March 2014           News | Upcoming Programs & CLE | Reports | Get Involved


Introductory Estate Planning for Every Lawyer - Case Studies
March 20
6:00-9:00 PM

This program will introduce the basics of the estate, gift and generation skipping taxes, go over the application of common estate planning techniques and discuss the role of life insurance in estate planning.

An Introduction to the Probate Process and How to Avoid It
April 30
6:00-9:00 PM

This program is an introduction to the probate process in NYS and will include a review of the probate process, requirements, forms and pre-mortem preparation as well as to typical issues that arise in administering estates. There will also be a brief discussion of probate contests and 1404 depositions. Finally, there will be a review of why and how to avoid the probate process using revocable trusts and other legal entities.

The Multi-State Trusts & Estates Practice: How Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, New Jersey & Pennsylvania Laws Affect New York T&E Practitioners
June 3
6:00 - 9:00 PM

The panel, consisting of Connecticut, Florida, Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania attorneys who are recognized experts in the field of trusts and estates law, will review the laws of those states governing estates and trusts, will highlight the significant differences among such states regarding those laws, and will discuss traps for the unwary that need to be avoided.

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New York Needs More Family Court Judges

On March 5th, City Bar Legislative Director Maria Cilenti (third from left) traveled to Albany with other advocates to call for additional Family Court judges in New York State.

The City Bar has urged the Governor and Legislature to support the Office of Court Administration’s proposal to add 20 new Family Court judgeships throughout the State. The City Bar supports adding these judgeships to handle the enormous need, as the number of judges has increased only 8.8% statewide over the past 30 years while the Family Court caseload has increased 90%. No judge has been added to the NYC Family Court in over 20 years. A concerted effort is underway in Albany to add these judgeships and the City Bar will be heavily involved in this effort.

Posthumously Conceived Children
The Committee on Trusts, Estates and Surrogate’s Courts expressed support for A.7461/S.4779-A, which would amend the EPTL in relation to inheritance by children conceived after the death of a genetic parent. The two key elements of the legislation are: 1) it would provide that, if certain conditions are met, a child conceived after the death of a parent with the genetic material of such parent (a “genetic parent”) would be considered (i) a distributee of the genetic parent, and (ii) included in the class of the genetic parent’s issue for any disposition made by the genetic parent at any time, and for any disposition made by anyone other than the genetic parent after September 1, 2013; and 2) it would provide that the Executor or Administrator of a genetic parent’s estate may delay paying a testamentary disposition or distributive share until the birth of a genetic child entitled to inherit under EPTL § 4-1.3, provided that notice of the existence of the genetic parent’s genetic material has been given.

Protecting Social Welfare
In a joint letter to the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, the Committees on Children & the Law; Civil Rights; Domestic Violence; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Rights; New York City Affairs; Sex & Law; and Social Welfare, as well as the Council on Children, outlined a number of suggested priorities for the administration which would serve to protect the social welfare and equal protection of New Yorkers. The suggestions include: 1) support breastfeeding mothers; 2) ensure access to subsistence benefits for the neediest New Yorkers; 3) improve the relationship between social welfare agencies and vulnerable New Yorkers such as individuals with disabilities, survivors of domestic violence, sponsored immigrants and LGBTQ individuals; and 4) implement new tools to promote child wellness.

Hague Child Support Convention
The United Nations Committee sent a letter to U.S. Senate leadership urging that the Senate adopt and enact implementing legislation (S.1870), which would allow The Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance to take effect in the United States. The purpose of the Hague Child Support Convention is to ensure the effective international recovery of child support and other forms of family maintenance. The Convention would achieve this objective by establishing an agreed-upon set of international standards, including: 1) an efficient and responsive system of cooperation between Contracting States in the processing of international applications; 2) a requirement that Contracting States make available applications for establishment and modification, as well as for recognition and enforcement, of maintenance decisions; 3) provisions which ensure effective access to cross-border maintenance procedures; 4) a broadly based system for the recognition and enforcement of maintenance decisions made in Contracting States; and 5) expedited and simplified procedures for recognition and enforcement.

Recommended NYC Policies Regarding Domestic Violence
The Committee on Domestic Violence wrote to the de Blasio Administration, identifying the following as key issues for the administration to focus on in the context of adopting a zero-tolerance policy on domestic violence: (i) promoting collaboration among agencies regarding U-visa certification policies; (ii) protecting domestic violence victims’ access to public housing; (iii) creating supervised visitation centers in each borough; (iv) implementing teen dating violence education and school safety policies; and (v) improving the relationship between social welfare agencies and survivors of domestic violence.

Maintenance in Divorce Cases
The question of whether to use a presumptive formula to calculate maintenance in divorce proceedings has been a controversial issue. After reviewing extensive information, the Executive Committee issued a Statement expressing support for a formula/guidelines approach to presumptively determine the amount of maintenance where the combined adjusted gross income of the parties is less than $300,000, with the understanding that either or both of the parties may seek a deviation from the guidelines. In addition, the Statement expresses support for a formula/guidelines approach to presumptively determine the duration of maintenance payments, but only in cases below the Income Cap, and with the understanding that the parties can seek a deviation from the durational formula when it yields an unjust or inappropriate result. In cases where the Income Cap is exceeded, the parties should be able to argue the facts and circumstances of their respective positions concerning the appropriate duration of the maintenance award. Finally, the Statement notes that the law should continue to provide that maintenance is terminated upon remarriage or retirement but that the law be amended to include a mechanism whereby the payee spouse may petition a court to seek continuation of maintenance based on facts and circumstances surrounding either retirement or remarriage.

Committee Involvement--It's Never too Late
Committees are how the City Bar’s work gets done. Working on a committee can give you great experience while opening up a number of career doors, some you may not even anticipate.

A full list of the City Bar committees along with a brief description of each and an application form can be found on the City Bar’s website. As a number of City Bar committees have more applicants than available slots, please consider applying to more than one committee.

Legislative Affairs
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Updates include recent City Bar reports, news and upcoming programs in a particular practice area and are issued periodically to City Bar members.