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The CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security), which became law on March 27, 2020, made some important modifications to retirement accounts for 2020. For example:

  1. Required minimum distributions (RMDs) are waived, for both account owners and beneficiaries who have inherited an account.
  2. The 10% early withdrawal penalty is waived for distributions up to $100,000, if any of the account owner, spouse or a dependent has been diagnosed with coronavirus; or if the owner has experienced adverse financial circumstances as a result of coronavirus.

We are proud to announce 11 of our attorneys have been named to the 2021 Best Lawyers® list, two of which were named “Lawyer of the Year.” This recognition in The Best Lawyers in America© 2021, identifies each for their leading legal talent in their corresponding practice areas.

The following Lindabury attorneys were named as Best Lawyers honorees:

Dino Flammia from New Jersey 101.5 FM interviewed Lindabury attorney Elizabeth Candido Petite, to discuss the the importance of having a will, a power of attorney and a living will, as well as the latest news from our Wills, Trusts, and Estates practice group. You can read the interview here and listen to the recording below.

On August 3, 2020, the US District Court, Southern District Court of New York, issued its opinion in State of New York v. U.S. Department of Labor, et al. striking down four material components of the US Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) regulations implementing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”).  The Court’s opinion comes approximately four months after the effective date of the regulations and five months before the FFCRA is scheduled to expire.

Background. The FFCRA incorporates the provisions of the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (“Expanded FMLA”) entitling employees up to 12 weeks of paid leave if they are unable to work because of the closure of a child’s school or place of daycare during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (“Emergency PSL”), also incorporated within the FFCRA, requires covered employers to provide employees up to 80 hours of paid sick leave if the employee is : (1)  subject to a government quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19; (2) has been advised by a heath care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to  COVID-19; (3) experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis; (4) caring for an individual subject to a quarantine or isolation order by the government or healthcare provider; (5) caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed, or whose childcare provider is unavailable, because of COVID-19; or (6) experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted households and working families everywhere.  As states begin to reopen, employers across the country are constructing return to the workplace plans that incorporate changes to physical and behavior protocols within their buildings and office space. As employees look to reenter the workplace, many working parents are faced with a similar issue – how to safely reopen the home to household employees, including nannies, tutors, dog walkers, cleaning staff, etc.

Whether you’re welcoming back a former employee, or hiring someone new, it is imperative that you construct a thoughtful return to work plan for those reentering your household.  While an open and honest conversation about these challenges is a good starting point, the best source of protection is a written agreement between the parties, which formalizes expectations and eliminates areas of question down the road.  Your “return to the household” plan or contract should take into account the following principles:

  • Disinfecting and cleaning measures;
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The Honorable Judge Katherine Dupuis, (Retired) and Nicole A. Kobis, partner at Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook, & Cooper, P.C., explain how divorce can be handled virtually

If classroom lessons and workout classes can be conducted virtually, does the same hold true for divorce proceedings?

The short answer to this is yes. Virtual alternative dispute resolution will result in a faster divorce process during times like these when the courts have limited capabilities and a back log of matters to be heard.

On June 19, 2020, the IRS released Notice 2020-50, which provides additional guidance and relief for retirement plan participants taking coronavirus-related distributions and loans under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”).  Under the CARES Act, “qualified individuals” may take coronavirus-related distributions of up to $100,000 from their eligible retirement plans without being subject to the 10% additional tax on early distributions.  In addition, a coronavirus-related distribution can be included in income ratably over the three-year period commencing with the year of distribution and the individual taking the distribution has three years to repay the distribution to the plan, or roll it over to an Individual Retirement Account (“IRA”) or other qualified retirement plan, with the effect of reversing the income tax consequences of the distribution.  In addition, the CARES Act allows plans to suspend loan repayments due from March 27, 2020 through December 31, 2020 and further allows for an increase in the dollar amount on loans made between March 27, 2020 and September 22, 2020 from $50,000 to $100,000.  Notice 2020-50 expands the definition of qualified individuals under the Act and provides additional, clarifying guidance regarding coronavirus-related distributions and loans.

Expansion of the Definition of “Qualified Individual”

Under the original language of the CARES Act, a qualified individual included the following persons:

After receiving numerous complaints about the complexity of the loan forgiveness application form under the Paycheck Protection Program, the SBA and U.S. Department of Treasury on June 16, 2020 approved simplified versions of the forgiveness application.   The original loan forgiveness application was 11 pages long, but now many borrowers under the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) will be eligible to apply for forgiveness under a newly streamlined EZ version of the application which is only 3 pages long.  Borrowers that cannot qualify to use the EZ version will be able to instead now use a 5-page SBA Form 3508.

To qualify for use of the EZ form, a borrower must be able to fit within at least one of the following three categories:

1. The borrower is a self-employed individual, independent contractor, or sole proprietor who had no employees at the time of the PPP application and did not include any employee salaries in the computation of average monthly salaries in the application.

One topic new clients ask about is how they can resume a former name at the time they get divorced.  Others were divorced but did not resume a former name at that time and ask is it too late to do so now?  Still others did resume a former name but have questions about what to do next.

In New Jersey, Courts permit a Party to formally resume the use of a former name (or other surname) upon the entry of a judgment of divorce.  If this is something you wish to do, it is best to advise your attorney at the outset of your case.  It can then be included in your first filing with the Court whether that is a Complaint with you as the Plaintiff or in your Counterclaim with you as the Defendant.

If you are unsure as to whether to do so at the start of your case, a request can be made by your attorney at the final divorce hearing to amend/revise your pleading to permit you to do so at that time.

Lindabury partner Kathleen M. Connelly of the firm’s Employment Law group discussed with ROI-NJ the question her clients have been asking most in regard to office reopenings, which is how to deal with employees who are reluctant to return to work due to a generalized fear of COVID contraction. While employees returning to the workplace continue to have significant leave protection for COVID and non-COVID absences through December of 2020, employees can still be terminated if they refuse to return to work, and there are certain ways employers can communicate and accommodate their staff, which is also outlined in the article.

You can read the entire transcript here.

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