James K. Riley

James K. Riley

Attorney O'Connell & Riley New York & New Jersey 845-735-5050
  • Civil Rights, Elder Law, Estate Planning...
  • New Jersey, New York
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Summary

James K. Riley is an attorney who provides clients with personal injury and product liability advocacy in New York and New Jersey. He also serves his clients in the complex areas of estate planning, estate administration, elder law business and tax planning in both states. Mr. Riley teaches as an Adjunct Professor in the fields of estate planning, elder law and finanical planning at Pace University in White Plains, New York as well as in the field of education law at Long Island University and Pace University. Mr. Riley is an Accredited Estate Planner and a Certified Financial Planner. He has served as President of the Rockland County Bar Association, as a member of the House of Delegates of the New York State Bar Association and as Town Attorney of the Town of Orangetown. He is also a member of the Greater New Jersey Estate Planning Council. Mr. Riley firmly believes a successful attorney must always possess a sincere dedication to helping people with legal needs.

Practice Areas
  • Civil Rights
  • Elder Law
  • Estate Planning
  • Personal Injury
  • Products Liability
Additional Practice Area
  • Car Accidents
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
New Jersey
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New York
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Professional Experience
Attorney Partner
O'Connell & Riley Attorneys at Law New York & New Jersey
- Current
Town Attorney
Town of Orangetown
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Education
Rutgers University - New Brunswick/Piscataway
J.D. (1970) | Law
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Honors: Rutgers University School of Law Scholarship
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Awards
Pro Bono Award
Rockland County Bar Association
Citizen of the Year
Our Town Newspaper
Paul Harris Fellow
Rotary International
Professional Associations
National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA)
Member
- Current
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National Associationof Estate Planning Councils
Accredited Estate Planner (A.E.P.)
- Current
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National Institute of Certified Financial Planners
Certified Financial Planner
- Current
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New York State Bar # 1495969
Member House of Delegates 1988-1992, 1998-2002
- Current
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Rockland County Bar Association
President 1997-1998
- Current
Activities: President 1997-1998
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American Bar Association
Member
- Current
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Rockland County Bar Association
President
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Publications
Articles & Publications
A Remarkable Case of Mistaken Identity
New York State Bar Associatin Journal
Websites & Blogs
Website
Website
Legal Answers
23 Questions Answered

Q. what is the suitable law case for apparent authority of partnership?
A: Apparent authority is a difficult area as far as legal proof is concerned. One usually has to show that the wrongful actions of the individual who claimed the authority of a partner were accomplished with either the actual knowledge of the real partners or that the real partners were so careless that circumstances allowed for the individual acting as a claimed partner to convince you that he or she had the authority of a partner. You should consult l an attorney on a matter such as this as soon as possible.
Q. I hold the mortgage on a house, and the owners now want to pay it off. Do I need a lawyer?
A: You may not need a lawyer but the persons who owe the money and are paying it off may need one more and require a lot of legal protection. You have to give them a written "mortgage satisfaction" which is a notarized legal document that states that the mortgage and mortgage indebtedness has been paid off in full and further that you never sold or assigned the rights to the mortgage to any other person or entity. This is a legal document which must be filed in the Office of the County Clerk (Land Records) where the real property is located and where the original mortgage was filed. You are also supposed to return the original mortgage and mortgage note to the mortgagors--the persons who owed you the money and they are supposed to hold on to those documents until they have sold the house and closed. If this is not done now, the persons who are paying you off for tis private mortgage will be looking for you 10 years from now when they are trying to sell the house and need to clear the mortgage from the County Clerk's records and that is no fun.
Q. how can i fight an arbitrators final desision
A: This is a very difficult question--in New York State and in most other jurisdictions it is almost impossible to set aside an arbitrator's decision through a subsequent court challenge unless there was fraud or some other grave shortcoming in the process. There is a very short time clock as to when one can sue--speak to a knowledgeable attorney immediately.
Q. how do you keep your home out of probate in nys
A: You have the right during your lifetime to transfer a residence which you legally own into a trust and that strategy can avoid the need to probate a will in order to transfer the house after your death. There are two types of trust, first revocable, often called a revocable living trust, and second irrevocable. With regard to either trust, you would have an attorney prepare a trust document and sign before a notary public; you would also sign a deed transferring the ownership of the residence into the trust. You can be your own trustee with a revocable living trust and you can cancel it at any time and return the property to your now name. A revocable trust does not protect against future claims such as nursing homes and Medicaid--only an irrevocable trust can do that and under present law only after 5 years. Consult a knowledgeable attorney.
Q. if i got a house transfered to my name would i owe any back taxes on the house
A: This is a common question in gifts and there are almost as many answers as there are facets--because there are a lot of different taxes. First, if there were back real estate taxes owed on the house--State, County, Town, City, Village, School, etc., those taxes always have to be paid or the local government can have a tax sale and auction to collect the back taxes. Second, in New York there is no gift tax on gifts if the house is valued at less than $2,000,000. Third, if you sell the house and if the person who gifted to you did not reserve life rights or a life estate, you will pay capital gains tax about 28% on the difference between the selling price and the tax basis of the person who gifted the house to you--there is no such tax if the person who reserved the life rights or life estate dies before you sell the house. Finally if the person who transferred the house to you or if you owe back income taxes to either the federal or state or any Medicaid lien, they will have to be paid.Talk to a knowledgeable attorney.
Q. What is the code or codes for the repair / replacement of playground rubber safety surface matting?
A: In most states including New York there is no "Code Requirement" or legal regulation which requires that playground rubber safety surfaces be repaired or replaced on any particular schedule. These systems, often described as head injury fall attenuation systems, are to be kept in a good state of repair by the owner of the playground on common law concepts that the owner will not act in a negligent or careless manner causing harm or injury. On this basis if pieces of the protective system are missing or torn, etc, and injury occurs, a legal claim in negligence for personal injury may be possible. But if the playground is owned by a local governmental agency such as a town or a school district, in New York and other states, you may have to serve a written notice of claim and injury within 90 days of the occurrence. In addition, to fully prove a case of personal injury, you may have to show that the owner of the playground had prior notice of the dangerous condition by written notice or otherwise. Consult a knowledgeable attorney immediately.
Q. Does New York allow real estate to be held in a trust?
A: New York State law as well as the law of most other states (I am licensed to practice law in NY and NJ) permits and allows real estate ownership in a trust. Many individuals, including married couples, transfer the ownership of real property into a trust while continuing to reside in the residence or vacation home;trusts are also used to hold commercial properties. Trusts are either revocable or irrevocable and each is very useful and important. Revocable trusts are primarily used to avoid probate--ie. court involvment in estate transfers primarily to the next generation. It is essential to note that revocable trusts are of limited use for tax planning and elder law/long term care planning; to protect assets such as the family residence from claims for the costs of nursing home, the real estate would normally have to be transferred into an irrevocable trust with retained life rights to occupy in the persons who set up the trust. Under existing federal law, there is a five (5) year look back period for Medicaid claims with regard to the outright gift of assets to the next generation or the transfer of a residence or other asset into an irrevocable trust. The five year lookback clock or period never starts if the residence is transferred only into a revocable trust; only an irrevocable trust starts the 5 year clock. There are also many other reasons to hold own real estate in a trust. Consult with an attorney on thse issues and have a lawyer prepare the trust documents.
Q. What's the diffeence between New York and New Jersey Trust laws?
A: The laws concerning trusts are very similar in New Jersey and New York—the primary reason is that both states derive their laws from the common law of England. In all cases, a trust should be in writing and one has to be careful to also use written deeds or documents to transfer the assets—real property, personal property, stocks, bonds, bank accounts, life insurance, etc. into the trust as the “beneficial owner” of the assets on behalf of the names beneficiaries of the trust. The individual(s) who set up or establish the trust are called the “grantor”, “settlor”, “maker” or “trustor” . The person who holds, takes care of, invests, preserves and protects the property in the trust is called the trustee. The trustee also distributes the income or principal of the trust to the beneficiaries in accordance with the trust’s directions. The property which is placed in the trust is called the trust “corpus”, “asset” or “res”. In both states, there are many types of trust which are fundamentally similar in nature: revocable, irrevocable, simple, complex, living, testamentary, etc. There are also custom drafted trusts in both New Jersey and New York, quite similar in substance, intended for specific purposes—life insurance trusts, nursing home planning and Medicaid qualifying trusts, income tax and estate tax planning trusts and special needs trusts to protect the assets of loved ones with disabilities. The individual who establishes a living trust in some instances can act as his own trustee especially if it is a revocable living (sometimes called “inter vivos”) trust. In other instances, it is best and often legally necessary for tax or other reasons to have another person such as a trusted relative act as the trustee. In all instances, there should be a back-up or successor trustee in case the primary or first designated trustee becomes unable to act or passes away. In the end, all of these trusts as discussed are used regularly in both New Jersey and New York. When dealing with any type of trust, one must consult and work with a New Jersey or New York attorney knowledgeable in such matters.
Q. How many witnesses to sign a will in ny
A: In New York, for a will to be accepted as valid or proven ("probated")by the Surrogates Court,there have to be at least two witnesses who are not beneficiaries. Some attorneys use 3 witnesses just to be sure. It is always best practice--I would say essential--to have an attorney prepare the will and be present to supervise the signing(execution, delivery, publication) of the will. A lawyer can also prepare a separate self-proving affidavit to be signed at the same time as the will; a self-proving can make probate or acceptance of the will much simpler and easier by the Court.
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Contact & Map
845-735-5050
144 East Central Avenue
Pearl River, NY 10965
USA
Telephone: (845) 735-5050