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Beneficiary Designation Forms: A Good Estate Plan Is Not Complete Without A Review Of These As Well

Now that you are finally getting around to having your Will prepared or updated, or even considering adding a Revocable Trust to your planning documents, it is also important to plan for those assets that are subject to a document commonly referred to as a beneficiary designation form.  Most commonly, my clients inquire: Doesn’t my Will take care of these assets as well?  The answer is “no.”  Although in some cases you may desire that those assets be directed to your estate so that they pass through your Will, or even a trust you have created, you must do something to make that happen.  That something is done through your beneficiary designation forms.  This is of the utmost importance because the assets that pass by beneficiary designation may very well comprise a large percentage of your total assets.

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Is your child driving for Uber? The nuts and bolts of ride-sharing and insurance coverage.

If you have a child who is still insured on your auto policy while they are away at College or beginning to transition out on their own, they may be tempted to make a few bucks by driving for one of these ride-share companies. If an accident occurs with serious injuries while your child is driving customers around, whose insurance policy will defend the lawsuit that will almost certainly follow? Most drivers are covered under personal auto policies (which likely include livery exclusions) and not commercial policies, which can cost up to 10 times the cost of a personal auto policy.

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For The Collectors Among Us

You may face an important gap in insurance coverage if you maintain a collection of items such as fine art, sports memorabilia, jewelry, guns, furs, antiques, stamps, coins, wine, dolls/toys, action figures or auto/movie memorabilia and rely on your homeowner’s policy to insure your collection. Without additional coverage, your collection will likely be lumped in with the remainder of your personal property if you experience a catastrophic loss due to fire, theft, etc.

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Don’t Trash That Evidence!

If you are a home or business owner and someone is injured on your property, your gut reaction is probably to fix or remove the dangerous condition that caused the accident as soon as possible. An uneven brick paver or pothole that causes someone to trip and fall; a bottle of cleaning solution with a defective cap that spills on someone; a product display with a sharp edge that lacerates a customer. These are all conditions which you, the conscientious property owner, will try to remedy as quickly as possible. In doing so, however, you may unwittingly compromise your defense position if future litigation ensues.

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To Shovel, or Not to Shovel

Winter is upon us in Central New York, complicating our morning commutes and creating more work for us each morning as we clean off our cars and shovel our driveways. Recently, in the City of Syracuse, clearing snow from sidewalks has become a hot button issue as the Common Council contemplated whether to impose fines on landowners who fail to shovel their walks. Syracuse city counsilors recently decided not to impose fines on residents who do not clear their sidewalks, but this doesn’t necessarily mean the issue will not come up again. So, what is your obligation as a homeowner to keep a public sidewalk that abuts your property free from snow and ice?

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The 411 on Construction Contract Insurance Provisions

Are you a business owner who is considering a physical expansion which may involve a construction project? If so, you will likely enter into a contract with the General Contractor (GC) or Construction Manager (CM) which you may believe provides you certain protections from potential personal injury claims from workers hurt on the project. You should be warned, however, that you may not have the protection you think you do. Below are some hazards you should be aware of when signing such a contract.

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Protecting Your Business from Construction Injury Claims

The owners of small businesses that provide general contracting or construction trade services know that workers’ compensation and commercial general liability insurance is expensive. Unless your company has also taken the steps discussed below, all the money spent for those policies may not fully protect your company in the event of a worksite personal injury claim.

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Someone Was Injured On My Property . . . Now What Do I Do?

Many people complain that our society has become obsessed with litigation. It seems as though everyone who gets hurt wants to sue, even if the accident was their own fault. You must be prepared in the event someone claims they were hurt on your property. If you ever find yourself the recipient of a complaint that someone was hurt at your business or on your property, here is a list of actions you should consider in New York.

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How Uninsured/Underinsured Insurance Could Help if Severely Injured in a Car Accident

Let’s say you get into a car accident and either you or someone in your family gets seriously injured as a result of the negligence of a driver operating a car that is insured with minimal limits of motor vehicle liability coverage.

One risk of getting into an accident with someone insured with minimal limits is that you will have access to severely limited funds. To avoid this situation, you should purchase sufficient uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on your own policy of motor vehicle insurance.

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