If you have a high deductible health plan with a Health Savings Account (“HSA”), the CARES Act permanently authorizes you to use HSA’s to purchase over-the-counter medication without a prescription. In addition, menstrual care products are finally treated as HSA eligible medical expenses. I suppose better late than never. Too bad it required a worldwide pandemic.
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, many people are trying to complete their last will and testament and health care proxy. A valid execution of these documents in New York must be witnessed by two people, which has been an impediment in the current social distancing environment. By Executive Order No. 202.14, New York State has facilitated this process by authorizing the the witnessing of wills and other documents required to be witnessed to be accomplished by videoconference. The requirements are similar to notarization.
1. The person requesting that their signature be witnessed, if not personally known to the witness(es), must present valid photo ID to the witness(es) during the video conference, not merely transmit it prior to or after;
2. The video conference must allow for direct interaction between the person and the witness(es), and the supervising attorney, if applicable (e.g. no pre-recorded videos of the person signing);
3. The witnesses must receive a legible copy of the signature page(s), which may be transmitted via fax or electronic means, on the same date that the pages are signed by the person;
4. The witness(es) may sign the transmitted copy of the signature page(s) and transmit the same back to the person; and
5. The witness(es) may repeat the witnessing of the original signature page(s) as of the date of execution provided the witness(es) receive such original signature pages together with the electronically witnessed copies within thirty days after the date of execution.
This should help people in this stressful time to take care of these urgent matters. If you have any questions, you should speak with an attorney.
Coronavirus Update: New York Clarifies Mortgage Forbearance Applies Does Not Apply To Commercial Mortgages
In Executive Order 202.9, Governor Cuomo ordered that New York licensed or regulated entities offer an opportunity “to any consumer in the State of New York an opportunity for a forbearance of payments for a mortgage for any person or entity facing a financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” On March 24, 2020, the New York State Department of Financial Services issued regulations (3 N.Y.C.R.R § 119) to implement the executive order. The new regulations clarify that 90-day forbearance relief applies only to residential mortgages, not commercial mortgages (3 N.Y.C.R.R § 119.3(k)).
In addition, the regulations direct that New York regulated banking organizations will eliminate ATM fees, overdraft fees, and credit card late payment fees. Banks are required to communicate broadly how to apply for such relief.
New York Governor Cuomo by Executive Order 202.8 (Executive Order 202.8) has tolled “any specific time limit for the commencement, filing, or service of any legal action, notice, motion, or other process or proceeding, as prescribed by the procedural laws of the state” from March 20 to April 19, 2020.
In the same order, the Governor suspended the expiration of drivers’ licenses and registrations through April 19, 2020, as well.
The requirement of in-person shareholders meetings for NY corporations has also been suspended for the same period.
There shall be no evictions or foreclosures (commercial or residential) for ninety days.
Interest and filing of sales tax returns due March 20, 2020 are also abated.
Pursuant to New York Executive Order 202.7, notarial acts in New York may be performed by video conference through April 18, 2020. In order to be valid, the following requirements must be satisfied:
- If the signatory is not known to the notary, valid identification must be presented in a live video conference (emailing ID before or after is not sufficient).
- The signatory must affirmatively represent that he or she is located in the state of New York at the time of the signing.
- A legible copy of the signed document must be sent on the same date of the signature.
- The notary may notarize and return the document to the signatory.
- The notary may repeat the notarization of the original signed document as of the date of original signature provided the notary receives the original and the electronically notarized copy within 30 days of the original signature.
Here is a link to the Executive Order:
Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking to members of the Financial Planning Association of Long Island. The topic was the duties of financial advisors — registered investment advisors and brokers — to their clients. The SEC has recently issued a new regulation imposing a “Best Interest” standard on registered representatives or brokers. That still leaves different standards governing registered investment advisors and traditional brokers, though it brings the standards closer. The presentation summarizes the relevant standards, including the FINRA “suitability” standard. We also discussed some recent regulatory changes designed to allow financial advisory firms to take action if the reasonably believe elder exploitation may be taking place.
The presentation slides are available at the link below and provide a good summary. If you have any questions, just reach out.
Statement on U.S. border policy from New York State Bar Association President Michael Miller
“The current policy of separating minor migrant children from their parents as part of U.S. border policy is cruel and heartless child abuse, it is inhumane, and it is un-American.
“Many of these children have already suffered and this policy imposes a completely avoidable trauma. Additionally, the forced separation of the children from their parents deprives both parent and child of reasonable due process and is a gross departure from the norms of a civilized society.
“The American Academy of Pediatrics has pointed out that by forcefully removing children from a parent or parents on whom they have relied throughout an arduous journey to the border, the U.S. government is engaging in child abuse that can result in irreparable harm with lifelong consequences.
“The American Medical Association has adopted a resolution opposing the practice of separating migrating children from their caregivers in the absence of immediate physical or emotional threats to the child’s well-being.
“The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has severely criticized the U.S. border policy of separating migrant minor children from their parents, calling such actions ‘unconscionable.’
“The New York State Bar Association calls upon the Trump administration to immediately cease this dangerous and inappropriate policy, which denies the children and their parents basic due process and potentially exposes the children to serious long-term harm.
“We also call upon our members to contact their representatives in the U.S. House and Senate with a simple message: Immediately enact legislation prohibiting the separation of children from their parents at the border, absent physical or emotional threats to the children’s well-being.”