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MAJOR PRACTICE - LITIGATION AREAS

Commercial
Foreclosure
Real Estate
Family Law
Federal Practice/Bankruptcy
Personal Injury
Probate and Guardianship
Class Action
Federal Practice Bankruptcy
Family Law
Securities
Trade
Consumer
Labor and Employment
Transaction Practice
Corporate


Commercial

Commercial litigation compromises any type of litigation or controversy related to the conduct of business and individual concerns. Examples of areas included under the general term "commercial litigation" include:

  • Debt collections
  • Bankruptcy matters
  • Contract disputes
  • Shareholder litigation
  • Real Estate disputes
  • Consumer-related issues

The list provides an idea of the broad scope of the term. It will also give an idea of how commercial litigation matters can range from relatively simple, uncomplicated matters, to highly complex matters that could take several years to resolve. Litigation handled improperly can lead to additional unnecessary expense for you and your business. There is not only the expense entailed in losing your case, but there is the added cost of needless delays, caused by work performed poorly. Commercial litigation is an area of law that should be handled by skilled litigation attorneys. 
   

Foreclosure
Florida requires that foreclosures be completed through court proceedings. The length of the foreclosure process in Florida varies with each case depending upon the issues involved, including defenses and potential counterclaims.
 
A foreclosure in Florida begins when a lender files court action and records a notice of a pending lawsuit (Lis Pendens) against the borrower. The lender notifies the borrower and any other affected parties in person or in some cases by mail or publication. If the borrower does not respond to the court action within a specified amount of time, the county clerk can find the borrower in default and the lender can request the court to issue a final ruling. If the court rules against the borrower, the ruling will include the total amount owed to the lender and the foreclosure sale date.
 
The lender is not required by state law to notify the borrower before initiating the foreclosure process, but individual mortgages or deeds of trust might call for this notification.  The borrower can stop the foreclosure up until the date of the sale by paying the total amount owed to the lender or reinstating the loan.
 
The sale date is typically 20-35 days after the court ruling, but this may vary depending on the individual court. The clerk of court issues a notice of sale containing the location, date, and time of the sale.  The notice is published once a week for two weeks, with the second notice appearing at least five days before the sale.
 
The clerk usually oversees the sale, which ordinarily occurs at the county courthouse at 11:00 a.m. on the sale date. The winning bidder must provide a 5 percent deposit and pay the remaining balance by the end of the day or a new sale is scheduled a minimum of 20 days later. After a successful sale, the clerk gives a certificate of sale to the winning bidder.
 
Within 10 days of the sale, the clerk transfers ownership to the winning bidder if no one disputes the sale.  In most instances, a borrower has no right of redemption after the certificate of sale is issued.
 
 

REAL ESTATE LAW

Landlord/Tenant
Our office provides legal representation for landlords and tenants.  Chapter 83 of the Florida Statutes dictates both landlord and tenant rights and responsibilities.  In addition to the terms and conditions of the lease agreement, the landlord’s responsibilities are set forth in Section 83.51 of the Florida Statutes including maintaining the following:

1. The roof must not leak.
2. The walls must be weather-tight, and in good repair.
3. The stairs must be safe for normal use and maintained in good repair.
4. Windows and doors must be basically weather-tight, water-tight, rodent-proof,
and kept in sound working condition. Outside doors have to have proper
locks.
5. Window panes cannot have cracks and holes. Outside windows must have
screens.
6. Inside floors, walls, ceilings must be basically rodent-proof and kept in sound
condition and good repair, and should be safe.
7. The house or apartment must have hot water, which is connected to the
kitchen and bathroom sinks, tub or shower.
8. All houses or apartments must have a flush toilet in good working condition.
9. When cooking and heating equipment are provided by the landlord, they must
be safely installed and in good working order.
10. There must be adequate garbage disposal facilities or garbage storage
containers.
11. Every habitable room must have at least two separate floor or wall electric
outlets and, additionally, every kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and hallway
must have a ceiling or wall-type fixture, or an outlet controlled by a wall
switch near the entrance to the room.
12. All electrical systems must be in good repair and good working order.

Chapter 83 of the Florida Statutes also provides a clear guideline for the necessary steps if the landlord does not comply with the lease or statutes.  Tenants should be careful before withholding any rent from the landlord as the failure to comply with the strict statutory requirements could lead to an eviction proceeding.


In addition to the terms and conditions of the lease agreement, Section 83.51 also explains the tenant’s responsibilities including the following:

1. Keep the house or apartment in a clean and sanitary manner.
2. Remove all garbage from the house or apartment in a clean and sanitary
manner (for example, use garbage cans).
3. Keep all plumbing fixtures in the house or apartment used by the tenant
in a clean and sanitary manner and in good repair.
4. Properly use and operate all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating,
ventilating, air conditioning and other facilities and appliances,
including elevators, which are in the apartment or house.
5. Not destroy, damage or in any way misuse the property itself. This
includes not permitting any tenant's guests to do so either.
6. Not remove anything from the house or apartment which does not
belong to the tenant (for example, cannot remove light fixture which
was in the property when tenant moved in).
7. Conduct themselves and require anyone who visits them to act in a
way that does not disturb the peace.

The eviction process typically commences with an eviction notice which is the landlord's request or formal demand made to the tenant.  The notice normally requests that the tenant pay rent or vacate the premises. It is delivered to the tenant only and not initially filed in court.

If the tenant does not voluntarily move as requested by the eviction notice, the
landlord may file an eviction case in court. The eviction case is the landlord's
request or formal demand initiated in the county court where the subject premises are located.  These proceedings request the court to evict the tenant and may include a claim for damages, such as unpaid rent or property damage.

The request is begun with a Summons and Complaint, which is delivered to the
tenant by a process server or sheriff.  The tenant has five business days to file a written answer to the Summons and Complaint or the tenant will be evicted by default.  Subsequently, the clerk of the county court will issue a "writ of possession" to the sheriff who will notify the tenant of the physical eviction in 24 hours.

Other types of evictions include, under certain circumstances, if the tenant has exhibited a lack of consideration for the rights and privacy of others, a landlord has the right to require a tenant to move with very little notice.  In some cases (destruction, damage, misuse of property, unreasonable disturbances), the landlord does not have to give you the opportunity to cure the problem and may terminate your tenancy by giving you a seven-day written notice.


Escrow disputes
In today's real estate marketplace, contracts for purchase and sale are being terminated for a variety of reasons leading to disputes as to which party is entitled to the escrow deposit.  Claims are being asserted by the buyer, seller and sometimes, the real estate professional.

Specific performance
In Florida, a seller who agrees to sell a particular property must do so unless the buyer fails to meet all the terms of the purchase agreement. This is called "specific performance." If you have second thoughts on a particular sale, you should immediately contact an attorney. 

FREC disputes
The Florida Real Estate Commission (FREC) consists of seven members and meets monthly in Orlando. The commission meeting is usually the third Wednesday of the month. The FREC administers and enforces the real estate license law, Chapter 475, Part I, Florida Statutes. The Commission is also empowered to pass rules that enable it to implement its statutorily authorized duties and responsibilities. These rules are contained in Chapter 61J2, Florida Administrative Code.

Equitable Lien
The Florida court has determined that an equitable lien may be imposed only to capture money that was obtained through fraud or egregious conduct. The fact that money was rightfully obtained and then used for improper purpose is not enough to impose an equitable lien. The court points out that an equitable lien on homestead is not warranted when a debtor uses money lawfully obtained to buy an exempt asset for the purposes of avoiding and defrauding creditors.                                   

Quiet title
A quiet title action is a legal action that is brought in a circuit court to obtain a final determination as to the title (ownership) of a specific piece of property. It is usually brought as a result of various individuals asserting, or possibly having a right to assert, contradictory or adverse claims to the same property. In such a situation, a quiet title action will allow the court to address any and all claims that could be asserted by interested parties, and render a final judgment as to ownership as to the property in question.

Homeowner Association
Homeowner’s association statutory rules and regulations are located in Chapter 720 of the Florida Statutes.  HOA’s became popular as a means of keeping neighborhoods homogeneous in nature both in terms of style and upkeep. For example some communities govern the type of fence or color of house or mandate tile roofs while at the same time requiring a certain level of maintenance – green lawn etc. HOA’s also provide the mechanism by which dues are assessed to maintain common elements and amenities. The more common elements and amenities the more it will cost to maintain and the higher the dues will due.

Before there can even be a HOA, there must be recorded deed restrictions or covenants that each parcel owner must agree to abide by and uphold. These covenants are legal documents recorded with the local jurisdiction and are a matter of civil law. They are typically setup at the beginning of a build process by the developer or builder and the obligation to abide by them passes to each new owner as part of the title documents.

The fact that there are deed restrictions does not **yet** mean that there has to be… or even can be a HOA. I live in a deed restricted community and there is a HOA however the original deed restrictions did not have a provision that required each parcel owner to belong to the HOA. Therefore I live in a community where I am obligated by civil law to adhere to the restrictions I agreed to at closing but I do not have to belong to an association and therefore do not have to pay any association dues. There may be a voluntary HOA.

Once the appropriate covenants and restrictions are filed and if they include the creation of and mandatory membership to a HOA, then such HOA is governed by Chapter 720 of the Florida Statutes.  It must be a mandatory HOA for it to be valid under FS chapter 720.  

Condominium Association
Community Associations are creatures of statute and located in Chapter 718 of the Florida Statutes.  Therefore, it is the legislature who in the end mandates what associations can or can’t do. However, the Florida legislature has given Associations great latitude to regulate themselves through the Association’s governing documents.  They should be viewed as a baseline for what Association must do and as a default mechanism to address those issues that are unclear or simply not address in the Association’s governing documents. 

The relevant statutes are as follows:

  • Florida Statutes Chapter 718 commonly known as the Florida Condominium Law Act
  • Florida Statute Chapter 719 commonly known as the Florida Cooperative Act
  • Florida Statute Chapter 720 commonly known as Homeowner’s Associations
  • Florida Statute Chapter 721 commonly known as the Florida Vacation Plan and Timesharing Act       

FAMILY LAW

Dissolution of Marriage
If you or your spouse are considering a divorce, you need to determine which type of divorce needs to be filed.   A dissolution of marriage in Florida has certain requirements and procedures at different stages of the proceedings. Further, there are certain terms and procedures that you should know and consider.

First, you should know that in Florida, the official term for "divorce" is "dissolution". Marriage and dissolution are not the private acts of individuals, but rather the official recognition by the state of the existence or termination of a legal relationship. Dissolution of marriage is a purely statutory cause of action and a marriage cannot be terminated without the entry of a court order.
It follows then that, in Florida, common law marriages are not recognized. They were abolished in 1967.
Second, there are two ways in which to obtain a dissolution in Florida. A shorter and easier way is called a simplified dissolution marriage. The other way, and most commonly used is a regular dissolution of marriage.
                                   

Paternity
Establishing paternity means legally determining the father of the child. If the parents are not married to each other when the child is born, the child does not have a legal father unless paternity is established. The easiest way is for both parents to sign a form stating that the child is theirs. If necessary, a court can establish paternity by determining the father's identity. Either way, paternity can be established at any time for a minor child.

Either parent can ask for a genetic test to establish who is the father. The test is easy and takes only a few minutes. It usually involves gently wiping the inside of the mouth with a swab or collecting a small amount of blood. Samples must be taken from the mother, the child and the man who is believed to be the father. Test results are typically available in four to six weeks.
Establishing paternity will give your child the same rights and benefits as children born to married parents. These rights and benefits may include:

  • Legal proof of each parent's identity
  • Information on family medical history in case of inherited health problems
  • The child knowing the identity of both parents
  • The father's name on the birth certificate
  • Medical or life insurance from either parent (if available)
  • Financial support from both parents, including child support, Social Security, veteran benefits and military allowances (if applicable).

Support Obligations
Child Support is one of the most important determinations that a court will issue in a  divorce or dissolution proceeding. In addition, the Court may also modify an existing court-ordered child support order if there has been a substantial change in either parent's financial circumstances.
Contrary to popular belief, both parents have an obligation to provide support to children of divorce or separation, not just the non-residential parent. The amount of the obligation each parent has is based upon statutory factors that consider the respective income of each parent as well as the time each parent spends with the children.                                   

Name Changes
Change of name proceedings are regulated by Chapter 68 of the Florida Statutes.  Chancery courts have jurisdiction to change the name of any person residing in the state of Florida on petition of the person filed in the county in which he or she resides.  Normally, the process is simple when uncontested by any interested party.  

UCCJEA
The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) was designed to deter interstate parental kidnapping and to promote uniform jurisdiction and enforcement provisions in interstate child custody and visitations cases. The UCCJEA is a uniform state law that all states can adopt to deter interstate parental kidnapping.

The UCCJEA was approved in 1997 by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL) to replace its 1968 Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA). NCCUSL drafts and proposes laws in areas where it believes uniformity is important, but the laws become effective only upon adoption by state legislatures.

The UCCJEA governs state courts' jurisdiction to make and modify child-custody determinations, which includes custody and visitation orders. The UCCJEA requires state courts to enforce valid child-custody and visitation determinations made by sister state courts. It also establishes innovative interstate enforcement procedures.

The UCCJEA is intended as an improvement over the UCCJA. The UCCJEA determines which states' courts have and should exercise jurisdiction to dictate standards for making or modifying child custody and visitation decisions. A court must have jurisdiction before it can proceed to consider the merits of a case. The UCCJEA does not apply to child support cases.

Post-DOM
After the dissolution of marriage of the parties, one spouse may require modification of child support or alimony.  The process for modification normally necessitates the filing of a supplemental petition requesting such relief.
 
Even though the parties may have entered into an agreement during the dissolution of marriage proceedings or the judge has entered an order detailing the equitable distribution or support obligations, one party may be required to enforce the agreement or court order through subsequent judicial proceedings. 

FINANCIAL LAW

NASD
The forum established by the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) and New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) for securities arbitration.  Investors who maintain accounts with brokerage firms and have been damaged are required to bring their dispute before Self Regulatory Organizations such as the NASD and NYSE. While arbitration used to be an informal process, now, arbitration resembles a formal court proceeding.

Common abuses are:

  • Unsuitable Recommendations
  • Churning
  • Misrepresentation
  • Unauthorized Transactions
  • Mutual Fund Switching
  • Margin Over-Concentration
  • Failure to Hedge Concentrated Stock Positions
  • Employee Stock Option Abuse

Selling away
Under National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) Rule 3040, brokers may not deal in private securities except in limited cases. As defined, private security transactions are those transactions which are not a part of the broker's regular work with the brokerage house. In order to sell private securities, a broker must give written notice to the brokerage house. The brokerage firm has the discretion to approve or deny the broker's request. If a broker tells an investor about "secret" investments that cannot be revealed to other brokers, offers securities not available through the brokerage firm or asks for payment to be rendered to a third party, rather than the brokerage house the broker may be selling away.
 

Churning
Churning is an unethical practice employed by some financial advisors/brokers to increase their commissions by excessively trading in a client's account. This practice violates the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) Fair Practice Rules, as well the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) rules. The specific rules that prohibit churning are the NASD's churning rule, Rule 2310-2(b)(2) and the NYSE's churning rule, Rule 408(c).
For churning to occur, the broker must exercise control over the investment decisions in the client's account, having "fiduciary duties". This duty occurs either through a formal written discretionary agreement or through "de facto control" of the trading in the account. In addition, the advisor/broker must engage in excessive trading in light of the financial resources and character of the account, risk profile and investment goals, for the purpose of generating higher commissions. 
 

Covenants not to compete
Florida’s new restrictive covenant law (section 542.335 of the Florida statutes), passed in 1996, results in conditions more favorable to the employer than to the employee. An employee has the burden of demonstrating that enforcement of a restrictive covenant is unjustified. Geographical and time restrictions stated in restrictive covenants are assumed to be reasonable. A case alleging violation of a non-compete agreement, therefore, constitutes a prima facie case in the employer’s favor.

 

Tortious interference
Under Florida law, in a tortious interference with business relationships tort action, a claimant may recover damages for the loss of goodwill based upon future sales to past customers with whom the claimant has no understanding that they will continue to conduct business with the plaintiff.  The plaintiff's may recover damages for harm done to existing business relationships pursuant to which plaintiff has legal rights.

 

Trade secrets
Trade secrets exist in almost every business. Under the traditional, common-law definition, they consisted of virtually any information beneficial to the business, developed by the company through the expenditure of time and effort, unknown to others in competing businesses, and which gave an advantage to the company over such competition. Under the recently enacted Florida Uniform Trade Secrets Act ("UTSA"), a trade secret is any information (including, but not limited to, formulae, patterns, compilations, programs, devices, methods, techniques, or processes) which meets two criteria:

 

(1) it derives "independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to, and not being readily ascertainable by proper means by, other persons" to whom it might be valuable; and

 

(2) it is subject to "efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy."
According to the legislative history of the Florida UTSA, this new definition is intended to expand the scope of protectable trade secrets to allow a business to protect, due to its potential value, information which it does not presently intend to utilize or which it has not or cannot presently fully develop. In addition to information such as computer programs, formulae, and methods of production, trade secrets can also include customer lists, source lists, and the like.

 

Unfair and deceptive trade practices
The Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act enables both consumers and businesses to pursue relief in litigation seeking redress for FDUTPA violations.  Unfair and deceptive trade practices may include claims relating vehicles and in home sales solicitations.

 

Fair credit reporting
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), negative items such as bankruptcies, foreclosures, judgments, late payments and liens may be legally removed when the credit bureaus are unable to verify such incorrect, obsolete information.  Visit www.CleaningCredit.com for more information.
Credit reporting and other investigative agencies may also provide background financial and personal information for insurance purposes or to an employer about an employee or applicant for a permissible "employment purpose". A permissible employment purpose is the evaluation of an individual for employment, promotion or retention.

When employers hire a third party to conduct a background check, or obtain reports from outside agencies they are subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The FCRA distinguishes between two forms of reports, consumer reports and investigative consumer reports. A consumer report includes credit checks, overall indebtedness, addresses of record, etc. Investigative consumer reports provide in-depth information about an individual's character, general reputation, personal characteristics; mode of living, etc. Due to the more "intrusive" nature of investigative consumer reports, the Fair Credit Reporting Act requires employers who request this type of report to comply with additional notice and disclosure requirements.
 

Chapter 501
Formal actions can only be brought against a business when a violation of Florida Statute, Chapter 501Part II has occurred. Formal actions cannot be brought when there have been no violations of the Florida Statute 501 Part II. Consumers can contact the State Attorney's Office or the Florida Office of the Attorney General to complain about companies that violate Florida's Consumer Protection Laws. However, be advised that actions bought by either of these entities is done primarily to protect the public interest and are not done on an individual case basis.  If the consumer wishes to bring their own private cause of action for a violation of Chapter 501, such consumer may do so with the consultation and assistance of an attorney.  


“Personal injury" cases are legal disputes that arise when one person suffers harm from an accident or injury, and someone else might be legally responsible for that harm. A personal injury case can become formalized through civil court proceedings that seek to find others legally at fault through a court judgment or, as is much more common, such disputes may be resolved through informal settlement before any lawsuit is filed:

Formal "Lawsuit" Unlike criminal cases, which are initiated by the government, a formal personal injury case typically starts when a private individual (the "plaintiff") files a civil "complaint" against another person, business, corporation, or government agency (the "defendant"), alleging that they acted carelessly or irresponsibly in connection with an accident or injury that caused harm. This action is known as "filing a lawsuit".

 

Informal Settlement In reality, most disputes over fault for an accident or injury are resolved through informal early settlement, usually among those personally involved in the dispute, their insurers, and attorneys representing both sides. A settlement commonly takes the form of negotiation, followed by a written agreement in which both sides forgo any further action (such as a lawsuit), choosing instead to resolve the matter through payment of an agreeable amount of money.

 

Automobile accident
Personal injuries resulting from car, motorcycle, or auto accidents can cause a great deal of physical, emotional, and financial damage. Car, motorcycle, and auto accidents are often caused by someone else’s negligence. Laws exist in order to protect those injured in such accidents and certain benefits are outlined in those laws.

 

Slip and fall / Premises liability
Property owners are responsible for the safety of those who pass through their premises. This means they need to clean up spills, provide well-lit walkways, prevent elevator accidents, and place signs warning of any potential hazard. According to Florida premises liability laws, the property owners may be held liable for any injury caused by unsafe conditions on their premises. An attorney can build a lawsuit against the property owner and obtain compensation for injuries resulting from unsafe premises.


 
Products liability
Product liability encompasses a number of legal claims that allow an injured party to recover financial compensation from the manufacturer or seller of a product. In the United States, the claims most commonly associated with product liability are negligence, strict liability, breach of warranty, and various consumer protection claims. The majority of product liability laws are determined at the state level and vary widely from state to state. Each type of product liability claim requires different elements to be proven to present a successful claim.

Products liability is the area of law in which manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, retailers, and others who make products available to the public are held responsible for the injuries those products cause.

 

Dogbite
The laws of Florida are favorable to dog bite victims. Dog owners are strictly liable for any damage that their dogs inflict on persons or other animals.
There are two interesting exceptions to the strict liability provided by this law. First, the victim's recovery is reduced by the victim's percentage of fault; this is merely a restatement of general legal principles applicable in many states, usually referred to as "comparative negligence." Second, there is no recovery for certain kinds of attacks if the owner displayed a sign that said "Bad Dog;" the signage exception is unusual in dog bite statutes.

 

Probate is a court-supervised process for identifying and gathering the decedent's assets, paying taxes, claims and expenses and distributing assets to beneficiaries. The Florida Probate Code is found in Chapters 731 through 735 of the Florida Statutes.

Florida law establishes two types of probate administration:

1. Formal Administration

2. Summary Administration
Florida law also establishes a non-administration proceeding called "Disposition of Personal Property Without Administration."

Late in life, many seniors become unable to manager their own affairs. If a senior has become incapacitated and has not previously put in place the tools to allow someone else to manage their affairs (living trusts, power of attorney, health care proxies), a guardianship may become necessary to allow financial management of their affairs.

The incapacity may also be simply determined as a result of age.  Typically, guardianships are required when minor children receive money in excess of $15,000.00.  Guardianships are also used where a minor stands to inherit large sums of property, or where a minor’s parents are deceased or unable to care for the minor.  In some cases, a guardian ad litem may be sufficient to protect the minor's interests instead of a full scale guardianship.  Guardianships for minors can sometimes be called guardianship of property.

A guardian will assume control over the finances of the incapacitated person (known as the ward) as well as the "person" of the ward.  A guardianship is a drastic remedy that removes decision making authority from the ward and removes control that the ward previously had over the ward's assets. 

A relative or close friend can usually be appointed as guardian by the Florida probate court in the county where the ward is living. A professional guardian may also serve as guardian if no relative or friend is available.

In some instances, the ward may contest the guardianship, in which case a contested guardianship hearing may be held to determine whether the ward is capable of managing his or her own affairs. In other instances, particularly in the case of affluent seniors, more than one family member may petition for the guardian role. In such cases a contested guardianship hearing would be held to determine who can best serve as guardian.


The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes standards for minimum wages, overtime pay, record keeping, and child labor. These standards affect more than 100 million workers, both full‑time and part‑time, in the private and public sectors.

The Act applies to enterprises with employees who engage in interstate commerce, produce goods for interstate commerce, or handle, sell, or work on goods or materials that have been moved in or produced for interstate commerce. For most firms, a test of not less than $500,000 in annual dollar volume of business applies (i.e., the Act does not cover enterprises with less than this amount of business).

The Act requires employers of covered employees who are not otherwise exempt to pay these employees a minimum wage.  Our law firm can assist if your employer fails to pay the employee the proper wages or overtime compensation earned. Likewise, state and federal laws exist to protect employees from wrongful termination of employment.

In a class action one or more representatives bring a lawsuit on behalf of a class of similarly situated persons. Often, the members of a class could not afford to bring individual lawsuits, and the class action allows them to be compensated without incurring the costs of a single lawsuit.


 
Real Estate
Real estate transactions are governed by a wide body of federal statutes and state statutory and common law. The requirements established by state law often differ significantly from one state to the next.

The agreement to sell between a buyer and seller of real estate is governed by the general principles of contract law.  The Statute of Frauds requires that contracts for real property be in writing.
It is commonly required in real estate contracts that the title to the property sold be marketable. This requires that the seller have proof of title to all the property he or she is selling and that third parties not have undisclosed interests in the title.

A title insurance company or an attorney is often employed by the buyer to investigate whether the title is, indeed, marketable. Title insurance companies also insure the buyer against losses caused by the title being invalid.

In order to pass title, a deed with a proper description of the land must be executed and delivered. Some states require that the deed be officially recorded to establish ownership of the property and/or provide notice of its transfer to subsequent purchasers.
The most common method of financing real estate transactions is through a mortgage.
 

Residential
The real estate closing is considered the “final step” for home buyers and it is usually a very exciting time.  During the real estate closing, the seller provides the buyer with the title to the property, and the buyer gives the seller an agreed upon purchase amount for the property.  The transaction is complete after the relevant documents are recorded with the county recorder’s office.  The real estate closing is also the time funds are paid to the appraiser, to banks with claims against the purchased property, and to other service providers.

 

Commercial
The term usually refers to retail properties, office buildings, shopping centers, hotels, warehouses, manufacturing facilities, apartment complexes – and vacant land that has the potential for development for these types of buildings. In short, almost any kind of real estate except single-family home and single-family lots can be regarded as commercial real estate.

 

Lease
A written or oral agreement under which a property owner allows a tenant to use the property for a specified period of time and rent.

 

Mergers and acquisitions
The phrase mergers and acquisitions refers to the aspect of corporate strategy, corporate finance and management dealing with the buying, selling and combining of different companies.

 

Asset purchase agreements
An asset purchase agreement is utilized when purchasing the assets, but not the liabilities, or another company.  In Florida, the Asset Purchase Agreement is used frequently in order for the purchaser to avoid any of the liabilities of the seller, and take all of the assets free and clear or all outstanding claims.

 

Stock sales
A stock sale occurs when one party purchases the outstanding shares of an entity.  The purchaser in a stock sale takes title to the stock, as well as assumes the liabilities of the seller.
 

Entity Formation Corporation
A corporation is a business or organization formed by an individual or group of people, and it has rights and liabilities separate from those of the individuals involved.

It may be a nonprofit organization engaged in activities for the public good; a municipal corporation, such as a city or town; or a private corporation, which has been organized to make a profit.
In the eyes of the law, a corporation has many of the same rights and responsibilities as a person. It may buy, sell, and own property; enter into leases and contracts; and bring lawsuits. It pays taxes. It can be prosecuted and punished (often with fines) if it violates the law. The chief advantages are that it can exist indefinitely, beyond the lifetime of any one member or founder, and that it offers its owners the protection of limited personal liability.

 

Limited liability companies
A limited liability company (denoted by L.L.C. or LLC) is a legal form of business company offering limited liability to its owners. It is similar to a corporation, and is often a more flexible form of ownership, especially suitable for smaller companies with a limited number of owners. Unlike a regular corporation, a limited liability company with one member may be treated as a disregarded entity, so the member is often singled-out as a person performing the actions of the LLC. A limited liability company with multiple members is typically treated as a partnership for tax purposes, thereby avoiding double taxation. An LLC can elect to be either "member managed" or "manager managed."

 

Partnership
A partnership is a type of business entity in which partners share with each other the profits or losses of the business undertaking in which all have invested.
In most countries, a partnership is a nominate contract between individuals who, in a spirit of cooperation, agree to carry on an enterprise, contribute to it, by combining property, knowledge or activities and to share its profit. Partners may have a partnership agreement, or declaration of partnership and in some jurisdictions such agreements may be registered and available for public inspection.

Partnerships are often favored over corporations for taxation purposes, as a partnership structure eliminates the dividend tax levied upon profits realized by the owners of a corporation.
The most basic form of partnership is a general partnership, in which all partners manage the business and are personally liable for its debts. Two other forms which have developed in most countries are the limited partnership (LP), in which certain "limited partners" relinquish their ability to manage the business in exchange for limited liability for the partnership's debts, and the limited liability partnership (LLP), in which all partners have some degree of limited liability.

 

Trade/fictitious names
Fictitious names are often used in conducting a business (sometimes referred to as doing business as.) They may also be used when filing a lawsuit against a party whose real name is unknown or when it is appropriate to conceal the true name of the party.


Our law firm offers a state-wide practice that encompasses the representation of both debtor and creditors in bankruptcy proceedings; assignments for the benefit of creditors; workouts; and debt restructuring.

 

An Overview of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is sometimes called "liquidation" bankruptcy -- it discharges your debts, but you might have to let the bankruptcy court liquidate (sell) some of your property for the benefit of your creditors.

 

Chapter 7 bankruptcy refers to the chapter of the federal statutes (the Bankruptcy Code) that contains the bankruptcy law.

 

Bankruptcy Costs in Time and Money
The whole Chapter 7 bankruptcy process takes about four to six months and commonly requires only one trip to the courthouse.

 

Chapter 7 can be a powerful remedy for debt problems, but it is not available to everyone. For example, you will not be able to use Chapter 7 if you already received a bankruptcy discharge in the last six to eight years (depending which type of bankruptcy you filed) or if, based on your income, expenses, and debt burden, you could feasibly complete a Chapter 13 repayment plan.

 

Hagen & Hagen, P.A., 3531 Griffin Road, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida 33312  (954) 987-0515