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


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.

3 Things You Need to Know about the Law Offices of Barbara Katsos


Law Offices of Barbara Katsos pic

Law Offices of Barbara Katsos

At the Law Offices of Barbara H. Katsos P.C. in New York, NY, Barbara Katsos assists clients with a wide range of legal issues, including those related to estate planning. Listed here are three things that anyone interested in enlisting the professional services of Barbara Katsos and her team should know:

1. Along with estate planning, the firm’s attorneys offer services related to real estate matters, including property purchase and sale, leases, and co-ops and condominiums. Members of the team also have experience with family law and international business transactions.

2. Potential clients need to make an appointment to visit the firm. Individuals can schedule meetings with the attorneys by phoning, e-mailing, or submitting a message on the firm’s website at A staff member will return any phone calls within one business day.

3. The firm distinguishes itself from others by employing attorneys who will honestly assess client cases, regardless of whether the outcome is positive or negative.

Choosing a Guardian for Your Children


Choosing a Guardian pic

Choosing a Guardian

For more than two decades, Barbara Katsos has led the Law Offices of Barbara H. Katsos, PC, in New York, NY, as owner. In this capacity, she oversees all daily operations of the firm and works directly with clients dealing with real estate matters as well as estate planning needs such as guardianship.

Many parents struggle with choosing a guardian for their children. Unfortunately, if you do not nominate a guardian, the responsibility of deciding falls to the courts. Below are a few things to consider to help you choose the right guardian for your child or children:

Define your perfect parent. Try forgetting about specific people and focus on creating your idea of a perfect parent. Define the moral values, characteristics, and spirituality of your ideal parent, and lay out the practical skills they should possess. After you’ve defined your perfect parent, compare your options to this ideal to eliminate candidates who do not meet your desired qualities.

Think outside of family. It’s normal to think about having a sibling or parent become the guardian of your child, but immediate family is not the only option available. You can also consider your close friends. Your friends may share more similarities with you than your family does and, thus, be a more ideal choice.

Focus on love. Regardless of whether you choose a family member or friend, you want to make sure your child will be well-loved. Make sure your child will not be second place if your chosen guardian has children of their own and ensure your desired guardian has enough time to devote to raising a child. Further, if your son or daughter is already comfortable with someone, it may be easier for them to feel loved by a guardian.

How Living Trusts Differ From a Will

Will pic


At the Law Offices of Barbara H. Katsos, PC, in New York, NY, Barbara Katsos provides estate planning services including estate administration, probate proceedings, and estate taxes. She also creates wills and living trusts for her clients.

A living trust allows the grantor to state his or her wishes as to who will receive his or her assets in the event of death or incapacitation. Whereas a will is only effective after a person passes away and can only be enforced after going through probate, a living trust bypasses probate and allows the designated successor trustee to carry out the directions of the trust immediately in the event the grantor dies or becomes incapacitated.

Living trusts are set up as either a revocable or irrevocable trust. A revocable living trust allows the grantor to change the trust whenever he or she wants, while an irrevocable trust, once created, cannot be changed.

Understanding Living Trusts


Law Offices of Barbara Katsos pic

Law Offices of Barbara Katsos

Barbara Katsos helps clients set up living trusts and provides a range of other legal services through her New York practice, the Law Offices of Barbara Katsos. In preparation for her career as an attorney, Barbara Katsos enrolled at the University of the City of New York Law School, where she earned her juris doctor.

For people interested in preserving their wealth and passing it down to their heirs, a living trust represents a viable and increasingly popular estate-planning option. When people enter into such an arrangement, it means they create a legal document with instructions that their assets be put into a trust.

While living, the person that created the trust receives the benefits, but upon his or her passing, the assets will go to the beneficiaries named in the living trust document. Importantly, living trusts are revocable, meaning they can be modified or ended entirely any time the creator wishes.

Perhaps the most attractive feature of a living trust is that it permits people to avoid the probate process associated with traditional wills. Probate involves verification by the courts, meaning that estate documents and family affairs enter the public record. By avoiding probate, living trusts preserve the privacy of those involved.

What Is a Trust?

Law Offices of Barbara Katsos pic

Law Offices of Barbara Katsos

At the Law Offices of Barbara Katsos, Barbara Katsos represents New York clients in need of estate-planning guidance. Among her many legal services, Barbara Katsos sets up trusts, prepares wills, and conducts real estate transactions on behalf of her clients.

A common type of legal arrangement, trusts allow individuals to place their wealth in the hands of another person, persons, or set of institutions. These third parties are referred to as “trustees.” The trust’s creator can set its terms. People often rely on trusts to ensure that their wealth passes down to beneficiaries without the need to enter into probate.

Lawyers can set up many types of trusts, depending on the clients’ needs. For example, trust creators may elect to use a “generation-skipping trust” to ensure that their grandchildren receive their assets upon the their death without having to pay estate taxes. Another type, the “charitable lead trust,” divides heritable assets among charitable organizations and other beneficiaries.

Trusts can be revocable or irrevocable. The former means that the creator can modify the trust or even dissolve it entirely during the course of his or her lifetime. The creator of an irrevocable trust, on the other hand, cannot change it once it has been executed.