Under Homestead Exemption laws any property designated as a homestead is exempt from execution and sale by creditors for the payment of debts. The protected amount differs in each state, but in New Hampshire every person is entitled to $1000,000 of his or her homestead to be exempt from the rights of creditors. That amount is slated to increase to $120,000 per person on January 1, 2016.
There are exceptions to the above and the following debts have precedence over the rights of homestead:
- The collection of taxes;
- The enforcement of liens of persons having done work for the construction, repair or improvement of the homestead;
- In the enforcement of mortgages on the property;
- In the enforcement of liens filed by homeowner or condominium associations for unpaid assessments.
No deed can convey or encumber the homestead right, except for a mortgage made at the time of purchase to secure payment of the money used to purchase the home, unless it is executed by the owner and spouse, if any. This is why, when a new mortgage is taken out or the property is conveyed, the husband and wife must both sign to release rights of homestead.
Title insurance is an insurance policy issued by a title company. It protects the purchaser or owner, against a loss that may arise by reason of a defect in your ownership or an interest you have in real property. There are two different types of title insurance policies available:
An Owner’s Policy of Title Insurance and a Loan Policy of Title Insurance
Since most property owners mortgage or borrow money at the time of purchase or during ownership, the lender can be expected to request protection of its investment against loss. Lenders generally insist upon a Loan Policy of Title Insurance to protect their investment in your property. An Owner’s Policy of Title Insurance protects your investment (equity) as the buyer or owner of the property. As the owner, you should want to have the same assurance as the lender so that the investment you have made cannot be lost because of a problem or defect with the title.
Title insurance is different from other types of insurance in that it protects you, the insured, from loss that may occur from matters or defects from the past. Other types of insurance such as auto insurance, life insurance, or health insurance, cover you against losses that may occur in the future. Title insurance does not protect against a defect that may originate at a later date.
There are numerous defects or problems that can arise to cause an attack to or loss of the title to your property. Some of these include problems not disclosed by the most careful search of the public records (the title search). Hidden risks can cause a total loss of your investment or heavy legal expenses in the defense of an attack on the title. Some title problems may show up months or years after the original purchase of the property.
Here are some examples of matters that can cause loss of title or an expensive lawsuit:
Forged deeds, releases, wills, or other legal documents
Failure of spouses to join in conveyances
Undisclosed or missing heirs
Deeds from minors, aliens, or persons of unsound mind
Errors in indexing of public records Liens for unpaid taxes including estate, inheritance, income, or gift taxes
Mistakes in recording legal documents
Wills that have not been probated
Title insurance defends you in a lawsuit attacking your title and either corrects the title problem or pays the insured’s losses up to the fact amount of the policy. The policy also protects you after you sell the property for the defects occurring prior to your ownership that cause a loss to a purchaser if the title was warranted by you. The title policy guarantees that at the date the deed was filed for record that the title was free of defects apart from those excepted to in the policy. The policy does not guarantee an actual amount of land.
How do you obtain Title Insurance and what does it cost.. Let us know that you want to purchase an Owner’s Policy of Title Insurance and we can tell you what it will cost. The cost is based on the purchase price of the property and your policy amount must be equal to the purchase price.
The new “Know Before You Owe” (TRID) rule goes into effect on October 3, 2015. Please review this information which will help you to speed the process.
Some states require that all municipalities value property at the same assessment-to-market value ratio. Equalization rates are used to ensure that property taxes are assessed equally and in proportion to fair market value across all municipalities.
Equalization seeks to ensure that a taxpayer in one community, whose property has a fair market value of $100,000 will pay the same taxes as a property with a fair market value of $100,000 located in another town, regardless of how those two properties are assessed.
The equalization rate is a ratio of total assessed value for properties in a community to those property’s true market values. This number represents the NH Department of Revenue Administration’s judgment of how closely assessed values match the market value.
For example, an equalization rate of 90% would mean that on average the property in your community is being assessed at 90% of its market value. Check back and we will have more on this topic.
A title search is sometimes referred to as an abstract of title or chain of title. It is a detailed examination of the historical records concerning a property. These records include deeds, court records, property and name indexes, and many other documents. The purpose of the search is to verify the seller’s right to transfer ownership and to discover any claims, defects and other rights or burdens on the property.
Workers’ compensation and new businesses
By Paul Kfoury Jr.
In the early stages of starting a company, small business owners have many factors to consider. What your business does and what it requires of an employee has consequences from a workers’ compensation perspective. Understanding what exposure your company may have, and being proactive to prevent workplace injuries, can help lower the cost burden of workers’ compensation insurance.What is workers’ compensation (WC) insurance?
In a nutshell, it is insurance that covers an injury that arises out of and in the course of employment.
How many employees must a company have to require WC?
In New Hampshire, as few as one employee.
What is not covered under WC?
Circumstances vary, but these injuries are generally not covered by WC: self-inflicted injury • injury caused by intoxication from drugs and alcohol, assuming the employer did not know about the intoxication • employee-started fight, if the basis of it is personal in nature • driving to and from work, unless the worker is considered a traveling employee • participation in athletic/recreational activities, on or off premises, unless the employee reasonably expected, based on the employer’s instruction or policy, that participation was a condition of employment or required for promotion, increased compensation or continued employment • mental injury/illness arising from good faith action taken by the employer, including but not limited to: work evaluation, disciplinary action, job transfer, lay-off, demotion or termination
Can an employer still be sued?
Except for intentional torts, the state’s workers’ compensation statute bars injured employees who sustained a compensable injury from bringing action at common law or by statute. However, an employee can elect to bring action to recover damages for wrongful termination or constructive discharge. If the worker pursues this remedy, he/she waives claims for compensation allegedly caused by such termination or discharge.
What does WC insurance cover?
WC insurance specifically insures an employer for costs from a work-related injury such as lost wages, medical costs, permanent impairment awards, vocational services, and costs associated with an attorney to defend your company if there is a claim.
Paul Kfoury Jr. is a partner at Trombley Kfoury, P.A., a law firm specializing in workers’ compensation issues. He is past chair of the New Hampshire Bar Association’s Workers’ Compensation Section, and speaks with insurance companies and employers regularly. He also holds trainings and seminars involving WC issues.
What You Should Know About the Home Closing Process: An Interview with Kirk Trombley of Trombley & Kfoury
Tell us a little bit about your experience, firm’s history and the areas of law that you practice.
We practice in areas that include general business, real estate, employment law and litigation. We have a significant workers’ compensation defense practice as well.
Our legal team lives and raises families in NH, and believe in supporting local businesses. Our mission is to assist and protect NH residents and business owners in their legal endeavors. We can help you in achieving security for your dreams and business goals, and planning for your future success.
Check out my interview, What You Should Know About the Home Closing Process on New Hampshire Homes, one of the top sites for New Hampshire real estate, including Londonderry, NH real estate. New Hampshire Homes also services New York homes for sale and Pennsylvania real estate.
The July 2013 CLM Workers’ Compensation mini seminar will be held in Chicago this year. Kirk Trombley will chair a panel presentation addressing the use of opioid medication in workers’ compensation pain management programs. Kirk will be joined on the Panel by a doctor and claims specialist. Stay tuned for more.
Stranger than truth….
I’m sure that many of you have had that odd, offbeat case from time to time. But consider these:
An Australian court ruled that a bureaucrat who was injured while having sex on a business trip was eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Apparently, during sex, a glass light fitting was torn from its mount above the bed and landed on her face. She later suffered depression and was unable to continue to work for the government. The court reasoned that if the claimant “had been injured while playing a game of cards in her motel room, she would be entitled to compensation even though it could not be said that her employer induced her to engage in such activity….” The Court rejected government’s argument that to be compensable the employer-government would have expressly or impliedly approved of the claimant’s conduct.
Another court – this time in the United States – ruled that an employer must pay for weight loss surgery for an obese employee to ensure success for another operation for a back injury he had at work—even though his weight (340 pounds at the time of the injury) was a preexisting condition. The court determined that without the weight loss surgery, his back surgery would not be successful.
Finally, even in New Hampshire: A woman claimed that she had bi-lateral carpal tunnel that prevented her from doing any activity with her arms, especially work. The employer sent her for an independent medical examination and, on the advice of counsel, had surveillance of the claimant to and from the doctor’s office. The claimant was videotaped getting on her Harley Davidson motorcycle, pulling it off its kickstand, and driving at a high rate of speed to the independent examination where she put on both of her arm braces. After the independent examination, she was videotaped coming out of the doctor’s office, removing her arm braces, and resuming her motorcycle ride home at a high rate of speed. The hearing officer denied the claim.