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What is Probate?

May 11th, 2018

Posted in Estate & Personal Planning

Many people have either a fear of probate or confusion about it.  However, probate generally does not deserve the bad feelings its name evokes.  On one hand, sometimes the probate process is beneficial, whereas on the other hand, sometimes it may be more efficient and cost-effective to create a plan to avoid probate.
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Shipwrecks and House Bill 631

April 13th, 2018

Posted in Real Estate Law

This Spring, St. Johns County residents along with visitors across the county flocked to an area of a state protected beach in Guana State Park. With help from national news coverage, the visitors came to lay eyes on a 48-foot section of a once sunken ship which is believed to date to the 1700’s. Had this amazing artifact washed up later this year on a privately-owned stretch of beach subject to an ordinance establishing the customary public use of that part of the beach, the passing of House Bill 631 on March 8, 2018 could have allowed a private owner of beach to prevent the public from viewing the wreckage.
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A Guide to Legislative Changes Affecting Community Associations

April 2nd, 2018

Posted in Condominium & Homeowner Association Law

We’ve prepared the following bottom-line outline of the recent legislative amendments enacted in House Bill 841 affecting Florida condominium, homeowners’, and cooperative associations.  The amendments will take effect July 1, 2018. 
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Impact of Tax Reform on Estate Planning

March 19th, 2018

Posted in Estate & Personal Planning,IRS & Tax Information

How did tax reform affect estate planning? The tax reform signed into law on December 22, 2017 increased the estate tax exclusion from $5.49 million[1] to slightly over $11 million.[2]  Estate tax is a tax on property transferred upon your death, but only estates valued in excess of the exclusion may owe tax.  In general, assets of a decedent in addition to any lifetime gifts that exceed the annual gift tax exclusion[3] on which gift tax has not been paid, are included in the calculation. For married couples, each spouse could have an exclusion[4]. Most individuals and couples do not have assets exceeding $11 million and $22 million, respectively, so the group to which estate tax is relevant has drastically reduced.
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Registering a Florida Business Entity? Beware of Suspicious Notices that Request Money for Certificates or Filing Fees

March 5th, 2018

Posted in Business Law,General Practice

Last year, the Florida Division of Corporations saw a total of 395,777 business entity filings.[1]  Some of these entities may have received correspondence from various companies, claiming the entity has “one step left in order to attain your elective Florida Certificate of Status and corporate agreement templates.”  The correspondence goes on to request a fee, usually approximately $70.00, with instructions for remitting payment.

Most, if not all, of this type of correspondence is not sent by the Florida Division of Corporations.  Once a business entity or registration is properly formed, incorporated, organized or registered on record with the Florida Division of Corporations, it is not required to purchase or receive a certificate of status to be considered valid.
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Important Deadlines for Taxpayers in 2018

February 16th, 2018

Posted in IRS & Tax Information

Calendaring important IRS and tax authority deadlines can save you a lot of headaches at tax time.  To avoid paying penalties and other tax consequences, keep a calendar and plan for tax deadlines with your accountant, attorney, and other members of your professional team.  The below items are a few examples of important tax deadlines:
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Associations May Demand Rent from Tenants if Owner Becomes Delinquent

February 2nd, 2018

Posted in Condominium & Homeowner Association Law

Pursuant to Sections 718.116 and 720.3085 of the Florida Statutes governing condominium and homeowner’s associations, respectively, if a condominium unit or home is occupied by a tenant and the owner is delinquent in paying a monetary obligation due to the association, the association may demand that the tenant pay to the association his or her rental payments and continue to make such payments until all the monetary obligations of the owner have been paid in full to the association. 
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Considerations for Moving a Business to Florida

January 22nd, 2018

Posted in Business Law,General Practice,IRS & Tax Information

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which was signed into law on December 22, 2017, has far-reaching implications for many Americans.  However, one outcome that may affect all Floridians is the prospect of more neighbors.  The new federal tax bill generally favors more competitive, low tax states such as Florida.  In addition to added residents, Florida may see an increase in companies that call Florida home. For years, Florida has boasted a favorable tax climate for businesses.  Some tax incentives that attract business owners include a broad range of sales and use tax exemptions available to business, as well as the absence of corporate taxes for limited partnerships and some other entity forms, to name a few benefits.  
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