Keep Your Friends Close….

July 12, 2016

I cannot tell you how often someone presents themselves to our office following a contract dispute that involves a family member or friend on the other side.  So often when you need a service of some sort or another you turn to family or friends.  This, of course, makes sense but when we do that we often let down our guard and do not cover ourselves by dotting all of the i’s and crossing the t’s, as we would if we were dealing at arm’s length.  Very often no contract is written at all.  In other words, beware of oral contracts with family and friends.  We turn to a family member or friend because it’s quicker and easier and believe they would never take advantage of us.  I am not saying to stop using family and friends but do so with your eyes wide open.  It could be for construction or other service industry, but protection comes with a proper written agreement.  A writing should protect both parties to a contract.  It is not disrespectful to ask family and friends to put it in writing.  In a construction scenario, not only are written agreements required under New Jersey law, they are essential to providing each side with a clear understanding of what is required by each side.  The same is true in other areas.  So often the use of a family member or friend turns into a nightmare with grudges held and friendships lost.  It does not have to be this way.  Going into these situations with a real contract/agreement hopefully will bring clarity, not misunderstandings and will prevent the unfortunate result of doing it the easy way.


Permit Extension Act 2016

July 5, 2016

On June 30, 2016 Governor Christie signed an extension of the Permit Extension Act for projects located in counties impacted by Superstorm Sandy. Those counties, as defined within the bill, are Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean and Union counties. The bill tolls the running of the approval period until December 31, 2016. However, the tolling will not extend the life of any approval beyond June 30, 2017. It is important to note that the approval must concern land located entirely within one of the nine aforementioned counties.

Step-Up Basis Effects on Capital Gains

December 31, 2015

Recent tax legislation is looking to curtail the loss of capital gains tax revenue resulting from sellers reporting inflated basis on inherited assets upon the sale of said assets.  As was the case prior to the enactment of the new law, beneficiaries inherit assets valued at the fair market value as of the date of the decedent’s date of (referred to as a “step-up in basis”); however, the new law binds the beneficiary to the value as reported by the executor of the estate when the asset is sold, or face a 20% penalty applied to the underpayment.  Further, the legislation requires executors to report to the beneficiaries and the IRS, the value of the specific asset on the estate tax return. The new law applies to all estate returns filed after July 31, 2015, whether taxable or not. The reporting form is expected to be released by the IRS in early 2016.

More information can be found at:

Please do not hesitate to contact us right away should you have any questions regarding the foregoing.

Permit Extension Act

December 22, 2015

Please be aware that the Permit Extension Act is expiring on December 31, 2015. The clock will begin to run again on January 1, 2016 and no approvals will extend beyond June 30, 2016 unless the approval would have extended beyond June 30, 2016 without the benefit of the Act.  If you have an approval that it is on the verge of expiring, you might be wondering what the next steps should be.  In general, your two options are to either start the project or request an extension from the board or agency which granted the approval.

With regard to calculating time frames of an approval, please see the following (assume the life of the approval is for 1 year):



Date of Approval                                                                                Expiration of Approval

April 1, 2006                                                                                       March 31, 2016

June 10, 2009                                                                                      June 30, 2016

December 30, 2014                                                                             December 30, 2016


If you would like to discuss the correct approach concerning your approval, please contact us at 201-587-0888.

– Andrew S. Kohut, Esq.