As a member of the United States Army Reserve with three combat tours of duty to Iraq, Afghanistan and East Africa in support of the Global War against Terrorism I have experienced many of the legal issues facing Veterans and Military Families first hand. From closing on a VA home loan to secure the home of your family's dreams, to powers of attorney, wills, trusts, estate planning, and
exercising rights under SCRA and USERRA I have the experience needed to prevail on your behalf. If you would like to learn more, contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your needs and goals.
Purchasing a Home with VA Home Loan Guarantee
Purchasing a new home is an exciting yet stressful time. When exercising your VA benefits to secure a mortgage there are several issues unique to the process. It is important to hire an attorney that is aware of and has experience executing this type of purchase. A VA secured mortgage does not require you to purchase mortgage insurance or make a down payment. As such, the processing of a VA secured mortgage requires additional documents and inspections unique to these types of loans. Many real estate attorneys do not regularly handle this type of transaction and are unaware of the requirements. This could delay the process of securing your family's dream
home. In addition, many counties and certain school districts in New York State offer Veteran discounts on property and school taxes. It is important to file the required documents as close to the closing date to maximize this benefit.
Estate planning can be unique to military families. Generally, more attention is brought to the subject before an overseas assignment, but it is something that should be planned and addressed regularly as life changing events happen. For instance, you should think about and update your estate plan with the
birth of a new child, the purchase of a new home or other real property, or a change in family circumstances.
Military Families frequently move and some choose to purchase homes in the vicinity of each duty station, often different States than where they intend to retire. In essence, Military Families can accumulate real property and other forms of property throughout the United States. It is therefore extremely important to consult an attorney and plan for the distribution of property in various States. In addition, it is important to create the right type of trust to manage distribution of property to heirs who are minor children. You should consult us to develop a plan for longevity so that your heirs can benefit from your gifts. There are also tax consequences and benefits that may be beneficial to pursue gifting some property before death. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your individual plans and goals.
Living Wills / Healthcare Proxies / Powers of Attorney
Living Wills, Healthcare Proxies and Powers of Attorney are generally things that a lot of Military Families do not think of and are often overlooked. These instruments are generally inexpensive to create and worthwhile to give you peace of mind to know that your wishes are carried out if you become incapacitated.
A Living Will is a legal document in which you, as a competent adult, can state future health care wishes. It is used by people who want to express their feelings about withholding or withdrawing of life-sustaining treatments. Many persons want to make clear their objection to unwanted medical measures in advance. In contrast other persons wish to state that they favor administration of life-sustaining measures. In essence, the Living Will is intended to anticipate the situation where you may be in an incurable or an irreversible mental or physical condition with no reasonable expectation of recovery.
A Healthcare Proxy is a document that allows a competent adult to appoint another person as an "agent" to make decisions for you regarding your health care in the event you lose your decision-making capacity or the ability to understand and appreciate the nature and consequences of health care decisions. The Proxy can be general and apply to all medical decision, or it can impose limitations and spell out specific instructions. Some States may limit its applicability in certain situations. Therefore, it is essential to contact an attorney to write and execute this document on your behalf.
Powers of Attorney
Military Families often need powers of attorney to complete transactions (i.e., purchase a home, a car, or handle financial transactions) when a member of the military is deployed overseas and is otherwise unavailable to sign and complete the necessary documents. On my three (3) deployments, my family and I needed powers of attorney to handle matters. Often time it is not thought of until the service member is overseas and the lack of communication and access to mail can complicate the process. Therefore, it is important to consult an attorney to create these documents well in advance of overseas assignments. There are four (4) general types of powers of attorney: (1) a general power of attorney; (2) a limited power of attorney; (3) a durable power of attorney; and (4) a healthcare proxy. It is seldom recommended to execute a general power of attorney because it provides unlimited ability for your agent to act on your behalf. It is revered today and most banks and financial institutions will not accept a general power of attorney. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss how we may help you meet your needs.
Uniformed Service Members Employment and Re-employment Rights Act (USERRA)
In addition, we offer compliance services to employers of Reserve and National Guard Soldiers. Today we are in a period of sustained conflict and war. Since 2001 an unprecedented number of Reserve and Guard Soldiers have been activated and mobilized to defend our Nation. Most employers are patriotic and are trying to support the national defense, however, it would be naive to say that employers are not strained by the frequency and duration their employees are unavailable for work. It is very important for employers to be aware of protections under
USERRA as a violation can be costly. Our practice offers USERRA policy compliance packages and information briefs for employers. We are also prepared to represent employers and defend against grievances. We strongly belief that employers are trying to do the right thing, a lot of times they just do not know what the law requires. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss what services are best for your business practice.
Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA)
The SCRA provides active duty, reservists and members of the National Guard and their families certain legal and financial protections while on active duty. It is extremely important to contact an attorney if you are having an issue exercising your rights under the SCRA. The SCRA makes certain rights available conditional upon whether your ability to meet certain obligations are "materially affected" by military service. Whether you are "materially affected" can mean different things in different situations. Be careful because it is possible to waive your rights under the SCRA. Often times creditors will place an SCRA waiver into lease agreements and transactional documents. Generally, only written waivers signed during or after a service members's period of service are effective. If you sign a waiver of your SCRA rights before you enter
military service, the waiver should be invalidated. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Common SCRA Rights
- Interest rate reduction to 6 % for debts incurred before entering active duty
- Postponement of foreclosures
- Deferred income taxes
- Eviction prevention
- Protection against default judgments
- Postponed civil court matters
- Termination of residential lease agreements
- Termination of automobile leases
- Life insurance coverage protection
- Termination of phone services
Let us put our experience and passion for the law to work for you! Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal needs and goals. We offer evening appointments flexible around your schedule and take payment by credit card, cash and/ or check.