Fall 2009 Edition

Vol.14 – No.1

Friedman & Ranzenhofer Open Rochester Office

We are pleased to announce the opening of an office at 70 Linden Oaks, 3rd Floor, Rochester, New York 14625 to better serve a growing number of our clients in Monroe and Orleans Counties. We look forward to providing you with legal services from our new office which is conveniently located just minutes from downtown Rochester at the intersection of Routes 490 and 441. It is uniquely situated in three of Rochester, New York’s oldest and most prestigious suburbs: Brighton, Pittsford and Penfield. The office is easily accessible from all surrounding communities. It will also serve the counties of Wayne, Ontario and Livingston. For directions, see. https://www.wny-lawyers.com/offices.php. For further information, call the Rochester office at 585-377-5504.


Free Medicaid Seminar

Do you fear losing your home to pay for nursing home care? Seventy-five percent of Upstate New York seniors own their own homes which is usually their most valuable asset. “SEVEN WAYS TO SAVE YOUR HOME WITH THE MEDICAID LAWS” will be presented at the Hospice Buffalo Education Center, 225 Como Park Boulevard, Cheektowaga on Monday, September 14, 2009 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Speakers Robert Friedman of Friedman & Ranzenhofer, P.C. and Colleen Fitzhenry of New England Financial will discuss Medicaid eligibility requirements, the new power of attorney law, reverse mortgages, long term care insurance, life estate deeds, transfers to relatives and living trusts. To register, call (716) 542-5444. For further information on Medicaid planning, send a stamped (.59), 4″x 9 1/2″ self-addressed envelope to PO Box 31-M, Akron, NY 14001-0031 or visit. https://www.wny-lawyers.com/pamphlets.php


Robert Friedman Installed as Clarence Rotary President

Robert Friedman was installed as the 49th President of the Clarence Rotary Club for 2009-2010. Mr. Friedman announced plans to increase membership and public awareness of the club through partnerships with local organizations, schools, institutions and businesses. Rotary International is the world’s first service club organization, with more than 1.2 million members in 33,000 clubs worldwide. Rotary club members are volunteers who work locally, regionally, and internationally to combat hunger, improve health and sanitation, provide education and job training, promote peace, and eradicate polio under the motto “Service Above Self”. Mr. Friedman is also legal counsel for the Clarence Rotary Foundation. Information about the club can be found at www.clarencerotary.org.


Robert Friedman Appointed to Brothers of Mercy Board

Robert Friedman has been appointed to the Brothers of Mercy Campus Foundation Advisory Board. The foundation solicits, administers and invests all charitable gifts on behalf of the Brothers of Mercy Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and their affiliated not-for-profit organizations which provide adult care and senior apartments.


Did You Miss These Articles on Our Blog?

If you missed any of these articles on Robert Friedman’s blog, click on https://www.wny-lawyers.com/wordpress/.

PERSONAL INJURY & ACCIDENT LAW

  • $18 Million FOR PASSENGER RENDERED QUADRIPLEGIC IN VAN ROLLER
  • DEFIBRILLATORS REQUIRED AT NY BEACHES

CRIMINAL AND DWI LAW

    POLICE MAY QUESTION CRIMINAL SUSPECT AFTER LAWYER IS APPOINTED
  • CRIMINAL SUPPRESSION MOTIONS
  • WHAT DOES A NY GRAND JURY DO?
  • DWI ZERO TOLERANCE LAW
  • CONSEQUENCES OF REFUSING THE NEW YORK DWI CHEMICAL TEST
  • REVOCATION OF CDL FOR DWI
  • BOATING UNDER THE INFLUENCE

EMPLOYMENT LAW

  • NEW FMLA REGULATIONS AFFECTING MILITARY FAMILIES

FREE LEGAL ADVICE

  • FREE LEGAL ADVICE FOR BUFFALO HUSING DISCRIMINATION
  • FREE ROCHESTER LEGAL SERVICES
  • FREE BUFFALO AND WNY LEGAL SERVICES

ELDER LAW:

  • GIFT OF HOME VALID EVEN IF NOT RECORDED
  • NEW RATING SYSTEM FOR NURSING HOMES
  • NURSING HOME RESIDENTS’ RIGHTS
  • NEW LONG TERM CARE INSURANCE DISCLOSURE LAW

DWI Dismissed for No Probable Cause

A hearing was held in the Dutchess County, New York Justice Court to determine whether probable cause existed to stop the defendant and arrest him for driving while intoxicated. A trooper testified that he observed the defendant at 3:20 am crossing the fog line (solid white line along the right edge of the road) three times. Another trooper testified that he saw defendant’s car cross the fog line once. The defendant testified that he was conscious of the police, was cautious about not exceeding the speed limit and never crossed the fog line. The New York Appellate Term, Second Department has held that crossing a fog line does not constitute a violation of the New York Vehicle & Traffic Law. The only predicate offered for the stop was that the defendant crossed the fog line, which was not a violation. Therefore, the DWI charge was dismissed because the police had no probable cause to stop and detain the defendant.


 

Landlord/Tenant Verdicts

 

$3,162,900 Tenant’s 6-year-old daughter was sodomized by landlord’s teen son. Tenant claimed that the landlord knew his son had engaged in other inappropriate behavior of a sexual nature. (Middlesex Co., N.J.; Superior Court)
$985,000 Developer of golf course claimed that city landlord dumped dredged materials onto its property, delaying the project. (Martin Co., Fla.; Circuit Court)
$500,000 Landlord evicted tenant and filed a false claim of child abuse to combat his children’s allegedly noisy behavior. Landlord claimed that the tenant and his children kids broke the rules. (Queens Co., N.Y.; Supreme Court)
$272,000 Landlord impermissibly entered the tenant’s apartments and made threats and sexual advances.(Brazos County, Texas; District Court)
$120,000 Auto-repair shop’s owner sued landlord who trashed functional items during the cleanup of a fire that damaged the shop. The landlord claimed that the tenant was notified that items would be removed. (Atlantic Co., N.J.; Superior Court)
$102,000 Landlord would not allow the tenant’s daughter to keep her assistance dog. She needed the dog to help with her cerebral palsy, depression and seizure disorder. The landlord refused to make any exception to his no-pets policy and to renew her lease. He began eviction proceedings when she exercised her rights under the Fair Housing Act. (Connecticut U.S. District Court)

 


 

Major Changes to New York Powers of Attorney

A new law concerning New York powers of attorney, originally effective March 1, 2009, was delayed until September 1, 2009. There are ten major changes affecting the content and the execution of the power of attorney form:

  • GIFT RIDER: To authorize the agent to make gifts, gift-giving authority must be initialed by the principal (person who signs a power of attorney)and accompanied by a Statutory Major Gifts Rider (SMGR) acknowledged and witnessed by two witnesses in the same manner as the execution of a will. Specific provisions in the SMGR grant the agent authority to create, revoke, modify and fund living trusts; designate insurance beneficiaries; create joint accounts; and change beneficiaries on retirement benefit plans. Small gifts of not more than $500 each per calendar year to individuals and charities, which continue a custom of the principal, can be made by the agent without a SMGR.
  • MONITOR: The principal has the option of appointing a “monitor” to request and receive records of transactions by the agent.
  • FIDUCIARY RESPOSIBILITIES: The agent has specific fiduciary responsibilities, including a “prudent person standard of care”. This includes record keeping with receipts and imposing on the agent the requirement that records be made available within 15 days of a written request by a monitor, co-agent, certain governmental entities, court evaluator, guardian, or a representative of the principal’s estate. An agent may be liable for conduct or omissions which violate the fiduciary duty. Agents may resign by following certain procedures. A special proceeding can be instituted to compel an agent to produce a record of receipts and disbursements and for various other purposes. These provisions regarding fiduciary responsibilities and special proceedings apply to all powers of attorney, including those executed before the effective date of the new law.
  • DURABLE: The form is “durable” (i.e. not affected by later incapacity); unless it specifically provides that it is terminated by the incapacity of the principal.
  • GUARDIAN: If a guardian is later appointed, the agent must account to the guardian, rather than the principal.
  • AGENTS’ SIGNATURES: The form must be signed, dated and notarized, not only by the principal, but also by the agent. It takes effect when the principal and all agents have signed before a notary, unless it is a Springing Power of Attorney which takes effect upon a future occurrence.
  • HIPPA: Provisions regarding health care billing and payment matters allow the agent access to health care records in accordance with HIPPA requirements.
  • MODIFICATIONS: Provisions can be added to the form or SMGR in the section labeled “modifications.” which eliminate or supplement a power, or add a provision not inconsistent with the other provisions of the form.
  • THIRD PARTY ACCEPTANCE: Acceptance of the form by third parties, e.g. banks is required. A third party cannot refuse to honor the SMGR or any power of attorney form properly executed under the laws in effect at the time it was executed, without reasonable cause. It is unreasonable for a third party to require their own form or to object because of the lapse of time since the execution or between acknowledgement by the principal and the agent.
  • REVOCATION: Execution of a power of attorney revokes any prior power of attorney, unless provided otherwise. Forms properly executed in accordance with the law in effect at the time of its execution remain valid and must be honored.

What’s New at Friedman & Ranzenhofer, P.C.?

  • New Wheatfield/Niagara Falls Office. We are pleased to announce the opening of a new branch office at 2768 Niaears that I served as Erie County Legislator.

    Please be assured that you will still receive the same timely and efficient service from Friedman & Ranzenhofer, P.C. as in the past. Public and community service has been a tradition at our firm since 1955. It enables us to understand and better appreciate the needs of our clients. The vast majority of our clients are based in the 61st Senate District: Clarence, Akron, Amherst, Tonawanda and all of Genesee County.

    Feel free to contact me anytime at 716-542-5444 if you have any questions or concerns.

    Thanks again for your confidence in me.

    Mike


    New Reverse Mortgage Law

    The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 made changes to reverse mortgages effective October 1, 2008, including higher borrowing limits and protections from aggressive marketing. A homeowner who is at least 62 years old can use a reverse mortgage home to access home equity to obtain a loan that does not have to be repaid until the homeowner moves, sells, or dies. The nati;/ul>


    State Senator Ranzenhofer

    Dear Clients and Friends:

    Your support of my election as New York State Senator for the 61st District to succeed Senator Mary Lou Rath is truly appreciated. I intend to continue to practice law as a trial attorney with Friedman & Ranzenhofer, P.C., just as I have during the last 20 years that I served as Erie County Legislator.

    Please be assured that you will still receive the same timely and efficient service from Friedman & Ranzenhofer, P.C. as in the past. Public and community service has been a tradition at our firm since 1955. It enables us to understand and better appreciate the needs of our clients. The vast majority of our clients are based in the 61st Senate District: Clarence, Akron, Amherst, Tonawanda and all of Genesee County.

    Feel free to contact me anytime at 716-542-5444 if you have any questions or concerns.

    Thanks again for your confidence in me.

    Mike


    New Reverse Mortgage Law

    The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 made changes to reverse mortgages effective October 1, 2008, including higher borrowing limits and protections from aggressive marketing. A homeowner who is at least 62 years old can use a reverse mortgage home to access home equity to obtain a loan that does not have to be repaid until the homeowner moves, sells, or dies. The national limit on the amount a homeowner can borrow is increased from $200,160 to $417,000 ($625,000 in areas with high housing costs). The amount that can be borrowed depends on the home’s value and location, interest rates and the borrower’s age. The new law protects seniors from high fees and aggressive marketing. Fees are capped at two percent of the first $200,000 borrowed and one percent on the balance, with a maximum of $6,000. Lenders are prevented from requiring borrowers to purchase insurance, annuities, or other products as a condition to obtaining a reverse mortgage. Lenders are prohibited from working with other professionals who attempt to sell financial products to seniors as part of the lending process.


    How to Save Your Home From Medicaid

    Do you fear losing your home to pay for nursing home care? Seventy-five percent of Upstate New York seniors own their homes, which is typically their most valuable asset. There are seven ways to legally save your home.

    • Purchase a New York State Partnership Long Term Care Insurance policy which allows you to qualify for Medicaid after the coverage ends, regardless of the amount of assets that you own.
    • Transfer your current home to your children with a life estate deed which gives you the right to live there for the rest of your life. You will still qualify for property tax exemptions.
    • Purchase a life estate interest in another person’s home or in a new home for full consideration and live there for at least one continuous year.
    • The primary residence of the nursing home applicant, spouse and minor, disabled or blind children is exempt up to $750,000 in equity. One, two or three family houses, condominiums, cooperatives and mobile homes qualify. These exempt properties may contain a business and two apartments, one of which is a primary residence. Any contiguous property or adjoining home is also exempt. An exempt homestead will lose its exemption if the sole occupant leaves the home and is considered to be in a permanent absent status with no intent to return home. Reverse mortgages and home equity loans can be used to reduce the amount of the equity interest.
    • Transfer your home to a sibling with an equity interest who has resided in the home for at least one year immediately prior to the date you became institutionalized and who continues to lawfully reside in the home.
    • Transfer your home to a caretaker child who either: (a) has resided in your home for at least two years immediately prior to the date you became institutionalized or (b) will be providing care pursuant to a personal service/caretaker contract. This is an agreement by the caretaker to provide personal and/or managerial services in exchange for market rate compensation. It should clearly spell-out the duties, responsibilities and compensation of all parties. The value of the home transferred must correspond to the fair market value of the services to be provided.
    • Create an Irrevocable Living Trust and deed your home into the name of the trust.

    Methods #2 and #7 may result in a certain period of ineligibility for Medicaid coverage depending on the value of the real estate, the date of transfer and your age. This is a brief summary of the law and is not a substitute for legal and tax advice. Medicaid laws are constantly changing and subject to various interpretations. Do not take any action without first consulting with an attorney.


    Ranzenhofer’s Personal Injury Settlements

    Attorney Michael H. Ranzenhofer successfully obtained the following settlements and awards for his clients:

    • $275,000 was awarded to a 33-year-old West Seneca woman who injured her back when she was rear-ended by another car.
    • $250,000 settlement for a 58-year-old Buffalo woman who sustained a neck injury when she was struck by another car.
    • $100,000 on the eve of trial for an 88-year-old Akron woman who injured her shoulder as she was exiting a car driven by her husband.
    • $25,000 in Niagara County for a 29-year-old woman who injured her back when she was struck by another car in Niagara Falls, New York.
    • $24,000 for a 69-year-old Genesee County woman who slipped on water at a Wendy’s restaurant in Batavia, New York and broke her wrist.

    Attorney Michael H. Ranzenhofer of Friedman & Ranzenhofer, P.C. limits his practice to automobile accident, slip and fall, dog bite and defective product cases. He fights for victims and their families who have serious losses due to personal injury. He takes on the large insurance companies and gets results for his clients. We thank our clients, friends and referring attorneys for the confidence they have shown in us by selecting our law firm.


    Free Medicaid Seminar

    “Fourteen Ways to Preserve Your Assets with the Medicaid Laws” will be presented at Hospice Buffalo, 225 Como Park Boulevard, Cheektowaga on Wednesday, April 22, 2009 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Speakers are Attorney Robert Friedman of Friedman & Ranzenhofer, P.C.; Gina Fedele; and Colleen Fitzhenry of New England Financial. To register, call (716) 542-5444. The Medicaid eligibility requirements for long term care were drastically changed. However, you can preserve your assets, while accessing long term care services through the Medicaid program with the following: (a) Powers of Attorney; (b) Health Care Proxies and Living Wills; (c)Wills; (d) Irrevocable Living Trusts; (e) transferring your home to family members; (f) reverse mortgages; (g) Long Term Care Insurance; (h) Prepaid Funeral Accounts; (i) IRAs and Pensions; (j) properly documented gifts; (k)spousal allowances and transfers; (l) Caregiver Agreements; and (m) annuities and promissory notes. For further information on Medicaid planning, send a stamped (.59), 4″x 9 1/2″ self-addressed envelope to PO Box 31-M, Akron, NY 14001-0031 or visit ” Free Legal Resources” at www.WNY-Lawyers.com.


    Our Business and Non-Profit Start-Up Clients

    Friedman & Ranzenhofer, P.C., Attorneys recently represented the following new businesses and non-profit organizations:

    • Healthy Living Support Network, LLC, 8566 Main Street, Williamsville, NY offers a walk-in conference room with elliptical trainers and treadmills; nutrition education and counseling; behavior counseling and fitness instruction, as well as, Walking Book Clubs, Bike Book Clubs and Bike Room Movie Night. There is a registered dietician, licensed social worker and certified personal trainer on staff. Contact Jennifer Baran at 716-580-3402 or www.gohealthy.us.
    • Good Hope Publications, LLC, is a Christian-inspired organization created to promote the needs of local charities and non-profits by publishing and distributing a monthly magazine throughout Western New York. Each issue will focus on a specific community issue or concern, from Children’s’ Needs and Cancer Awareness, to Animal Rights and Stopping Violence in Western New York. Additional topics will be Life with God, Family Living, Money and Health. Look for Good Hoppe Publications first issue in March, 2009! For more information contact Karen Doktor at GoodHopePublications@gmail.com.
    • Forte Theatrical Productions, LLC, a local theatre organization founded by Philip Jarosz and Christian Riso is comprised of some of Buffalo’s most talented performers with faces that Western New York audiences will recognize. Their first production, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, will be presented at the Lancaster Opera House June 12 – 21, 2009.
    • Bright Solutions WNY, LLC provides new, attractive portable LED signs for rent across Western New York. The rental fee includes programming with the desired message, delivery, set-up and take down. Contact Nancy Kelsch at 716-697-5174 or brightsolutionswny@gmail.com.

    If you are buying, selling or starting a business or non-profit organization, contact Attorney Robert Friedman at 716-542-5444 for advice and assistance.


    Nursing Home Verdicts

    These are recent verdicts for residents against nursing homes:

    • Undetected gastrointestinal bleeding led to resident death (Bernalillo County, New Mexico District Court, $54,000,000).
    • 93-year-old resident choked to death after nurse’s aide gave him the wrong meal (Waterbury County, Connecticut Superior Court, $3,400,000).
    • Resident suffering from dementia drank lye that was left on kitchen counter and sustained burns of his airways (Kings County, New York Supreme Court, $3,000,000).
    • Nursing home did not prevent resident’s pressure ulcers and did not yield to hospital’s care when it could no longer treat the ulcers (Harnett County, North Carolina Superior Court, $638,000).
    • Resident escaped and died of hypothermia because she was not checked hourly (Dutchess County, New York Supreme Court, $350,000).
    • Arthritic resident drowned during unsupervised time in the facility’s hot tub (Clark County, Washington Superior Court, $350,000).
    • Resident at risk for aspiration choked to death after being fed a hot dog (Norfolk County, Massachusetts Superior Court, $112,500).

    Disclaimer

    While a great deal of care has been taken to provide accurate and current information, the ideas, suggestions, general principles and conclusions presented in this newsletter are subject to local, state and federal laws and regulations, court cases and any revisions of same. The reader is thus urged to consult legal counsel regarding any points of law – this newsletter should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice. The purpose of this newsletter is to give the reader a general understanding of the law – not to provide specific advice. Every effort has been made to achieve accuracy. The law constantly changes and is subject to differing interpretations. Always consult with your attorney and act only on his or her advice. Friedman & Ranzenhofer, P.C. shall not be responsible for any damages resulting from any inaccuracy or omission. This newsletter is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. Certain portions of this newsletter may be applicable only to New York State law.

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