skip to main content

Articles Year: 2019

Want to Put Your Home on Airbnb? Read this first!

Are you thinking about offering your home as a short-term vacation rental?  Next to driving for Uber, short-term vacation rentals are the latest craze in side-hustles.  But before you clean out that extra bedroom and list your home on Airbnb or another online vacation rental website, you’d better make sure that you have the legal right to do it.   If you live in a condominium or a community with an HOA, the covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs) may prohibit it.  In addition, many counties and cities have legal restrictions on short-term home rentals. So you also need to check your local zoning laws and ordinances to see if there are any such prohibitions.

New Laws In Maryland For Estates And Trusts

There are two new laws in Maryland impacting estate planning and administration.  The first deals with what is known as the “spousal election”. Under Maryland law, a surviving spouse has the right to make an election to take a one-third share of their deceased spouse’s estate in lieu of what they were to receive under the testamentary will.  Although the spousal election has been in place for generations, its implementation was problematic since it was limited to a share of the “probate” assets of the deceased spouse. Essentially, probate assets are those that are titled solely in the name of the deceased spouse and which do not automatically pass by operation of law to a named beneficiary.

The Social Security Numbers Do Not Match!

Recently, we have learned that our clients are receiving letters from the Social Security Administration indicating that the Social Security Numbers submitted with payments for FICA and, presumably, Medicare, do not match.  This often may involve an undocumented worker; however, it could simply mean a clerical error. The employer who receives a no-match letter stands on a border between knowingly complying with the Immigration Act of 1986, which requires the documentation of all employees by completion of an I–9 and, on the other side, a requirement that employers may not discriminate on the basis of origin.

D.C. Employer? Find Out What You Need To Do To Comply With Paid Family Leave NOW

On July 1, 2019, the Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of 2016 went into effect and applies to all employers, who have employees that work at least fifty percent (50%) of their time in the District of Columbia or work substantially in the District of Columbia and do not work more than 50% of their time in another jurisdiction (“Covered Employees”).  This law will grant Paid Family Leave to Covered Employees. It is important to take steps to comply now with this new law. There are two important dates to remember as this law is being implemented in stages. 

Employment Severance Agreements: Buying Peace Of Mind With Non-Monetary Remedies

Lately, the news has been filled with stories about women forced to settle sexual harassment claims through severance agreements. Many of those agreements are perceived as oppressive because they suppress the victim’s rights to tell her story and fail to inform other actual or potential victims that a company has retained a bad actor after repeated complaints were quietly settled.

Who Should Be In Charge If You Can’t Be?

Choosing the people to whom you want to assign responsibility in case the worst happens is a stumbling block that keeps many of us from creating estate planning documents, such as wills, trusts, and powers of attorney.  Who should my executor be? Who could manage money for kids who will be my heirs? Who would I trust to make medical or financial decisions for me in an emergency? Who would be willing to raise my kids if neither of us was around?