September 19, 2017
Hurricane Irma Relief
Our office was without power for over a week. We are now back up and running. We know many of you experienced damage from the hurricane. Many different forms of relief are available, from mortgage payments to unemployment assistance. Please feel free to call our office with any questions or assistance.
Ways to Register:
In Person: Visit a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC). Download the FEMA App to find the nearest location.
Information You Will Need:
Social Security number
Address of the damaged home or apartment
Description of the damage
Information about insurance coverage
A current contact telephone number
An address where you can receive mail
Bank account and routing numbers for direct deposit of funds
March 10, 2017
Just Some of the Famous People Who Have Filed Bankruptcy:
* Abraham Lincoln - 16th President of the United States
* Henry Ford - Founder of Ford Motor Company
* Milton Hershey - Founded Hershey's Chocolate
* Oscar Wilde - Famous Irish Writer
* Oskar Schindler - Saved thousand of Jews during the holocaust
* Rembrandt - Famous painter
* Samuel Clemens- Otherwise known as Mark Twain
* Thomas Paine - A founding father of the USA
* Walt Disney
May 3, 2017
Should I Hire A Probate Attorney?
Probate can be complicated, and you can be personally liable if you do something wrong. One minor omission, one failure to send a copy of the petition, or a missed deadline can cause everything to come to a grinding halt. Among other problems, this kind of mistake is likely to make you unpopular with the beneficiaries.
If any of the following circumstances come to light, it is recommended that you seek legal counsel:
* If there is a complicated tax situation, such as a dispute over past tax;
* Ambiguities in the wording of the will;
* Disputed claims, such as a spouse who says property left to someone else is community property;
* Problems with disputed debts or unfinished contracts, such as the sale of a business that wasn’t completed;
* A significant amount of property left to a minor who needs to have a guardian appointed; or
* If the estate doesn’t have enough assets to pay all the debts.
October 4, 2017
Check out our newest video on Probate on our video page!
July 28, 2017
What is Auto Dealer Fraud Law?
Auto dealer fraud law consists of state and federal rules designed to protect consumers shopping for vehicles, and to punish dealerships that take advantage of their customers. These laws deal with deception and unfair practices by dealers, as opposed to the sale of defective vehicles, which is the subject of a separate set of rules known as “lemon laws.” Primary sources of auto dealer fraud law include the FTC regulations found at 16 CFR 455 (the Used Car Rule), other federal and state consumer protection laws, and the common law tort of fraud.
To members of the public, vehicle purchases and leases are complicated transactions with which they may have little experience. Dealers, on the other hand, are well-versed in these transactions. They are also incentivized by commission pay structures and the potential for financing profits. Fraudulent dealers may rationalize their conduct based on a general attitude within the industry – especially the used car industry – that ingenuity in the sales process is acceptable, and that customers buy at their own risk.
Call us at (386) 631-3436 if you feel you've been taken advantage of!
July 7, 2017
Call Us If You Are Experiencing Debt Collection Harassment (386) 631-3436
How to Protect Yourself: Debt Collections
Source: The Florida Attorney General's Office
A "debt collector" is someone who regularly tries to collect debts owed to others. A debt collector may contact you if you are behind in your payments to a creditor on a personal, family or household debt, or if an error has been made in your account.
A debt collector may contact you in person, or by mail, email, telephone, telegram or fax. However, a collector may not communicate with you or your family with such frequency as can reasonably considered harassing. A debt collector may not contact you at work if the collector knows your employer does not approve, nor may a collector contact you at unreasonable times or places, such as before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., unless you agree.
A debt collector is required to send you a written notice within five days after you are first contacted, telling you the amount of money you owe. The notice must also specify the name of the creditor to whom you owe the money and what action you should take if you believe you do not owe the money.
You may stop a collector from contacting you by writing a letter to the agency telling them to stop. Once the agency receives your letter, they may not contact you again except to say there will be no further contact, or to notify you if the debt collector or the creditor intends to take some specific action.
If you do not believe you owe the debt, you may write to the collection agency within 30 days after you are first contacted, saying you don't owe the money. The agency may not contact you after that unless you are sent proof of the debt, such as a copy of the bill.
A debt collector may not harass or abuse anyone. For instance, a collector may not use threats of violence against the person, property or reputation; use obscene or profane language; advertise the debt; or repeatedly or continuously make telephone calls with the intent to harass or abuse the person at the called number. In addition, debt collectors are required to accurately disclose their identities to the person at the called number.
A debt collector may not use false statements, such as falsely implying that they are attorneys, that you have committed a crime, or that they operate or work for a credit bureau or misrepresenting the amount of your debt, the involvement of an attorney in collecting a debt, or indicating that papers sent to you are legal forms when they are not. Debt collectors may not tell you that you will be arrested if you do not pay; that they will seize, garnish, attach, or sell your property or wages unless the collection agency or creditor intends to do so and has a legal right to do so; or that a lawsuit will be filed against you, when they have no legal right to file or do not intend to file such a suit.
Complaints about collection agencies may be filed either with Office of Financial Regulation at http://www.flofr.com/StaticPages/documents/OFR-CCA-103.pdf or with the Federal Trade Commission, Correspondence Branch, Washington, D.C. 20580. You also may file a lawsuit against the collection agency for violating state and/or federal law. If you prevail, you may be awarded your actual damages, as well as attorneys’ fees and costs.
To remind people of their rights – and debt collectors of their obligations – the FTC is featuring a new video available at www.ftc.gov/MoneyMatters, in the section called "Dealing with Debt". The video is also available in Spanish at www.ftc.gov/asuntosdedinero.
April 21, 2017
Just a nice quote for a Friday from Helen Keller. Have a great weekend!
"Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable."
March 17, 2017
What's The Difference Between a Will and a Trust?
There are two major differences between a Will and a Trust. With a trust, the trustee does not have to go to probate court, and can make asset transfers without court supervision.
On the other hand, an executor of a will must file the will in probate court and transfer assets through the probate process. Accordingly, a trust may save the estate money by not having to pay out probate costs. The second major difference is that, in Florida, when a will gets probated, the will and other court documents become public records. In a trust, this does not occur, making a trust a desirable option for individuals who value privacy.
March 13, 2017
The two most common forms of Bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 is a liquidation bankruptcy designed to wipe out your general unsecured debts such as credit cards and medical bills. To qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must have little or no disposable income. If you make too much money, you may be required to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy (discussed below).
When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a trustee is appointed to administer your case. In addition to reviewing your bankruptcy papers and supporting documents, the Chapter 7 trustee’s job is to sell your nonexempt property to pay back your creditors. If you don’t have any nonexempt assets, your creditors receive nothing. As a result, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is typically for low-income debtors with little or no assets who want to get rid of their unsecured debts.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 13 is a reorganization bankruptcy designed for debtors with regular income who can pay back at least a portion of their debts through a repayment plan. If you make too much money to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may have no choice but to file a Chapter 13 case. However, many debtors choose to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy because it offers many benefits that Chapter 7 bankruptcy does not (such as the ability to catch up on missed mortgage payments or strip wholly unsecured junior liens from your house).
In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you get to keep all of your property (including nonexempt assets). In exchange, you pay back all or a portion of your debts through a repayment plan (the amount you must pay back depends on your income, expenses, and types of debt). For this reason, Chapter 13 is commonly referred to as a reorganization bankruptcy. Typically, Chapter 13 bankruptcy is for debtors who can afford to make monthly payments to get caught up on missed mortgage or car payments or pay off nondischargeable debts such as alimony or child support arrears.
June 11, 2017
Important Information from MSNBC - Sometimes Bankruptcy is the Best Option!
How’d you like to lower your monthly credit card and loan payments — guaranteed? It’s an offer that sounds mighty appealing to anyone struggling to pay their bills. A growing number of companies across the country claim they can do this by either lowering your interest rate or reducing the amount you owe.
But beware! Some of these debt relief programs are scams run by con artists who can’t deliver on their promises. If you fall for their pitch, you could lose hundreds of dollars in fees and find yourself in worse financial shape. You’ll owe just as much as when you started, plus have additional late fees and other penalties to pay.
Carol in North Carolina was willing to share her personal horror story with me as long as I did not use her last name. It started with a phone call from a debt management company. The representative told Carol she could get her creditors to lower their interest rates. This would let Carol pay off her credit card, mortgage and car loan debt three to five times faster.
“She specifically told me that I would save at least $2,500 in a very short time and would likely save much more,” Carol states in her declaration to the Federal Trade Commission.
Carol was skeptical, especially when she heard the price was $499. But the salesperson assured Carol she would see lower interest rates within the first 30 days of the program and that these savings would more than cover the fee.
“She spoke with such confidence and zeal that I was moved to tears,” Carol says. “I was thrilled and full of hope to know that I would finally be able to pay off my debts.”
But it didn’t turn out that way. Despite repeated attempts, Carol’s “financial consultants” could not lower the rates on any of her credit cards. The company will not refund Carol’s $499 fee as promised. The Federal Trade Commission has sued the firm.Type your paragraph here.
March 24, 2017
What is a Collaborative Divorce?
The main focus of a collaborative divorce is settlement. The collaborative divorce method is a process designed to protect both parties’ rights while wanting reaching a settlement as to their disagreements. The process is designed to be cooperative, allowing both parties to feel as if they are being treated fairly. The parties attempt to use negotiation as a means of resolving their differences.
Why Would I Want to Try a Collaborative Divorce?
If the parties are able to participate in this process, it offers several advantages:
More control over the result: Rather than placing important decisions such as child custody and division of the marital property in the hands of a judge, collaborative divorces allow the parties to dictate the results.
Lower costs: In a collaborative divorce, typically only one expert is needed, and the parties split the cost. This can result in major savings..
More satisfaction with the results: Because both parties participate in creating a settlement, both parties feel greater satisfaction.
No adversarial proceedings: If a collaborative divorce is successful, the parties may never have to see a judge for anything other than to have their agreement adopted by the court.
Faster discovery: The process of exchanging important information usually works much more quickly than in traditional divorces.
May 22, 2017
Check out our newest video on Divorce on our video page!
April 12, 2017
Reasons why you should hire a Foreclosure Defense Attorney:
If you have been served with a foreclosure notice
If you are behind on your mortgage payments for any reason at all
If you are having trouble affording your home due to a change in financial conditions
If you are afraid of getting a negative score on your credit rating
If you are looking to modify the terms of your loan
If you have been trying to work with the lender and aren't getting anywhere
How a Foreclosure Defense Attorney can help you:
By providing you with options and opportunities to try and help you avoid foreclosure
By representing you and contacting the lender on your behalf to make payments manageable
By taking the lender to court if necessary to have a judge determine what best fits your needs
By providing you with important information that may help you avoid foreclosure
By helping to identify what laws are established to protect you from your lender and using them
By ensuring the bank has carried out foreclosure proceedings correctly
The banks and lenders do not care about you or your rights or your interests, only their profits
March 31, 2017
Why You Need an Attorney at Your Real Estate Closing
Although it may seem to some a 'waste of money' to hire an attorney, it is an investment in your transaction I strongly recommend to all of my clients. Your best outcome would be a smooth transaction, with your attorney doing only what is required of him, which is:
Further help you understand and clarify your purchase contract, to make sure your interests are protected
Help you understand how you will take title
Be sure the title is clear
Work with your lender to ensure a timely loan
Closely review the adjustments, including taxes owing, prior to the actual closing
Prepare any legal documents
Attend the closing and review and help you clearly understand all the documents you will be required to sign.
Ensure title insurance is in order
Review the contract and its terms and make any necessary modifications to protect your interests
Prepare all of the closing paperwork, including deed and power of attorney
If a title agent, order title and ensure it is clear
Deal with title issues if they occur
Attend the closing on your behalf if you choose to pre-sign, or review all the papers with you at closing that you will be required to sign.
Arrange for insurance certificates if required
Manage and disburse earnest money if escrowed with the attorney instead of listing office
However, things can and do go wrong in real estate transactions, some of them fairly compliclated, and what a peace of mind to know that you have an attorney who understands real estate law on your side should this occur.