The Congo

Flowing north and south in different places, the Congo River is the only major river that crosses the Equator twice.  It travels almost 3,000 miles from its source (the Chambeshi River in Zambia) through the Congo rainforest and empties into the Atlantic Ocean.

The Congo River is the second longest river in Africa (the Nile is number one) and boasts the second largest drainage basin in the world (the Amazon in South American is number one).  At 720 feet at its maximum, the Congo River is also the world’s deepest.

Johann Sebastian Bach

“Ceaseless work, analysis, reflection, writing much, endless self-correction, that is my secret.”

So Nice it Does it Twice

What is the only major river on Earth that flows both north and south of the equator and is the only one that crosses the Equator twice?

Don’t Forget to Look West After Sunset

In case you have forgotten . . . . Almost 800 Years Ago.

On December 21, Jupiter and Saturn will appear in the night sky so close to each other, they will almost appear to merge. That hasn’t happened under a dark sky, visible from Earth for some 800 years.

You can also watch today (December 21, 2020), starting at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, courtesy of Lowell Observatory astronomers, who will livestream amazing images of the event through their observatory telescopes.


At the Hop

Hops give beer its bitter flavor and aroma.

Hops are flowers (sometimes called seed cones) from a member of the Cannabaceae family of plants and are used as a bittering and stabilizing agent in beer. Depending on the type of hops that are used, they can also give beer a floral, fruity or citrus flavor.

NYS Power of Attorney Legislation

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has signed legislation amending New York State’s law relating to power of attorney forms.  The legislation makes granting, using and understanding a power of attorney simpler and removes much of the complexity traditionally associated with individual powers of attorney in New York.  Under the previous statute, these forms could be invalidated on technicalities if the exact wording of the statute wasn’t followed. Furthermore, often the form was not easy to put into effect – especially if you didn’t have a lawyer there to help the grantor understand what they were signing and the powers they were agreeing to grant. A hardship to many vulnerable nursing home and assisted living residents – especially during this pandemic.

While understanding the implications and legal effect of granting a power of attorney is still an essential ingredient to effectiveness and enforcement, the new law, Chapter 323 of the 2020 Session Laws, becomes effective 180 days from December 15, 2020.  What’s changed?

  • The new law modifies the prior requirement of “exact wording” in the “Caution to the Principal” and “Important Information for the Agent” sections of a power of attorney. Although those sections are still required, the ‘exact language’ requirement has been replaced with a “substantially conforms” standard – making it less likely that innocuous and immaterial technical differences will invalidate the power;
  • The new legislation creates a presumption in favor of the validity of the power of attorney form and expressly provides that anyone accepting an acknowledged power of attorney with no actual knowledge the signature isn’t genuine, may rely on the presumption the signature is, in fact, genuine;
  • Although the unwillingness or inability of an agent to provide an opinion of counsel or certification is grounds to refuse to honor a power of attorney, if a third party has a good faith belief the power is valid and has no knowledge that it isn’t valid or the agent doesn’t have the authority for a particular act, they can now feel comfortable honoring the power of attorney in reliance on the agent’s authority. In fact, the new law allows a judge to impose penalties (including attorneys’ fees) if an institution unreasonably refuses to accept a presumptively valid power of attorney form;
  • One other welcome benefit of the new law. The statutory gifts rider has been eliminated and the authority to make gifts above “standard amount” is to be included in a modifications section in the power of attorney itself. If there is no gifting language in the modification, the authority to make gifts is now $5,000 in any calendar year (up from the previous $500).

To many, welcome and long overdue changes to the power of attorney law in New York State. You can read the amended version of the legislation that was signed by the Governor of New York State here:  NYS Power of Attorney Legislation.

As always, if you have questions about anything in this post, feel free to contact me, Joe Rosenbaum, or any of the Rimon lawyers with whom you regularly work.


Almost 800 Years Ago

Earlier today, Legal Bytes posted the answer to which planet spins fastest . . . If you were surprised that Jupiter, the largest planet in our Solar System, is also the planet that spins fastest, and you are amazed by our universe, this little fact is likely to be even more interesting. The 2020 event will be visible are occurrence will happen after sunset on Dec. 21, 2020, at the beginning of the winter solstice.
If you are still interested or intrigued, read on . . .

In just a few weeks, towards the the end of this year a celestial event will occur and be visible that has not seen for almost 800 years. The two largest planets in the solar system, Jupiter and Saturn, will form what looks like a double planet – sometimes referred to as the “Christmas Star.” This celestial event has not been visible from Earth since the Middle Ages – March 4, 1226, to be more precise. Whether you are lucky enough to have a telescope or you are just curious and want to focus your eyes on the night sky, point your gaze towards the Western horizon starting around 7:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on December 21, 2020.  While you can see it anywhere from Earth, the farther North you are, the less time you will have to catch a glimpse.

The rare event occurs when Jupiter and Saturn, the two largest planets in our Solar System, appear close to each other in the sky – separated by 1/5 of the moon’s diameter. In fact, if you do have a telescope you may also be able to see a number of the larger moons of both Jupiter and Saturn.

The overall effect is to make all of these celestial objects appear as a ‘double planet’  and to give you some idea of how rare this alignment is, the two planets won’t appear this close to each other until March 15, 2080 and then again, not until some time after the year 2400.