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Post-Hurricane Irma Cleanup and Safety Tips for Community Associations

September 15th, 2017

Posted in Condominium & Homeowner Association Law,General Practice,Real Estate Law

As communities in Northeast Florida work toward recovering from Hurricane Irma, we would like to share a few important reminders for condominium, cooperative and homeowner associations. While the task of repairing and cleanup is extensive, communities should be on the lookout for the following “scams”:

  • Beware of government “officials” coming to your community offering to perform inspections. Require documentation and contact information from any such individual.
  • Many out of state “contractors” appear offering to do a free inspection of a roof or common areas and common elements. Ask for their licensing and contact information before entering into any contract for work.
  • Do not execute an Assignment of Benefits (“AOB”) without first contacting your insurance agent and attorney.
  • Beware of any contractor requiring a large down payment for “supplies”.


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Florida Property Taxes – You Must Act Soon If You Wish to Contest Your County’s Proposed Assessments

September 7th, 2017

Posted in IRS & Tax Information,Real Estate Law

Your local Florida property appraiser mails out the Notice of Proposed Property Taxes (Truth in Millage or “TRIM” form) in August of each year.  Property owners or taxpayers who wish to contest or appeal their property value to the Value Adjustment Board must file a petition (one of the DR-86 forms) with the clerk of court within 25 days of the Notice of Proposed Property Taxes.
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Guardianships: New Laws Aim to Protect Society’s Vulnerable

August 18th, 2017

Posted in Estate & Personal Planning,General Practice

Friends and family members often worry about how to protect their elderly loved ones.  Particularly at risk are elders with advanced dementia, making them vulnerable to scammers and sometimes unable to take care of themselves. Florida’s Department of Elder Affairs reports that nearly 12% of Florida’s senior population has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, which often manifests through dementia. A visit to an attorney frequently leads to the discovery that estate planning, including advance directives that give voice to one’s future wishes and help avoid a guardianship, has not been done. As a result, guardianships are often considered as a last-resort solution. 
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The Property Deed as an Estate Plan: Examining the Varying Distributions of Each of the Co-Ownership Forms in Florida Real Property

August 4th, 2017

Posted in Estate & Personal Planning,General Practice,Real Estate Law

As the saying goes, “anyone who believes in free will has never heard of probate.”  Attorneys are frequently contacted by clients who need help navigating estates after the loss of a family member or friend.  Probate is often inevitable if there is property to be divided.
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Condominium and Homeowners’ Associations may Contract with Municipality or County to Regulate Traffic on Private Roads within the Community

July 21st, 2017

Posted in Condominium & Homeowner Association Law

Encouraging residents in condominium and homeowners’ associations to safely drive their vehicles while in the community can be difficult for many associations.  If the streets within the community are public streets, or streets owned by a county or municipality, the association can contact law enforcement and request an increase in patrolling.  However, if the streets are private, or owned by the association or other non-governmental entity, law enforcement may not have the authority to regulate traffic within the community absent an agreement with the association. 
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Six Reasons to Create a Revocable Trust

July 6th, 2017

Posted in Estate & Personal Planning

What is the difference between a revocable trust and a will?  Should I create a revocable trust? These are among the most frequently asked estate planning questions at our office. Here are some advantages of a revocable trust: 
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Natural Disaster Planning and Management for Condominium and Homeowners Associations

June 23rd, 2017

Posted in Condominium & Homeowner Association Law

Is your condominium or homeowners association properly prepared for a natural disaster event such as a hurricane?  The Atlantic hurricane season officially began on June 1st of this year and will continue until November 30th. While September is usually the most active month for tropical activity, last year’s Hurricane Matthew demonstrates that communities should be prepared well before a hurricane hits to mitigate confusion in the aftermath.
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Vacation Rental Regulations in Florida

June 9th, 2017

Posted in Business Law,Real Estate Law

For some St. Augustine homeowners, vacation rentals are a steady source of income, but others argue that this revenue isn’t worth the cost to the community and describe these transient rentals as a “nuisance.”  Transient rentals are units or homes that are rented more than three times in a calendar year for a period of less than 30 days.  A search in the St. Augustine area for Airbnb or VRBO reveals that the industry is alive and well.   
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