|A sentence I didn’t think I would be typing…|
I had COVID-19 recently. Thankfully, I am now fine. It wasn’t an easy road though, it was tough. This virus is very real and you just never know how it will affect you. I am much better now and throwing myself back into work, but the experience really made me think about life and planning.
Now, I am starting to think about all the things I didn’t do when I had the opportunity, pushing it off or thinking I had plenty of time. We all think like that, until we get a wake up call.
Luckily, many of the important things I needed were in place, such as my healthcare proxy. As a reminder, this document allows your designated agent to make healthcare decisions for you if you became unable to do so. If you don’t have one, please call me. It really is very necessary.
Another important document is a Last Will and Testament. Even if you are young, or feel like you don’t have much in the way of assets, it’s still important to have a plan and make sure property and money is distributed in accordance with your wishes. I’m happy to work with you on this.
I was thinking especially about single people and how vital it is to appoint someone in your life to be there for you when you need them. So, if you don’t have a will yet, at the very least, ensure you have a power of attorney in place to designate a person to handle your affairs such as business or financial, if you are unable and ensure a healthcare proxy is in place.
Another important factor we discuss all the time is planning to purchase or sell your home and preparing ahead. If you think you are going to buy or sell a home soon, there is a lot you can do ahead of time before you actually begin the process.
Sellers – You can start purging what you don’t need and cleaning out the property so it “shows” well. You should also take a look at whether any of those things you added to the property (deck, pool, CAC, shed…) need a certificate of occupancy (CO). If you need to get a CO for the deck, addition or other remodel to your home, do it now. The Town Building Departments are extremely backed up right now, people are working from home, coming into the office less and applications are taking much longer to be processed. Start early and make sure by closing, you are all set.
Purchasers – look at your credit. Get educated with a mortgage loan officer, get a pre-approval. Position yourself as a desirable buyer. Save more for the down payment if you can. As I’ve mentioned before, houses are selling in record time. Rates are still at 3 percent or less. Open houses have lines just to look at the property. You are competing with dozens of people, so set yourself apart by preparing in advance.
If you want to refinance, call me. The bank has an attorney and you should, too. With President-elect Biden coming in and foreclosure and loan modification policies potentially changing, I anticipate another HAMP or HARP program within the next 6 months. Thousands may be going into foreclosure. If you are affected by this, give us a call. We have helped dozens of troubled homeowners in the past.
Finally, business owners should take a look at their corporate documents. If you haven’t incorporated or formed an LLC, maybe now is the time. If your company wants to borrow money from the SBA or other funding source, it is imperative to have your corporate documents in order. Most small businesses form their corporation and get the corporate book, but never actually put minutes and shareholder agreements into place. Operating on a handshake with a partner is great until there is a disagreement. I can help review your corporate documents and get them in order now, so there is not a problem in the future.
FYI, I’m sure you have heard, but the NYS moratorium for the stay of evictions in New York has been pushed until May 1, 2021. This means, even if you have a warrant of eviction it cannot be served by the Sheriff until then. Landlord tenant summary proceedings are going forward, but a tenant just has to provide a statement they cannot pay rent due to Covid and the action will not go forward. This is always subject to change.
On a personal note, 2021 is here and we all need to find our own ways to cope with stress and find simple ways to bring more joy into our lives and into our office space.
For me, I decided to start painting again. I’m no Monet, but I think the paintings are pretty good. I also like collecting things and my new obsession is crowns and tiaras. They are beautiful and I think everyone deserves to feel like a king or queen every now and then. Just having them set up in the office brings more happiness into the room. It might be plants for you, or pictures your child has drawn or fantastic pens. Whatever makes you happy, surround yourself with it.
I’m also excited to record a video on the intro of law for students at Deer Park Middle School. Sharing about my profession with the next generation is always something I enjoy.
I know we have mentioned how busy the office is, but we always have time for you. Because we are trying to keep the office healthy, we are doing mostly telephone or Zoom calls for appointments and consultations. But, if you do need to come in for any reason, we will social distance and wear masks to protect you, as always.
Happy New Year! Stay healthy and happy!