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Restoring Home Rule Authority: Florida’s Struggle to Regulate Vacation Rentals

April 14th, 2015

Posted in Condominium & Homeowner Association Law

Recent legal developments have once again drawn attention to an area that has experienced heated debate and spurred litigation: vacation rentals.  “Vacation rentals” are defined by statute as “any unit or group of units in a condominium or cooperative or any individually or collectively owned single-family, two-family, three-family, or four-family house or dwelling unit that is also a transient public lodging establishment but that is not a timeshare project.” 
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Important Deadlines for Taxpayers in 2015

March 25th, 2015

Posted in Asset Protection,Business Law,General Practice,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 review tax deadlines with your Accountant, CPA, Enrolled Agent, or Tax Attorney.  Jackson Law Group has tax attorneys that can assist you with IRS or other tax problems.  The below items are a few examples of important dates:
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Homeowners’ Association Directors May Contract with Association Subject to Members’ Right of Cancellation

March 17th, 2015

Posted in Condominium & Homeowner Association Law

Are you concerned about a contract that your Homeowners’ Association has entered into with a company owned by a member of the board of directors?  Are you a director of your Homeowners Association who wants to provide a service to the Association but concerned with a potential conflict of interest? 
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10 Biggest Mistakes in Asset Protection Planning

February 11th, 2015

Posted in Asset Protection,Estate & Personal Planning,General Practice

  1. Not Understanding the Purpose of Asset Protection: Asset protection will not make you “judgment proof.” Someone can still obtain a judgment against you.  You must distinguish obtaining a judgment and collecting on a judgment, which is typically only done after a judgment is rendered.
  2. Waiting Too Long To Begin Planning: Preventative planning is both most effective and least expensive before you have legal problems.
  3. Believing That It Is Too Late To Protect Assets: It’s never too late to improve protection. Anything is better than doing nothing.
  4. Thinking Creditors are Lazy or Not Smart: Don’t underestimate the skill and intelligence of your adversaries. Creditors and their attorneys are not lazy or thoughtless.  The court system can be a slow process.
  5. Failure to Comprehend Vulnerability of Your Business: The shares of stock or membership interests you own are vulnerable to creditor attack.
  6. Fraudulent Transfers and Conveyances: You cannot protect assets by giving them to family members.
  7. Misunderstanding Salary Exemption: Salary exemptions can be complicated. Don’t be trapped into misunderstanding these concepts, especially for business owners.
  8. Confusing Estate Planning With Asset Protection: Asset protection is oftentimes part of estate planning, but a living trust or will does nothing to protect your assets from creditors.
  9. Confusing Bankruptcy Law and Asset Protection Law: The new bankruptcy law does not affect Florida’s unlimited homestead exemption and other exemptions outside bankruptcy court.
  10. Giving Up Control Over Your Assets: The easiest asset protection plan is to give someone else control over your assets. This is all too often a poor solution.

If you own assets and are concerned about protecting them, avoid making the mistakes mentioned above.  For more information on developing an asset protection plan that is thorough and unique to your particular situation, we encourage you to contact a qualified, licensed attorney.

 

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Florida Mortgage Foreclosure Deficiency Lawsuits

February 3rd, 2015

Posted in General Practice,Real Estate Law

Procedurally, the State of Florida treats deficiency judgments on foreclosed residential homes differently than the foreclosure actions themselves.  Although the deficiency judgment may seem like an extenuation of the foreclosure action to homeowners, the reality is that a deficiency judgment action is its own legal proceeding.  In fact, the deficiency judgment cannot even take place until after the sale on the subject property.  That’s because a deficiency judgment action is filed by the lender to collect, in general, the difference between the amount owed by the borrower and the fair market value.  Recently, the State of Florida made a few changes to the procedural rules that govern deficiency judgments on real property that further distinguish deficiency actions from foreclosure actions.
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Annual and Membership Meetings May Be Adjourned to Obtain Additional Votes

January 27th, 2015

Posted in Condominium & Homeowner Association Law

An all too common scenario for condominium and homeowner associations (HOA’s) in Florida is the lack of participation at an annual meeting, where the election of directors is typically required to occur along with any special membership vote or a special membership meeting called to vote on a matter requiring membership approval.  While the quorum requirements to hold such a meeting are generally found in the association’s governing documents, by law the quorum can be no higher than thirty percent (30%) of the entire membership.
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Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act Extended to Cover Any Mortgage Debt Cancelled Through Year-End 2014

January 22nd, 2015

Posted in Asset Protection,Estate & Personal Planning,IRS & Tax Information,Real Estate Law

In a previous blog (click here), we posted about the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act (“MFDRA”) and how it had yet to be extended by Congress to cover mortgage debts forgiven in 2014.  MFDRA prevents homeowners who went through a short sale, foreclosure sale, a principal reduction, or some other type of waiver of a deficiency regarding their primary residence from being taxed on the amount of mortgage debt cancelled or forgiven.
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Tax Break Approved for Breastfeeding Mothers

January 19th, 2015

Posted in General Practice,IRS & Tax Information

The Internal Revenue Service has made a change to a policy that was rejected in 2010.  Based on the proven health benefits of breastfeeding for women and their children, the IRS will now allow mothers to count the costs of breast pumps and other supplies as a medical deduction on their taxes.  Breastfeeding women can spend as much as $1,000 each year on nursing supplies, thanks to the efforts of the American Academy of Pediatrics and other breastfeeding advocates that fought in recent years to advance this proposal.
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