Recalling Al DelBello

Westchester lost one of its great sons today.  Former County Executive and Lt. Governor Al DelBello has died at 80 years young.

Al DelBello

Al DelBello/courtesy Patch.com

We came up together, so to speak. Mr. DelBello’s political career and my journalism career were on parallele timelines. I was a young cub reporter spending lonely weekend nights looking for news.  Al always had something for me.  I would call him at home nearly every Sunday night in the early 80s.  If Dee, his lovely wife, answered, she would kindly call him to the phone and we would create news on the spot.  He never brushed me off.  He never thought this local kid reporter was too inexperienced to bother with.  No, he took his time and always gave me a tidbit to leave for the news desk come Monday morning.  I miss those calls.  They don’t make politicians like Al DelBello any longer.  Honest, caring, every man and woman’s leader.

I hadn’t seen him in about two years.  The last time was at one of Dee’s business breakfasts. They always stood by and supported each other. They don’t make love like that any longer either.

Rest in peace Al DelBello. You will be missed.

What to do with your Italian inheritance

So you’ve inherited a villa or other property in Italy, now what? Transferring title is not as easy as you may think.

In the United States, people may leave or not leave their property to whomever they choose under the terms of their will. In most cases and states you can’t disinherit your spouse but you have no obligation to pass along your fortune to anyone else, including your kids. That’s not the same in Italy.

Italian InheritanceIn Italy, spouses and children inherit by law no matter what a testator declares in a will. So, if Mamma, Nonno or Zio Vincenzo dies and leaves you property on the Amalfi Coast or a villa in Tuscany, the first thing you should do is seek legal counsel at home and in Italy to make sure that your rights will be protected.

In the United States, the process of administering a will through court is called probate and is only handled by attorneys admitted to practice unless you act pro se or on your own behalf. In Italy, the process is called succession and is generally not handled by attorneys and that’s where problems can occur if the heirs are in different countries and may not be Italian citizens.

New York attorneys versed in a multi-national practice can assist you and work with local counsel in Italy or foreign legal consultants here in the US but they cannot represent you in Italy unless they are also admitted to the bar in Italy. In all cases, you will need to provide documents to further the succession in Italy including affidavits, death certificates, powers of attorney, among others. That sounds easy enough but unless the American documents are drafted appropriately, they will be rejected in Italy, often by local processors who have no experience with international law.

Further, drafting correctly is only half of the process. Under the Hague Convention, in order for the American documents to be recognized by a court in Italy, they must be notarized and Apostilled by the US State Department, through a local Embassy, or with an individual Secretary of State and their deputies. That is supposed to provide assurance to foreign authorities that the documents may be relied on but time and again I have seen them rejected. The problem is that in Italy, non-attorneys process succession and more often than not, they are unfamiliar with international protocols.

Whether it is money, art or property at stake in Italy, it is best to retain an estate attorney on both sides of the Atlantic rather than lose your rightful inheritance in Italy.

Pyramid Power in NYC

Rising from the construction ashes of Hell’s Kitchen is definitely a beauty to behold. There’s a tetrahedron rising over West 57th Street that’s about to change the NYC skyline and Manhattan real estate unlike any other straight box tower thrown up in the last few decades.

There is skyscraper construction and then there is true architectural groundbreaking beauty and the Durst Pyramid is clearly the latter.  The building at 625 West 57th Street is taking shape, turning into one of the city’s most unique architectural wonders since the Chrysler Building in 1928 or Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece, The Guggenheim Museum in 1959.

West 57th PyramidThe project is the inaugural North American design of the Danish firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) for the Durst Organization.  The four plane triangular construction is meant to bring natural light deep into the structure and afford some 700 lucky owners the sunny, Hudson River views which set the standard for the NYC real estate market.  The luxury apartments will be set atop glass enclosed retail/commercial space all set to welcome tenants and owners early in 2016.

 Looking to buy/sell real estate in New York?

Lisa Fantino, Associate Broker

J.Philip Real Estate