!

Elliot S. Schlissel has been representing men and women in divorce lawsuits throughout the Metropolitan New York area for more than 35 years.

President Obama Orders the Creation of New Retirement Accounts

elder law attorneyOn Wednesday, January 29, 2014, President Obama gave his State of the Union address. During the course of his address, he ordered that a new type of employer sponsored saving account be created for the purpose of helping people save for retirement. The President suggested creating this new class of retirement saving account would help middle class Americans bridge the growing income equality gap.

Starter Retirement Savings Program

The new saving program created by President Obama is called the “MyRA”. The name mimics the Individual Retirement Account (IRAs) that first came into existence to help Americans save for retirement in the 1970s. These new accounts operate similar to the Roth Individual Retirement Accounts (Roth IRAs). Married couples with adjusted gross incomes of up to $191,000 and individuals with incomes up to $129,000 will be able to put away $15,000 in after tax dollars for a maximum of 30 years.

Currently the Roth IRAs will allow working individuals to save up to $5,500 per year, or if they are over 50 in 2014 $6,500 per year. Contributions can be withdrawn tax free.

The MyRA funds are subject to being withdrawn at any time without paying an income tax penalty. However, if the money is removed from the MyRA said funds will be subject to the same restrictions that currently exist for Roth IRAs.

Investment Options for the MyRA

There will only be one investment option for the MyRA. The United States Treasury is going to create a security fund modeled after the Federal Employees Thrift Savings Plan Government Securities Fund. This fund will have a variable rate of interest return on the funds deposited in it. This will prevent any individuals making deposits in the MyRA avoid losing any money maintained in this retirement plan.

The purpose of the MyRA is to allow lower income Americans to accumulate up to $15,000 towards retirement. Although this is not a significant amount of retirement assets, it is a start in the right direction.

estate planning assistanceElliot S. Schlissel is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. He drafts wills and trusts and handles estate and probate matters for clients.

Foreclosure Action Stopped by Death

Nettie Francis had executed a mortgage. The holder of the mortgage brought a foreclosure lawsuit against her. In May of 2010, the court had declined to sign a proposed judgement of foreclosure and sale. The court took this action because there had not been a submission of an order showing the mandatory residential foreclosure court conference had been held in the case.

Husband Seeks to be Named Administrator of Wife’s Estate

In July 2010, Nettie died. Nettie’s husband brought an action to intervene in the case. In this proceeding he submitted, to the court, a death certificate proving Nettie died in July 2010. His paperwork also showed since her death he had been taking care of the home. He indicated in his motion he was in the process of bringing an application in the Surrogate’s Court to be appointed the administrator of Nettie’s estate. He brought this action as an intervenor to be named a defendant in the foreclosure lawsuit.

Counsel for the financial institution argued against Nettie’s husband being allowed to intervene in the lawsuit. He claimed this application didn’t set forth a claim or defense for which the intervention in the suit was sought. He also claimed the motion being made by the husband was not made in a timely basis.

Supreme Court Justice Robert McDonald sitting in Queens County held the death of a party divested the court of jurisdiction. Upon Nettie’s death the proceedings were automatically stayed. The proceedings could not proceed without the substitution of a personal representative or an executor for the deceased party.foreclosure advocate

Estate Planning Documents

estate planning lawyerWill

The purpose of a will is to set down the manner and disposition of an individual’s assets and his or her estate, at the time of his or her death. A will has no effect during a person’s lifetime. It only deals with the disposition of the person’s assets at the time of death. The will should be crafted by an experienced estate planning lawyer. It needs to be executed in accordance with specific formalities as prescribed by law. These formalities vary from state to state.

Living Will

A living will is a document that deals with life prolonging issues. In a living will, an individual specifies which life prolonging measures and medical procedures he or she wants utilized in the event of his or her incapacity. The living will also needs to be executed with specific execution formalities. This document should only be drafted by an attorney experienced with elder law end of life issues.

Revocable Living Trust

A revocable living trust is a testamentary document similar to a will. However, a revocable living trust is sometimes prepared as a substitute for a will. Revocable Living Trusts avoid probate. It is recommended, when the individual drafts a Revocable Living Trust that they also draft a pour over will to go with it. A pour over will is designed to distribute assets which are left out of the Revocable Living Trust.

Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney is drafted by an individual who is referred to as the principal. The principal appoints someone who deals with financial issues such as paying bills, if he or she becomes incapable of dealing with these financial issues. The Power of Attorney can be drafted in a manner which allows it to stay in effect even in the event the principal becomes incompetent. Powers of Attorney are specifically designed to deal with financial matters and not with medical or health care issues.prepares and litigates wills and trusts

The Right To Die

long island attorneyThere was a recent case in Long Island, New York concerning issues surrounding “the right to die.” Sungeon Grace Lee, age 28, decided her life was no longer worth living. She advised her doctors she wanted to end her life by cutting off the life support system keeping her alive. Her parents, who are deeply religious, vehemently opposed their daughter’s wishes

Tumor On Her Brain

Ms. Lee had a tumor on her brain stem. She had been suffering from seizures. During one of her seizures she was rushed to North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York. The seizure left her paralyzed from the neck down. At that time, she was hooked up to a life support machine that allowed her to breathe.

Parent’s Sue To Keep Daughter Alive

Ms. Lee’s mother, Jin Ah Lee, and her father, Man Oh Lee, a Pastor of the Antioch Missionary church in Flushing, Queens, were both deeply religious people. They retained an attorney and obtained a restraining order preventing their daughter from ending her life. After protracted litigation, both the trial court and appellate court set aside the petition of Sungeon Lee’s parents. In their decision, the courts indicated that the daughter was competent to make her own medical decisions. However, in the end, Ms. Lee agreed to withdraw her request to be allowed to die and complied with her parents’ wishes.

Ms. Lee has been moved from North Shore University Hospital to her parents’ home where she is competently taken care of.

About The Author

elder care helpElliot S. Schlissel, Esq. is an Elder Law Attorney with more than 35 years of legal experience. He represents individuals concerning Medicaid planning, wills, trusts and estate matters, end of life issues and estate planning matters.

No More Golden Years

retirement planning for seniorsRetirement is supposed to be the “golden years.” Today, the golden years maybe a thing of the past. It is estimated three quarters of Americans facing retirement age have approximately $30,000 in savings. The failure of Americans of retirement age to develop a significant amount of savings may have a long term impact on retirement in United States.

401K Plans Versus Pensions

In the past, Americans of retirement age relied on pensions for monthly income. Extremely few Americans still have pension plans. Pension plans were replaced decades ago by 401 K plans, for most Americans. These 401 K plans presumed Americans would have the foresight and ability to save on a regular basis for their old age.

Teresa Ghilarducci, a Professor of Economics at the New School, in a recent New York Times interview stated individuals were “asked to do what they were not responsible enough to carry out, which was to set up a long term savings plan that anticipated future financial needs.” The savings accumulated by the middle class senior citizens will not be sufficient for the large majority to support their standard of living. It is estimated Americans should save eight times their annual income to maintain their living standards.

Retirement In Poverty

The majority of Americans, when they reach retirement age, will have allocated less than $5.00 a day for food. This will put them at the poverty level. Social Security will not provide a safety net sufficient to meet retired Americans long term needs. Americans should look at Social Security as a base for their savings not as a safety net. It will not be enough to live on! This is especially true with the movement among certain political parties to reduce government benefits to senior Americans.

Job Opportunities For Seniors

When a worker who is more than 55 years of age loses his or her job they find it difficult to find new employment. When they find new employment they are often required to work for reduced wages or on a part time basis. The unemployment rates among Americans 55 and older are higher than those of the general population.

About The Author

elder planning and estate administrationElliot S. Schlissel is in elder care attorney helping senior Americans in dealing with medicaid issues, nursing home issues and drafting wills, trusts and healthcare proxies.

Reverse Mortgages

estate planning attorneyA reverse mortgage is a means by which seniors utilize the equity in their homes. The equity is turned into cash. It can be used to supplement social security, pension payments, and 401K plan withdrawals. In most situations, the proceeds of a reverse mortgage are taken out in a lump sum. Arrangements can be made to have periodic payments over the period of your life, too.

The big benefit of a reverse mortgage is you don’t have to repay it during your lifetime. It gets repaid upon your death. The drawback of a reverse mortgage is it tends to have a higher interest rate than conventional mortgages. In addition to interest payments and an annual insurance charge, the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s home equity conversion reverse mortgage program level an initial one time insurance premium from 2% to .01% on your home’s value. It should be noted as with any mortgage, there will be closing costs regarding reverse mortgages.

New York Estate Planning Lawyers

Whether you take out a reverse mortgage or not is a complicated question. You should meet with an estate planning attorney. Discuss your finances and the consequences of a reverse mortgage before proceeding to take one out.assistance in planning for retirement

Retirement Financial Pitfalls

Planning for retirement is difficult.  Today, nest eggs are much smaller than they have been in the past.  Many individuals and families plan for retirement at the last minute.  This can cause problems.

Save And Invest

Americans need to save today, not tomorrow.  It takes a lot of will power to forego today’s pleasures and have money for the long run.

Retirement Is Not A Permanent Vacation

Some TV advertisements present retirement as a permanent vacation.  You see pictures of individuals playing golf in a Shangri-La type atmosphere.  Americans are living longer today.  The Shangri-La atmosphere presented in those pictures can become boring and stale.  Even if you can afford living in a retirement community of that type, life expectancy can stretch retirement for as long as thirty or forty years.

Unanticipated Expenses

A Study by Fidelity Investments indicates a couple who are 65 years of age when they retire will need more than $250,000 to pay for medical expenses throughout their retirement.  These medical expenses do not include nursing home care.  The study found the average medical expenses for a 65 year old couple amounted to more than $530 per month.  It should be noted Medicare is not free and doesn’t cover all medical expenses!

Be Careful With Your 401K Plan

A 401K Plan is retirement plan.  Many people borrow large sums from their 401k plans and are not able to pay these sums back. Depleting your 401K plan can have a significantly negative impact on your ability to retire.

Be Careful Of Your Priorities

Steven Cuhna, a certified financial planner with Bay Street Financial Services, suggests you remember the 5 P’s regarding retirement,  Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.  You should have a plan that analyzes your financial goals, retirement needs, investment and estate plan.  You may live a long time but you will not live forever.  Having a will and/or irrevocable trust may be necessary to help you preserve your assets.  Another solution is to never stop working!

Estate Planning

Who needs estate planning?  Probably you do!  Estate planning does not relate to an individual’s net worth.  The purpose of an estate plan is to see to it that your financial goals and the financial goals of your family can be met even after you die.

There are several elements of an estate plan.  A will, a power or attorney, a living will and a health care proxy.  These basic documents comprise an estate plan.

Why You Need A Will

A will is a very basic document in which an individual lays out what he or she wants to happen to his or her assets upon death.  It can also name guardians to the decedent’s minor children.  A major reason for having a will is that if you die without a will you are considered to have died “intestate”.  Individuals who die intestate will expose their heirs and loved ones to additional expenses in dealing with the complications involved with estate administration.

Are Trusts Only For The Rich?

Trusts are documents that allow you to control your assets and its distribution after you die.  Trusts can also be utilized to reduce estate and gift taxes.  Trusts are no longer for the rich.  They’re a valuable estate planning device many middle class families utilize.

Annual Gift Giving

Each individual may give up to $13,000 a year or $26,000 if you are married and giving the gift in conjunction with your spouse.  In addition you can pay an unlimited amount in medical and educational expenses for an individual if these funds are paid directly to the institutions that provided the medical or educational services.

Estate Planning Lawyers

Estate planning is a sophisticated undertaking.  You should utilize experienced well thought of estate planning attorneys to handle these sophisticated transactions.  The law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo have been drafting estate plans for their clients for over thirty years.  The firm probates wills.  They litigate contested wills.  The firm’s attorneys have extensive experience in bringing guardianship proceedings, drafting revocable living trusts and irrevocable living trusts.  Elliot S. Schlissel, Esq. is a member of the National Academy of Elder Care Attorneys.  He provides all types of elder care counseling to his clients including issues involving nursing home abuse, Medicaid, Medicaid planning techniques, specials needs trusts for special needs children which are also referred to as supplementary needs trusts.  Feel free to call our office for a consultation.

Garden of Eden Adult Home in Brooklyn is “A Garden Of Hell”

The Garden of Eden Nursing Home is located in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York. The residents of this adult facility have been forced to live in a poorly maintained residence and under unsanitary living conditions. Multiple lawsuits have been brought related to complaints of mistreatment from the residents.  The State Health Department has sited the facility for numerous violations during the course of 2011.

Pay Your Rent Or We’ll Put You On The Street

Linda Benjamin, age 58, who has been living at the facility for the past nine years, has said “they have black hearts – all of them.”  She claims to have been bullied and threatened by administrators during the entire 9 year period she has been living at the facility.  Benjamin recently asked the administrators of the facility to reduce her rent so she could purchase a new set of dentures.  She was told that if she didn’t pay her rent she would be out on the street.

Residents of the facility claim the administrator Martin Amsel bullied patients into attending optional treatment meetings.  They would be threatened with eviction or unnecessary hospital stays if they didn’t do as requested.

The State Health Department documents indicate that residents complained they were being served stale and moldy food.

Administrators Defense

Jeff Sherrin stated “Garden of Eden and its Administrator were wrongfully accused by the Department of Health inspector of overzealousness in trying to encourage residents to attend programs and take medications that their doctors had order for them”.  He further stated that the facility has one of the best inspection records of any adult facility in the State of New York.

Numerous residents of the facility disagree with Jeff Sherrin’s analysis.  They claim they are bullied, harassed and tormented by the management of the facility

Elder Care Lawyers

The Elder Care Lawyers at the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo have been helping seniors with numerous issues for over two decades.  The law firm had extensive experience with Medicaid, Medicaid planning techniques, drafting special needs trusts for special needs children, representing executors in the probating of wills, contesting wills and drafting wills and trusts.  The firm also prepares guardianship documents for submissions under Article 81 under the New York Mental Hygiene Law.  In addition the firm drafts revocable living trust and irrevocable trusts for their clientsCall us for a free consultation regarding all elder care and wills and trusts issues.

Valley Stream, Lynbrook, Baldwin, Malverne, Freeport, Oceanside, Long Beach, Elmont, Lakeview, West Hempstead, Hempstead, Merrick, Bellmore

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