Fall 2011 Edition

Vol.16 – No. 1

Joshua Dubs Named Associate

Friedman & Ranzenhofer, PC is pleased to announce that Joshua Dubs has been named an Associate Attorney. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Union College in 2004, where he was a founding member of Delta Phi Alpha Honorary Society, served on the Student Judiciary Committee and was vice president of Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity. He graduated from the University at Buffalo Law School in 2008 where he was executive editor of the Buffalo Public Interest Law Journal, president of Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity International and graduate assistant for the Law School Development Office. A native of Rhode Island, Josh resides with his wife, Lauren, in North Tonawanda. He is admitted to practice in New York and in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York. Josh is a member of the American Bar Association, (Young Lawyers Division, General Practice Section and Small and Solo Firm Division),New York State Bar Association (Young Lawyers and General Practice Sections), Bar Association of Erie County (Young Lawyers , Small/Solo Practice , Criminal Law and Appellate Law Committees), Bar Association of Niagara County, Bar Association of the Tonawandas, Women’s Bar Association of New York (WNY Chapter), New York State Defender’s Association, UB Law School GOLD Group and Niagara Frontier Bicycle Club. His law practice focuses on estate issues, criminal defense, landlord/tenant litigation, general litigation, corporate law and criminal and civil appeals.

Dear Bob Friedman: I had your office do a difficult eviction at my apartment building. I hired you because the other lawyers I used could not get these difficult tenants out. They used every trick in the book. I just want you to know Joshua Dubs did a great job. He was very professional and efficient. In the last two years I have had to use six different lawyers for various legal problems after my divorce. Your office and staff has been way above the others. It is very refreshing to know there are companies that still care and can get things done. I don’t usually write letters but I wanted you to know how great of a job Joshua has done. Signed, Mrs. H.


Mr. Ranzenhofer Answers Personal Injury Questions:

For answers to commonly asked personal injury law questions, see Michael Ranzenhofer’s blog: click here or call him personally anytime at 716.542.5444 or 585.343.0746. Recent questions on his blog are:

  • Is there any way to make sure a child’s settlement is used for the child’s benefit?
  • Why does the defense want to see my No-Fault file when they have my medical records?
  • How can you prove a brain injury when there is no obvious damage?
  • What is a 50-H hearing?
  • I don’t think there is a defense in my case. Is there any way the court can rule in my favor without a trial?
  • Aside from physical limitations, is there anything else I need to prove if I suffered a serious injury?
  • What is a No-Fault file and why do the lawyers want it?
  • I was walking when I was hit by someone passing an illegally parked car. Who’s at fault?
  • My attorney says I may have to prove I have a significant limitation. How is that proven?
  • If the defense is going to use an expert witness at trial, when do they have to tell us?
  • I keep getting calls from the insurance company of the person that injured me. What should I tell them?
  • I’m still in pain but need money. Will it hurt my case if I go back to work?

Mr. Ranzenhofer’s “Ten Point Pledge” to clients is to:

  • Communicate with you in plain language that is easy to understand.
  • Promptly return your telephone calls.
  • Quickly and thoroughly investigate and analyze your case.
  • Personally handle your case.
  • Keep you informed of the progress of your case at all times.
  • Show you the personal care, concern and attention which have been the hallmark of our law firm since 1955.
  • Not handle your case in an “assembly line” fashion.
  • Accommodate the needs of you and your family during the handling of your case.
  • Vigorously protect your legal rights.
  • Never release your name to the media, except with your written permission.

Medicaid/Elder Law Seminar Presented

FOURTEEN WAYS TO PRESERVE YOUR ASSETS WITH THE MEDICAID LAWS was presented at the Brothers of Mercy Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, 10570 Bergtold Road, Clarence on Wednesday, September 21, 2011. Speakers were Robert Friedman of Friedman & Ranzenhofer, P.C. and Jeffrey Vastola of the M&T Insurance Group, who discussed how to preserve your assets and plan for incapacity with powers of attorney, health care proxies, living wills, Wills, Trusts, transferring your home to family members, reverse mortgages, Long Term Care Insurance, Prepaid Funeral Accounts, IRAs, Pensions, properly documented gifts, spousal allowances and transfers, Caregiver Agreements, annuities and promissory notes. For further information on Medicaid planning, send a stamped (.84), 4”x 91/2” self-addressed envelope to PO Box 31-M, Akron, NY 14001-0031 or click here.

Recent Cases on Mr. Friedman’s Blog

These recent cases are discussed in Robert Friedman’s blog:

  • Sister Appointed Guardian Subject to Approval of Asset Preservation
  • DWI Defendant’s Speedy Trial Motion Denied
  • Guardian May Withhold Feeding Tube
  • Disorderly Conduct & Resisting Arrest Charges Dismissed
  • Tenant Has The Right To A Jury Trial
  • Will Denied Probate For Undue Influence
  • Husband’s Failure to Apply for Mortgage Breaches Contract
  • Refusal to Accept Section 8 Is Not Discrimination
  • DWI Conviction Reversed Due to Crime Lab Problems
  • Tenant’s Right To Livable Premise
  • Tenant Cancels Lease Due To Second-Hand Smoke

The 21 Most Common Mistakes Made By Landlords

  • Landlords often make costly mistakes by failing to:
  • Use rental applications to screen tenants.
  • Use criminal/credit/tenant screening reports.
  • Use move-in/move-out checklists.
  • Obtain payment of security deposit and rent and tenant’s signature on the lease before giving the keys to the tenant.
  • Include attorney’s fees, late fees and added rent provisions in the lease.
  • Provide the lead-based paint disclosure form and booklet to warn tenants of the dangers of lead paint in properties built before 1978.
  • Include a drug-free rider in the lease.
  • Require guarantors to sign if the tenants have bad credit or no employment history.
  • Require renter’s insurance.
  • Use limited liability companies for asset protection.
  • Give rent receipts for payment by cash or money order containing the date, the amount, the identity of the premises, period for which paid and the signature and title of the person receiving the rent.
  • Properly prepare and serve default notices.
  • Properly prepare, serve and file the eviction notice of petition and petition.
  • Comply with Section 8 requirements for preparation and service of eviction papers.
  • Obtain and collect money judgments for unpaid rent and damages.
  • Comply with city rental registry requirements

Also, landlords should not:

  • Allow tenants to perform repairs in exchange for rent.
  • Accept rent after serving default or termination notices.
  • Allow unauthorized people to have access to a deceased tenant’s apartment.
  • Ignore building code violation notices.
  • Procrastinate in evicting delinquent or troublesome tenants. Drug dealing tenants should be immediately evicted to avoid civil forfeiture and fines.
  • For further information regarding the above, contact Robert Friedman at 716.542.5444 or order a copy of his book, How to Survive Legally as a Landlord click here.

Why You Need a Power of Attorney

By signing a durable Power of Attorney (POA), you can authorize your agent to manage your assets and income if you are unable to do so and implement Medicaid planning to protect your assets. The POA authorizes another person to act on your behalf to perform any number of specified acts, such as: real estate transactions, banking, operation of a business, insurance or lawsuits. To authorize the agent to make gifts, gift-giving authority must be initialed by the principal (person who signs a POA) and accompanied by a Gifts Rider (GR) acknowledged and witnessed by two witnesses in the same manner as the execution of a will. Specific provisions in the GR 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 GR. 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. If a guardian is later appointed, the agent must account to the guardian, rather than the principal. 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 agents have signed before a notary, unless it is a Springing Power of Attorney which takes effect upon a future occurrence. Provisions regarding health care billing and payment matters allow the agent access to health care records in accordance with HIPAA requirements. Acceptance of the form by third parties, e.g. banks is required. A third party cannot refuse to honor the GR or any poa 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. For further information on major changes to the New York Power of Attorney law, click here.


Rotary Raffle a Huge Success

Robert Friedman, Past President of the Clarence Rotary Club and legal counsel to the club’s foundation, organized and chaired the largest fundraiser in its 51-year history. Over 3300 Porsche Raffle tickets were sold for the club’s very first auto raffle. The drawing culminated with a wine and cheese gala and car show on August 3, 2011 at Northtown Porsche of Buffalo. Tickets for the next raffle will be available on February 8, 2012 click here. The grand prize is the choice of a Porsche Boxster or Cayenne or $40,000 cash. Ten $500 cash prizes are also awarded. The proceeds of the raffle will be used to fulfill the Clarence Rotary Club Foundation’s mission of benefiting healthcare, youth activities, scholarships and community projects. Rotary is the most prominent non-religious, non-sectarian organization in the world dedicated to world understanding, peace and service to those less fortunate than us regardless of race, religion or political beliefs.


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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