3 Tips to Remember Before Signing Any Contract

A person reading a contract

Contracts can be a bit overwhelming for regular people and even small business owners. If you don’t know what to watch out for, there’s no telling how bad things could get. This guide will hopefully help you become more familiar with contracts and offer some tips to navigate them.

What Is a Contract?

A contract is a legally binding agreement that outlines the terms and conditions of an agreement between two or more parties. It can be used for business transactions, real estate deals, labor negotiations, personal agreements, and other areas where people come together to make decisions.

When one party fails to fulfill their end of the contract, the other party can hold them accountable as per the contract terms.

Contracts are vital when entering business with another party. We’ve put together this checklist of 3 tips before signing any contract that will help keep your interests safe.

  1. Read Each Provision

Before a contract is signed, it’s important to review the entire document. All too often, companies or people will skip over the fine print and rush through the review process. However, this can lead to serious problems in the future when you’re not happy with how things turn out. The only way to avoid these issues is by taking your time and ensuring that each provision addresses what needs to be addressed before signing on the dotted line.

  1. Make Sure They Are Flexible

In the world of business contracts, there are few things more important than contractual flexibility. It can even offer an escape route if you choose to do so. Flexibility is a leading reason that many companies prefer to handle contract negotiations with a professional legal team in place. A good contract attorney can help negotiate a contract that will be both legally binding and flexible enough to handle any number of potential changes in circumstance over the years.

3. Consult An Attorney

Suppose you are entering into a contract to purchase real estate or any other type of property. In that case, it is highly recommended that you consult with an attorney before signing the contract. While many individuals feel that hiring an attorney will be too costly or time-consuming, this is not the case. Hiring an attorney to review contracts before they are signed often saves money and aggravation in the long run.

A person reading a legal document

Make the Perfect Contracts Now

If you have not had experience with contracts before, trying to put one together on your own can seem daunting. This is why you must hire professional counsel to help in the process! You need an experienced lawyer to help you draft a contract with your best interests in mind.

At Ledwidge & Associates, P.C., we offer all kinds of litigations services throughout NYC, including estate planning. If you are searching for a trusted estate, trust, or probate attorney in Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, or Long Island, NY, then please contact our experts today.

Guidelines to Preparing a Prenuptial Agreement

Two gold colored rings on paper

A prenuptial agreement serves as a financial contract between two people who are about to get married. Prenuptial agreements provide clarity and discretion in the event that you get divorced. It prevents arguments and feuds by deciding the property division and alimony terms in advance.

A prenuptial agreement caters to a range of issues such as:

  • Finances for each spouse
  • Personal assets
  • Custody issues
  • Property division
  • Spousal support
  • Inheritance

The process of preparing a prenuptial agreement is complicated and can result in litigation if the terms are not valid enough. Here are some guidelines to help you prepare a strong prenuptial agreement.

Draft with Divorce in Mind

Your wedding is near, and you may love your partner, but that does not mean you go easy on the terms of the prenuptial agreements. Draft the prenuptial agreement as if you’re filing for an actual divorce to save yourself from any regrets in the future.

Ensure Separate Lawyers

Each spouse needs a lawyer who will solely accommodate that individual. Getting representation from the same lawyer is bound to cause a conflict of interests and put one party at a disadvantage.

Maximum Disclosure

It is essential to disclose all your assets when drafting a prenuptial agreement to ensure fairness on both sides. Make sure to include family heirlooms, such as a wedding ring passed down from a grandparent, in the disclosure. This ensures fair distribution of assets that may have emotional and sentimental value for both of you.

Voluntary Execution of the Agreement

A prenuptial agreement needs to be voluntary. Coercion will only lead to a rejection of the agreement in court. This is often the case when there’s a power imbalance in the couple. Perceived leverage can cause the agreement to be viewed as coercive.

Child Support from a Previous Marriage

If you are entitled to get child support from a previous marriage, make sure to include a provision in the prenuptial agreement. This will allow your child to inherit a share of your estate if you die.

Professional Family Attorney in New York City

An experienced Family Lawyer Queens and Family Lawyer Brooklyn can help you sort the complex process of drafting a prenuptial agreement. If you are seeking a lawyer to represent your prenuptial agreement in the Bronx, Jamaica or anywhere else in the NYC, we are here for you.

Ledwidge & Associates, P.C, is focused on providing exceptional legal service at reasonable rates. We also offer convenient payment plans for our clients.

Contact us now if you seek a lawyer for family law services, divorce, or litigation.

Why Should You Have A Living Will?

Incapacitated patient on a hospital bed in Brooklyn

Drafting a living will is an essential part of estate planning that is usually left till a person reaches old age. Research shows that only 29.3% of U.S. citizens have a living will.

Life is pretty uncertain; it is always best to be prepared for unfortunate events that can leave you incapacitated or incapable of communicating them. In which case, a living will serves as a binding written version of your medical preferences.

A living will is a type of advance care directive that dictates your choice of healthcare in the event that you’re unable to communicate due to an accident or underlying health condition. It also includes directives of whether you want to donate any of your tissues or organs if you pass away.

Here are a few reasons why you should draft a living will at the earliest.

Gives You Control

A living will gives you control over your medical procedures if you’re unable to communicate due to your health condition. It specifies the treatments you would prefer and the ones you don’t.

Guidance for Your Doctor

A living will serves as a legally binding guide for your doctor as it specifies your medical preferences. You might not be okay with certain treatments due to moral or religious obligations or financial constraints. The will ensures that your doctor will comply with your preferences.

Prevents Family Feuds

Your family wants the best for you but it is possible that different family members have different suggestions for what the best treatment for you might be. A living will dictates the exact medical treatment you want, so it prevents family feuds or disputes from arising over your medical treatment.

Eliminates Unwanted Medical Expenses

In the situation that you end up in a vegetative state, your living will decides whether you want life support or not. Many people prefer to die rather than spending a decade or two on life support. Removing yourself from life support saves your family from having to pay the massive bills.

Man signing a document

Professional Estate Planning Services in New York City

Completing a living will is an essential part of Estate lawyer Brooklyn and Estate lawyer Queens. Life is uncertain; ensure proper estate planning so you can exert control over your wealth and assets after your demise. At the law office of Ledwidge & Associates, P.C., our estate lawyers represent clients in all areas of estate administration and will work with you personally to help you through the entire legal process.

Contact us now to get started on setting out an effective estate plan.

How to Save Your Family From Paying Probate in Court

A black gavel placed over a block beside files

The process of proving a will to be the final testament of the person and adjudicating any claims against the will is called a probate. Probates mostly occur in the court of the state where the deceased resided permanently or at the time of their death. In case of the absence of a will, the assets in the will pass under state intestacy law to the heirs in the eyes of the law.

According to the law, a surviving spouse usually receives half of the deceased’s assets, and the remainder is distributed among the children or close kin. However, in any case, the deceased’s assets undergo probate proceedings.

Probate proceedings take money and time, and the heirs of the deceased are the ones paying for all this. These proceedings can take up to a year, and until the court gives a verdict, the assets are typically frozen. Probate usually costs 5% to 7% of the estate value.

Simplify or Avoid Probate Altogether

Regardless of being a necessary process, you can help your family avoid probate altogether when the time for distribution of your assets arrives. Here are ways to do that.

Transfer Property to a Trust

A man giving a pen to a woman for signing a document

The primary reason for the existence of Inter-Vivos trusts or revocable is to help people in bypassing the probate process. The property in a trust isn’t probated like the property listed in a will; rather, it passes directly to the inheritor. All you need to do is create a trust document and transfer the estate title to a trust. To keep complete control of the property, many people usually declare themselves as the trustee. Moreover, you can also name alternate beneficiaries in a trust document, and it’s much harder to attack in court.

Set Up Payable-on-Death Registration

This registration allows you to name multiple beneficiaries of an account to avoid the process of probate. Payable-on-death registration is very simple to create and is usually free. The beneficiary in this registration can claim the money after the owner’s demise. However, these registrations require some extra time and paperwork. Getting the help of an estate law attorney can make this process easier for you.

Tax-Free Gifts

Gifting a property can help you avoid probate as you are officially not the owner of a property when you die. However, there is a yearly limit on the value of a gift that you can give your heir before you receive a gift tax penalty. You can either gift a little bit of your property each year, or you can gift it all together with a gift tax penalty. Fortunately, the gift tax penalty is lower than the probate cost.

Revisit Beneficiary Designation

A woman holding a man's hand while moving forward

Check your insurance policy and make sure the beneficiaries in the policy are updated. People often forget to update their beneficiaries after a failed marriage. This results in their ex-spouse getting custody of everything. A good family lawyer can help you with updating these details.

Joint Ownership

Joint ownerships like tenancy by the entirety, joint tenancy with survivorship rights, and community property with survivorship rights allow your listed owners to bypass the probate proceedings. However, consider that titling property jointly gives you half the ownership even while you are alive.

The Guidelines listed above can prove to be of great help in making a more effective plan. However, you will require a family lawyer or estate planning to understand these processes completely. If you live in Queens, Brooklyn, or anywhere in the New York City metro area and are seeking probate attorney Queens and probate attorney Brooklyn, we can be of great help to you. Visit our website to learn more.

4 Steps to Contesting a Will

Last will and testament document

Making a will is an essential part of estate planning. It provides clarity and prevents conflicts from occurring – however, that may not always be the case. There are times when a will may be challenged, which may result in several disputes.

It’s no secret that will disputes tend to get rough and messy. Make sure to settle these disputes by contesting your will.

Some of the grounds for contesting a will are as follows:

  • Undue Influence
  • Fraud and forgery
  • The existence of another will
  • Improperly executed will
  • Misplacing a will
  • Revoked will
  • Lack of mental capacity

Contesting a will implies formally objecting to the terms of the will in probate court, usually with the representation of a probate lawyer. Contesting a will is an expensive process and can cost between$10,000 and $50,000.

Costs aside, the process of contesting a will is not easy. Here are some of the steps involved in the process.

1. Check Signatures

First and foremost, check for signatures on the will to assess its validity. Checking the signature can help you determine if there was some undue influence, fraud, or forgery.

2. Do Some Research

Ensure that you have sufficient grounds for contesting the will.

  • Review the laws in accordance with your state.
  • Make sure that the state probate law covers your grounds for contesting the will.
  • Learn the statute of limitations the will contest is subjected to.

3. File a Petition

You need to file a petition to challenge the will in probate court before you can contest it. It’s best to hire a probate attorney who specializes in estate planner Queens and estate planning Queens to represent you.

4.Collect Evidence

Once you’ve filed a petition, prepare your case for probate court. Gather evidence to support the validity of your claim. Collecting evidence goes beyond skimming mere documents; it involves gathering testimonials to support your claim. The more evidence you gather, the stronger your case will be.

Experienced Probate Lawyers to Contest Your Will in Brooklyn Make sure to contest the will if you have sufficient grounds. Our probate lawyers at Ledwidge & Associates, P.C, provide strong advocacy to clients facing will disputes throughout all five boroughs of NYC. Our probate attorney, Joseph Ledwidge, has vast experience in resolving all estate planning and probate matters. He specializes in handling all sorts of will disputes in the most amicable manner. Contact us now to avail legal representation for will contests.

Experienced Probate Lawyers to Contest Your Will in Brooklyn

Make sure to contest the will if you have sufficient grounds. Our probate lawyers at Ledwidge & Associates, P.C, provide strong advocacy to clients facing will disputes throughout all five boroughs of NYC.

Our probate attorney, Joseph Ledwidge, has vast experience in resolving all estate planning and probate matters. He specializes in handling all sorts of will disputes in the most amicable manner.

Contact us now to avail legal representation for will contests.

 

5 Types of Powers of Attorney

Woman signing an estate planning document in Queens

A power of attorney or POA is an estate planning document that lets you, the principal, appoint an attorney, the agent, to make legal and financial decisions on your behalf in the event that you’re unable to do so.

There are five different types of powers of attorney. Let’s take a look at each of them individually.

1. General Power of Attorney

A general power of attorney gives the agent massive power to act in your stead. It allows the agent to make legal, financial, real estate, or any business decisions for you. A general power of attorney is revoked if you become incapacitated or die.

2. Medical Power of Attorney

A medical or healthcare power of attorney appoints an agent to make healthcare-related decisions for you if you’re unable to do so. This power of attorney becomes effective as soon as you sign it, but can only be used if your physician deems you as mentally unfit.

3. Springing Power of Attorney

A springing power of attorney becomes effective in the event that the principal becomes mentally incompetent or incapacitated. This power ends once the principal dies or becomes capable again.

4. Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney allows an attorney to make decisions for you in the event that you become incapacitated. This type of power becomes effective immediately once you sign the document.

It is easy to misuse a durable power of attorney as the agent’s actions go unmonitored if the principal becomes incapacitated. Moreover, there is no oversight by a third party so the agent can easily get away with the abuse.

5. Limited Power of Attorney

A limited power of attorney allows an agent to act on your behalf for very specific reasons and may only hold for a limited time. This power can allow an agent to do cash checks or manage your retirement account, but only in a limited capacity.

 

POA is sometimes referred to as “license to steal” as it is quite often abused by the attorney for their personal benefit. You must be very careful while appointing an attorney so you don’t incur financial or legal damages.

Family Lawyers Serving Throughout New York City

A family lawyer would be the best choice to help you establish a power of attorney. At the law office of Ledwidge & Associates, P.C., we provide experienced and reliable family lawyers to guide you through the process. If you are seeking to establish a power of attorney in Jamaica, Brooklyn, or anywhere else in NYC, our experienced Family Lawyer Queens and Family Lawyer Brooklyn are here for you.

Contact us now for more information.

A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding the Power of Attorney

A Man signing an estate planning document

A power of attorney is a very useful tool to help those unable to make decisions for themselves. If you understand the basics of power of attorney and how it works, you will be able to provide better support and care for your loved ones, especially in these unpredictable times.

 

 

What Is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney is a legal document that grants one person (the “agent”) the ability to act on behalf of another person (the “principal”). A POA can be used in many situations, such as when a person is ill or has died and must deal with legal issues that need immediate attention. It can be used for personal or business use. It’s generally considered good practice to name an agent who will take over if you become incapacitated and unable to handle your affairs. The broad categories of power of attorneys are given below.

General Power of Attorney

A general power of attorney is a legal document granting someone broad authority to act on your behalf. This action can include: making healthcare and financial decisions, signing contracts, managing assets, and more.

Special Power of Attorney

A special power of attorney (SPA) narrows the authority of the agent. For example, medical decisions can be made by the wife or parents, while a business partner can make business decisions. Assigning a medical power of attorney is becoming increasingly common due to Covid-19.

Its Benefits

Having a power of attorney can be an important document for future planning. They also offer convenience. For example, if you are about to close a real estate transaction and choose not to appear in person, you can take advantage of a power of attorney.

Woman in a hospital bed in a semi-conscious state

Trusted Estate Lawyers in New York

When a power of attorney document is drafted correctly, it can provide a clear explanation of what type of authority an agent has been given. It can also include limitations that prevent an agent from carrying out. This is why you need an experienced family lawyer to help you draft a power of attorney with your interests in mind.

At Ledwidge & Associates, P.C., our track record of satisfied clients speaks for itself.

We offer all kinds of litigations services throughout NYC, including estate planning. If you are looking for a trusted estate, trust, or probate attorney in Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Jamaica, Manhattan, or Long Island, NY, then please contact us now.

3 Estate Planning Tips to Avoid Family Conflict

Resolving a family conflict

Estate planning can resolve many issues that surface after the death of an individual. This is the best way to protect your loved ones and your estate.

Create an estate plan to give everyone an idea of what they should expect after your death. Plan the division of all your assets, accounts, healthcare, guardianship, and savings wisely. Here’s how to.

 

Create a Living Trust

Living Trust is a legal document assigning an individual responsible for your assets if you fall seriously ill or die. If you don’t draft a Living Trust, your family members may end up in an unnecessary debate. And, if the matter reaches court, it will cost hefty legal charges and a long waiting period.

Update your Living Trust every time you acquire new assets or invest. For example, you may prefer including a car that you just purchased in the Living Trust.

 

Choose a Power of Attorney/Healthcare Directive/Trustee

Once you’ve decided the assets you want to include in your Living Trust, you need to choose a trustee. To create a more detailed estate plan, you will have to appoint a Power of Attorney to deal with your financial issues.

A Healthcare Directive can also be appointed to ensure that your health wishes are carried out according to your wishes. Give it careful thought when deciding who to choose for these responsibilities. That’s because they are the most important roles in your life when you can no longer make your decisions.

 

Have an Honest Discussion with Your Family

It’s essential to have an open discussion with your family once you’ve decided on an estate plan. Most people often overlook this part of the plan, which is why it becomes a cause of conflict among family members. If you explain your decisions to them, there will be no room left for miscommunication or argument. So, it’s crucial to keep everyone in the loop from the get-go.

Though having a family discussion regarding the estate plan is quite beneficial, you must stick to what makes you feel comfortable. If your family tries to persuade you to make changes in the plan, remember that the estate plan is your decision.

Creating an estate plan

Are you based in New York City and need help with estate planner Queens and estate planning Queens? The team at Ledwidge & Associates has you covered. We deal in real estate property law, probate issues, legal divorce proceedings, litigation, and more.

Reach out to us for more information and details about our services.

 

3 Ways to Keep Disputes Out of Court

disagreement in a dispute

Whether it’s a business conflict, family disagreement, or property dispute, the most cost-effective way to resolve isn’t going to court—contrary to popular belief. Litigating and going for trials are time-consuming and expensive ways to resolve a dispute.

When you go to the court with your problems, there’s always a chance that you’ll lose. You might not get what you want and could end up owing money to the other side. That’s when Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) comes in. This blog post will discuss ways to keep your disputes out of court.

 

Settlement Negotiation

Negotiation is when one party contacts the other to reach a mutual agreement. Before filing the case, both parties are free to resolve their dispute through negotiation. Consider talking to the other party or send them a letter to discuss the problem. You can also let them know that you can sue them if the dispute remains unresolved.

If you negotiate a settlement, draft a detailed settlement agreement that outlines the terms.

 

Mediation

The resolution process is guided by a third party (mediator) to help reach a negotiation. However, they don’t have the authority to decide the dispute. The mediator can also be a retired judge, lawyer, or expert in a specific field.

Parties usually agree to mediate a dispute because the process is faster and cheaper than suing in court. In the event of filing a small claims case, you may be required to participate in a mediation. In the court, the judge can order both parties to attempt mediation.

 

Arbitration

The arbitration process involves a third party (the arbitrator) who acts as a private judge and makes a decision about the dispute. The parties can submit their disagreement to arbitration because it’s a simple process.

In high arbitration, the parties set the upper and lower limits for a monetary award. Their award is legally binding if the arbitration decision lies within that range. In non-binding arbitration, either party can disagree with the decision if they don’t like it.

A lawyer resolving a dispute

Are you looking for a reliable law firm in Brooklyn? Be sure to visit Ledwidge & Associates, where we offer expert law services across New York City. From family law and divorce cases to estate planner Queens and estate planning Queens and probate law, we provide professional support in all areas.

Get in touch with our law services in Brooklyn today.

Key Differences Between Litigation and Arbitration

There are two ways to settle business disputes: arbitration and litigation. Each of these processes has its pros and cons that should be considered carefully before you choose a route to pursue. We will define these terms and highlight their differences so you can understand each process better.

Arbitration

A male lawyer holding a book and thinking about a case

Arbitration is also referred to as Alternative Dispute Resolution. In this process, both sides agree to respect and follow the decision made by a neutral arbitrator. Duch settlements can be handled outside the court. Arbitrators are usually attorneys. The decision made by an arbitrator is legally binding, although involved parties can appeal in exceptions. There are several advantages of arbitration for the parties implicated in a dispute, including the preservation of confidentiality, speedy adoption of a solution, and a lower fee compared with settlement in court.

Arbitration can be mandatory when ordered by the court or voluntary if all parties involved are in favor of it. The majority of the arbitrations occur when the parties include an arbitration clause in their contract. However, arbitration isn’t possible in claims relating to:

  • Rental Accommodation Contracts
  • Family Law
  • Life and Health
  • Patrimonial Property Right
  • The Alienation of Property in The Public Domain
  • Non-property rights for intellectual property
  • Insolvency
  • Litigations on respect of which delegates the jurisdiction of the court

Litigation

A Judge’s gavel on a block over a wooden table

Litigation requires going to a court for the settlement of a dispute between parties. It’s a legal process initiated between opposing parties to defend or enforce a legal right. In litigation, the dispute is presented before a court judge to give a verdict after considering all the evidence, facts, and arguments presented by lawyers appointed by parties. The decision made by the judge can be appealed in a higher court if either of the parties disagrees with it. The key differences between litigation and arbitration are.

  1. Litigation happens in court, whereas arbitration is a settlement outside the court.
  2. Arbitration is always civil, whereas litigation can also be against a crime.
  3. Arbitration is a private method to resolve conflict where confidentiality is mandatory, whereas litigation is a public proceeding.
  4. Litigation is far more costly compared to arbitration

If you are a resident of Queens, Brooklyn, or the New York City metro area and seek an experienced Litigation lawyer Queens and  Litigation lawyer Brooklyn, we can be of great help to you. Visit our website to know more.