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5 Reasons to Stop Avoiding Estate Planning

November 30th, 2018

Posted in Estate & Personal Planning

With the new year around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about what you have been avoiding and go ahead and tackle it. Estate planning is typically one of those things we avoid because it is uncomfortable. Experience practicing in estate planning tells me that there are very few things in life that are certain, but we all know that one day our passing is one of those things.  So, what better time to begin your estate planning, than at a point where the possibility seems distant.

Here are just 5 reasons to stop putting it off:


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What Condominium or Homeowners Associations Should Expect at Mediation

November 13th, 2018

Posted in Condominium & Homeowner Association Law

Condominiums and Homeowners Associations often participate in mediation either as part of a lawsuit or as an attempt to settle a dispute prior to litigation. Most Board Members have never participated in a mediation and usually have questions about mediation and the mediation process. Here are some basics about what a Community Association should expect when facing an upcoming mediation.

What is Mediation?

The first thing to understand about mediation is just what it is and what it isn’t. Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution process where a neutral third-party (the Mediator) works with the Association and the other party to try to resolve the parties’ differences in a way that both sides can agree to. It is essentially a conversation, where each party shares their side of the dispute, and the Mediator tries to help them reach an agreement. A mediation is not a trial or hearing, and the Mediator is not a judge or jury. Instead, the Mediator facilitates the discussion about the sources of the dispute and the possible resolution. The benefit of mediation is that the parties are in control of the possible resolution so that it is not decided by a judge, jury, or arbitrator. In order to encourage the parties to be open and work together towards a settlement, the mediation is confidential, and nothing said or presented at mediation can be used against a party later or shared with anyone else.


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Notice and Eligibility Requirements for HOA Elections

October 19th, 2018

Posted in Condominium & Homeowner Association Law

With the nonstop political advertisements on television you have probably figured out that Election Day, November 6, 2018, is right around the corner for the general election.  Homeowner’s Associations, Condominium Owners Associations, and Cooperatives also generally run elections for the board of directors of the association around this time of year.
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You Could Be Denied A Passport for Owing Taxes to the IRS

September 28th, 2018

Posted in IRS & Tax Information

The IRS now has the power to block passports of seriously delinquent taxpayers thanks to a law passed by Congress in 2015.  In January 2018, the IRS published procedures to begin enforcement.  Prior to January 2018, the IRS had not been enforcing the new law. So far this year, the IRS has been sending tens of thousands of violators’ names to the State Department, which oversees passport applications.

If you have a seriously delinquent tax debt (defined as greater than $50,000 owed with increases for inflation), it is possible that you may not be issued a U.S. passport and your current U.S. passport may be revoked.  If you are overseas, you may be eligible for a limited passport good for direct return to the United States.


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

September 7th, 2018

Posted in IRS & Tax Information,Real Estate Law

Your local Florida County Property Appraiser mails out the Notice of Proposed Property Taxes (Truth in Millage or “TRIM” form) in August or September 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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Are you a “Certified Board Member”?

August 17th, 2018

Posted in Condominium & Homeowner Association Law

Florida’s Mandatory Condominium, Cooperative, and HOA Certification Requirements for Newly Elected Board Members

All Florida Condominium, Cooperative, and Homeowners Association’s (“HOA”) should be aware that Florida law requires mandatory certification of newly elected members of an Association’s Board of Directors within 90 days after becoming elected to the Board. Failure of a Board Member to meet the certification requirements results in the Board Member being suspended from the Board until the certification requirement is met.


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Legal Considerations for Rental Property Owners

August 6th, 2018

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

Many local governments have enacted laws which require the owner of a short term rental property to obtain a certificate or other permit in order to utilize the property as a rental. This regulation comes in addition to obtaining a license from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, a local business tax receipt, and the remission of Florida Sales Tax to the Department of Revenue. The issue of regulating short term vacation rentals has also been addressed recently by the Florida legislature.
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Surviving Florida’s Marketable Record Title Act

July 6th, 2018

Posted in Condominium & Homeowner Association Law

Florida’s Marketable Record Title Act (“MRTA”), Chapter 712 of the Florida Statutes, was enacted to simplify the title examination process and facilitate real property transactions.  MRTA removes title defects and interests in title from properties and extinguishes stale claims which came into existence more than 30 years ago to enhance the marketability of title. Prior to MRTA’s enaction in 1963, practitioners would have to search title records back as far as the initial Spanish land grants. 
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