What is a franchise agreement?

HNW Business Law

To learn more about franchise agreements, click here: The franchise agreement is the cornerstone document of the franchisee–franchiser relationship. It is this document that is legally binding on both parties, laying out the rights and obligations of each. A sample agreement may either be attached to the disclosure statement or presented separately. Either way, you are entitled to receive it as a prospective franchisee five business days before signature. You should have it reviewed by a lawyer familiar with franchise matters–especially since most agreements are extremely one-sided in favor of the franchiser. No one should enter into a franchise and expect to have an evenly drawn contract. The agreement will contain provisions covering, in considerable detail, the obligations of the …

What is the elective share?

HNW Elder Law, Estate Administration and Probate, Will Contest and Probate Litigation

For more information about probate and estate administration, estate tax planning or estate/trust litigation, click here: If a spouse dies, then the surviving spouse may elect to take a one-third share of the deceased’s estate. This is called an elective share. Basically, a spouse can’t be disinherited. The surviving spouse has a right to the elective share. The only way that a surviving spouse can be completely disinherited is through a prenuptial agreement, where both spouses can agree to waive any claims to an elective share of each other’s respective estates. Your elective estate includes not only property in your name alone, but also most assets with beneficiary designations such as bank accounts, securities, IRA accounts, your interest in jointly-held …

Americans With Disabilities Act

HNW Business Law, Employment Law

For more information about employment law, click here: The ADA prohibits private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. The ADA covers employers with 15 or more employees. To learn more about what constitutes a disability and what accommodations employers are required to provide to workers with disabilities, check out the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s ADA page here.  To get an idea of the full scope of ADA protections beyond the employment context, visit the ADA information page here.

Why is it important to have a prenuptial agreement for a second marriage?

HNW Elder Law, Estate Administration and Probate

For more information about estate tax planning, click here: Due to an increased life expectancy, a 50% or higher divorce rate in the United States, and an increasing amount of second marriages, prenuptial agreements are now widely accepted. It is very important for seniors to approach the idea of a prenuptial agreement with an open mind. It must be emphasized that a prenuptial agreement does not mean that you are planning to get a divorce, or that you do not trust your new spouse. Instead, senior couples are now recognizing the seriousness of their upcoming commitment of marriage. Moreover, senior couples are now communicating their concerns for the future financial security of their other relatives, and are expressing their respect …

Bicycles and Head Phones Don’t Mix

HNW Additional Practice Areas, Personal Injury and Negligence Cases

There is a tragic story out of Virginia.  Apparently a 15 year old was riding his bicycle when a car approached him from the rear. According to published reports, the car mosed into the oncoming lane to pass the cyclist. The young boy, however, then turned left in front of the car. According to accounts, the young cyclist was wearing headphones as the time of the accident. Unfortunately, he died from injuries sustained in the accident. The obvious but sad lesson is that wearing headphones while bicycling (and, for that matter, while running near traffic) is a recipe for disaster.

State May Not Recover From Surviving Spouse’s Estate If Medicaid Recipient Had No Legal Interest at Death

HNW Elder Law, Medicaid Eligibility and Asset Protection Planning

The Supreme Court of Minnesota rules that Medicaid may not recover from the estate of a Medicaid recipient’s surviving spouse if, at the time of her death, the recipient did not possess a legal interest in the property being claimed. However, the court also finds that federal Medicaid law does not totally preclude recovery from the estate of a surviving spouse of a Medicaid recipient. Dolores and Francis Barg had been married for 53 years when Mrs. Barg entered a nursing home in 2001. Once she entered the home and began receiving Medicaid benefits, Mrs. Barg’s guardian transferred her joint tenancy interest in the couple’s home to Mr. Barg, individually. Mrs. Barg died in January 2004 without leaving a probate …

How to Reduce Long-Term Care Insurance Costs

HNW Elder Law

While long-term care insurance can be a good way to pay for a nursing home stay or a home health care worker, it doesn’t come cheap. Annual premiums vary significantly, depending on your age, health, and the type of policy, but policies can run as high as $5,000 per year. You do not need to pay that much, however. The following are some ways to reduce your costs. • Shorter benefit period. The most significant cost-saving step you can take is to not purchase a lifetime policy. Unless you have a family history of a chronic illness, you aren’t likely to need coverage for more than five years. In fact a new study from the American Association of Long-term Care Insurance …

Landlord’s Beware: Commercial Tenant Failure to Obtain Municipal Permits Not Grounds For Eviction

HNW Real Estate, Landlord/Tenant, and Zoning

The New Jersey Appellate Division in an unpublished decision, Cesar S. Arredondo v. Nersy Pujols, Docket No. A-5459-05T25459-05T2, ruled that breaches of both of a lease provision and a New Jersey statute for failing to obtain municipal permits before commencing construction work were NOT grounds for evicting a commercial tenant.  Although very fact specific to a landlord with apparently “unclean hands”, this decision highlights pitfalls that can beset a landlord in the New Jersey eviction process. Cannot Evict for “Minor” Breaches (No Permits, No Insurance, Sidewalk Sales, Etc.) The Appellate Division agreed with the trial court on the insurance issue and the landlord’s inconsistent testimony.  However, the Appellate Division held that the breach was “not material” to warrant the tenant’s …

Redo Your Estate Plan Before You Remarry

HNW Elder Law, Estate Administration and Probate

If you are getting remarried, you obviously want to celebrate, but it is also important to focus on less exciting matters like redoing your estate plan. You may have created an estate plan during your first marriage, but this time it will probably be more complicated–especially if you have children from your first marriage or more assets. The following are some pointers for ensuring your interests are taken care of when you remarry: • Take an inventory. The first thing you and your partner should do is each take an inventory of your assets and debts and share it with the other person. Don’t forget to include life insurance policies and retirement plans in your inventories. It is important to be …

Tenant Filing for Bankruptcy? Take Action Now to Protect your Rent.

HNW Real Estate, Landlord/Tenant, and Zoning

Experienced, no nonsense attorneys for Landlords. Commercial Landlords: Four Important Questions to Ask When a Tenant Files for Bankruptcy With the recent downturn in the market, a number of commercial tenants are experiencing financial difficulties. In turn, this can lead to problems for commercial landlords, most importantly, the tenant staying current with lease payments. This may then lead to the tenant filing for bankruptcy protection. If your commercial tenant files for bankruptcy, it is wise to have a strategy in place to not only minimize the time of non-payment, but also maximize the ability to receive rents and damages allowed under the Bankruptcy Code.  Following are four (4) questions for commercial landlords to review with an attorney  whenever a commercial …