Author Archives: adminAuthorChestnut RidgeNY

KGG Law Proud to Sponsor “Dancing With the Stars” For United Hospice of Rockland

Gary S. Graifman AV Preeminet rating Martindale Hubbell

Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman has long championed United Hospice of Rockland for the service and support it provides to members of our community in the most difficult of times. We are proud to be “Presenting Sponsor” of “Dancing With Our Stars,” the Hospice’s October 20th gala event at the Hilton Pearl River.

This year, partner Gary Graifman will be dancing at the event, and Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman will be honored for our ongoing support of Hospice.

The dancer that raises the most money for Hospice will be crowned the winner! You can support Gary by purchasing a journal ad, sponsorship, or making a “People’s Choice” donation in his honor.

Visit https://hospiceofrockland.org/events/gala2019 to register for the event, become a sponsor, or make a donation.

Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Leave a comment

KGG Law Announces 2019 Pre-Law Scholarship Winner Joshua Weinfeld

The New York law firm of Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman is very pleased to announce that Rockland Community College Honors student Joshua Weinfeld is the recipient of the 2019 KGG Law Pre-Law Scholarship. Each year for nearly four decades we have provided a financial scholarship to an outstanding graduating RCC student who is going on to a 4-year college and who has expressed an interest in going to law school when he or she graduates. Josh is headed to Binghamton University and we wish him well!

Josh has successfully maintained an honors-level GPA, received a favorable recommendation from RCC faculty, and wrote a compelling essay explaining why he wants to attend law school.

We look forward to maintaining contact with Josh to hear about his ongoing achievements throughout his academic career.

KGG Law Supports Local Communities

KGG Law has been giving out scholarships for decades, ever since Walter Kantrowitz was the Chairman of the Rockland Community College Foundation in the 1980s. We recruit the best and the brightest law school students to add to our ranks and believe strongly that an investment in future generations always pays dividends.

Contact an Attorney Today

KGG Law serves a wide variety of clients from Rockland County and Bergen County with offices in Spring Valley, NY and Montvale, NJ. We’re big enough to do it all – personal injury, divorce, class actions, wills, real estate, and corporate – and small enough to care. Contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation with a skilled attorney.

Connect with Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman on FacebookLinkedInTwitter, and Tumblr.

Leave a comment

Giving to a Dying Spouse: What Are the Tax Implications?

NY & NJ estate lawyer Paul Goldhamer, Esq. is a founding partner at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman. Mr. Goldhamer was selected to the Super Lawyers® list in 2014-15. In addition to practicing matrimonial law, he maintains a busy schedule of lectures, charitable work, and media appearances.

From Paul Goldhamer, Esq.:

Say taxpayer Harry is likely to live only a few years and spouse Jane has $100,000 of stock with a cost basis of $20,000. Jane transfers the shares to Harry and reacquires them under Harry’s will. The $80,000 profit escapes income taxation.

Gimmicky? Yes, but Congress permits this maneuver, so long as Harry holds the shares for at least a year. If there’s less time than that, there still may be a way to make the escape from capital gain taxes. The one-year rule doesn’t apply if the assets do not go right back to the person who started with them.

Here it is explained again:

Up until now we have been primarily concerned with estate taxes. Sometimes it is also wise to consider income tax planning. If a person receives a gift of appreciated property and then dies within one year, that property will not receive a step-up in basis if it passes back to the donor. The step-up in basis, if available, will eliminate the 15% capital gains tax on the amount of appreciation. Gifts to an ill spouse should therefore not be overlooked as the ill spouse may survive more than a year. Other planning may be used to balance the assets to obtain both income and estate tax benefits.

Leave a comment

$500K Capital Gain Exemption on House Sale Explained

New York & New Jersey estate lawyer Paul Goldhamer, Esq. is a founding partner at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman. Mr. Goldhamer is a 2014-2015 New Jersey Super Lawyers® honoree. Above and beyond his work in matrimonial law, he keeps up a full schedule of teaching, charity work, and TV and radio appearances.

From Paul Goldhamer, Esq.:

A house is in a wife’s sole name and has never been in the husband’s name. Each party is entitled to a $250,000 capital gain exemption.

I believe the joint $500,000 exemption is available, so long as the parties are married and file taxes jointly, notwithstanding that the house is in one party’s sole name.   

Is this correct?     

TRUE. IT DOES NOT MATTER WHOSE NAME THE HOUSE IS IN, AS LONG AS A JOINT RETURN IS FILED.

Leave a comment

What the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Has to Do with Divorce

Stressed man listening psychologist's analysis. Male patient lying on sofa during psychotherapy session.

NY & NJ divorce lawyer Paul Goldhamer, Esq. is a founding partner at the NY & NJ law firm of Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman. Mr. Goldhamer was named by the prestigious Superlawyers.com as a “Super Lawyer” in 2014 for his work in matrimonial and estate law. Paul keeps busy with teaching, lecturing, charity work and as a guest on a wide range of media outlets.

From Paul Goldhamer, Esq.:

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, known as DSM-5,  is a published book describing mental disorders. It has been used as the “bible” for recognizing mental disorders. But it has been subject to severe criticism in the last 25 years, sometimes for excluding disorders and sometimes for including what may be in the normal range of human conduct. “Normal” cuts a wide swath.

Published first in 1953, it has gone through 8 reiterations, starting from a small pamphlet and growing to a 1000 page tome. Some diseases do not make it into the book and some work their way in over the years.

Big pharmaceutical  companies sell drugs that are cures to diagnosed illnesses. Insurance reimbursement is often contingent on conditions having a recognized diagnosis. Many psychological professionals disagree on the value of some of the diagnoses. The DSM always rears its head in custody cases. Let’s face it…no 2 adults parent the same way and often one parent objects to the other’s parenting style. Sometimes the objector is too rigid and imagines issues. Sometimes, a parent’s conduct is actually unsafe.

We at KGG help parents work out custody arrangements. Sometimes we must fight in court for our clients with skills acquired over 4½ decades.

Leave a comment

What Not to Do During Your Divorce

Woman divorcing and taking off wedding band

The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale ranks the stress of divorce second only to the death of a spouse or child. Divorce stresses people out more than imprisonment, death of another family member, personal injury or illness, or losing employment.

High levels of cortisol stress hormone can alter the brain’s ability to function properly, including:

  • Disrupting synapse regulation
  • Causing a decline in sociability
  • Killing brain cells
  • Making it harder to make decisions
  • Shrinking the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for memory and learning
  • Increasing the size of the amygdala, which can make the brain more sensitive to stress
  • Putting you in constant fight-or-flight mode

So, the best step you can take is to assemble a team of trusted counselors who can help you navigate this troubled time. A New Jersey or New York divorce attorney at KGG Law brings decades of experience in divorce law. Here we discuss common mistakes people make during divorce proceedings that can spell financial ruin and lasting regret.

Failing to Adjust Your Lifestyle and Mind Your Finances

Once the divorce seed has been planted, you will need to immediately set money aside for all the expenses that will arise and for the change of lifestyle you may encounter. If you’re used to living in a $200,000-a-year household, you will not be able to maintain the same standard of living on a $100,000-a-year salary. Downgrade your expenses, wherever possible, and prepare for the inevitable. The average divorce costs between $15,000 and $20,000.

Don’t think you can hide money in a new bank account, “gift” thousands of dollars to your best friend, or sell off your assets quickly and pocket the cash. A lot of times, nefarious activities can be traced back, and it leaves a bad taste in the judge’s mouth.

Instead, make copies of all your financial records – bank and investment statements, tax returns, property deeds, insurance policies, vehicle titles, wills, and trusts. Don’t rely on electronic copies, as a vindictive ex could block your access. Keep these copies in a secure, private location. Hire a trusted financial advisor you connect with – one who can explain the situation in a way you understand.

Reacting Dramatically, Erratically, and Impulsively

While experiencing a flood of emotions may be inevitable, how you react is under your control. You may feel blamed, shamed, or manipulated, and crave revenge to regain the power you feel you have lost. Fear causes some people to spread salacious rumors about an ex. They send angry emails, leave hate-filled voicemail messages, and dish their personal business all over social media. They scream, cry, and fight in front of the kids. Some people medicate with drugs and alcohol, or flee to the arms of a lover. All these hasty actions could result in big losses. As one financial planner put it: “If you go to war, you’re basically giving away your money.”

The best you can do in this situation is nothing. Recognize that anger and sadness are natural parts of the grief cycle – and, in due time, they will subside, as acceptance moves in. Instead of projecting outward, turn inward. Journal and seek counseling from an experienced divorce therapist to help you keep an even keel and take reasonable action toward healing. If you have children, focus on taking care of them during the process.

There is no amount of “talking it out” that will resolve the heartache at this point. It’s over. Now you must look at the relationship as a business deal. Divorce court cares little about photo-documented evidence of infidelity or “he said / she said” accounts of the events leading up to divorce. The judge is going to care about the financial statements above all else. The stress of divorce makes it difficult for the smartest people to make good decisions, which is why working with a team of advisors is so crucial. 

Trying to Represent Yourself in Divorce Court

You may be able to represent yourself in small claims court, but it is not recommended that you attempt to proceed through divorce without legal representation. Even if the divorce seems amicable enough, as if you agree on all fronts, unexpected twists and turns often arise. Pro se litigation is much more time-consuming and often more expensive.

Instead, hire an experienced divorce or family law attorney, rather than relying on a friend who happens to be a lawyer or calling a “Jack of All Trades” firm you saw online. Divorce law is complex and varies from state to state. The process can last months or even years, so finding a lawyer you feel comfortable with is key. The best divorce lawyer is someone who:

  • Gives you the confidence to speak candidly
  • Listens to what you say
  • Assuages your fears about the divorce process
  • Answers your questions
  • Outlines the costs in a transparent manner

The attorney you seek will provide an informed, honest opinion of what you can expect in divorce proceedings. You will receive assistance filing paperwork, assembling documents, and dividing assets in an equitable way. If you’re still on the fence about the divorce, a marriage counselor may be a better bet.

Looking for more direct help with a divorce in Bergen County, NJ or Rockland County, NY? Contact KGG Law.

Additional resources:

  1. https://goodmenproject.com/divorce/9-things-you-should-never-do-during-divorce-cmtt/
  2. https://www.mydomaine.com/things-you-should-never-do-before-during-and-after-divorce-1102731
  3. https://www.divorcemag.com/monthly-newsletter/one-thing-not-to-do-during-divorce/
  4. https://www.businessinsider.com/things-you-should-never-do-if-youre-about-to-get-divorced-2017-2
Leave a comment

Can Alimony Payments Be Terminated When You Retire?

NY and NJ divorce lawyer Paul Goldhamer, Esq. is a founding partner of Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, with office locations in Bergen County, New Jersey and Rockland County, New York.  Among many other awards and citations Mr. Goldhamer has accrued over the years, Superlawyers.com honored Paul with its prestigious “Super Lawyer” designation in 2014. When not practicing law, Mr. Goldhamer keeps busy with speaking engagements, media outreach and charitable services.

From Paul Goldhamer, Esq.:

RETIREMENT: Do you wonder if your support obligations can cease upon retirement?

Another good job by KGG:

“The motion judge considered that defendant was seventy-five. He also considered defendant’s health, and noted he had cardiac problems, a pacemaker, was hospitalized for cardiac arrhythmia, and required thirteen different medications. Plaintiff did not rebut this evidence. In her certifications, plaintiff provided the judge a description of her recurring health conditions. She stated she had a “decreased level of energy which accompanies the age of [seventy,]” suffered from arthritis for the past forty-five years, had been hard of hearing since the age of five, and suffered from depression since her forties. Plaintiff also certified she had other long lasting issues, including sleep apnea, diabetes, a thyroid-condition, and memory loss….The decision to terminate alimony on the basis of defendant’s retirement was supported by sufficient credible evidence in the record. The motion judge’s application of N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(j)(3) was not an abuse of discretion….Affirmed.”

Frangipani v. Frangipani, New Jersey App. Div., February 19, 2019

Leave a comment

In-Flight Injuries on Airplanes: Who Is Responsible?

Interior of airplane with passengers on seats waiting to taik offPeople are injured every year due to events that happen during their flight. One of the most common causes of injury, for example, is a passenger being hurt by an overhead bin opening and the contents falling out. As airline travelers know, the contents of bins can be heavy luggage. Another frequent cause of injury is caused by food carts. Turbulence also causes injuries every year.

Who is responsible for these injuries? The answer can be complex.

Airlines Have a Duty of Care

Airlines are called “common carriers,” which means they have a duty to carry the public. They are regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Federal Aviation Act, which requires airlines to have a very high standard of care toward their passengers. They need to ensure that all aspects of air travel under their care is safe, including maintenance, inspection, operation, loading, and boarding of an airplane.

In practice, this means that the airline boarding and exit procedures must be safe for passengers. It means that all facilities, from restrooms to coffee cups, should be safe to use.

Airline employees should be well-trained and able to fulfill their duties.

Given their duty of care, it is possible to conclude that an airline could be responsible for an injury sustained in the middle of a flight. If an attendant does not fasten a bin properly, for example, and it springs open, the airline could be responsible if inadequate training could be proven.

But Manufacturers and Other Parties Can Also Be Responsible

However, it is also possible that manufacturers are to blame. If an airline’s toilet malfunctions and causes injury, for example, an investigation may be necessary to determine whether the toilet itself was faulty, or whether inadequate maintenance was to blame.

If defects in the airplane itself cause an accident, the manufacturer or the sales agent may be held responsible, unless the defect should have been discovered by routine airline maintenance. If an airplane has been repaired in such a way that didn’t cure defects or introduced defects, the repair company can be responsible.

Acts of God

Finally, passengers can sustain injuries due to what insurance companies call “Acts of God.” The term generally applies to an act that couldn’t have been anticipated or planned for. Unexpected turbulence from say, geese running into a plane may fall under the “Act of God” definition, because the pilots could not reasonably have forecast such an event.

Turbulence caused by weather may also be an Act of God if it’s unexpected. But most weather is forecast, and the airline can be responsible if they didn’t plan for the forecast and urge people to stay in their seats.

Do You Need a Personal Injury Attorney in New York or New Jersey?

If you or a loved one has been injured or even killed in an in-flight accident, please contact our law firm to discuss your case. The causes of an in-flight injury can be complex, and an experienced personal injury lawyer can be of invaluable assistance in determining whether you have a case, and against whom.

The NY & NJ personal injury lawyers at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman have years of experience fighting for the rights of victims of negligence. Call us at (800) 711-5258 or fill out the form on our website. We will be happy to meet you at our Rockland County, NY or Bergen County, NJ offices. The personal injury consultation is free, and there is never any obligation.

Additional Resources:

  1. U.S. Department of Transportation. Federal Aviation Administration. A Brief History of the FAA. https://www.faa.gov/about/history/brief_history/.
  2. U.S. Department of Transportation. Federal Aviation Administration. Safety: The Foundation of Everything We Do. https://www.faa.gov/about/safety_efficiency/.
Leave a comment

Toyota Rav 4 Headlight Class Action Litigation

The firm is currently litigating a putative class action concerning the projector-beam headlights on 2016 Toyota Rav 4 vehicles. Toyota’s brochures provided that 2016 Rav 4 XLE and XLE Hybrid models were equipped with halogen projector-beam headlights with an “auto on/off feature,” and that 2016 Rav 4 SE models were equipped with LED projector-beam headlights with an “auto on/off feature.” The “auto on/off feature” is a mechanism by which the vehicles’ headlights automatically turn on and off and adjust to ensure proper lighting while being driving through changing light conditions (e.g. tunnel, dusk, etc.). This suit asserts that standard 2016 Rav 4 XLE, XLE Hybrid, and SE models, in fact, did not come equipped with the “auto on/off feature.” The suit seeks coverage for the remedial work necessary to correct and install the missing “auto on/off” feature as well as other damages.

If you have purchased a Rav 4 and wish to speak with the attorney at the firm about this matter, please contact class action attorney Gary S. Graifman, Esq., Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, P.C., 747 Chestnut Ridge Road – Suite 200, Chestnut Ridge, NY 10977 via telephone: (888) 608-9232, fax: (845) 356-4335, or email: ggraifman@kgglaw.com.

Leave a comment

2019 Estate Tax Exemptions: See the Numbers

New York and New Jersey estate lawyer Paul Goldhamer, Esq. is a founding partner of Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman in Rockland County and Bergen County. Mr. Goldhamer is proud to have been honored as a “Super Lawyer” by the legal site Superlawyers.com. When not practicing family and matrimonial law, Paul keeps busy with charitable efforts, lectures, public talks and appearances on radio and television programs. 

From Paul Goldhamer, Esq.:

2019 Estate Tax Exemptions:

Federal:

Single:   $ 11.4 M

Married:  $22.8 M

The Federal Tax Estate rate ranges from 11% to 40%.

New York:

Single-     $  5.49M

Married-  $10.98M

The estate tax rate in New York ranges from 3.06% to 16%.

New Jersey:

Estate tax $0, but,

New Jersey Inheritance Tax:

$0 for spouse, children, grandchildren & charities.

Some close relatives taxed only after $25,00;
Most others – no exemption.

Tax rate – 11 to 16%

All of the above are subject to change. At KGG, we plan estates of all sizes, prepare Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorneys, Healthcare proxies & help with Eldercare planning.

Leave a comment