How to say goodbye to a loved one

An article in the October 2012 issue of Oprah magazine about the book Final Gifts by Maggie Callanan was thought provoking in its humanity and wisdom. Maggie tells people to “meet the dying person where she is.” If she is in denial, then don’t try to change that. Talk about the future and reminisce about old memories. If she brings up the reality of her terminal condition and impending death, then acknowledge it. Don’t pretend everything will be okay- it won’t. The situation sucks, she hates it. It is okay to admit that. Being honest and direct is critical.

Everyone wants to know they mattered to someone. Tell her what she meant to you and how she will leave an enduring imprint. Talk about a life changing lesson or experience you had together or that she was responsible for bringing to you and your world.

Callanan emphasized how it is important to be in the moment and genuinely there – nowhere else. All that matters is what is happening in that room, at that moment, between the two of you. The outside world doesn’t matter. Be there in every sense of the word and experience every emotion with her as she travels her final journey in life. What is important is your presence, your relationship, and the humanity of a human touch. Let her know how you feel. Raw emotion is genuine. Everyone wants to be strong. It is also okay to cry sometimes. Cry together, love together, and accept the reality of life together. It can be a powerful experience for both of you.

Short Sales: they aren’t really that short!

A short sale is not always “short” in terms of how quickly they are processed. Many think that as an alternative to being foreclosed on, selling their home as a short sale is the quick and easy fix to a less than ideal situation. In reality, a short sale can take anywhere from three months to over a year, depending on the lender, the market and potential buyers.

So what is a short sale? A short sale occurs when the homeowner owes more on the mortgage than what the property is worth in the real estate market. The name “short sale” refers to the shortfall in the amount the lienholder receives on their loan.

Once a buyer presents an offer that the seller has accepted, a contingency for short sale approval is added to the contract of sale. In order to move forward with the real estate closing, the bank (or lienholder) has to agree to accept the amount offered by the buyer to satisfy the mortgage on the home.

Among the several factors that speed up or slow down a short sale transaction, the short sale approval from the bank is one of the main reasons the transaction can take months longer than a typical real estate transaction. The approval time depends on the bank, and what their short sale approval procedure involves. After the bank’s approval, the real work begins, and things like loan processing, appraisals, title work, etc. are ordered and prepared. This work is never done prior to short sale approval to ensure that an approval is obtained prior to the expenditure of time and resources in preparing the real estate transaction.

When facing a decision between foreclosure and a short sale, discuss the issues underlying these choices with your attorney. Your decision will be affected by your circumstances, along with the bank, the market, and potential lenders and should be considered on an individual basis.

Health Care Proxies: preparing as best you can

There are not many things that can be controlled in life. As much planning as you may try to do, each day is full of surprises. While we only hope for good surprises in life, there are moments that are not so great. If you were in an accident tomorrow and were rendered incapable of expressing what treatments you do/do not agree to, what would you do? In New York, medical professionals usually go by the rule that unless otherwise directed, they are to keep you alive by any means possible.

While this seems like a good mantra, many patients have specific health guidelines they prefer their medical professionals to follow. For example, many religions do now allow blood-transfusions, even if it means the difference between life and death. Others prefer to die naturally rather than being kept alive artificially only to prolong the inevitable death from the illness/injury.

In these cases, without the patient’s ability to communicate these wishes (as is the case with patients who are either unconscious or rendered incompetent) the medical professionals are left to make these very personal decisions for the patient.

Health Care proxies allow individuals to appoint an agent to whom medical professionals consult with when medical treatment decisions need to be made. In New York, a standard Health Care Proxy (HCP) form can be prepared and given to all health care professionals (rather than completing a different form at every doctor’s office and hospital). The HCP form outlines the medical preferences of the individual (i.e. being kept on life support), as well as allows the individual to choose one or more persons that medical professionals must refer to when the individual is unable to express his or her medical preferences/needs.

It is important to notify any person you have appointed as an HCP agent to make sure that he or she understands your wishes and what you would and would not agree to medically. The person you appoint as your agent should be somebody you trust and who knows you well enough to make these difficult decisions on your behalf, should the situation come up. While every effort should be made to make sure any specific wishes you may have regarding any medical treatment are covered in the HCP, there may arise a situation that was not included in the HCP. In cases like these, it is important that the agent being consulted knows and understands you well enough to make decisions about these unforeseen circumstances.

How to dissolve your DBA with New York State Department of State

At some point during the life cycle of owning your business, you may find that you no longer have use for the trade name (assumed name, DBA, or ‘doing business as’) that you registered with the New York Department of State (NYDOS), Division of Corporations. It may be that you are quitting the business or selling it, or that you decide to operate under a different name. Either way, you are going to need to get rid of the current trade name. This is known as ‘discontinuing an assumed name’ – the term that the NYDOS uses for a DBA. Another term for this process is ‘dissolving a DBA.’

Dissolving your DBA can be a very quick and easy process. In order to file the dissolution paperwork, you will need:

  1. The “Fillable Certificate of Dissolution Form” from the NYSDOS.  The appropriate form can be found at: ;
  2. $25 Filing Fee paid by check made payable to the New York State Department of State (or  if you are faxing the form, the fee will be submitted via credit card on the Credit Card Authorization Form found at: ); and
  3. Information on the date of filing of both the initial corporation as well as the DBA (Certificate of Assumed Name).

If you are dissolving the DBA for a business transaction and require a filing receipt of the dissolution, I recommend that you elect to pay the additional expedited fee of $25.00 as the NYSDOS is usually backed up 3-6 weeks in its processing of un-expedited filings.

Fill out the Certificate of Dissolution Form and provide a check for the filing fee and mail to: New York Department of State, Division of Corporations, One Commerce Plaza, 99 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12231.

If you are faxing your dissolution, you will also need to complete the Credit Card Authorization Form and submit both via fax to the NYSDOS at (518)474-1418.

You must make sure to keep the information in the form consistent with NYDOS records, as the NYSDOS will reject the Certificate if you make any errors. You can check the online business entity search to ascertain some of the details of the official record of the Corporation at .

Here is an example of the completed Certificate of Discontinuance of Assumed Name and Credit Card Authorization forms as a reference.