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News & Info

When in Doubt: Disclose

Sep 22 2017
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Written by Jason C. Henbest, Esq. and Brittany Saxton

 

At common law, home purchases were originally governed by the principles of caveat emptor, a Latin phrase that means “let the buyer beware.” In practice, this phrase essentially means the property would be sold “as is” and it was not the seller’s obligation to inform the buyer of any defects. The law has evolved from caveat emptor, leaning more in favor of having the seller disclose any material defects to the buyer. Now, when asked about any material defects in the home, a seller has a duty to reply truthfully. Known as caveat venditor, this Latin phrase means “let the seller beware.” In order to ensure fairness, the law provides that the seller cannot purposefully mislead the buyer in a home purchase. Even evasive answers and mere silence to a buyer’s question can amount to a violation of the seller’s duty.


Updating a Will: How to Ensure Your Intentions are Met

Sep 08 2017
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Writen by Jason C. Henbest, Esq. and Brittany Saxton

Many people decide to get their estate planning documents in order when they are going through major life changes. Some major moments that may trigger the idea to update an estate plan include, but are not limited to: getting married, starting a family, purchasing property, or getting divorced. However, going through some of these major life changes are not the only justifiable reasons for updating an estate plan. 


As a Landlord, Can You Forbid Pets on the Premises?

Jul 28 2017
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Written by Jason C. Henbest, Esq. and Brittany Saxton

Say you are a landlord who has included a provision in the lease for your property that does not permit tenants to keep domesticated pets on the premises. Even with this provision, is there any way New Jersey tenants may be permitted to keep domesticated animals, such as dogs, in their apartment? 

The answer depends on the tenant, and the type of animal they would like to keep in their apartment. N.J.S.A. 2A:42-103 defines a domesticated animal under Article 8, Domesticated Animals in Housing Projects, as a dog, cat, bird, fish or other animal that does not constitute a health or safety hazard. Under this article, there are exceptions to a landlord’s outright refusal to permit domesticated pets, in relation to senior citizens and disabled persons.

 

Why Do Attorneys Get a Bad Reputation?

Jul 14 2017
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Written by Jason C. Henbest, Esq. and Brittany Saxton

When thinking about the profession of law, most people come to two conclusions: the legal field is a noble profession, but it is filled with ‘snakes.’ How can two such contradictory ideas exist at the forefront of the legal field? 

Essentially, most people don’t need the assistance of lawyers until they find themselves in the middle of a major life event. Some of these events are pleasant, such as buying a home, selling a home, or starting up a business. Some of the events are not so pleasant, and unfortunately, some people only interact with lawyers when they are in the middle of a major life crisis. It is possible that an individual’s only experience with a lawyer may be the worst event of their life, such as getting a divorce or getting arrested. It is common for people to equate their hardship to the roles attorneys play, and thus push the blame for their misfortune onto lawyers.

 

What Would Darth Vader’s Estate Plan Look Like?

Jun 30 2017
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Written by Jason C. Henbest, Esq. and Brittany Saxton

            An estate planning analysis was recently posted on JD Supra that poses this interesting question: what would happen to Darth Vader’s estate following his death? All Star Wars fans know that Darth Vader was a complex character with many attenuated connections throughout his life. 

 

When Spaces are Considered ‘Buildings’ Under NJ Law?

Jun 16 2017
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Written by Jason C. Henbest, Esq. and Brittany Saxton

 

Real estate centers around one concept: location. With some locations being more desirable than others, it is important for landlords to determine what spaces are inhabitable and suitable for renting purposes.  This is especially true for the state of New Jersey.  Known as the most densely populated state per square mile, many New Jersey residents know that good real estate, even good apartments, in desirable areas are hard to find. Until recently, the New Jersey legislature and courts had not made a clear determination of what constitutes a ‘building.’ This exact issue was affirmatively decided in the New Jersey Supreme Court case Cashin v. Bello, where the court held that the word ‘building’ as used in the Anti-Eviction Act, even extends to converted garages.

Long Term Care: Start Planning Now!

Sep 22 2016
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Written by Jason C. Henbest, Esq. and Brittany Saxton

Certain events only take split seconds to drastically change our expectations, for both the present and the future. For many, growing old comes with these unexpected twists and turns. Sudden accidents, illness, or injury can happen when least expected. Yet, the question remains: how do people adequately prepare for something they never expected happening in the first place?

While none of us know what the future holds, the best way to anticipate the unexpected is to start making plans in advance. One way to plan for your future is by creating a Long Term Care Plan. Planning now for the possibility of Long Term Care provides you with ample time to self-educate about your potential future needs and what services for these needs will cost. A benefit of planning for Long Term Care in the present is the level of confidence that comes with making important future decisions while of sound mind and memory. Important future decisions typically fall into these four realms: legal preparation, financial planning, healthcare assistance, and housing decisions. 

 

Why the Never-Married Need Estate Plans

Sep 06 2016
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Written by Jason C. Henbest, Esq. and Brittany Saxton

Some people think estate planning is unessential. The single, childless, and never-married sometimes fail to think about planning for a future when they are no longer around. Is this wise?

As we all get older and responsibility increases, it is essential to realize that part of planning for the future includes planning for the present state of our lives. More and more Americans are getting married later, choosing to have one or no children, or deciding to stay single for their lifetime. Choosing to live a life of independence includes personally taking on major responsibilities. Even if you choose to never get married, you then still have to plan for the single most important person in your life: you!


Estate Planning Tips for Families, Following Obergefell

Aug 31 2016
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Written by Jason C. Henbest, Esq. and Brittany Saxton

The 2015 landmark case Obergefell v. Hodges, where Justice Kennedy crafted the majority opinion, granted same-sex couples the legal right to marry in the United States. As a result, same-sex couples can now take advantage of joint filing when completing their taxes. Similarly, same sex couples must also look into the implications this ruling has on estate planning.

By allowing same-sex couples to now bequeath their estates to their “husbands” or “wives” rather than their “partner,” this aspect of the law becomes less murky. The result of Obergefellprovides a much more straightforward approach in drafting estate planning documents. For same-sex couples who have never considered creating an estate plan, the ruling of Obergefell fosters more reason to think about the necessity of these documents. Consider how a Will protects assets after death, a Power of Attorney and Living Will delineate proxies for both financial and health care, and having wishes firmly cemented in black and white helps prepare for the ambiguous future.


Can the Will's Drafter be Sued?

Aug 22 2016
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Written by Jason C. Henbest, Esq. and Brittany Saxton

Recently, the Supreme Court of Virginia upheld a $600,000.00 judgment against a lawyer for drafting a client’s Will that did not meet the expectations of a third party beneficiary. In Thorsen v. Richmond Society for the Prevention Of Cruelty of Animals, the testatrix of the Will, Alice, undisputedly intended for her elderly mother to inherit her estate. The next-to-inherit was the Richmond Society For The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (hereinafter “the Richmond SPCA”). After a short while, Alice’s mother passed away, and Alice was soon to follow.