Summer 2008 Edition

Vol.13 – No.1

In Memory of Fred Friedman, Attorney

Fred Friedman, founder of Friedman & Ranzenhofer, P.C. Attorneys died January 16, 2008 in Hospice Buffalo after a short illness. He was 81. Born in 1926 in Salzburg, Austria, Fred and his immediate family narrowly escaped the clutches of German concentration camps. When he was 12, Fred and his family were assisted by a Swiss friend, who led them out of Nazi-controlled land. From Switzerland, the family traveled to France, Spain, and Portugal before arriving in the United States when Fred was 15 years old. They settled in Queens, New York. He joined the Army in 1945 after high school graduation. Through the GI Bill, Fred earned an accounting degree from New York University in 1950, and a law degree from Brooklyn Law School in 1954. When Fred was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1955, he started a law practice in his home on Clarence Center Road in Newstead.

Fred Friedman served as Akron Village Attorney, Genesee County Family Court Hearing officer and Chairman of the Committee on Law & Public Safety of the Erie County Charter Review Commission. As Austrian Consul for Western New York from 2002 to 2006 he provided information about visas, passports, pensions and other governmental benefits to both Austrian citizens and non-citizens, served as Austrian interpreter and spoke to groups, schools and universities in the United States and Austria.

Fred was recognized for his community service when he was named 2006 Clarence Chamber Citizen of the Year. He served on numerous boards and organizations: Clarence Chamber of Commerce (Director and President), Clarence American Legion (Judge Advocate), Akron-Clarence Kiwanis Club (President), Erie County Judges & Police Conference (Director and First Vice President), National Council of International Visitors (Director and Western New York Chapter President), Niagara Frontier Chapter American Youth Hostel (President), Buffalo Youth Hostel (Co-Founder), SCORE (Chapter President, Counselor and Assistant District Manager), Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo (Promoter and Fundraiser), Clarence Meeting House Board, attaché for the Austrian teams participating in the 1993 World University Games and Advisory Board of the U.S. Attorney of WNY for the “Safe Streets Project”. As a survivor of the Holocaust, Fred was invited and honored to light a candle at the Jewish Community Center of Buffalo’s 2004 Yom HaShoah Observance in memory of the 6 million who lost their lives. Fred enjoyed traveling the world, especially returning often to his Austrian homeland. Most recently, he traveled to China this past Fall. He also enjoyed hiking and spending time with his six beloved grandchildren. Surviving him are his wife, Fay Terris Friedman; three sons, attorneys Robert, Lawrence and Richard; six grandchildren and a sister, Margaret Kohlhagen. Fred will be dearly missed by his employees, clients, friends, community and loving family.


Ranzenhofer’s Settlements

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

  • $75,000 in Genesee County on the eve of trial for a 68-year-old woman who injured her knee when she tripped on broken concrete stairs at United Memorial Medical Center.
  • $52,000 in Erie County for an 84-year-old Cheektowaga woman who was a passenger in a car driven by her son and injured her knee.
  • An arbitration award of $50,000 in Genesee County to a 32-year-old medical technician who was T-boned by another vehicle as she pulled into her driveway and injured her back.
  • $40,000 in Erie County on behalf of a 53-year-old airline worker who sustained a hand injury when she fell on the ice at her daughter’s orthodontist office.
  • $25,000 in Niagara County on behalf of a 32-year-old motorist who sustained a back injury when he was struck by another car.
  • $16,500 in Erie County on behalf of an 80-year-old retired Town worker who was struck by a truck in Clarence, New York and injured his back.
  • $15,000 in Erie County on behalf of a 82-year-old who injured her shoulder as a passenger in a car struck by a hit and run driver.
  • $10,000 in Erie County on behalf of a 77-year-old retiree who slipped on a speed bump at her apartment complex and hurt her back.
  • $7,500 in Genesee County on behalf of a 74-year-old retiree who was struck by another vehicle and worsened his back shortly after he had a surgery unrelated to the accident.

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 Seminars

“Fourteen Ways to Preserve Your Assets with the Medicaid Laws” will be presented at:

  • CLARE BRIDGE, 6076 Main Street, Williamsville on Thursday, July 10, 2008 at 6:30 pm. Speakers are Attorney Robert Friedman of Friedman & Ranzenhofer, P.C.; Bill Daniels of the Erie County Department of Senior Services; John Tomes of Clare Bridge; and Beth Donner of M&T Bank Reverse Mortgages . To register for the Clare Bridge seminar, call Diane at (716) 632-7123 by July 9, 2008.
  • HOSPICE BUFFALO, 225 Como Park Boulevard, Cheektowaga on Wednesday, October 8, 2008 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm. Speakers are Attorney Robert Friedman of Friedman & Ranzenhofer, PC; Bill Strunk of M&T Bank; Gina Fedele of Hospice Buffalo; and Colleen Fitzhenry of New England Financial. To register for the Hospice seminar, 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

Tenants Don’t Have the Right to Smoke

Landlords may ban smoking in apartment units, as well as in common areas, such as halls and playgrounds. Tenants have unsuccessfully sued for the “right” to smoke. The New York Supreme Court, Albany County ruled that there is no more a fundamental right to smoke cigarettes than “there is to shoot up or snort heroin or cocaine or run a red light”. The 2006 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report warned that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke and that even small amounts of exposure can be harmful to people’s health. Secondhand smoke seeps through electrical outlets, pipes, light fixtures, ceiling crawl spaces and doorways into all areas of the building. Even the most up-to-date ventilation techniques and air cleaners cannot prevent all smoke from spreading. There are six reasons why landlords should ban smoking:

  • Most tenants want smoke-free apartments. Only 20% of the adult population smokes.
  • Tenants are willing to pay higher rents for smoke-free apartments.
  • Landlords can be held liable for tenant’s health problems from secondhand smoke and fires caused by tenants smoking. There are more than 4,000 toxins and 50 cancer-causing chemicals in tobacco smoke.
  • Tenants can break their leases for breach of the warranty of habitability, nuisance and breach of the warranty of quiet enjoyment. The New York County Civil Court permitted tenants to break a lease because secondhand smoke penetrated into their apartment from another apartment. The court held that secondhand smoke was covered by the implied warranty of habitability which requires that the premises and all common areas be fit for human habitation and not subject the tenants to any condition which is dangerous, hazardous or detrimental to their life, health or safety.
  • Cigarette smoke damages the apartment and increases the risk of fires. It may result in the need to replace carpeting, vinyl appliances, flooring, sub-flooring, light fixtures, cabinets and ceiling fans and the use of special sealants to control odors before painting.
  • Proposed laws will require smoke-free apartments.

In order to make apartments smoke-free, landlords should do the following:

  1. Advertise apartments as being smoke-free.
  2. Include a no-smoking rule in the lease which requires tenants to pay for any damages caused by smoking.
  3. Post “No Smoking” signs in the building and throughout the grounds.
  4. Provide a marked designated outdoor smoking area at least twenty-five feet away from windows and doors to accommodate tenants who smoke.

Use Your IRA for Real Estate Investments

Very few real estate investors know that they have the option to self-direct their IRAs and other

retirement plans into real estate and benefit from the tax advantages that those plans provide. Real estate IRAs and other self directed retirement plans offer these advantages: (a) compound interest, (b) reduction of taxable income (investments in IRAs benefit from tax-deferred profits or in some cases tax-free profits), (c) asset protection and (d) estate planning. Investments can be made in raw land, single family homes, apartments, mobile homes, commercial real estate, real estate notes, mortgages and tax liens. The IRS prohibits “self dealing,” which are investments in which you or your family members or lineal descents have prior ownership, e.g. personal residence, retirement home or office. You cannot purchase real estate from a corporation, partnership, or LLC which you currently own. However, your IRA can invest in a newly-formed limited partnership, limited liability company, C-corporation or land trust that will purchase real estate.

There are four main differences between purchasing real estate for yourself and for your IRA:

  • Title: When purchasing an asset for your IRA, it must be properly titled to your IRA trust company as custodian for the benefit of you. You need a IRA trust company to serve as your real estate IRA custodian because the IRS does not permit you to personally “touch” your self-directed IRA account.
  • Funding: When purchasing an investment (or any portion of an investment) for your IRA, funds must come directly from your IRA. The IRA trust company will send the funds directly to the seller or his agent, per your instructions.
  • Expenses/Income: Any expenses associated with your IRA investment must originate in your IRA account and any income must be remitted to your IRA account. Rental payments are remitted to the IRA trust company for the benefit of your IRA. You may use funds from your IRA to renovate property.
  • Signatures: Documents for your IRA investments must be signed by the IRA trust company.

For further information regarding real estate IRAs, see www.wny-lawyers.com/pamphlets.php


Our Business Start-Up Clients

Friedman & Ranzenhofer, P.C., Attorneys recently represented the following business start-up companies:

  • Marc Cerasani of MCM Mechanical, Inc. of Corfu.
  • Mark Delgrosso of Delgrosso Enterprises, LLC of Lockport.
  • Jeffrey Schlabach of Schlabach Enterprises, Inc. of Clarence prepares personal and corporate tax return and does small business startup consultation and planning, and computerized accounting system implementation, operations and profitability analysis.
  • Larry P. Paul, III and his son, Matt, acquired Star Building & Fence Company of Buffalo.
    If you are buying, selling or starting a business, contact Attorney Robert Friedman at 716-542-5444 for advice.

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