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October 2011 Archives

Staten Island Native Awaits Permanent Appointment of Appellate Division Judgeship by Governor Cuomo

Due to changes in personnel in the Appellate Division, the second highest court in New York State, Staten Islander, State Supreme Court Justice William F. Mastro, has been named acting presiding justice of the Appellate Division's Second Department. Justice Mastro, a Democrat from Randall Manor, is now the senior judge in the Second Department, and one of the highest ranking jurists ever from Staten Island. It is now up to Governor Cuomo to decide whether to make the appointment permanent, which many believe would be a feather in the cap of the Island Democratic Party.

Expanded Estate Recovery

How does one define their estate? On April 1, 2011 the New York State Legislature has answered the question. Subdivision 6 of section 369 of the Social Services Law of New York has been amended to define an individual's estate as "all of an individual's real and personal property and other assets passing under the terms of a valid will or intestacy." The New York State Commissioner has also adopted regulations which expand ones estate to include any other property in which the individual has any retained life estates and interests in trusts, to the extent of such interests.

Bankruptcy News

Filing for personal bankruptcy has become increasingly dangerous for those living in the Southern District of New York. Recent case law may surprise many New Yorkers who call cooperative apartments home. Prior to these recent decisions, when one would file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy his/her individual property would become part of the estate owned by the Bankruptcy Trustee. Now, however, in addition to having the property become part of the estate, one may lose the property all together.

Depression and Social Security Benefits

Americans' suffering from depression may now be eligible for Social Security Disability ("SSD") benefits. Typically, Social Security Disability benefits are awarded to individuals who cannot work because of a medical condition that is expected to last one year or result in death. Now, however, Americans who suffer from at least five (5) of the specified symptoms of depression every day for at least two weeks may now be eligible for SSD.

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