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Legal systems can often be a winding labyrinth, especially when tracking and managing court cases is part of your daily routine. However, no more worries! Whether you're an attorney, a legal researcher, or an individual keen on understanding the workings of the Civil Supreme Court in New York State, your perfect ally is here: the WebCivil Supreme system.

What Exactly is WebCivil Supreme?

WebCivil Supreme is an online treasure chest brimming with extensive information on both Active and Disposed Civil Supreme Court cases across all 62 counties of New York State. A brainchild of the New York Unified Court System, this platform stands tall as a beacon of transparency, accessibility, and streamlined case tracking for all interested individuals.

So, how does it work? Well, you can delve into case details using a multitude of search parameters - Index Number, Party Name, Attorney/Firm Name, or Justice. Furthermore, it allows you to sketch out calendars for a specific Attorney/Firm or by Justice or Part. This feature proves instrumental in strategic planning and efficient management.

How Can You Take Advantage of WebCivil Supreme?

Gaining access to legal information is a cornerstone for safeguarding justice and executing effective legal representation. Below, let's explore some compelling reasons that make WebCivil Supreme an essential resource:

1. A Wealth of Data: As a user, you enjoy the privilege of accessing data on all Civil Supreme Court cases, active and disposed, spanning all of New York State's 62 counties. Consequently, this single, comprehensive source of court case information is indeed an impressive feat.

2. User-Friendly Experience: Gone are the days of rifling through mountains of paperwork or battling with different systems for each county. Thanks to WebCivil Supreme's user-friendly interface, you can find all you need in one place, just a few clicks away.

3. Time-Saving Companion: It acknowledges the preciousness of time in the legal profession. It facilitates users to generate calendars for specific attorneys or justices, enabling busy professionals to manage their schedules efficiently.

4. Open for All: Last but not least, it promotes transparency by ensuring court case information is always within reach for those who need it. This allows all parties involved in a case, and even the general public, to stay informed.

How Does WebCivil Supreme Benefit You?

1. Empowered Legal Research: For legal professionals, the system acts as a robust tool to research precedents, study the performance of a particular judge or firm, or extract insights into the legal dynamics of specific counties.

2. Optimized Case Management: Law practitioners find in it a reliable partner to monitor their cases, stay abreast of competition, or keep a close watch on the status of cases of interest.

3. Inclusive Access for All: For those not armed with a legal background, it serves as a gateway into the court system, enabling them to follow cases that intrigue or impact them or even gain insights into how the legal machinery operates.

Tackle Common Legal Challenges

WebCivil Supreme skilfully navigates several common hurdles encountered in the legal sector:

1. Deciphering the Labyrinth: The legal world often appears as an enigmatic maze. By aggregating data from all counties of New York State under one platform, it simplifies the process of finding and tracking cases.

2. Tracking Made Easy: For extensive law firms or bustling attorneys, keeping a tab on ongoing cases can pose a challenge. Here, WebCivil Supreme comes to the rescue, making it easy and convenient to stay updated.

3. Breaking Down Barriers: Legal information, to a layman, can often be intimidating. WebCivil Supreme levels the playing field by making this information accessible online, ushering in a wave of transparency and accessibility.

In conclusion, WebCivil Supreme stands as a robust tool for anyone interested in the Civil Supreme Court proceedings in New York State. Be it seasoned attorneys, budding law students, or individuals curious about a particular case, it serves as an invaluable resource that demystifies the intricate world of law. This platform transcends mere provision of information; it pioneers transparency, fuels understanding, and ultimately, contributes towards administering justice.

How financial trends  could affect estate planning

We live in a dynamic world where trends are bound to rise and fall. When we talk about financial trends, people envision the stock market or perhaps their investment portfolio. For estate planning attorneys, the goal is always to maximize assets that are passed on to their heirs. If you’re curious to learn about these emerging financial trends, by all means, read on.

1. Federal estate and gift tax exemption

Most people are wondering if there will be a change to the federal estate and gift tax exemption in 2021, and it all depends on the administration of the new government. However, it seems a couple of other things are taking the spotlight, like beating the pandemic, tackling unemployment and economic recovery. We’re hopeful and will keep monitoring for any development. But an ideal change could potentially be deferred until 2022.

2. A change to the Connecticut estate tax exemption

One of the impacts of COVID-19 was crippling the economy, and it is uncertain when the economy might pick up again. However, many are afraid that this might lead to tax revenue being raised. Many expect Connecticut to dip its hands into a "rainy day" fund to offset some deficits incurred by the pandemic. 

According to a recent report by the Connecticut Office of Legislative Research, they are likely to consider some proposals that could replace the revenue lost, and one of these proposals could include postponing or the reversal of tax policy. For the moment, there is no recorded change yet.

3. Low-interest rate to continue in 2021?

Another financial trend that could affect estate planning is the ongoing low interest rate. Some economists are speculating inflationary pressure. However, there is no empirical proof that shows that the interest rate will rise in 2021. It presents estate planning opportunities to taxpayers, and this trend is most likely to proceed till 2022.

4. Emphasis on state estate law planning

To families who have their properties in several states, federal estate planning will no longer be an option. It is because state estate and inheritance taxes are now entering the spotlight. In some states in the US, the exemption is as slow as $1 million, while state estate rates are over 16%. If you think about it, a $10 million estate will pay no dime to any federal estate taxes, but pay over $1.44 million to state estate taxes.

Wrapping Up!

Every year, trends are what we look for to better prepare for the inevitable. If you’re yet to update your estate plan, you should hire an experienced attorney. They will help you consider the current trend and analyze opportunities that you can leverage. If that sounds good, take a minute to give us a call 718-667-1301 or fill the contact form.

You never want to think about a tenant dying in your building. However, knowing how to handle the disposition of housing of the deceased can make things easier for you and your tenant’s family during this challenging time. It can also save you any confusion when it comes to legal matters.

Are You Responsible for Housing Disposition?

As a landlord, you have an agreement with your tenants that covers your responsibilities and theirs. That lease should include any action taken in the event of their death.

Unless the deceased has an executor or administrator of their estate, no one can legally claim or dispose of their personal items. Therefore, the responsibility can fall to you as the landlord.

Eventually, you must either terminate the deceased tenant’s lease or let it expire. Without an estate administrator or executor, no one can take possession of the apartment.

When Can You Terminate the Lease?

After three months, you, as the landlord, can take measures to evict the deceased tenant. You must serve the notice of eviction to one of the following people as they are related to the tenant, in this order and as available:

As of September 2019, lawmakers introduced Senate Bill S6714. While this bill is still in committee, it would allow executors and administrators to terminate the lease if passed.

Sometimes, the tenant will not have any surviving relatives, or even a will stating who should take possession of their home after they die. At this point, the Public Administrator can help you determine the best course of action.

What Are Your Options When a Tenant Dies?

When a tenant dies, you may need the help of an experienced Staten Island real estate lawyer. At DDC Law, our attorneys know how to navigate cases involving deceased tenants with compassion. Call us today at 718-667-1301 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.

Illegal Acts and Evictions in New York State
Whether a tenant is not paying rent or violating their lease, there are certain guidelines landlords must adhere to when evicting them in New York State.

Currently, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way landlords must respond to tenants who might, under other circumstances, be evicted. Now, it is especially important to ensure that landlords do not commit illegal acts when it comes to evictions in New York State.

When is Eviction Illegal in New York State?
Under normal circumstances, landlords cannot evict tenants without valid reason. There are certain situations where you may have a defense against your landlord if they serve you an eviction notice.

Self-help actions, like turning off utilities or changing the locks
Failing to give proper notice for an eviction
Tenant has paid rent when the landlord claims they have not
Tenant refused to pay rent because the landlord did not maintain the unit
Landlord fails to give the tenant ten days’ notice to fix lease violations
Landlord evicts the tenant based on discrimination

How Does the COVID-19 Pandemic Affect Eviction Laws?
While the COVID-19 pandemic is happening, landlords should not be evicting tenants. According to Governor Cuomo’s executive order, the courts cannot begin cases that would lead to landlords serving eviction notices.

While landlords may still be able to raise your rent, they must give you notice if they plan to raise it more than 5 percent.

Landlords and tenants should come to an agreement if their lease is expiring, too. While this would normally be the best time to leave your apartment if you were thinking about it, moving right now may put you at risk for coronavirus exposure. It might be best to negotiate a month-to-month lease, leaving you open to moving once the pandemic is successfully contained.

What Can You Do if You are Illegally Evicted?
If you believe your landlord has committed an illegal act or eviction in New York State, contact us at DDC Law. Our experienced Staten Island attorneys can help you navigate your case and give you all the information you need about eviction laws. Call us at 718-667-1301 or contact us online for a consultation.

Have you thought about how your credit card debt might affect your loved ones after you are gone? Outstanding debts owed by the deceased can often be attached to an estate or trust if a creditor chooses to file a lawsuit against a decedent. A court judgment could drain the inheritance you leave your spouse or children if such a suit is filed in court. You can plan ahead for such eventualities, however, by retaining a real estate attorney and taking precautionary legal measures.

Creditor Agreements

Obligation to assume your credit card debt could fall on a surviving spouse or other loved one if they are a signatory on the creditor agreement. Being a signatory means they have already legally agreed to be held liable for your credit card debt once you have passed away. If your spouse, adult child, or other co-signing family member has ever been participatory as a signatory in a credit agreement under your name, they would have the obligation to pay off any outstanding debts owed on the account after your death. This is most common with credit card account that are joint, when both users sign that they are responsible for debt accrued. However, a merely “authorized user” of your credit card account may not necessarily be liable for paying off the balance, as long as they immediately cease use of the card after your passing. Making sure all creditor agreements have only your name on them as a signatory and that authorized users are informed of their rights and responsibilities regarding use of your account can help keep credit card debt from surviving you.

Most Common Probate Court Triggers  

Since federal law allows for debts to be recovered from your estate under certain conditions, avoiding probate liquidation of assets is a priority. The top reason for an estate or trust to be reviewed by the probate court is for purposes of debt collection. Credit card debt can trigger a probate review if the above advice about signatories and discontinuation of charges after your death are not followed. If your will goes into probate, any qualifying property, savings accounts, or other easily liquidated financial assets that can attached to pay off your creditors. This can substantially reduce the inheritance you are trying to leave to your loved ones.

Protecting your Estate against Credit Card Debt

There are legal protections that your attorney can use to help you shield your assets so your wishes regarding your estate are carried out after your death. Third-party debt collectors can be blocked form gaining access to financial information regarding your estate or trust, and key estate assets such as managed retirement or benefit plans can be excluded from potential attachment of assets to pay of a decedent’s creditors. In addition, New York law exempts most trusts from enforcement of money judgements. If you want to help safeguard your loved ones’ inheritance, you may wish to speak to a qualified Staten Island estate planning attorney about setting up a trust and protecting your assets.

 

When you decide to become a landlord, you have to take the good tenants with the bad ones. Good tenants pay their rent on time, give you full notice when they are going to move, and do not damage your property. Bad tenants leave in the middle of the night without notice, often neglect to pay months worth of rent, and leave your property in shambles. There are plenty of ways to reach out and sue bad tenants, but can you also sue for your attorney's fees?

What Can You Sue For?

As a landlord, you can sue a tenant for any proven violation of the lease including persistent nonpayment of rent. The process of suing for nonpayment of rent is often different than the process for suing for damages to your property. Suing for other violations of the lease such as subletting when it is not allowed might also require a different process.

You cannot sue for verbal agreements that you and the tenant agreed to outside of the lease. For example, if the tenant verbally agreed to remodel the porch on your property for a reduction in rent but the work was never done, most courts will not allow you to sue to recover any money you had to pay to finish the project.

Suing For Nonpayment Of Rent

It is important to keep in mind that you need a signed lease to be able to recover damages in court. In some instances, a court will allow you to recover some damages based on verbal agreements, but that is a difficult process. You can only sue for rent as outlined in the lease. If you had given the tenant verbal warning of a rent increase, then that increase might not stand up in court.

As a general rule, landlords cannot recover court costs when it comes to nonpayment of rent. This is why having a lease is helpful because it reduces your costs for recovering rent that was not paid. Be sure that you have an accurate record of rent payments for each tenant so you can show the court the rent that was not paid.

Suing For Damages Or Lease Violations

Suing for damages to your property or violation of lease clauses is something different from nonpayment of rent. In most courts, you can include your court and attorney costs in with your damages when you sue for these types of violations.

No matter what type of violation you are using to sue a tenant, you should never do so without a qualified attorney on your side. While you might not recover the costs of your attorney when suing for nonpayment of rent, you significantly increase your chances of getting all of your back rent when you utilize an attorney. If you are suing for damages to your property or other violations to your lease, then you will be able to recoup your investment in an attorney and improve your chances of winning your claim as well.

When it comes to unconventional evictions, there are plenty of situations that read like a bad movie but are very true. If you are a landlord, then you should be familiar with the different types of unconventional living situations that often require eviction. Most of these situations often manage to avoid a tenant-landlord relationship, which makes them even harder for landlords to handle.

A Licensee

A licensee is someone who is given permission to reside on a property by the owner of the property but does not formally establish a tenant-landlord relationship. A good example of this situation turning bad would be a couple preparing to marry. The woman owns a property and invites her fiancee to live with her as they prepare their wedding. Over time, the relationship starts to go sour and she asks him to leave. By the letter of the law, he can defy her request to leave until she puts it in writing and takes him to court.

Employee Housing

In February 2018, there was a story of a Bellevue nurse who resided in the dorms at Hunter College. The nurse resided in the dorms under an old agreement with Bellevue and stayed in the 100 square foot dorm room after Hunter College bought the building. The nurse paid rent every month and felt that he had every right to be there. When Hunter College started legal proceedings against the nurse, the nurse retired and moved out of the building.

When an employer offers free housing to employees, the employer is setting themselves up for headaches when employment is terminated. It may sound like an easy process to evict someone who is living in a property on an employment contract, but since there is no official tenant-landlord relationship the company would have to take the employee court to get them to leave their house, as was exemplified by the Hunter College case.

Squatters

If an apartment building owner visits their building one day and finds a squatter living in one of their apartments, the owner cannot simply throw the squatter out. Under New York State law, the landlord has to file a petition to the courts to have the squatter removed. Despite the fact that the squatter is living illegally on the owner's property, the owner still must present a notice of an intention to take the case to court 10 days before actually petitioning the court for help.

Evictions are not always cut-and-dry cases that landlords and property owners can easily handle. Many property owners put themselves in difficult situations by not establishing a tenant-landlord relationship with a person living on their property. In the end, the courts can help to remove someone that the property owner wants removed. But the process can be extremely difficult when there is no agreement or lease in place.

Many couples buy their family home as a joint venture. They both sign the promissory note and the mortgage, which means they are both responsible for paying the mortgage and the home is used as collateral. They both usually sign the deed as well, which makes them both owners of the property. This common arrangement is great for married couples, but it can trigger a series of problems for couples in the process of getting divorce.

Lenders Versus The Law

Most mortgages have a due-on-sale clause that states that the mortgage must be paid in full before the property can change owners. When one spouse decides to stay in the family home after divorce, this is considered a transfer of ownership. There was a time when mortgage companies would force the two spouses to pay the loan in full before allowing the transfer of ownership after a divorce. But the federal Garn-St. Germain Act prevented lenders from enforcing the due-on-sale clause in the case of divorce.

While some states do abide by the Garn-St. Germain Act, lenders will often take their chances and ignore it. It is common for lenders to force divorced couples to pay off the mortgage before transferring it to one spouse, or the property will be foreclosed. This is why both parties in a divorce need a good lawyer to help take on the lender in the property is to be transferred.

Refinancing

Many lenders will tell you that a divorce decree does not remove someone from a mortgage. The cleanest way to avoid foreclosure after divorce is for the spouse who is going to live in the family home to refinance the mortgage in their name. As long as the spouse has an adequate credit score, most lenders will allow this to happen.

Quitclaim Deed

One element of property ownership that gets lost in the discussion of divorce and foreclosure is the quitclaim deed. The spouse who is assuming ownership of the property should also insist that the other spouse sign a quitclaim deed. This means that the property and the home will all be in one name.

The Ingredients Of Foreclosure After Divorce

If both spouses are registered owners of the property and responsible for the mortgage, then sometimes it can be a lack of understanding of how lending works that leads to foreclosure. Just because the property was given to one of the spouses in the divorce decree does not mean that the lender will automatically transfer the mortgage to that spouse.

If neither spouse pays the mortgage after divorce, then the lender will start foreclosure proceedings on both spouses. If the spouse who lives in the home goes bankrupt, then the remaining spouse will still be put through foreclosure, even though the divorce decree gave the house to the other spouse.

Divorce and mortgages are often a tricky and confusing combination. In the end, the lender simply wants someone to pay the mortgage. If one spouse is awarded ownership of the property, then that spouse should refinance the property in their name. A divorced couple should never assume that the wording in a divorce decree is going to be enough to prevent the martial home from going into foreclosure.

 

When most people hear about prenuptial agreements, they tend to think of Hollywood power couples or aging billionaires marrying young models. You do not need to be rich or famous to have a prenuptial agreement, and it is a good idea to have one if you bring assets into a marriage that you do not want to mingle with the marital estate. A prenuptial agreement can help to protect your personal assets in the event of a divorce, and it is something both spouses should consider utilizing.

Will A Prenup Stand Up In Court?

State laws tend to override contracts, but that is usually at the discretion of the courts. The important aspect of any prenuptial agreement is to get it set up by an experienced attorney who knows what the courts will and will not accept. As long as both parties agree to the prenuptial agreement, then it will normally stand up in any family court.

Protecting Family Heirlooms

No one gets married with the thought of someday getting divorced, but things happen and lives change. If you enter into a relationship with heirlooms or even financial accounts that are important to your family, you will want to keep those separate after a divorce. The problem is that grandma's handmade quilt can sometimes get mixed in with marital property and lost. A prenuptial agreement will help to keep your personal family items separate and make sure that they do not get lost in the confusion of a divorce.

More Than One Marriage

For people who are marrying for a second or third time, there are always concerns about decisions made on behalf of parents. The husband entering a second marriage may prefer that his first-born son be the one who makes any determinations about the husband's health or care needs. A health proxy and power of attorney can help to make these arrangements, but some courts might find that the children of the second marriage have a say as well. A prenuptial agreement helps to protect the status of children from previous relationships and preserves the legal relationship between a parent and their child.

Why Not Do It After The Wedding?

If a couple prefers to wait until after the wedding to enter in a post-nuptial agreement, then that is possible. But many states, including California, often disregard post-nuptial agreements because of the possibility of misrepresentation. A spouse might want to represent that they have part ownership in their spouse's business when, in fact, that is not the case. A post-nuptial agreement is often less stable than a prenuptial agreement, which is why the prenuptial agreement is preferred.

The idea of a prenuptial agreement is uncomfortable for some people because they feel it represents a lack of trust in the marriage before it even gets started. The truth is that a prenuptial agreement simply protects the personal assets of both spouses prior to the marriage and allows the couple to focus on their life together.

 

When you start getting involved in estate planning, you will hear the term "probate" mentioned frequently. Your estate planner may also refer to themselves as a probate lawyer, or they might call themselves an estate attorney. Unlike other types of attorneys, such as those who practice in criminal or personal injury law, it is common for a client to have an ongoing professional arrangement with a probate lawyer that lasts for many years. The probate lawyer has many roles, and they are all critical to the proper execution of an estate.

The Role Of A Probate Attorney

The probate attorney advises the executor of an trust or will on the best way to handle the legal aspects of administering an estate when the estate owner passes on. It is always a good idea for an estate owner to find a good probate attorney early in life, and to make sure that the attorney is in constant contact with the estate executor.

The probate attorney can help to set up the estate, be the legal representative to guide the estate through probate after the passing of the estate owner, and help the executor to make decisions while the estate is in probate. The probate attorney can also act as a third-party in helping to settle disputes between the executor and estate beneficiaries.

Administrative Expert

The probate attorney is responsible for making sure that all necessary paperwork regarding the estate is completed in full and filed with the proper authorities. They are also the official entity that collects and distributes life insurance proceeds that are supposed to go through the estate.

One of the more challenging responsibilities of the probate attorney is paying off the final bills of the estate and satisfying all outstanding debts. This can be challenging because if the debts are substantial then paying those debts might require liquidating some of the estate that was designated for beneficiaries. It is up to the probate attorney to make sure that the estate is finalized to the letter of the law.

Handling Estate Properties

Some people have real estate as part of their trust or final estate, and that real estate has to be properly administered after the estate owner has passed on. The probate attorney is responsible for making sure that all of the estate properties are either transferred to beneficiaries properly, or that those properties are sold and the proceeds used to finalize the accounts of the estate.

The real estate part of administering an estate can become tricky because there could be funds left over after liquidating an estate, and the attorney has to work with the executor to decide how those funds are distributed. The attorney advises the executor on their legal obligations, and the executor has to make decisions on what to do with those funds.

A probate lawyer is one of those attorneys who works tirelessly in the background to make sure an estate is finalized properly. If conflict erupts during the probate process, the probate attorney is the one who advises the executor of the estate on how to handle the situation. Being a probate lawyer requires plenty of patience and a detailed understanding of the probate law for their state.

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