As we enter the new year, the number of Americans who rely on electronic devices and online accounts in their everyday life has never been higher, and it continues to rise! Many of us own assets that exist only in electronic form or are stored on electronic devices, including online banking accounts and social media accounts. Consequently, we have to ask ourselves - what happens if we can’t access our accounts because we are incapacitated, or if we die?
We are a week or so into the Paid Family Leave era in New York, and several questions have popped up frequently from clients, including:
On December 22, 2017, President Trump signed into law a tax bill with sweeping legislative tax reform. The 2017 Tax Bill doubles the federal estate and gift tax exemption for estates of decedents dying and gifts made after Dec. 31, 2017, and before Jan. 1, 2026. For 2018, the federal exemption amount per individual will be $11.2 million. Conversely, the 2018 New York exemption amount per individual will be only $5,250,000.
A group of bipartisan lawmakers has introduced a bill, Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Harassment Act of 2017, that would make it illegal for companies to enforce contractual terms that force employees to arbitrate their sexual harassment or gender discrimination claims rather than take such claims to court. Advocates of the bill say forced arbitration only protects the bad actor rather than the victim. The arbitration process usually allows the employer and the bad actor to keep the harassment or discrimination much more private than is possible in a court case.
On December 22, 2017, President Trump signed into law a tax bill with sweeping legislative tax reform, with one such change limiting the deduction for property and all other state and local taxes to a maximum of $10,000.
There are finally signs of change at the National Labor Relations Board. In the beginning of December, the New General Counsel (GC) Peter Robb, a former employer-side attorney, sent a memorandum to all regional offices signaling that pro-employer changes are on the horizon.
One of the last things a young couple is thinking about when starting a family is planning for their loved ones in the event of a tragedy. Since planning for one’s disability or death is not a topic many people are comfortable discussing, they tend to put off their estate planning. Many times this results in individuals never implementing a proper estate plan. Families with young children must consider who will act as a guardian for their minor children in the event both parents unexpectedly pass away. This can be a very difficult decision for parents, as it is impossible to imagine an
To employers, managers, employees and everyone else in the workplace:
Surely most have heard about the many celebrities who have recently been accused of, and/or admitted to, serious acts of sexual harassment. Some of these acts were so extreme and outrageous, or occurred in places like Hollywood, that it might be easy to forget that the law prohibits severe and pervasive sex-related conduct in all New York workplaces with at least four employees.
The IRS has announced the retirement plan contribution limits for 2018. Highlighted below are some of those limits. For more detailed guidance, please see IRS Notice 2017-64.
The end of the year is approaching quickly, and most employers are likely preparing to issue performance reviews to their employees. It is important to remember to encourage supervisors to be specific and accurate in their evaluations.