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Law office of Bonnie Lawston

Law Offices of William Cafaro

Traffic and ranking decrease? Check your redirect attachment URL setting

webperseverance.comIf you’ve noticed a sudden drop in traffic or decrease in your site ranking, your redirect attachment URL settings may be the bug-a-boo. Yoast, one of the most popular SEO plugins among designers, discovered a bug in their recent upgrade. Rather than defaulting to ‘yes,’ the “redirect attachment URLs” option defaulted to ‘no.’

What are Attachment URLs?

Simply put – whenever you insert an image, into a post or page, WordPress creates a new page with that single image. This new page is a called an attachment URL. The problem with these pages is that they have little to no content beyond the image and therefore are bad for site SEO. And while they increase the number of site pages they don’t contain what search engines deem as quality content, so you could get dinged because of it.

What went wrong?

Customers who updated from an earlier version of Yoast SEO to Yoast SEO 7.0-7.0.2 may not have had their settings automatically converted from the previous version to the new version. So, if in your case, the upgraded plugin did not convert your previous settings it would have overwritten those and set the attachment URL option to the default setting of ‘no.’ Thereby creating a lot of thin, ‘image only,’ pages.

Impact on websites

Worst case scenario, some sites have experienced having attachment URLs  quintupled, without adding any content. Because with the setting set at ‘no’, XML sitemaps were enabled for attachments. This is where it gets bad for SEO – a lot of those attachment URLs were indexed by Google. In some cases, these sites may be suffering from Panda-like problems. If your site is image heavy and light on content, this could be a problem for you as Google then assumes you’ve put on a bunch of non-relevant content suddenly and in essence are trying to game the system. When you actually aren’t.

How widespread is the problem?

According Yoast, who put out this article, the situation does not appear to be widespread. They have, upon discovering the bug, created a patch  to fix the problem of the settings default. For full information and instructions on how to remedy the situation, read the Yoast article, cited above.

Talk to an innovative website design company that cares

Web Perseverance is an innovative online marketing company that devises online strategies through website design and maintenance, SEO, advertising, business strategies, social media networking and search engine marketing (SEM). We help you achieve an online presence that generates website traffic and converts to revenue. Our full-service internet marketing firm is staffed with  highly experienced, talented, and versatile individuals who are committed to bringing your vision into reality. We base our marketing and business strategies on the unique characteristics of your business or practice, your needs, and your goals. We work closely with you throughout the planning and implementation process to ensure you get the right online strategy for you. Contact us or call (631) 765-8098 to schedule a complimentary review of your current online presence. For clients outside of the New York metro area, we can arrange a conference call to discuss your goals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Social Media: Should You Use Social Media in an Internal Investigation?

Investigating Employees Through Their Social Media Accounts

Social media can provide a lot of information about people’s lives. Why would an employer want to know what an employee is doing through social media?

An employer may suspect that an employee is doing other things during work that do not relate to his or her job, such as posting on Facebook, watching Youtube videos, etc. An employer may also wonder if the employee is speaking badly about the company or discussing private company information.

Any number of reasons could motivate an employer to pressure an employee for social media account information or to access the employee’s site without permission.

What laws protect the privacy rights of employees?

The American Bar Association warns employers about not violating the Stored Communication Act (SCA). The SCA includes social networking sites when it states that individuals are subject to criminal and civil actions when the individual:

“Intentionally accesses without authorization a facility through which an electronic communication service is provided”

“Intentionally exceeds an authorization to access that facility”

(By intentionally accessing) “obtains, alters, or prevents authorized access to a wire or electronic communication while it is in electronic storage in such system”

Keep in mind that a government institution may obtain a subpoena for an investigation and through court approval access social networks for information. However, a private company conducting an internal investigation does not have this right.

Employers who obtain access to social media under false pretenses or through duress can be held liable and courts typically do not view favorably attempts to access an employee’s account information or the private account of a “friend.”

However, in some instances where employers obtain the information without asking or pressuring an employee to provide it, the courts have allowed it.

Get Legal Help with Your Questions about Employment Law

It is often wise to seek legal advice when you have questions about accessing an employee’s social media information. Stephen Hans & Associates offers seasoned legal guidance and representation to assist business owners with employment issues.

Stephen D. Hans & Associates

Why Your NY Law Firm Needs a Website

webperseverance.comA well designed website that is optimized for search engines, contains high quality content, and shows the benefits of retaining your firm can act as an anchor for all your marketing efforts. When done properly, a site can also control your firm’s image and increase your referral rate. In fact, it’s highly likely that the first thing a person will do when referred to you is to check your website.

A website will save you time and increase efficiency

A website can answer many of the basic questions a potential client has about your firm, such as your address, directions to your office, your areas of practice, and your background. This will allow your staff to be more productive because they won’t be fielding phone calls seeking this type of basic information. An effective website should include:

  • Firm address
  • Directions to the office
  • Phone numbers and email addresses
  • Relevant legal articles you have authored
  • Media about you or the firm
  • High profile cases you have won
  • Achievements or awards
  • A frequently asked question page covering areas of practice
  • A helpful and informative blog with articles about your practice focus
  • Links to resources for clients

Your site should also include a well-written attorney profile with:

  • A professional photo of yourself
  • Your education
  • Court admissions
  • A summary of your practice areas
  • Charitable and/or community involvement
  • A few personal facts about you that make you relatable and show you are a person a prospective client can trust and like

Make your website the centerpiece of your marketing efforts

While a website isn’t the only marketing tool you should use, it can serve as the centerpiece to your marketing efforts. A home base that your other marketing can point to and direct prospective clients to for further information about your firm. All your directory listings, email campaigns, and print, TV, and radio ads should direct prospective clients to your site, where they can benefit from getting the full information about your firm.

Talk to a NY SEO website specialist today

In the age of information and technology there isn’t any reason not to have a website but there are plenty of reasons to have one. Your site doesn’t have to be fancy, it just has to be effective—and show why you are the legal professional a potential client needs. Web Perseverance provides custom websites for legal professionals in New York and throughout the United States. We are experts in search engine optimization (SEO) and understand how to build sites that will come up in search results when people are looking for an attorney. To talk an NY SEO specialist about building an effective website for your firm contact us  or call (631) 765-8098 today.

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Court Limits Scope of Release Involving Estate and Trust Accounting

Law-Office-of-Bonnie-LawstonIt’s pretty common procedure for a fiduciary to a trust to obtain a release, with the objective of waiving the fiduciary’s obligation to provide an accounting of the assets of the estate and trust. A recent opinion from the Surrogate Court in New York County casts some doubt on the potential validity of such releases.

In Matter of Ingraham, NYLJ, June 16, 2017, at p. 28 (Sur. Ct., New York County), the court considered the validity of a receipt and release and ruled that it did not absolve the trustee from the legal responsibility to provide an accounting. In Ingraham, a successor trustee had filed a petition with the Surrogate Court asking that the former trustees submit an accounting. One trustee complied with the request, but the other trustee objected, citing both the language of the trust document, which she argued relieved her from any obligation to provide an accounting; and releases that had been signed and executed by the trust’s grantor and by the other trustee.

According to evidence entered during the proceeding, the document signed by the grantor released the trustee from “any and all claims related in any way to her role as trustee,” other than claims arising as a result of fraud or willful misconduct. The document also included a provision waiving the right to a formal accounting of the trust. The other trustee had executed a similar release.

The court, however, found that that trustee could not use the release to avoid the duty to provide an accounting, citing two specific reasons:

  • The release specifically reserves the right to seek relief if there are allegations of willful misconduct or fraud
  • The duty to provide an accounting is a fundamental aspect of any fiduciary relation, an essential part of a trustee’s duty

The court also concluded that, even if the released waived the grantor’s right to an accounting, it was not legally binding on the other trustee, successor trustees and trust beneficiaries. Furthermore, the court rejected the argument that the trust document waived the requirement that trustees provide an accounting, concluding that the trust document only waived the obligation to provide periodic accountings, not the requirement that there be a final accounting.

When you’re involved in an estate or trust administration dispute, it’s essential that you have knowledgeable, skilled and experienced legal representation. Estate and Probate Attorney Bonnie Lawston has protected the rights of individuals in trust and estate matters on Long Island for more than 20 years.

Contact Probate and Estate Administration Attorney Bonnie Lawston for all your Probate and Estate Administration matters. 

 

Winter Driving Tips

 

Author: Sacksteinlaw

Winter Weather Driving Tips

Driving in winter weather can be a challenge. Treacherous winter driving conditions range from freezing rain, sleet, snow or simply a drop in temperature causing wet surfaces to turn icy. Understanding some basic ideas about how to drive on ice or in snow can help you prevent accidents.

Recommendations for Driving in Snowy Weather

The American Automobile Association (AAA) recommends the following tips for driving in snowy, winter weather.

  • Press down on the gas pedal or brake slowly. Fast acceleration can make you skid or spin. Allow enough time to stop slowly.
  • Drive slowly. Driving slowly helps you have enough time to maneuver for gradual acceleration and stopping.
  • Increase your driving distance between cars. Understand that you should increase the distance for stopping within three to four seconds to eight to ten seconds.
  • Apply smooth brake pressure. Rest the heel of your foot on the floor and press the brake pedal with the ball of your foot for gradual braking.
  • Avoid stopping. If at all possible, avoid stopping in snowy weather and keep rolling. For example, roll up to a traffic light so slowly that you can keep rolling until the light changes.
  • Do not accelerate driving up hills. You can easily go into a spin when accelerating too much as you climb a hill.
  • Do not stop when going up a hill. If the hill is icy, it is difficult to keep the car from spinning as you press the gas pedal to start the car moving again.
  • Stay home whenever possible. The best way to avoid snowy weather accidents is to avoid driving in snow. Stay at home if at all possible.

Legal Help If  You Have You Been Injured Through the Fault of Another Driver

If you have suffered serious injury in a winter driving accident, you may be able to recover compensation for damages. At Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP, we offer a free initial consultation to discuss your accident and the prospects of pursuing a case. Call (718) 539-3100 to arrange an appointment.

What Happens If a Beneficiary is also a Witness to a Will?

Author: Bonnie Lawston

Under New York law, a valid will must contain the signatures of two witnesses. There are no requirements regarding the capacity of the witnesses. The testator (person executing the will) must sign in the presence of the witnesses, but they need not sign in each other’s presence. There’s also nothing that prohibits you from having a family member as a witness to your will, but there can be consequences.

Under New York law, a witness who has also has an interest in the estate is known as an “interested witness.” The fact that the will was witnessed by an interested witness does not invalidate the will, but it will render any benefit to the interested witness in the will void. Accordingly, any conveyance of property to an interested witness under a will, even if it’s part of a residuary estate, will be ineffective and will be returned to the estate, to be divided among other beneficiaries.

What Happens If a Beneficiary is also a Witness to a Will?

The “interested witness” rule, however, can apply to more than just property received. Consider the facts in Matter of the Estate of Cynthia R. Wu. In that case, the deceased had a provision in her will that called for estate and inheritance taxes to be paid as debts of the estate, rather than by beneficiaries out of their pro rata share of the estate. The deceased’s brother, the named beneficiary of two life insurance policies owned by the decedent, had also been a witness to the decedent’s will. The court concluded that, because the brother was an interested witness, he was not entitled to the benefit of having the estate taxes paid out of the estate. Instead, the court ordered him to pay his pro rata share of the estate taxes out of the death benefit proceeds.

Contact the Law Office of Bonnie Lawston

At the Law Office of Bonnie Lawston, we focus our estate administration practice on estates subject to probate in Nassau County and Suffolk County on Long Island. Contact our office online or call us at 631-425-7299 or 24/7 at 855-479-4700) to set up a free initial consultation.