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What is Spear phishing?

Spear phishing scams target business professionals in order to steal their account credentials or install
malicious software. Thieves can then steal client data and the professional’s identity. They particularly like
to use the identity of tax professionals to file fraudulent tax returns for refunds.

Business professional can use these tips to help protect client data:

  • Use separate personal and business email accounts
  • Protect email accounts with strong passwords and two-factor authentication
  • Install an anti-phishing toolbar to help identify known phishing sites
  • Use security software products with anti-phishing tools
  • Use security software to help protect systems from malware and scan emails for viruses
  • Never open or download attachments from unknown senders, including potential clients, request
    additional information to help verify their identity or call them to confirm the email is from them
  • Send password-protected and encrypted documents only
  • Don’t respond to suspicious or unknown emails; if the phishing email is IRS-related, save the
    email as a file, attach that file to an email, and send to phishing@irs.gov

At what age should I collect Social Security benefits?

You can begin receiving Social Security as early as age 62 but at a lower rate than at your full retirement age .

When you reach full retirement age per the chart below you are entitled to 100% of your benefits has calculated from your lifetime earnings.

  • If you begin collecting Social Security at the maximum age (70 years): Your full retirement benefit will be 32% larger than if you began collection at your full retirement age. The approximate “breakeven point” is age 82, meaning if you live past the age of 82 you’ll wind up collecting more money by waiting until age 70 to collect your maximum benefits as opposed to taking your benefits at full retirement age.
  • Postponing collection of your Social Security retirement benefits: Can provide your spouse with a higher survivor’s benefit.

Everyone’s situation is unique so make sure to consult with a professional before you decide when to start taking Social Security benefits.

Looking for senior housing in New York State?

Finding the right type of senior housing and care often causes stress and confusion, and can be time-consuming. SeniorHousingNet.com provides a very helpful resource guide to finding the right type of senior housing for you or a loved one:

https://www.seniorhousingnet.com/seniors/senior-living-us/new-york

Paying for Assisted Living & Home Care in New York

Cost of Assisted Living in Rochester, New York

DIVORCE – DIVISION OF MARITAL ASSETS – PENSIONS

DIVORCE – DIVISION OF MARITAL PROPERTY – RETIREMENT ASSETS

In the State of New York, unless there is a prenuptial agreement in place, from the moment you say “I do” any assets accumulated during the marriage are considered marital property, no matter who is responsible for accumulating the assets or how there are titled.1 This includes pensions, IRA’s, 401(k)’s, 403B’s and similar retirement assets.

There are certain exceptions to this rule. For example, if one receives an inheritance during the marriage and keeps its separate this is not considered marital property.

When couples get divorced, each spouse is often entitled to a portion of the pension of the other spouse. For example, if the wife (pensioned spouse) worked as a teacher in a public school, and received a New York State pension as a benefit of employment, the husband (non-pensioned spouse) would be entitled to a portion of it.

How much is the non-pensioned spouse actually entitled to? Simply stated, the non-pensioned spouse is entitled to a percentage of the pension equal to ½ of the pension benefit that accrued while the parties were married. As you can imagine, figuring out exactly how much the non-pensioned spouse is entitled to requires the utilization of a mathematical formula.

Preparing the document which divides the pension typically comes at the end of the divorce process, whether the case goes to a trial or is settled between the parties.

When a divorce case ends a Judgement of Divorce is signed by the judge and entered with the clerk of the court. If the parties settled the case between themselves, the Judgment of Divorce is usually accompanied by a Stipulation of Settlement.

Then another court order, called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) or Domestic Relations Order (DRO), must be prepared by your attorney, approved by the applicable pension administrator, signed by the Court and ultimately filed with the pension fund.

This Order relates solely to the division of each spouse’s pension or other retirement assets. (The Judgment of Divorce is the document which officially and legally proves you are divorced, and is signed before the QDRO or DRO is finalized).

The guiding principle in the preparation of this document is that each spouse is entitled to 50% of the pension benefits of the other spouse that accrued during the time of the marriage.

Here is the basic formula:

                Number of months of the marriage

50% x      —————————————-

                Number of months the pensioned spouse was employed

The longer the pensioned spouse was accruing pension time before the marriage and the longer the pensioned spouse works after the date the summons and complaint was filed,2 the smaller the percentage of the non-pensioned spouse receives when the pension attains “pay-out” status. It should be noted that the cutoff date for computing the length of the marriage is typically the date the divorce action, (the filing of the summons and complaint) was filed with the clerk of the court.

Generally, the date used in determining the end of the accrual of the non-pensioned spouse’s property rights is the date the summons and complaint is filed, but that is not always the case.

Often, pension plans will only implement the language of a QDRO or DRO that complies with a certain format. Because of this, as well as the difficulty in factoring in market values and other variables, the QDRO or DRO is usually prepared by a person who specializes in drafting these orders under the guidance of the attorneys for the parties, and with the approval of the pension plan administrator.

Once the QDRO or DRO is prepared, pre-approved by the fund, and signed by the court it is filed with the administrator of the pension fund. The fund administrator is then compelled to implement the language of the order and divide pension between the parties accordingly. Once the order is filed spouse never worked for the company has a property right in that company’s pension fund.

One should always seek alternatives prior to getting divorced but if you truly believe that you have no alternative and that your marriage needs to be dissolved, please let us help you.

Call us today! We are knowledgeable, helpful and will always act in your best interests.

CARES ACT PROVISIONS RELATED TO RETIREMENT PLANS

• Affected retirement plans

i. IRA’s

ii. 401(a) Plans

iii 401(k) Plans

iii. 403(b) Plans

• An otherwise premature distribution of up to $100,000.00 can be made if:

i. The individual was diagnosed with COVID-19; or

ii. The individual’s spouse was diagnosed with COVID-19; and

iii. The individual has experience- adverse financial consequences due to COVID-19

• With respect to COVID-19 related distributions

i. 10% penalty tax on the early distribution is waived

ii. One can allocate the taxable portion of the distribution over a three-year period

iii. The distribution is not subject to the 20% mandatory federal withholding tax.

iv. The COVID-19 distribution can be repaid within 3 years from the date of receipt..

• One has 180 days beginning on March 27, 2020 to take a loan which is capped at $100,000 less the value of any other outstanding loans.

• Required Minimum Distributions (RMD’s) are waived for 2020, including those that must be taken before April 1, 2020 but only to the extent not distributed before January 1, 2020

WHAT IS “NO-FAULT” INSURANCE?

AUTO –ACCIDENTS -WHAT IS “NO-FAULT” INSURANCE?

If you are injured in a car accident who pays your medical bills?

Believe it or not, your medical insurance carrier does not have the primary responsibility to pay your medical bills for injuries sustained in an automobile accident – The applicable automobile insurance carrier does.

But remember, if your injuries or above a certain threshold you can still sue the person who cause your injuries for money damages above what the applicable automobile insurance carrier provides.

In New York State each automobile insurance policy must provide coverage known as Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) and typically referred to a “No-Fault” insurance. Medical bills, some or all of the injured party’s lost wages and other expenses are paid from this portion of the policy, whether or not the injured party caused the accident.

So if were in a car accident driving your own vehicle and you are injured as a result of another person’s negligence, the no-fault portion of your automobile insurance policy will cover your medical bills to the extent that you have coverage. If your coverage runs out other insurance will kick in.

The New York State Insurance Law, requires that all automobile insurance policies issued in this state contain a Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) or “No-Fault” endorsement with a minimum of $50,000.00 in coverage. Generally speaking, this coverage extends to the driver and passengers in a covered vehicle, as well as to a pedestrian struck by the covered vehicle.

The coverage “kicks in” regardless of fault in connection with an accident; under most circumstances, a covered individual will be afforded certain enumerated benefits regardless of that individual’s fault in connection with the happening of the accident.

Assuming an application for benefits is filed in a timely manner, (most typically within 30 days of the accident), no-fault benefits are provided. This insurance covers “basic economic loss”.

These benefits can be summarized as follows:

a. All necessary doctor and hospital bills and other health service provider and related expenses;

b. 80% of lost earnings up to $2,000 per month for a period of three years following the accident;

c. Up to $25 per day reimbursement for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred by the injured person (e.g. housekeeping, transportation for medical services), for a period of up to one year; and

d. $2,000 death benefit to the estate of a deceased, in addition to coverage for economic loss.

Drivers have the option of purchasing additional no-fault coverage above the $50,000.00 basic PIP minimum. These additional optional coverage options are called additional personal injury protection (“APIP”) and optional basic economic loss (“OBEL”). More often than not, the cost to purchase these additional coverage options is minimal.

It is highly recommended that all those purchasing automobile insurance purchase the most APIP that is available to them.

APIP coverage is typically offered in increments of $50,000.00. APIP can extend the basic economic loss benefits of PIP up to the amount of the additional coverage purchased.

There are different varieties of APIP coverage available. APIP protection may be purchased for lost wages, medical expenses or additional expenses. In connection with lost wages, for example, APIP coverage allows you to increase the PIP $2,000.00 reimbursement limit to cover your monthly salary. In other words, if you earn $2,500.00 per month, APIP will increase your lost wage earnings benefit to cover your lost salary. If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident and are unable to work, APIP will cover 80% of $2,500, but the underlying no-fault policy will pay the first $2,000. The amount beyond the basic PIP limits would be paid under APIP. Without APIP, the lost wage coverage under basic PIP would be limited to $2,000 per month.

Under New York State law, any APIP benefits which are actually paid to you (i.e. those basic economic loss benefits paid in excess of the $50,000 basic PIP coverage) may need to be repaid to the insurance carrier if you have a successful personal injury claim against the person who caused the accident.

OBEL coverage is a policy option that provides $25,000 additional coverage, beyond the $50,000 PIP coverage. Under OBEL, when the policy is written, the policy holder determines where the payments go. For example, the policy holder can opt for additional basic economic loss (wages, health expenses). A second option would be to have the benefits go to lost wages exclusively. A third option would be to have the coverage to go to any rehabilitation that is necessary including psychiatric, occupational and physical rehabilitation. A final option allows the policy holder the choice of selecting both the second and third options combined. In any event, this coverage comes into play after the initial $50,000 of basic economic loss coverage is exhausted.

Most people are unaware that they have PIP coverage, let alone that they can buy additional coverage. $50,000.00 sounds like a lot of money but it can be depleted very quickly in the event of an injury that requires hospitalization and/or surgical intervention. The additional APIP and OBEL benefits are a good value for the consumer and their purchase should be discussed with your insurance company or insurance agent.

If you still have medical expenses after your No-Fault benefits expire or are terminated, your health insurance carrier should step in and pay those costs pursuant to the terms of your health insurance contract. However, your health insurance carrier may, under some circumstances, have a lien against any funds you recover from a personal injury law suit that you commence relating to the accident that caused your injury. More importantly, when you utilize PIP and APIP instead of your health insurance you do not have to worry about co-pays and deductibles when seeking medical care.

If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident and are employed, you should also determine whether you are covered by a separate disability policy through your employer. If this is the case you should contact the disability carrier and complete an application for those benefits, which would supplement your No-Fault disability benefits. Without a separate disability policy, you can no longer collect lost wages once your No-Fault benefits expire or are terminated, though you can claim them as damages in any personal injury law suit you may file as a result of the automobile accident.

Finally, if you are injured while driving your vehicle during the course of your employment (i.e. “while on the clock”), New York State Law provides that you look to your company’s Workers Compensation carrier for benefits, not to your no-fault insurance carrier.

If you are injured in a car accident don’t delay: make sure you get immediate medical attention then contact us to find out how we can help you protect your legal rights.

914-964-6806 or marralaw@marralaw.com.