Commercial Real Estate Law: the Basics and Beyond


Law Offices of Barbara Katsos pic

Law Offices of Barbara Katsos

Barbara Katsos serves as the principal attorney at the Law Offices of Barbara H. Katsos in New York, NY,. Ms. Katsos maintains membership in the New York City Bar Association, which administers programs that offer continuing legal education (CLE) credits.

Upcoming New York City Bar Association programs include Commercial Real Estate Law: The Basics and Beyond. The program broadens the understanding of commercial real estate transactions and addresses pertinent topics such as contract information, due diligence investigations, and title and survey issues.

Completion of the program grants three CLE credits to participants. Legal practitioners unable to attend can sign up for a live webcast version. The program will take place on the evening of May 7, 2018, at the New York City Bar Association.


Signs You Should Refinance Your Mortgage


Law Offices of Barbara Katsos pic

Law Offices of Barbara Katsos

Barbara Katsos, attorney and owner of the Law Offices of Barbara H. Katsos, PC, in New York, NY, has been practicing law for more than 20 years. During this time, Barbara Katsos has focused much of her work on estate planning and real estate matters, including leases, buying and selling a home, and refinancing a mortgage.

Below are several signs you should refinance your mortgage:

Your credit score has improved: Rebuilding your credit can be a long process, but improving your credit score can grant you lower mortgage rates. The lowest rates are usually reserved for people with a score above 700, but you may still get lower rates with a score between 600 and 700.

You have an ARM: ARMs, or adjustable rate mortgages, feature interest rates that rise or lower depending on market conditions. This can help you pay less each month at first, but your payments may skyrocket once the ARM adjusts. If you are worried about this adjustment, look into switching to a fixed-rate mortgage.

Current interest rates are lower: Over time, interest rates change due to market changes. However, this may cause your interest rates to be higher than the current rates. Refinancing your mortgage lets you take advantage of lower interest rates and can save you thousands of dollars.

Your income has increased: An increase in income can help you pay off your mortgage in a shorter amount of time. Unfortunately, you may be stuck in a 30-year mortgage due to your prior financial situation. If this is the case, consider switching your mortgage to a 15-year terms. This will increase your monthly payments, but it will also lower the total amount of interest you pay

Estate Taxes in New York


Law Offices of Barbara H. Katsos pic

Law Offices of Barbara H. Katsos

Barbara Katsos has practiced law in New York for more than 20 years. The owner of the Law Offices of Barbara H. Katsos in New York, NY, she manages firm operations and works directly with clients. Through her office, Dr. Katsos and her team handle cases involving trusts, wills, and estate matters, such as estate taxes.

In the State of New York, a person’s property is eligible to be taxed if their total estate exceeds $5.25 million. This amount is scheduled to increase in 2019, at which point it will match the federal requirement of exceeding $5.49 million to be eligible for taxation.

When calculating this amount, the state takes into consideration a person’s real estate, cars, cash, bank accounts, and securities. If any of this property is jointly owned, the state still counts 100 percent of its value when calculating estate sizes. Further, depending on how they’ve been structured, the death benefit of a life insurance policy may also be taxable.

The estate tax rate in New York is lower than the federal estate tax rate. At the federal level, qualifying estates are taxed at a 40 percent rate. This drops to between 5 percent and 16 percent at the state level. However, unlike some states that only tax the amount that is over the exempt amount, New York taxes the entire value. As a result, the actual tax may seem higher despite the lower rate.

Further, estates are subject to both a state and federal taxes if they are above the exemption amounts. The federal government may allow estates to deduct state taxes from the federal tax.

Attorney Katsos Successfully Appeals Mortgage Fraud Case


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Law Offices of Barbara Katsos

As the owner of The Law Offices of Barbara Katsos in New York, NY, Barbara H. Katsos represents clients in a broad range of real estate matters. In 2009, Dr. Katsos represented an appellant in a complex case that business ethics textbooks have cited as an example of fraudulent inducement.

In 2009, defendant-appellant Radiah K. Givens filed an appeal against plaintiff-respondent Joseph I. Rosenzweig in a matter related to a claim to foreclose on mortgages. Plaintiff Rosenzweig had issued mortgages to Ms. Givens. However, at the time this occurred, the two had been in a romantic relationship.

Mr. Rosenzweig, the elder in the couple by 19 years, had provided the 10-percent down payment on the property and hired a friend to represent both parties at the closing. At the time, Mr. Rosenzweig was married with children, a fact unknown to Ms. Givens.

Nearly two years later, Ms. Givens and Mr. Rosenzweig married in Jamaica, although he was still married to his first wife. Ms. Givens ultimately learned of her husband’s duplicity, and her marriage to him was annulled in 2007.

Mr. Rosenzweig had been paying all money on Ms. Givens’ mortgage. As soon as Ms. Givens discovered Rosenzweig’s bigamy, however, he began asking her for mortgage payments and ultimately took her to court. The original order of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, New York County, granted summary judgment to the plaintiff Rosenzweig, dismissed the defendant’s counterclaims and affirmative defenses and denied her request for punitive damages.

Defendant Givens appealed the decision, at which time Justice Karla Moskowitz elected to modify the original order and deny summary judgment. The court upheld Givens’ counterclaims of fraudulent inducement to marry and deceit in drawing her into mortgage agreements. Justice Moskowitz also noted that since business arrangements between spouses necessitate fiduciary relationships and complete good faith, the court should not have dismissed Givens’ claims prior to discovery.

Four Considerations When Choosing a Power of Attorney


Law Offices of Barbara Katsos pic

Law Offices of Barbara Katsos

The owner of the Law Offices of Barbara H. Katsos P.C. in New York, NY, Barbara Katsos focuses much of her work around trusts, estate planning, and wills. Possessing more than two decades of experience, Dr. Katsos is familiar with all aspects of estate planning, such as powers of attorney.

A power of attorney appoints someone to handle your financial and legal affairs in the event you are unable to do so. Following are four things to consider when choosing a person to appoint as your power of attorney:

1. Trust. One of the biggest factors involved in selecting a power of attorney is trust. You must trust the person that you choose and firmly believe that he or she will have your best interests at heart. The person you select also should understand your values.

2. Qualifications. Ideally, you will select a power of attorney who has some experience with financial and legal affairs and who is capable of using sound judgment to make decisions. Since not every person may be familiar with every aspect of your life, you may want to appoint multiple powers of attorney.

3. Age and location. This may seem unimportant, but you want someone who is accessible as your power of attorney. For this reason, you should focus on finding a candidate who lives in the same city or town as you. You also need a person who is unlikely to pass away before you do.

4. Family dynamics. You don’t have to choose a family member as your power of attorney. In fact, it’s best not to in some situations. If your family members disagree with one another, choose a neutral person outside of the family. Further, consider the fact that appointing a family member can cause jealousy among other family members.

An Overview of Leases in New York


Requirements for Lease Termination with Cause in New York


Law Offices of Barbara Katsos pic

Law Offices of Barbara Katsos

As owner of the Law Offices of Barbara Katsos in New York, NY, Barbara Katsos handles a variety of real estate matters. Ms. Katsos draws on an in-depth understanding of tenant law, including eviction requirements, and has represented both tenants and landlords.

In the State of New York, a landlord may not legally evict a tenant without cause. However, if the tenant has neglected to pay rent or has violated another term of the lease, the landlord may start eviction proceedings.

If the cause is non-payment of rent, the landlord must first present the tenant with a three-day notice to pay or vacate the premises. If the tenant does not pay the amount due in full within three days, the landlord may file a Petition and Notice of Petition. This specifies the reason for eviction and the date of the court hearing.

If the lease violation is of another nature, the landlord must first issue a Notice to Cure. This tells the tenant that he or she has 10 days to resolve the violation.

If the tenant fails to fix the issue named in the Notice to Cure, the landlord may issue a Notice of Termination. This gives the tenant 30 days to vacate the unit. If the tenant remains after 30 days, the landlord has the legal right to file the Petition and Notice of Petition.

Like petitions issued for nonpayment of rent, a petition for lease violation leads to a court hearing, where the landlord must present proof of the violation. If the judge finds on the landlord’s behalf, the judge may specify a period of time within which the tenant must rectify the issue. This is typically five days in the case of rent nonpayment, though other violations may call for different terms.

Should the tenant fail to resolve the issue within the specified time, the landlord may secure a Warrant of Eviction. This allows the city marshal to serve a 72-hour notice on the tenant. If the tenant does not vacate the premises within this time, the marshal may forcibly remove him or her.