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Questions Answered by Stephen Bilkis

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on

Q: Do I need a lawyer to probate a will?

Stephen Bilkis answered on Apr 8, 2017

Under NY law it isn't required, but it is recommended. To probate a will, you will need to prove validity and execute the terms. Depending on the circumstances, this can be complex. It is always a good idea to speak with a lawyer before you try and do it yourself.

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2 Answers | Asked in Divorce and Family Law for New York on

Q: What is a collaborative divorce?

Stephen Bilkis answered on Apr 8, 2017

This is a new area of law where couples can avoid some of the complications associated with a standard divorce. Each party must sign a pledge agreeing not to seek a settlement in court. In certain circumstances, it can save time and money. That said I recommend discussing your situation with legal... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Car Accidents for New York on

Q: My husband and I were in a car accident. We are are separated and considering divorce. Can I sue him for my injuries?

Stephen Bilkis answered on Apr 8, 2017

Normally, no. Without a written spousal endorsement, one spouse can't sue another.

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1 Answer | Asked in DUI / DWI for New York on

Q: I have been charged with a DWAI. Is this the same as a DUI?

Stephen Bilkis answered on Apr 8, 2017

No. A DWAI is considered a violation and is not a criminal offense. A DWI is a misdemeanor, which is a crime. Because it is a crime, it carries more serious legal consequences.

2 Answers | Asked in Divorce for New York on

Q: Is New York considered a community property state?

Stephen Bilkis answered on Mar 20, 2017

New York is now considered an equitable distribution state. This means that if you get a divorce, the court will divide your property based on what is fair. It doesn't necessarily mean an equal split down the middle.

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3 Answers | Asked in Personal Injury for New York on

Q: I tripped on a loose piece of carpeting and fell in a restaurant, injuring me knee. Can I sue the restaurant?

Stephen Bilkis answered on Mar 20, 2017

The owner of a restaurant can be held liable if the owner or staff caused the hazard, or should have known of the hazard and failed to fix it. In determining whether the restaurant should have known, the courts will determine what is reasonable. I recommend that you speak with a lawyer for guidance... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Personal Injury for New York on

Q: I fell in a grocery store and really hurt my knee. I am thinking of suing. How long do I have to file a claim?

Stephen Bilkis answered on Mar 10, 2017

If you are unable to reach a settlement, you have 3 years from the date of your injury to file a claim. If your damages exceed $25,000., you will need to file in Superior Court. I encourage you to speak with counsel to assist you with this. Keep in mind that insurance companies do not have your... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in DUI / DWI for New York on

Q: I just got stopped for a DWI and I am terrified. What punishment am I facing?

Stephen Bilkis answered on Mar 10, 2017

If you are convicted, you will face a 90 day license suspension, 15 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. I recommend that you speak to a lawyer prior to your court hearing.

1 Answer | Asked in DUI / DWI for New York on

Q: I have been charged with a DWI. If am convicted do I have to put a device on my car?

Stephen Bilkis answered on Mar 9, 2017

Yes. An Ignition Interlock Device is required for anyone who is convicted of a DWI in New York. The device must be installed for a period of 6 months in most cases.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for New York on

Q: I don't have any property to leave in a will, but is a will a good place to appoint a guardian for my child?

Stephen Bilkis answered on Mar 9, 2017

Yes. It would be appropriate to name a guardian in your will. Keep in mind however, the court does not necessarily have to honor your appointment. They will also take into consideration what is best for the child, and determine whether the other parent is living for instance.

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4 Answers | Asked in Child Support for New York on

Q: I am going through a divorce and want to ask for child support. Does it matter that I make a really good income?

Stephen Bilkis answered on Mar 4, 2017

No. Pursuant to New York law, if you are the custodial parent, the noncustodial parent is responsible for child support regardless of your current income. Its always a good idea to seek the advice of legal counsel to ensure that your interests are protected.

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1 Answer | Asked in Divorce for New York on

Q: I filed and served divorce papers on my ex months ago, and have never heard a thing. What should I do now?

Stephen Bilkis answered on Mar 2, 2017

You may qualify for a default divorce. You will still need to file all required documents including an affidavit of service. I recommend that you consult with legal counsel to ensure your rights are protected.

3 Answers | Asked in Car Accidents for New York on

Q: I was injured in a car accident. Does the insurance adjuster have any say in my medical treatment?

Stephen Bilkis answered on Feb 12, 2017

No. By law, you are entitled to "reasonable medical treatment" for any injuries caused by your accident. Of course what is considered "reasonable" may be up for debate. It is wise to consult an experienced lawyer for guidance.

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1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for New York on

Q: I have heard that in custody proceedings the court usually sides with the mother. Is this true?

Stephen Bilkis answered on Feb 12, 2017

No, there is no preference in awarding custody to either the mother or the father. Pursuant to Domestic Relations Law 240, either party can be awarded custody.

2 Answers | Asked in DUI / DWI for Hawaii on

Q: If I am charged with a DWI will I lose my license when I go to court?

Stephen Bilkis answered on Feb 12, 2017

Yes, you could. You are, however, entitled to a hearing to determine if the judge can take your license (provided you have taken a blood test). If you have any evidence that refutes what the court has against you, you may be able to keep your license while the case is being decided.

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3 Answers | Asked in Personal Injury for New York on

Q: What does having no fault insurance mean?

Stephen Bilkis answered on Feb 4, 2017

It means that if you are in an accident, your insurance company must cover the expenses associated with your accident, regardless of who is at fault.

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1 Answer | Asked in Personal Injury for New York on

Q: I was just in a fender bender. Do I have to report it to my insurance company?

Stephen Bilkis answered on Feb 4, 2017

Yes. Most all policies have a clause that requires you to report an accident. You should report an accident right away, and not later than 30 days after the accident. Be sure to only give the facts of the accident, not your opinion of who is responsible, etc.

3 Answers | Asked in Car Accidents and Personal Injury for New York on

Q: I was recently in a serious car accident. I am thinking of suing the other driver. What kind of damages can I receive?

Stephen Bilkis answered on Jan 31, 2017

Depending on the circumstances, you can receive reimbursement for medical bills, lost pay, costs related to the accident (rental car, etc.), pain, distress, and punitive damages in cases of gross negligence.

It's best to discuss your case with legal counsel at your earliest convenience.

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3 Answers | Asked in Divorce for New York on

Q: How do I know if I will be able to receive maintenance if I get a divorce?

Stephen Bilkis answered on Jan 16, 2017

Generally, the presumptive award of spousal maintenance is paid by the spouse with the higher income. The court has a fair amount of discretion to adjust the award based on fairness.

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2 Answers | Asked in DUI / DWI for New York on

Q: I got a DWI over the holidays. Will I be able to drive to and from work? I am worried about my job.

Stephen Bilkis answered on Jan 9, 2017

New York does allow for a restricted license status after being convicted. It will allow you to drive to and from work or to school. It is very limited and you are only eligible for this once. I recommend you speak with a lawyer to learn more.

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