For years before marriage equality laws were passed, Ron was a leading practitioner in the specialized estate planning that was needed for same-sex couples who were unable to marry, or whose marriages were not recognized nationwide. Our mailing to celebrate the most recent Supreme Court victory went out to nearly 100 same-sex couples whom we helped over the years to arrange plans for their best protection.
Ron was a member of the LGBT Rights Committee of the New York City Bar Association for four years, during which time he organized professional forums on LGBT legal matters and drafted official comments on federal rule-making procedures for hospital visitation by same-sex couples. Ron’s knowledge and leadership in these maters have been sought out in the media for radio interviews and newspaper articles, as shown here. In particular, the front-page feature “The High Price of Being a Gay Couple” (New York Times, October 3, 2009) grew from Ron’s discussions with the Times’s personal-finance reporter. Ron was also a co-author of the book “Marriage, Civil Unions and Alternative Relationships: The Law Today” (Thomson-Reuters, 2013).
Ron has successfully challenged the system and won great results for clients who would otherwise have been left out of their partners’ estates. In one case we were able to recover a deceased spouse’s pension fund for his surviving husband. In another, we enabled a client to retain the home that he had made with his late partner, fighting for nearly five years when the deceased partner’s family laid claim to it.
Happily, many of these fights and special solutions are no longer needed. But while the laws have changed, the problems have not all disappeared – we are still here to serve the LGBT community in its special challenges.
The purchase of a home is often the soundest investment of a lifetime. But increasingly, as we age, our home can become a repository of illiquid wealth, while our liquid cashflow is limited. For some homes, a reverse mortgage can allow the owner to tap into this equity to enhance retirement income. But for properties of high value, and for coop apartments, such as those often owned in New York City, reverse mortgages are not permitted by law.
We are developing a novel solution for the partial sale of the home, which would allow the owner to remain securely in his or her home for life, while also providing a substantial cash infusion to enhance the owner’s material comfort and security in retirement. A form of this structure has been used for many years in Europe, but is novel to the New York market. As such, it remains subject to the approval and requirements of any individual coop board.
This solution combines this firm’s deep skills in both estate matters and real estate matters, in a comprehensive and highly customized planning exercise. We work together with financial advisors; elder-care advisors; accessible-design consultants; advisors for health, life and long-term care insurance; and real estate professionals to develop a customized plan for the individual owner.
We believe that this innovative structure will be life-changing for many home-owning seniors. We look forward to discussing how it can work for you.