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consequences of social media

Consequences of Social Media When Involved in a Lawsuit

You must know the consequences of social media when you are involved in a lawsuit. When you are involved in a lawsuit of any type, whether it is a personal injury case, divorce, or settling your parent’s estate, it is essential to understand the reality of our current social media driven world: your social media presence may have an adverse impact on your case.

In this day and age, social media platforms have transformed how people interact. Individuals use Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube and LinkedIn, to name a few, to connect with family, friends, and the world at large. Through the use of social media, anyone can obtain information about another individual in a matter of seconds. Just “Google” yourself and you will be surprised to find what pops up.

One of the drawbacks of social media is that once you post something, it stays forever, even when you think it is gone. You may delete a posting, but that does not mean that someone has not already taken a “screenshot” or the social media platform may keep internal record of deleted posts, pages and pictures.

In today’s legal world, defense attorneys, adverse parties and insurance adjusters, to name a few, will more than likely search your social media accounts. Information obtained from social media platforms can be used as defenses to undermine your legal issue. Know the consequences of social media use!

In order to adequately protect you and your legal case, it is this author’s recommendation to our clients to adhere to the following social media basics while involved in a lawsuit:
1. Temporarily Deactivate Your Social Media Accounts
2. Do Not Send Texts or E-Mails to Anyone About Your Legal Case, except to your attorney
3. Be Alert: If you receive a “Friend Request” and do not know the person, do not accept the friend request.
4. If you Choose to Maintain a Social Media Presence – Proceed with the Utmost Care:
– Do not post anything pertaining to your legal issue
– Do not post any personal information, including photos or videos
– Do not participate in blogs, message boards, or volunteer information to the like regarding your personal experience or legal issue

The upshot of this article – be aware of the consequences of social media use. If you are involved in a legal issue, what you post online, for better or for worse, is public information available to all. Should you have any questions or concerns about the consequences of social media platforms, we encourage you to contact your attorney for legal advice.

Life Estate: Who Pays What?

This article provides a simple overview of the responsibilities of a life tenant in regards to a life estate. The information contained herein should not be relied upon for legal advice and an attorney should be considered when dealing with issues concerning life estates.

In New Jersey, the life tenant is solely responsible for the payment of the real estate taxes for a life estate. This has been confirmed in case law that a life tenant is ordinarily required to pay taxes and pay interest on the mortgage. Kruse v. Meissner, 136 N.J. Eq. 209 (1945). See also N.J.S.A. 2A: 65-2. It has also been held in Tichenor v. Mechanics & Metals Nat. Bank of City of New York, 96 N.J. Eq. 560 (1924), that a life tenant must pay the taxes.

Additionally, a life tenant must maintain the property. This issue has been addressed many times through New Jersey case law, although the cases are somewhat dated. It is settled law in New Jersey that a life tenant is a trustee for the benefit of the remainderman. Trafton v. Bainbridge, 126 N.J. Eq. 448 (1939). As such, the life tenant has the duty to keep the property in as good repair as when the estate began, not excepting ordinary wear and tear. Burlington County Trust Co. v. Kingsland, 18 N.J. Super. 223 (1952). A life tenant, however, is not required to make extraordinary repairs. Savings Investment & Trust Co. v. Little, 135 N.J. Eq. 546 (1944). A life tenant must make such ordinary repairs as are necessary to preserve the property from decay. He is not bound to expend extraordinary sums for that purpose. Savings Investment & Trust Company v. Little at 550 and 551. Simply put, a life tenant cannot commit waste on or of the property.

When a life tenant neglects to pay taxes and fails to make necessary repairs, he is guilty of permissive waste. Woolston v. Pullen, 88 N.J. Eq. 35 (1917). Permissive waste is defined as that kind of waste which is a matter of omission only, as by suffering a house to fall for want of necessary reparations. Black’s Law Dictionary, 5th Edition (1979). Additionally, New Jersey Statute, N.J.S.A. 2A: 65-2 states, “no tenant in dower or curtesy or for life, years or any term, shall during the term, make or suffer any waste, sale or destruction of any property belonging to the tenements demised, without special license in writing.” Further, New Jersey Statute, N.J.S.A. 2A: 65-3 provides, “a civil action may be maintained in the superior court against the tenant, and upon a finding that waste has been committed, treble damages shall be assessed or granted, and the defendant shall lose the things or place wasted.” Treble damages are defined as damages given by statute in certain cases, consisting of the single damages found by the jury, actually tripled in amount. Black’s Law Dictionary, 5th Edition (1979).

With regard to any homeowner’s insurance payments, the general rule is that the tenant for life and the remainderman pay insurance for their respective interests. Kearney v. Kearney, 17 N.J. Eq. 59 (1864).

Final Rules on Capital Gains

The Internal Revenue Service has issued its final rules on the capital gains tax exclusion that is available on the sale of a taxpayer’s principal residence. A taxpayer may exclude up to $250,000 from the sale of a principal residence, and the exclusion doubles to $500,000 for married taxpayers. However, the taxpayer must have owned and used the property as a principal residence for a total of at least two of the five years before the residence is sold.Puff & Cockerill LLC, Puff, Puff Law, Cockerill, New Jersey, Woodbury, Personal Injury, Municipal Court/Drunk Driving, Family Law, Bankruptcy, Landlord’s Rights, Collections, Estate Planning & Wills, Business Law, Zoning, Real Estate, Worker’s Compensation, Medical Malpractice, Sexual Harassment, Nursing Home Negligence, Statutes of Limitation, Domestic Violence, Consumer Law, Internet/Web Law, Gloucester County, New Jersey,law firm, patent law firm, law firm marketing, law firm software, law firm, law firm, law firm internet marketing, lawyer and law firm, law firm web site, personal injury law firm, top law firm, law firm new york, denver law firm, litigation law firm, attorney law firm

The final rules focus on the part of the Internal Revenue Code that allows a tax payer who fails to meet the above condition to still have an exclusion in a reduced amount. There are three grounds for claiming a reduced exclusion: change in employment, health, and unforeseen circumstances. For each of these grounds, the regulations provide a general definition and one or more “safe harbors” specific reasons for the sale of the residence. If the safe harbor for a particular ground applies, a sale (or exchange) is deemed to be “by reason of” that ground. If no safe harbor applies, the taxpayer still can claim one of the grounds on the basis of all of the surrounding facts and circumstances.

For example, the safe harbor for claiming a reduced exclusion because of a change in employment applies when the new place of employment is at least 50 miles farther from the residence that was sold than was the former place of employment. As for health, the safe harbor that smoothes the way for the reduced exclusion is a physician’s recommendation of a change of residence for reasons of health. A sale or exchange of a residence due to unforeseen circumstances refers to the occurrence of an event that the taxpayer could not reasonably have anticipated before purchasing and occupying the residence. Simply wanting to move to a preferred home or moving due to improved financial circumstances does not qualify. The specific events that make up the safe harbor for this ground include, among other things, such circumstances as death, divorce, natural or man-made disasters affecting the house, and even multiple births from a single pregnancy.