The cost of protecting your home may become a bit more affordable in Nassau County.
On Friday, October 1, 2021, the Nassau County legislature voted to eliminate $106 million in real estate and traffic fees. The fees to be eliminated includes the hefty $355 fee for each “tax map verification” letter required by the county per section, block and lot when recording certain documents with the county clerk, including property deeds.
All 11 Republican members of the county legislature voted for the fee cuts while all 8 Democrats abstained from the vote. If the County Executive Laura Curran (Democrat) vetoes the fee cuts, then the bill will only proceed by override with a supermajority of 13 legislators.
Previously, this fee has been challenged as unconstitutional and in March of 2020, a State Supreme Court issued a ruling striking the collection of the tax map verification fee and declaring it an unlawful tax. Nassau County is currently appealing that decision and during the pendency of the appeal, the county is continuing to collect the fee.
One aspect of Medicaid long term care planning is protecting the individual’s home, which is often a person’s most valuable asset. The process includes the execution and recording of a deed transferring the home from the current owner to a trust and in some instances to other family members.
The county clerk’s office collects a recording fee to record the deed, which recording is necessary to put the world on notice of the new ownership. Each county has its own schedule of recording fees, which can range from under $100 to about $500.
In addition to the recording fees, the Nassau County Legislature passed a law several years ago that required many types of documents submitted for recording, including deeds, to be accompanied by a tax map verification letter for each section, block and lot associated with a recording. In 2015 the fee was $75, increasing by 200% to $225 in 2016, and then in 2017 further increasing by an additional 60% to $355. The current fee of $355 is in addition to the recording fee of approximately $500.
In addition to the attorneys’ legal fees associated with an estate plan or long term care plan, currently homeowners in Nassau County are subject to County/title costs over $900 merely to record the deed associated with their planning. This adds a significant expense to those seeking to protect their home. Elimination of the tax map verification fee will significantly help bring the cost down to preserve homeowners’ most cherished asset and make the transfer process more affordable.
The bottom line is that no one should decide whether or not to protect their home worth hundreds of thousands of dollars based on a $355 difference, but the savings of such an amount will be felt in the pockets of those wise enough to proceed with their planning.