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Florida’s Slayer Statute

One of the most bone-chilling and eerie probate laws in Florida is the “Slayer Statute”. Essentially, slayer statutes prevent murderers from inheriting from their victims. The majority of the states in the U.S. have enacted statutes preventing someone from inheriting from an individual whose death they have caused, but specific rules and provisions vary from state to state on how the Slayer statute is applied. 

For example, some states vary on whether an insanity defense is taken into account on the topic of inheritance and probate. Other distinctions include whether the “slayer” committed an intentional homicide and not a manslaughter, whether a criminal conviction is required for the Slayer statute to be applied in the probate context, and whether the heirs of the “Slayer” are also disinherited. 

What is a Like-kind Exchange?

A like-kind exchange (also referred to as a 1031 exchange or Starker exchange) can help lower your current tax bill by deferring the tax due on the sale of your property.

Your Questions About PPP Loan Forgiveness Answered

With the SBA’s release of the simplified PPP Loan Forgiveness Application, business owners are trying to navigate all the available options for PPP loan forgiveness. Here are some common questions with answers according the SBA’s regulations as of October 13, 2020. Please note that the SBA’s requirements and application process for PPP Loan Forgiveness are constantly evolving, thus you should always double check that this information is consistent with the current guidelines provided by the SBA.

The SBA Announces New, Simplified Loan Forgiveness Application

As of October 13, 2020, The Small Business Administration (SBA) recently announced a one-page loan forgiveness application for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans under $50,000. This new application streamlines documentation requirements and does not require any complicated calculations as were required on prior versions of the form.

How Will My Heirs Inherit From Me?

A topic that comes up often in estate planning is how to divide up estate assets among beneficiaries. “Should I divide up my inheritance?” “Should one child get more than the other?” As estate planning attorneys, our role is not just to prepare documents and make sure things are in place for our client’s wishes and intentions to be carried out, but to also counsel and advise our clients on the best strategies given their unique situations.

What If I Was Furloughed In Florida?

According to Section 110.107(11) of the Florida Statutes, “Furlough” means a temporary reduction in the regular hours of employment in a pay period, or temporary leave without pay for one or more pay periods, with a commensurate reduction in pay, which is necessitated by a projected deficit in any fund that supports salary and benefit appropriations.

What is the New Eleventh Circuit Ruling On Incentive Awards?

An incentive award is a monetary award typically given by the court to the named plaintiff in a class-action case. This is done to compensate the named plaintiff for all of his or her personal time and effort devoted to the case. The public policy behind incentive awards has always been to encourage individuals to take on the role of the named plaintiff in a case, to work closely with the class’s attorneys and other members of the class.

Why The Need to Plan?

Estate planning attorneys often times run into situations where clients undermine the importance of having an estate plan. After the Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts (“TCJA”) was passed, the estate tax exemption nearly doubled to $11.18 million for single individuals and $22.36 million for those that are married. Due to the immense increase in the exemption, the market for secession planning has encountered a short decline. However, planning is necessary so that your best interests are adhered to in the event you’re unable to adhere to them yourself.

What is Copyright Cancellation?

Copyright cancellation is when the Copyright Office eliminates a copyright as the registration was invalid. There’s a number of reasons why the Copyright Office would find grounds for cancelling a registration. For example, the Copyright Office will cancel a completed registration in cases where no registration should have been made because the work does not constitute copyrightable subject matter or fails to satisfy the requirements for obtaining copyright.

Do Non-Married Partners Have Inheritance Rights In Florida?

Long-term relationships and domestic partnerships are becoming more common in today’s society, which brings with it a host of legal issues, especially when it comes to estate planning and death. Unlike in a traditional marital relationship, when one of the partners becomes deceased, there are no marriage laws to protect the surviving partner when claiming the assets of their now deceased partner’s estate.

What is the Florida Construction Defect Statute (FCDS)?

Due to the frequency of issues arising out of faulty construction, the Florida legislature has created an alternative method to resolve such disputes that would reduce the need for litigation while protecting the rights of property owners. Under the Florida Construction Defect Statute, a property owner or a condominium/homeowner’s association is required to send a written notice of claim to contractors, design professionals and/or developers to resolve alleged defects before resorting to further legal process. 

Can Fictional Character Obtain Trademark Protection?

Yes, fictional characters can obtain trademark protections. In the realm of Trademark law, trademarks are awarded to source indicators used in connection with the commercial exchange of goods and services. For example names, logos, slogans, phrases, sounds, colors, trade dresses and others. For a source indicator, such as a logo, to obtain trademark protection, it…   + Read More…

Can Fictional Characters Obtain Copyright Protection?

Yes, fictional characters have copyright protection. In copyright law, copyrights are awarded to literary and artistic works that are: (1) original works of authorship and are (2) fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Therefore, in order for a literary or artistic work to be eligible for copyright protection, it needs to be a product of the imagination of its author(s), rather than a copy of someone else’s work.

Batalla del conservador de la princesa pop

Desde que se convirtió en un icono del pop adolescente a principios de la década del 2000, Britney Spears no ha sido ajena a la controversia y a los titulares de las revistas. Después de un colapso público en 2007, con la cabeza afeitada y atacando a los paparazzi, Britney comenzó una serie de estancias en centros de rehabilitación. Mientras Britney se centraba en su salud mental, su padre, Jamie Spears, fue nombrado por un tribunal para que examinara a Britney y sus finanzas, también conocido como tutela. Desde entonces, Britney ha mantenido un perfil bastante bajo. Sin embargo, recientes publicaciones en medios sociales y una serie de peticiones judiciales han vuelto a poner a Britney en los titulares. Específicamente, Britney ha solicitado a la corte que retire su tutela y los fans están llamando a “#freebritney” para que deje de estar bajo el control de su padre.

What is the Florida Construction Defect Statute (FCDS)?

Due to the frequency of issues arising out of faulty construction, the Florida legislature has created an alternative method to resolve such disputes that would reduce the need for litigation while protecting the rights of property owners. Under the Florida Construction Defect Statute, a property owner or a condominium/homeowner’s association is required to send a written notice of claim to contractors, design professionals and/or developers to resolve alleged defects before resorting to further legal process. 

Pop Princess Conservator Battle

From the time she became a teenage pop icon in the early 2000s, Britney Spears has been no stranger to controversy and magazine headlines. After a very public breakdown in 2007, complete with head shaving and attacking the paparazzi, Britney began a series of stints in rehab facilities. While Britney was focusing on her mental health, her father, Jamie Spears, was appointed by a court to look over Britney and her finances, also known as a conservatorship. Since then Britney has maintained a fairly low profile. However, recent social media posts and a series of court petitions have put Britney back in the headlines. Specifically, Britney has petitioned the court to remove her conservatorship and fans are calling to “#freebritney” from the control of her father.

What is Suspension and Debarment Under the Federal Acquisition Regulation?

The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) is the statute that prescribes the policies and procedures governing the debarment and suspension of contractors by federal government agencies. It provides that all federal contractors debarred, suspended, or proposed for debarment are excluded from receiving contracts, and agencies shall not solicit offers from, award contracts to, or consent to subcontracts with these contractors, unless the agency head determines that there is a compelling reason for such action. 

What is the Federal Acquisition Regulation?

The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) is the primary regulation for use by all executive agencies in their acquisition of supplies and services with appropriated funds. It became effective in 1984 to govern the policies and procedures for contracts to sell goods or provide services to the federal government. It was created with the intention of having a comprehensive set of rules for agencies across the executive branch, but over time agencies have created supplements to the FAR, adding their own specifications.

How Does Florida Regulate Payday Loans?

In Florida, there are various laws which prescribe limitations on payday loans. First and foremost, any company wishing to issue payday loans must be licensed. Notably, the additional restrictions under Florida law include limitations on the number of loans you can have outstanding per customer, the amount of the loan, the fees and costs that can be charged, and the collections process if a customer does not pay their loan back.

Can I Join a Third Party Post-Judgment in Florida?

Once you’ve won your lawsuit and have a judgment against the defendant, you still have to go through the post-judgment process to collect on your award. Simply put, this entails a review of the defendant’s financials and assets to determine how the judgment will be paid. Some defendants try to avoid collection by transferring assets to another third party. How can this be remedied?

How Do I Relocate My LLC to Another State?

The formal transfer of an LLC from one state to another is known as domestication. However, domestication is permitted only if both states allow for it. Domestication would be appropriate if you do no longer wish to conduct business in the original state of formation and would like to avoid dissolution and new company formation in the other jurisdiction. Many business owners choose to domesticate when they completely relocate to another state and wish to move their company with them.

What are issues that might arise for a Florida Entrepreneur?

After a long thought process and extensive research, you have finally decided to put on your entrepreneurial hat and create your own side business. But in the scheme of all this excitement, you forgot to inquire about all the legal implications involved in creating a side business. In Florida, employees must often abide by several federal and state laws and regulations that can include restrictions about conflict of interests such as creating your own side business.

What is a Letter of Testamentary? Florida vs. New York

Upon a person’s passing, their estate is to be divided appropriately. When the late person has a valid will, the personal representative or executor of the estate will then come in to distribute the assets in accordance with the wishes stipulated in the will. Nevertheless, Florida courts specifically, will not allow the personal representative to distribute assets until he or she has been given a letter of testamentary by the court.

What is a Special Purpose Acquisition Company?

A special purpose acquisition company “SPAC” is a publicly traded shell company that has been formed strictly for purposes of raising enough capital to purchase an existing company. Also referred to as a “blank-check company,” these development stage companies have no operations and purely rely on funding through an initial public offering “IPO”.

What is Defamation Per Se in Florida?

One of the recurrent issues that Miami business lawyers deal with often involves clients suing for defamation, or vice versa, clients being sued for defamation. Defamation, by definition, is the action of damaging the good reputation of someone. It usually involves a false statement of fact that was published or spoken with fault, or in other words, as a result of negligence or malice.

Why Everyone Should Have a Trust?

A trust is a legal agreement between the person who created the trust “settlor” and the trustee (the settlor as well), which is designed to hold assets for the beneficiary/ies of the trust. A trust can be a useful legal and financial mechanism to hold and distribute one’s assets after the death of the settlor, regardless of the amount of assets the settlor has. Below are a few of the reasons why trusts are a good idea for everyone.

Grounds for Contesting a Will in Florida

At EPGD, we strive to communicate the importance of succession planning and are eager to spread knowledge on every aspect of having a valid will. More times than not, a will may potentially open itself up to an opportunity to be contested. This is known as a will contest, and Florida, among many other states, recognizes a number of grounds for contesting a will.

Can you cancel your wedding during COVID-19?

The Wedding Industry is a 70+ billion-dollar industry. In light of COVID-19, the hospitality industry is suffering and facing uncertainty. Venues, vendors, and hotels are struggling to carry on or cancel the events. Meanwhile, engaged couples are unsure if their families will be able to travel safely or if there might be a way to host their events safely despite the circumstances.

What is the franchise disclosure document?

The Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) is a legal disclosure document which is provided to franchisee applicants interested in purchasing a franchise. The document is required by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and contains important information about the franchisor and the franchise system of which potential buyers should be aware prior to making the financial investment. It is intended to help prospective franchisees assess the potential risks and benefits involved in the relevant franchise.

What is Intestacy in Florida?

Having a written Last Will and Testament is an essential part of an estate plan. It reflects all of your wishes upon your death, including who the beneficiaries of your estate are and how they are to inherit from you upon your death. Without one, you can potentially face the risk of your assets being distributed contrary to your intentions under the default laws of the state of Florida.

Can I Collect Attorney’s Fees Under Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act?

Unlike other countries, the American rule on attorneys’ fees is that each party must pay the costs of their attorneys. This means, if you’ve hired an expensive attorney to fight for you, you are obligated to pay his costs. Nonetheless, there are two exceptions to the American rule—the contract and statute exceptions. First, if a prior contract that was made between the parties had an attorneys’ fees clause, then the losing party is expected to pay the winning party’s attorneys’ fees. Lastly, a party is permitted to seek the payment of their attorneys’ fees under Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA). A Miami Business Law attorney can advise you if FDUTPA law applies.

I am a victim of an auto warranty scam: What can I do?

On a weekly or even daily basis, you might be receiving physical mail alerting you that your car warranty is about to expire. You may also be receiving calls telling you to renew your car’s warranty. You think it might be a scam, but can you be sure? A Florida Business Law attorney can help.

What is the difference between negligence and gross negligence?

When determining if someone has been negligent, it is important to distinguish between negligence and gross negligence. Certainly, they are similar, but are different in the degree of carelessness. A Florida Business Law attorney can help you spot the difference in your particular case.

What is a “No Contest” Clause and is it Enforceable?

The term “In Terrorem” is a legal Latin term that translates to “in terror”. Today, most lawyers prefer to use the term “no contest”. A “No Contest” clause in a will may be added by the Testator of the will.

Usury Laws: Maryland vs. Florida

Creditors often times procure loan agreements with outrageous amounts of interest so that they can ultimately take advantage of those individuals who are in need of funds. More often than not, the individual becomes indebted to the creditor for far more than the amount they agreed upon initially. These high interest rates are known as usury and are both a civil and criminal offense.

Basic Medicaid Eligibility in Florida

In order to be eligible for Medicaid in Florida, the applicant must meet the basic eligibility requirements, the medical requirements, the asset requirements as well as income requirements.

How to Foreclose on Homestead and Non-Homestead Properties?

In Florida, the homestead exemption does not have a property value limit. Having a homestead in Florida conveys numerous tax benefits on their owners. Therefore, many move to Florida from other states in order to receive those tax benefits as well as to protect their homestead property from forced sales.

Do I Need Approval from HOA to Transfer Property into my Trust?

When drafting trusts, many chose to transfer their real estate property into the trust. Transferring property into a trust usually safeguards it from probate after the owner’s passing and sometimes can provide tax benefits.

What to Know if you Want to Invest in U.S. Real Estate as a Foreigner?

The simple answer is yes. Anyone can buy property in the United States. However, foreigners are best suited to buy U.S. property with one-time payment instead of financing it. This is because if a foreigner wants to get a U.S. mortgage or a loan – it is often nearly impossible to get approved due to the lack of U.S. credit history.

Can You Give Away Your Rights to Real Estate Before They Vest?

A right in property vests when an interest in property is transferred to someone and the right begins to belong to that individual. A right vests when it is not subject to a condition precedent.

What is Tenancy by the Entirety in Florida?

There are three primary ways that multiple people can own a single property in Florida: joint tenancy with rights of survivorship; tenancy in common; and tenancy by the entireties.

How Does Asset Protection Work in an LLC?

A limited liability company offers limited liability asset protection. This type of asset protection means that the liability is limited to whatever assets the owner has invested in the LLC, essentially, only all business assets. These business assets can include, but are not limited to, initial, investment, or retained earnings.

What Happens to a Civil Lawsuit if a Party Dies?

If a party to a civil lawsuit passes away, the court will typically put the lawsuit on hold, instead of terminating it. This is done temporarily and with the purpose of giving the probate court time to appoint a personal representative for the estate of the deceased party. Through the personal representative, the heir or heirs of the deceased can continue the lawsuit.

Can an Artist Prevent Their Song From Being Played at a Political Event?

Generally, most songs are copyrighted works and therefore, a license is required for the public performance of the copyrighted work. This license can be obtained from a “PRO”, which legally allows the copyrighted work to be played at public events or venues.

What we can learn from the July 2020 Twitter hacks

On July 15, 2020, several political, corporate, and cultural leaders had their Twitter accounts hacked. Although still under investigation, it is believed that a group of young people, not sophisticated hackers, carried out the breach in an attempted Bitcoin scam. 

How to meet the direct physical loss requirement to obtain property insurance coverage in the age of COVID-19?

As the country enters yet another month of economic uncertainty with regards to the coronavirus pandemic, a great deal of business interruption cases have surfaced. Companies throughout the United States, including many in Miami, Florida, are seeking coverage for their immense losses throughout this pandemic, specifically claiming direct physical damage to substantiate their business income coverage claims.

What can I do if my employee is not taking sufficient efforts to be re-tested after having Coronavirus?

Five months into the Coronavirus pandemic, it is unfortunately common for one of your employees to test positive for the virus. What do you do? You give them time to recover at home, ensure that they sufficiently isolate themselves, and then request 2 negative test results in accordance with CDC guidelines. Eventually, it will be time for your employee to return to the office—but what do you do if they refuse to be tested?

How to navigate exclusions in property insurance policies in pursuit of business interruption coverage?

As companies in Miami, Florida seek business interruption coverage for their losses during the COVID-19 pandemic, they face the hurdle of exclusions in their policies.

Why is Lady Antebellum Suing Lady A?

Country group, Lady A, formerly known as Lady Antebellum, has filed suit against Seattle blues singer Anita White, also known as Lady A. The feud started when Lady Antebellum decided to change their stage name to Lady A, because of the term Antebellum and its ties to slavery periods.

Enforcement of Arbitration Clauses in Franchise Agreements

Arbitration is a proceeding that takes place outside of the court room. It essentially allows both the franchisor and franchisee the ability to take their legal disputes to an arbitrator who will, after hearing all the facts and evidence presented by both sides, come to a decision that is binding and enforceable by the courts.

Can a Foreigner Own an S-Corporation?

A non-resident alien cannot own a S-corporation. Only U.S. citizens and permanent residents can. If a foreigner becomes a shareholder in an S-Corporation, it will lose its S-corporation status.

Common Law Marriage in Florida

The concept of common law marriage originated in English common law. It typically involves a cohabiting couple enjoying the same or nearly the same rights as a legally married couple. Today, only a minority of states recognize common law marriages in the United States. 

How can my artwork steer clear of copyright infringement?

Painters and artists in Miami oftentimes copy images presented to them, without first checking to see if the artwork is copyrighted. This can unfortunately lead to a case of copyright infringement—something every artist seeks to avoid.

Understanding Florida Reemployment Assistance

The Florida Reemployment Assistance Program has several eligibility criteria it imposes on individuals who apply.

Cybersecurity Defensive Measures in the Age of Work from Home

Massive security breaches occur every day—not even the most prominent politicians and businessmen are immune. On July 15, Twitter discovered fake tweets coming from Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Elon Musk’s accounts. Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West were also subject to the hack.

Unilateral Attorney’s Fees in Florida

In most contracts, there is a provision for attorney’s fees, sometimes called a prevailing party clause. This provision states that if legal action must be taken to enforce the contract, the prevailing party will get its attorney’s fees and costs paid by the losing party. Under Florida law, attorney’s fees are contractual or statutory, meaning that this provision must be included in contracts or statutes to be enforced. Because of this, it is important to include an attorney’s fees clause in any contract in Florida.

Increased Jurisdictional Amounts in Florida

On May 24, 2019, House Bill 337 was approved by Governor Ron DeSantis which would effectively amend Section 34.01 of the Florida Statutes, by increasing the jurisdictional amounts of our court actions.

Registering Marks with “.com” After Recent Supreme Court Ruling

A domain name is the web address that identifies a website. Any website with a “.com” will be the domain name for that website. While trademarks are federally registered through the USPTO, domain names for websites are registered through a domain name registrar.

Can I sue my Homeowner Association or Condominium Association in Miami, FL?

Homeowner Associations are subject to the rules and regulations under Florida Statutes Chapter § 720. Chapter § 720 delegates the association’s power, rules and duties, sets forth dispute resolution mechanisms, and owner improvements, rights and privileges.

How can I Report Fraud in Miami, Florida?

In light of the events that have occurred in 2020, fraud claims are on the rise. In Florida, there are several mechanisms to report fraud. The Department of Financial Services has a Fraud and Consumer Protection Initiative. If one believes he/she is a victim of fraud, or suspect that fraud is occurring, he/she can report the individual and/or entity in question.

Investing in or Lending Money to Your New Florida Business: What’s Better?

Investing in your new business is a financial risk that many business owners take in order to grow their company. By taking that risk, individuals are forecasting positive return in the near future. Like anybody in the economic market, business owners want to ensure that their companies reach success in the long run.

Do I Qualify for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)?

An Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) is a loan offered to small business owners in Florida and throughout the United States amidst the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This loan has an interest rate of 3.75%.

Corporate Change of Control with the IRS

A change in control is a change in the ownership structure of a company. Such change of ownership typically involves another entity or individual acquiring more than 50% of the company’s shares. When such a change in corporate structure occurs, the company must file an “Information Return for Acquisition of Control or Substantial Change in Capital Structure” Form 8806 with the Internal Revenue Service.

COVID-19 Update: Miami-Dade Executive Order Signed 07/06/2020

On Monday of this week, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez released a statement along with a new emergency order. Due to the recent spike of positive COVID-19 tests and hospitalizations, this new order will close many public establishments to stop the increasing spread of the virus. These closures will be made effective this Wednesday, July 8th, 2020.

What is a Surcharge Action in Florida?

A surcharge action in Florida is a legal action that may be brought against a personal representative when there are allegations that the personal representative has breached his fiduciary duty in order to impose personal liability on a personal representative.

Beneficiary’s Rights in a Florida Trust

In the United States, the rights of trust beneficiaries are typically governed by state law. Florida has adopted the Uniform Trust Code (U.T.C.), which governs the administration of trusts in Florida as well as duties and rights of trustees and beneficiaries.

Damages for Copyright Infringement

Common law copyright protections have historically provided judicial recognition to creators of artistic and scientific works.

What is the IRS Form 5472 in Florida?

If you are a U.S. company and have a foreign owner or foreign shareholders, then your company likely needs to file Form 5472.

What is an Impossibility Clause in a Contract in Florida?

The doctrine of impossibility applies in a situation where it is literally impossible for a party to a contract to perform their duties. The Florida court system generally has an interest in holding parties to the contract they sign and the duties assigned under that contract. Impossibility is a high standard, lack of performance cannot be excused by mere inconvenience, expense, or other non-impossible circumstances.

January 1st, 2020 Changes to the Florida Corporate Statute

The changes to the Florida Corporate Statute have gone into effect on January 1st, 2020. These changes are centered around the Revised Model Business Corporation Act. 

What are the Advantages vs. Disadvantages of a Florida LLC?

Registering your business with the State of Florida is a crucial part of your company’s creation process. Often times, many individuals who are new to the business world opt for a limited liability company (“LLC”) when they intend to register their new business. Mainly because they desire something simple and less complicated, especially during the beginning stages. An LLC offers just that, not only is it easy to form, but it is also easy to manage.

What Are the 5 Things You Need in Your Estate Plan in Florida?

A Last Will and Testament is a legal document that allows you to decide how to distribute your assets after your passing. A Will contains the definition of assets, the names of beneficiaries, and sometimes includes guardianship designations and burial instructions. A Will also appoints an executor, or personal representative, of the will. A personal representative is someone who will pay remaining taxes after your passing and make sure the Will is being executed correctly and in accordance with your wishes.  

How does the CARES Act work in Florida?

The CARES Act provides several unemployment insurance benefit programs which include: the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (“PUA”); the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (“FPUC”); and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (“PEUC”) which are further detailed below.

What is a Common Law Trademark?

A common law trademark is a right at common law to certain names, sentences or logos that you very often use in connection with your product. You can have common law trademarks rights without having your trademark federally registered. A common law trademark, however, can only be enforced within a certain area, where it is used.

What Is an Agricultural Tax Exemption in Florida?

The Agricultural Tax Exemption is a property tax exemption that landowners may receive, if they can show that their land is being put to agricultural use. Different states define “agricultural use” in different ways. For example, Florida requires agricultural use to be bona fide. Fl. Stat. § 193.461. “Bona fide agricultural purpose” is defined as a “good faith commercial agricultural use of the land.” Fla. Stat. § 193.461(1)(b) (2009). Some states require the agricultural use to be for commercial purposes, and for some profits to be gained from the land.

What is a Living Will?

A living will is a legally binding document that explains an individual’s personal choices about end-of-life medical care in cases where they become incapacitated and can no longer make decisions for themselves. For example, the living will would state whether an individual would want to be kept alive through life support or whether they would not like to receive any life support, including artificial nutrition and hydration.

What is the Penalty for Wrongly Using the (R) Symbol?

This symbol serves to signify that a particular brand is registered with the federal USPTO office. A simple application to have your trademark registered with the USPTO does not give you the right to use the ® symbol until the trademark has been officially registered. 

How do Non-Florida Residents Establish Residency in Florida?

If you reside in another state but wish to convert your domicile to the state of Florida, there are many ways you can make a showing that would reflect Florida residency, especially for purposes of homestead exemption or paying in-state tuition at a Florida university.  Many individuals, including investors, choose to make Florida their state of domicile, mainly because Florida has no state income tax, as opposed to states like New York, Georgia or California.

Can I Get Attorney’s Fees in a Defamation Case in Florida?

Courts can award attorney’s fees to the prevailing party if both parties have agreed to such a condition in a contract, or if there is a specific statute that grants attorney’s fees to the prevailing party in a certain case. If both parties prevail in different legal arguments, the court will conduct a balancing test and distribute attorney fees using its own discretion. 

Difference Between a Revocable and an Irrevocable Trust in Florida

A trust is an agreement between a settlor and a trustee, which directs the trustee to hold the settlor’s assets for the benefit of the settlor’s beneficiaries. In simple terms, an individual will establish a trust to hold their assets for their beneficiaries. The person establishing the trust, or the settlor, can create a trust agreement where he is both the settlor and the trustee and place all of his assets in the trust.

8 Consejos para Proteger tu Invento (Pt. 2)

#5 Solicitar una Patente es una Inversión en sí. Obtener una patente es un ejercicio de mostrarle al USPTO que lo que estás solicitando es útil, novel y no-obvio. Si tus reclamos (“claims”) cumplen con esos criterios, se te puede otorgar una patente. La solicitud consiste a grandes rasgos en una descripción altamente detallada del…   + Read More…

8 Consejos para Proteger tu Invento (Pt. 1)

La protección de los derechos sobre inventos, procesos, fórmulas y diseños le corresponde principalmente al régimen de Patentes. Las patentes forman parte del régimen de Propiedad Intelectual, donde se encuentran además: los derechos de autor; las marcas; y los secretos comerciales. Estos 4 campos están relacionados, pero no son lo mismo. Cada uno protege distintos aspectos de las creaciones humanas.

What is Probate in Florida?

Probate is a court process that is used to determine the authenticity of a will as well as to administer the estate of the deceased individual. Through probate, the court supervises the payment of all the debts of the decedent to his creditors. Subsequently, the court administers the distribution of the assets of the estate to its beneficiaries in accordance with the will of the decedent. In case of an absence of the will, the court will arrange the asset distribution according to the laws of intestacy of the applicable state.

Why You Need A Federal SBA Certification Post Coronavirus Pandemic.

Small Business Association 8(a) Certification   The Small Business Association (SBA) received significant media coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic. As you may be aware, the SBA was responsible for providing millions of dollars’ worth of loans to small businesses suffering as a result of the pandemic. However, what you may not know is the SBA…   + Read More…

What the Supreme Court Ruling on Employment Rights Means for LGBTQ workers under Title VII

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination in the workplace on the basis of sex, now also protects gay, lesbian, or transgender employees from being fired based on their sexual orientation. The ruling also upheld lower court rulings saying that sex discrimination included sexual orientation discrimination.

Negociar como “Freelancer” (Pt. 2)

Una manera engañosa de incentivar a la otra parte es a través de promesas. Esto ocurre cuando las partes diologan sobre proyectos futuros, a cumplirse si se realiza el actual negocio. Estas promesas no forman parte de lo que se está pactando, y que no hay garantía de que existirán. Esto se conoce como “pajas mentales”. Descarta todo lo que no sea objeto de la actual contratación. 

Negociar como “Freelancer” (Pt. 1)

Se negocia ante un conflicto de intereses opuestos; pues si no existiera conflicto, no hubiese necesidad de realizar concesiones. Pero sólo porque haya intereses encontrados, no significa que debe haber conflicto entre quienes los representan. Lo mejor que se puede tener al momento de negociar es una actitud de disposición.

Cómo Proteger tus “Ideas”

El mercado se obsesiona con los unicornios – compañías que revolucionan industrias con sus innovaciones. Ejemplos comunes son Facebook, Uber y más recientemente, Snapchat. Sus historias de éxito hacen parecer que el ejercicio de concebir y llevar al mercado una idea sea más sencillo de lo que realmente es. Hay quienes, inspirados en estos unicornios (y quizás en pájaros en gestación), sueñan con generar una gran idea para presentársela a algún inversionista con la esperanza de que se la compre o le pague regalías sin más.

El Diseño y los Derechos de Autor (Parte 2)

Aunque el smartphone es un “medio tangible” según la definición de derechos de autor, no es una “expresión de una idea” – es un objeto útil y funcional. Ahora bien, si coges ese mismo objeto del smartphone, y lo trasladas a una galería de arte, y lo exhibes como una obra de arte, ese objeto del smartphone se convierte en la expresión de una idea fijada en un medio tangible.

El Diseño y los Derechos de Autor (Parte 1)

La propiedad intelectual consiste en cuatro regímenes de leyes que gobiernan distintos aspectos de las creaciones humanas. Por eso se le llama propiedad “intelectual”; nacen de la inteligencia e imaginación de los seres humanos. Estos regímenes de leyes son los derechos de autor, las marcas comerciales, los secretos de negocio y las patentes.

El ‘Dream Team’ de un Artista Musical

El artista musical – sea banda o solista – opera como un comerciante. Su objetivo es entregar un producto de valor a un mercado particular. Pero al igual que cualquier negocio, el éxito del no depende del producto o servicio al vacío, o de una persona solamente. Junto con la música convergen elementos igualmente esenciales que merecen la atención de expertos, como el artista a su arte.

What is the EIDL Loan?

The EIDL program or Economic Injury Disaster Loan allows the SBA to provide loans of up to $2 million to small businesses that have suffered substantial economic injury. The EIDL reopened its loan program to small businesses on June 15, 2020 after closing to most small businesses in May of 2020.

Cómo Vender Diseño (Pt. 2)

Establece tu “rate” por hora: uno que cubra tu tiempo, materiales y toda la operación, salvando un porcentaje de ganancias. Cuando halles este número, podrás presentar con confianza ante cualquier cliente. No se trata de improvisar, se trata de cononcer tu “rate” por hora, y estimar a base de eso. Cobra a base de lo que cuesta toda la operación, porque de otra forma ese costo saldrá de tu ganancia.

Cómo Vender Diseño (Pt. 1)

El primer paso en una contratación de diseño no es enseñar el trabajo que harás. Es ganarte la confianza de la persona quien te contrata, y dar a entender en esos primeros minutos, que tú quieres hacer negocios, y que sabes hacer negocios. Es dejar saber que el cirujano, el ojo clínico y el especialista eres tú, por eso él debe depositar su confianza en tí para planificar un proyecto y llegar a una contratación.

Mitos del Copyright #4 – “Yo Compré la obra, Puedo Hacer lo que Quiera con ella” (Pt. 1)

Vendiste una obra en una exhibición. El comprador le toma una foto y la sube a su blog, reconociendote como autor. La cuelga en su sala, pero decide pasarle un pequeño brochazo para integrarle tonos más acorde a su pared. Retrata su sala y convierte la imagen en una postal. Hace doscientas copias y las regala en su blog. Al dorso de la postal, junto con su “copyright notice”, incluye tu nombre como autor de la pintura.

Mitos del Copyright #5 – “Yo compré la obra, puedo hacer lo que quiera con ella” (Pt. 2)

Retomemos el ejemplo del pasado artículo. El comprador le pasa un brochazo a tu obra para ajustarla a su pared. No favoreces la intervención; sin embargo, te percatas que la ley de Copyright federal no te protege frente a una alteración de esta índole. No se contempla en el “bundle of rights”.

Mitos del Copyright #3 – “Tengo que Incluir un ‘Copyright Notice’ para que Exista mi Derecho”

Actualmente, el “Copyright Notice” es el mecanismo utilizado para hacer visible a terceros la protección de la obra por un derecho de autor. Consiste en incluir junto con la obra todo lo siguiente:  1) la letra “c” dentro de un círculo o la palabra “copyright”; 2) el año de publicación inicial y; 3) el nombre del autor o autores.

Mitos del Copyright #2 – “Si me Envio la obra por Correo y no abro el Sobre…”

Este método se conoce como el “poor man’s rule”, y propone que si uno adjunta en un sobre copia de, por ejemplo, una composición en guitarra grabada en un disco, y se la envía por correo a sí mismo y no abre el sobre, hará constar, por el sello postal, la fecha de la creación de la obra.  En la eventualidad de surgir una disputa entre dos o más personas sobre la autoría de esta, el sello postal autentica al recipiente y la fecha.

Mitos del Copyright #1 – “La obra Tiene que Estar Registrada para Adquirir Derechos”

Los derechos de autor son derechos patrimoniales otorgados por las leyes de los Estados Unidos, principalmente a través del Copyright Act de 1976, sus subsiguientes enmiendas y tratados, a creadores de trabajos artísticos y literarios (escritos, canciones, pinturas, fotografías, bailes, programas de computadora, compilaciones, entre otros) sobre obras que cumplan con dos requisitos: que sean originales, y que estén fijados en un medio tangible de expresión.

Olvídate de Pegar una Canción (Parte 1)

El problema con la industria no es que falte talento, es la sobredosis del mismo. Entonces el reto de cada artista debe ser crear una propuesta única dentro de todo el ruido saturado que son los medios.

Olvídate de Pegar una Canción (Parte 2)

Ahora consumimos, creamos y curamos el contenido todo a la vez. Ganar la atención de cualquier público es un ejercicio de suprema deliberación y ejecución incansable. Más que nunca, la popularidad de un artista depende de factores más allá de su música.

Key Entertainment Industry Contracts in Miami, Florida

The entertainment industry is a broad categorization of fields including fine art, dance, music, theater, film, radio, opera, publishing, television, and more. Contracts are necessary instruments in these fields to protect the creative works of artists in a way that allows them to profit from them. 

Large entertainment companies, like record labels and motion picture studios, also use contracts to protect themselves against economic risk. Consumer interests can change quickly, leading some entertainment trends and artists to become immensely popular or to fall into obscurity. These changes in consumer interests create an economic risk for artists and the companies that work with them. 

What is a 1099 form and when do I need to file it?

1099-MISC is an important form that misfiling or failing to file will cost you hundreds of dollars. Be sure to inform yourself on your tax duties as a business owner. Here’s everything you need to know.

Artists, Read Your Contracts BEFORE You Sign Them!

Nobody likes to read long and tedious contracts, especially when it is the only thing separating you from the commencement of an exciting new project. However, there are some things you need to keep an eye out for when negotiating your artistic product and services, to ensure you are being justly protected and compensated. 

What is Tortious Interference with an Expected Inheritance in Florida?

Tortious Interference with an Expected Inheritance occurs when someone succeeds at manipulating the assets of the decedent. In such a case, those beneficiaries of the inheritance who suffer an injury as a result of the tortious interference can bring a suit against the person who has manipulated the assets. Such conduct could include transferring money between different accounts, converting bank accounts to cash or affecting the distribution of the assets in any other way.

What is Pandemic Unemployment Assistance?

What is Pandemic Unemployment Assistance? The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (“PUA”) is a federal program, in addition to the CARES Act, that provides assistance to individuals whose employment is directly affected by COVID-19 and are not eligible for state Reemployment assistance benefits. This includes individuals who are independent contractors, gig workers, or self-employed. To receive this…   + Read More…

What is an Entertainment Lawyer?

An entertainment lawyer is a lawyer who represents individuals in the film and television industry, music industry, comedy industry, and print and electronic media industry. Entertainment lawyers can represent artists in contract negotiations, talent acquisition, intellectual property matters and public or distribution rights for creative properties.

How do I Sell or Transfer my Corporate Shares in Florida?

Can a Minority Shareholder Resign His Shares in a Private Corporation? If you’re a minority shareholder of a private corporation looking to get out of the corporation, your best option would be to sell your shares. It is important to note that your ability to sell shares is contingent on the terms of the shareholders’…   + Read More…

How are Legitimate Cannabis Related Businesses Aided by the SAFE Banking Act of 2020 ?

As D.C. legislators amend existing COVID-19 legislation, legitimate cannabis businesses might be leaving their financial straits behind.

What is a California Release in Florida?

Under California law, a “general release” of claims releases the parties from all mutual obligations and all known claims. The language of § 1542 notably states that a general release does not extend to unknown or suspected claims. This means that if one party violated an agreement, but the other party does not find out about the violation until after the agreement has been dissolved, the injured party can still bring a claim and file a lawsuit.

Can I Force my Ex-Spouse to Change Their name?

A divorce is a trying experience in and of itself—an ex-spouse keeping your last name can add another emotional dimension. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to legally change someone else’s name.

What Kind of Licenses do you need to Sell Jewelry in Miami?

Do you have to have a license to sell jewelry in Florida? To sell jewelry from home in Miami, you first need to create a business structure and register for a Florida Business Tax License. For a single member LLC, you need to provide the owner’s Social Security Number (SSN) and the business’s employer identification…   + Read More…

What to Negotiate when Purchasing a Franchise?

It is important to understand that a franchise agreement is typically drafted in favor of the franchisor. That is because the franchisee will be granted the rights to use the franchisor’s name, brand, intellectual property, confidential information, services and products, such as, for example, custom recipes, manuals, services and products, system information, production knowhow, and/or other trade secrets of the franchisor.

Can my Ex-Spouse Reimburse me for Attorney fees?

Upon pursuing a divorce, it is common to wonder if your ex-spouse can reimburse you for your attorney fees and other significant costs incurred throughout the process. Luckily, an answer can be found in statutes and case law.

What is a Buy-Sell Agreement?

A buy-sell agreement, buy-out agreement or a business prenup, is typically a contract that specifies how a partner’s share of an enterprise will be reassigned if he or she happens to pass away or dispense themselves from the company. Buy-sell agreements are commonly used for closed corporations and partnerships but may be used for other types of companies as well.

When can my Unemployment Claim be Denied?

In Florida, to obtain reemployment assistance benefits, an individual must file a claim with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.  Once the claim is filed, the claim undergoes an adjudication process where the claim is reviewed for potential issues which may disqualify an individual from receiving reemployment benefits such as: reason for termination, individual’s availability, and individual’s ability to work.

What are the Minimum Performance Requirements in Franchise Agreements?

A minimum performance requirement is typically a provision in a franchise agreement that creates a certain minimum standard of performance that is necessary for a Franchisee to maintain in order not to be in default on the franchise agreement. Every franchise agreement will impose different standards on their franchise locations – some covering more areas of the franchise’s operations and some covering less.

Las Pequeñas Empresas Comerciales y de las Minorías en el Condado de Miami Dade (Parte 2)

No mucha gente lo sabe, pero es importante saber que una vez que un negocio o persona desfavoreada haya participado en el programa, ni el negocio ni esa persona volverán a ser elegibles.  El SBA rechazará automáticamente esas aplicaciones. Por lo tanto, una empresa puede participar sólo una vez.  No importa si la propiedad y el control han cambiado por completo; la empresa será rechazada si se aplica de nuevo.

Why Are Employment Contracts So Important?

An employment contract is an agreement between two parties – an employee and an employer, that involves terms and conditions of employment. Some employment contracts may be oral, whereas others are written and contain many descriptive provisions. Oral employment contracts are enforceable but could be much more difficult to prove in court.

What Registrations and Licenses does a Landlord need to rent a Property in DC?

To rent a property in Washington, D.C., a landlord needs a Basic Business License (BBL). The landlord must first obtain the category that their BBL falls into, such as beauty services, health services, or rental housing.

How your Company can Minimize Liability During COVID-19

Businesses can have customers sign a Release from Liability Waiver, however, this cannot replace the requirement of maintaining a safe workplace. Businesses need to make sure they are in compliance with government agencies (CDC and OSHA), state, and local guidelines. Demonstrating that the business is following the published guidelines from these authorities is the best evidence an employer can provide to show they are reasonably reacting to COVID-19 risks.

Substantial Presence Test During COVID-19

During the coronavirus pandemic, many foreign nationals have been left unable to leave the United States and have, therefore, been involuntarily stranded in the country for longer than they anticipated. Does this extended presence in the United States carry with it any tax implications for these foreign nationals? 

Small Business and Minority Businesses in Miami Dade County (Part 2)

Not many people know this but it is important to know that once a business or disadvantaged individual has participated in the program, neither the business nor that individual will be eligible again.  The SBA will automatically decline those applications.

What is a Holographic Will?

A holographic will is a will that has been written by hand by the person that is establishing the will, legally known as a testator. A holographic will is different from a standard will because it is typically neither notarized nor signed by two witnesses and handwritten.  

Where Do Online Businesses Source Their Income? Part Two: Income Tax

Just as e-commerce has presented challenges for sourcing sales tax, e-commerce also presents issues for sourcing income taxes. This blog will discuss the income tax implications for online businesses.

Where Do Online Businesses Source Their Income? Part One: Sales Tax

E-commerce has created several tax-related issues for corporations conducting business across states without a physical footprint. This blog will discuss the sales tax implications for online businesses.

Foreign Ownership of U.S. Financial Assets

Foreign ownership of U.S. assets has grown significantly over the past 20 years as a result of more globalized financial markets.

How do S-Corp owners pay Themselves and what is Deductible?

Small business owners pay themselves differently depending on their business structure. Sole proprietorships, S-corps, C-corps, and partnerships all have different IRS rules governing how the business can pay its owners and how those earnings are taxed.

What is the Doctrine of Frustration in Contract Law?

Frustration of purpose is a doctrine in contract law that provides a defense to the enforcement of a contract. The doctrine of frustration is usually invoked when either party has been substantially inconvenienced by an unforeseeable event, whereby that inconvenience has caused the contract to become impossible to perform or has undermined the initial justification of entering into the contract in the first place.

What is a Force Majeure Clause in a Contract?

What is a Force Majeure Clause in a Contract? A force majeure clause is a provision typically added to contracts that help to shield the parties from liability in the event of a catastrophe or a natural event that prevents the parties from fulfilling their obligations under the contract. Examples of a force majeure include…   + Read More…

Who Does the SEC Oversee?

The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) is an independent government agency created to regulate corporate securities while maintaining fair market practices. The SEC is commanded by a five-member commission who act cooperatively to enforce the rules and regulations that make up the securities market.  Their authority is derived from the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

What is the Purpose of the SEC?

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is a governmental agency that serves the purpose of protecting investors from fraud and maintaining fairness and efficiency of the U.S. market. One of the main goals of the SEC is to mandate disclosures about all kinds of investments to both small and big businesses.

What Is HIPAA?

The HIPAA stands for The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This federal Act protects the privacy of patient information from third parties. Therefore, most healthcare providers such as healthcare insurance companies, hospitals, etc. can only disclose patient information in cases when the HIPAA allows the disclosure. Under the HIPAA, apart from disclosing the patient’s information for treatment purposes, only “the minimum necessary to accomplish the purpose of the disclosure” can be revealed.

How do I Donate my Organs as part of my Estate Plan?

When preparing your estate plan, not only can you provide directives as to the administration of your estate, but you can also give instructions as to what will happen to your body after you pass away. Providing such instructions yourself would save your family from conflict over what should be done with your body and how you would have wanted to be buried. 

Rehiring Furloughed Employees Post-Covid-19

A furlough is a temporary, unpaid leave of absence, with an expectation that an employee will return to his or her job at a specific time. A furlough could also include reduced hours of work or work weeks. Ultimately, a furloughed employee remains an employee.

Securities Class Action Lawsuits

A securities class action lawsuit is filed by investors who have bought or sold a company’s publicly traded securities within a class period and have suffered economic injury as a result of violations of securities laws.

Adult Protective Services in Florida

The Adult Protective Services in Florida are part of the Florida Department of Children and Families. You can report adult exploitation online at https://reportabuse.dcf.state.fl.us/ or by calling their hotline at 1-800-962-2873.

What are Accredited Investors and what is a Private Placement Memorandum?

The reason for such disclosures is to protect the company in the event things fall apart and the investors try to sue the company for securities fraud for example. Such disclosures will be used as the company’s defense. One of the best ways to provide such disclosures is through a document called a Private Placement Memorandum (aka PPM).

What if I’m a Small Business Owner and I’m Looking to Protect my Life-long Legacy?

While it can be emotional to imagine the state of a business after your passing, it can prove crucial in the protection of your legacy. The reality is that your sudden passing can lead to thousands or millions of dollars in losses for your business, and even starker consequences for your family.

Consumer Class Action Lawsuits

In a class action lawsuit, only one lawsuit is filed on behalf of an entire group of injured parties. Very often, for example, such lawsuits unite many individuals and go after a large company that has produced defective products that have causes injury or loss to every individual member of the class action lawsuit. The settlement that such a lawsuit results in is typically divided between all of the individual plaintiffs.

Enforcement Against a Personal Guarantor (Part 1)

A personal guarantee is an individual or business entity that guarantees responsibility for another’s financial obligation, should they ever fail to repay their lender. Personal guarantee’s usually come in when securing a debt for a loan such as a car finance or mortgage, but the guarantor is not contractually liable for any part of the loan unless the debtor fails to make a payment.

Enforcement Against a Personal Guarantor (Part 2)

If a personal guarantor does not respond to the lender’s demand, the lender has two options to choose from in order to collect the debt. First, the lender can file suit against the personal guarantor and second – he can petition a court for the personal guarantor’s bankruptcy. 

A Vendor Has Wrongfully Filed an Item With Your Credit Rating Agency: What to Do

Oftentimes, a creditor or vendor wrongfully files something with your credit rating agency. All of a sudden, you find your credit lowered by hundreds of points, with collection agencies knocking at your door. Black marks on your credit can have detrimental consequences for future financial transactions, like opening a credit card.

What are Business Interruption Claims?

Business Interruption Insurance Coverage is triggered when a disaster causes a suspension or reduction in business operations. This insurance is intended to restore the insured back to the position it would have been in had operations continued as expected, by covering the expenses and income loss incurred.

Can you Delete a Photo of You From the Internet?

Deleting all the information about yourself on the Internet can be a long and tedious task. This would in large depend on the level of popularity the person wanting to erase himself online enjoys as well as his level of activity on the Internet.

What is Private Adjudication in Florida?

Private adjudication provides the parties in a civil lawsuit two alternatives to court: (1) voluntary trial resolution (VTR) or (2) voluntary binding arbitration. These alternatives grant the parties of a lawsuit a path that avoids the traditional court litigation route.

Employment Standards During Covid-19

The OSHA wants to ensure certain safety measures in a working environment, yet, also want to make certain that an employee is asserting an issue or concern in good faith. If your employer fails to implement proper guidelines or does not take reasonable steps to safeguard your well-being, then the law offers you, as an employee, the right to refuse to come into your workplace, until the imminent fear is no longer apparent.

COVID-19: How to Conduct Remote Depositions

Covid-19 has forced many industries to adjust their business operations so that they can comply with the distancing needed. The legal industry is not unlike others, as they have put efforts to make all court hearings virtual or over the phone. One of the many procedures that have made this change is the taking of a witness’ depositions. It is important that even attorneys with years of experience take the following factors into consideration when conducting a virtual deposition.

Are Credit Card Surcharges Legal in Florida?

Florida law currently prohibits a seller from imposing a surcharge on any buyer who elects to use a credit card. However, a federal Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals case in 2015, decided on the merits that Florida law prohibiting a merchant from imposing surcharge fees was unconstitutional because it regulated commercial free-speech rights. Similarly, in a U.S Supreme Court case in 2017, the court struck down a New York law that did the same. As our state law continues to stand, federal case law has since overruled the prohibition of seller surcharges.

What IRS Troubles Are Occuring Due to COVID-19?

IRS Troubles During COVID-19 Due to the ongoing pandemic, the IRS had to cut its working staff, close its offices around the country, severely limit live telephone assistance and completely stop processing filing sent by mail. All of these measures, along with the current tax season and having to send out the government’s stimulus payments,…   + Read More…

“Unpopular Opinion: Why Probate is Actually a Good Thing”

Avoiding probate is usually something most (if not all) estate planning attorneys advocate for several reasons: privacy to you and your family, saving your loved one’s time and money on a slow court process, and a quicker route for beneficiaries to access their inheritance. However, sometimes having your estate go through probate might actually be…   + Read More…

Landlord Remedies in Florida: Distress Writs

A landlord in a commercial or residential landlord-tenant relationship may enforce remedial acts against a tenant and the leased premises, in the event of default or breach. Upon a landlord deciding to evict his or her tenant, a distress writ may be obtained to substantially protect the landlords needs. Among this remedial measure, a landlord has the ability to receive a distress writ issued by the Clerk of Court, which authorizes the landlord to essentially put a lien on the tenant’s assets at the rental premises when he or she owes rent.

What Are Fiduciary Duties and Responsibilities of a Trustee?

Naming a trustee to administer your trust is an important decision that should be afforded thoughtful consideration. One should consider the proposed individual’s qualifications, ability, professionalism, and ethics. Equally important is the decision to accept appointment as trustee of another’s trust.  Oftentimes, a trusteeship is accepted without prior knowledge of the duties and responsibilities involved. 

Is There a Statute of Limitations for Federal Tax Liens?

What is a Federal Tax Lien? A federal tax lien is the government’s legal claim against your property when you neglect or fail to pay a tax debt. When the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) puts your unpaid balance due on their books, your liability to pay that balance is then assessed. Neglect or failure to…   + Read More…

How Do I Become Legal Guardian of My Parent?

What is Considered a Legal Guardian? A legal guardian is an individual who has been appointed by a court to represent and make decisions on behalf of another other person. A legal guardian is appointed in accordance with state guardianship laws. The person over whom the guardianship extends is called a “Ward.” Guardianships can be…   + Read More…

Does Florida Have Small Business Certifications?

Miami-Dade County Small Business Programs In addition to the Federal and Florida government certifications, small businesses in Miami-Dade County can apply for a local certification called the Miami-Dade County Small Business Enterprise (SBE). What is the Miami-Dade County Small Business Enterprise? Within the Miami-Dade Internal Services Department, the Small Business Development (SBD) serves the County’s…   + Read More…

What Miami-Dade Certifications Are Available For Small Businesses?

Florida Minority Business Government Programs Like the federal Small Business Association, the state of Florida enacted certification programs to provide more opportunities for small businesses. What is the Florida Certified Business Enterprise? The Florida Certified Business Enterprise (CBE) is a certification program run by the Office of Supplier Diversity (OSD), a specialized team within the…   + Read More…

Covid-19 Disaster Assistance Update

The measurements taken to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in the US have caused an economic downturn that is dramatically affecting our country’s small businesses. While Congress was able to enact the CARES Act to provide emergency financial aid to those applied for one of its programs; unfortunately, it has now been reported that funding for these programs has been exhausted. 

FLORIDA “REEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE”: Simple Answers to Common Questions Regarding Unemployment Claims and Benefits

Navigating the complex process of applying for reemployment assistance in the wake of an unexpected layoff is never a simple task.  That difficult process is made even more complicated during a crisis that creates mass unemployment, such as the one which we are currently experiencing as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  This guide is designed to answer some of the most commonly asked questions with regard to the Florida Reemployment Assistance program and to discuss changes in this area of law that have been made in light of the ongoing pandemic.

Who is a Borrower’s Representative?

Borrower’s Representative means an individual or an organization that is designated by the Borrower to act on behalf of the Borrower by a written certificate and complying with the requirements of the applicable state. The borrower’s representative always requires some written proof of authority before being able to act on behalf of the borrower.

How to Ensure you are Compliant with the PPP Loan

Over the past several weeks, thousands of businesses have applied for and (some) have received the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program loan. An attractive condition of this loan is the potential it to be forgiven. However, the SBA has continued to issue guidance on how to remain eligible for forgiveness, and there are strict protocols that businesses must follow.

How to Protect your Business Against Trademark Bullying?

Trademark bullying is the process of large worldwide famous companies aggressively asserting their trademark rights over smaller businesses. Even though it is a common practice in the trademark world for trademark owners to “police” the use of their trademarks in the market, sometimes big companies take this “policing” a step further, counting on the inability of small businesses to finance prolonged court litigation over their trademark rights.

HBO®’s “Succession” The Importance of Succession Planning as Part of Your Estate Plan

While the show is fictional, the reality is that succession planning is an important aspect of estate planning that should be fully integrated into your plan, especially for business owners.  A solid estate plan not only provides for the disposition of your assets upon your passing but also plans for someone to take your place (a successor) when you are no longer able to perform your responsibilities due to incapacity or death. 

What is a Miller Trust?

Miller Trust is a special kind of trust that adjusts the income of a person downward, usually in an effort to maintain the individual’s eligibility for some forms of government benefit programs. This type of trust is often used to establish eligibility for the Medicaid program.

District of Columbia: Consumer Protection & Unfair Trade Practice Laws

In order to protect commercial trade practices and deter improper use of such practices within its state, The District of Columbia has implemented their own regulation for effective enforcement of fair trade and business practices.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of C-Corporations

A C-Corporation is the typical corporate structure. However, any company—limited liability companies, partnerships, and sole proprietorship—can elect to be taxed as a C-Corporation. Electing to be treated as a C-Corporation is essentially deciding how your entity will be taxed.

What do I do if my Instagram Account has been Disabled?

Instagram reserves the right to disable accounts that it believes violate their Community Guidelines or Terms of Use without warning. Accounts that have been determined to be in repeated violation may be permanently removed.  So, what exactly are Instagram’s community standards and terms of use?

How Does the EU Data Privacy Regulation Affect U.S. Businesses? (Part 2)

What are the Rights of Data Subjects? Persons (i.e “Data Subjects”) are entitled to several rights in regard to their personal data, including: Right to be informed – about the collection and use of their personal data; Right of access – to their personal data; Right to rectification – data subjects can ask data controllers…   + Read More…

How Does the EU Data Privacy Regulation Affect U.S. Businesses? (Part 1)

This regulation relates to both data privacy and data security. Data privacy is the right to control how information is collected and used; focusing on the use and governance of data. Data security, on the other hand, is focused on protecting data from, for example, attacks and exploitation of stolen data.

What is Important to Know About a Publishing Contract (Part 2)

Typically, an author does not receive royalties until the advance has been recouped. The advance is an advance against royalties. Usually, the amount paid to the author will depend on the format of the book being sold as well as on the book retailer selling it.

What is Important to Know About a Publishing Contract (Part 1)

The general trend in the publishing industry today is the growth in sales of ebooks and a decline in the print market. In 2018 it was observed that the bestseller lists have become dominated by mostly political works. Additionally, there is an ever-increasing boost in sales of works adopted for movies and TV series. 

How does the California Consumer Privacy Act Affect Florida Businesses?

California enacted the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”) on June 28th, 2019, made effective on January 1st, 2020. The CCPA is the nation’s first comprehensive state data privacy law. The CCPA provides several new rights for California consumers regarding their Personal Information.

Can Foreign Non-Resident Investors Claim Florida Homestead Exemption?

The traditional rule is all individuals living in Florida with temporary visas may not be eligible to claim the Florida homestead exemption because their residency is based on a durational, temporary period. However, in 2012, the Florida Supreme Court put this constitutional issue before them in Garcia v. Andonie

Does Motion for Extension of Time Waive Rights in Arbitration?

Revised Florida Arbitration Code The Revised Florida Arbitration Code was initially signed into law in 1957, with the revision of the Code being adopted in 2013. As the Florida Bar Association states, the Revised Florida Arbitration Code is composed of three distinct sections: Pre-arbitration matters, such as scope of law that will govern the proceeding….   + Read More…

Are Electronic Signatures Valid for Binding a Contract?

The use of electronic signatures for a wide variety of legal documents has been a key component of the internet age, providing corporations and clients alike with a streamlined process for signing documents. However, while electronic signatures have become the predominant choice for most, there are still many questions that surround them. Namely among these concerns is whether or not they are legal in binding contracts.

Can I Hold a Funeral During COVID-19?

If you or a loved one have been affected by COVID-19 and would like to learn more information about holding a funeral during this pandemic, do not hesitate to contact one of our experienced attorneys at EPGD Business Law. EPGD Business Law is located in beautiful Coral Gables, West Palm Beach and historic Washington D.C. Call us at (786) 837-6787, or contact us through the website to schedule a consultation.

How to Prevent Cybersquatting

Cybersquatting or domain sharking is the act of registering, trafficking in, or using a domain name that is identical to, or confusingly similar to a registered trademark, with the bad faith intent to profit from the goodwill of someone else’s trademark. By doing this, cyber squatters prevent anybody from buying the domain.

Commercial Impracticability: Is COVID-19 an Excuse for Nonperformance?

As many of our questions are still left in the unknown, there may come some ease knowing that the law offers consideration during times like this. More recently, government intervention and closures have created shortages in staff and labor workers, while a shortfall in supplies have deviated businesses from performing their contractual duties.

How to Ensure You’re Utilizing Your PPP Loan the Proper Way

The most significant aspect of this loan is that it is completely forgivable so long as the funds are used for at least 75% of payroll costs. The loan may also be used for mortgage, rent, and utilities for the business.

How Can I Cancel a Power of Attorney?

Powers of attorney vary in the extent of powers granted. A special power of attorney may specify certain powers that would be granted to the agent.

What to Do If My Client Owes Me Money?

If your client fails to make a payment, often times, you as a business owner are consequently left with an unpaid balance. This can result in repetitive and tedious attempts to collect the unpaid invoices and may impose a strain on your client relationship.

Will my Business Insurance Cover Coronavirus Losses?

The coronavirus pandemic outbreak within the United States is unprecedented. Therefore, claims arising out of a disease outbreak are almost unknown to U.S. courts.

What is Business Interruption Insurance?

Business interruption insurance (or business income insurance) is a kind of insurance coverage that provides a business with funds that are meant to substitute for income that is lost due to the interruption of the business operations.

Financing a Vehicle – Liens & Auto Equity Loans

When a vehicle is financed through a bank, the bank becomes a “secured party” in relations to the vehicle. This means that the bank now owns a financial interest in the vehicle, secured by the vehicle itself. Therefore, the information about the bank’s interest in the vehicle has to be put on the certificate of title, along with the borrower’s information.

How Do I File for Bankruptcy?

What Happens If I Declare Bankruptcy? Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code are aimed at relieving an individual debtor of his accumulated debt and giving him a so-called “fresh start”. The goal of the bankruptcy proceeding is to have the most important and secured creditors paid out of the liquidated assets of…   + Read More…

Creditor Bankruptcy Collection Process

Will Filing for Bankruptcy Stop Collections? Once the debtor files for bankruptcy and the court accepts the petition, the court places an automatic stay on all of the debtor’s property. Automatic stay means that the property becomes safe from creditors, and all collection attempts must cease. This includes telephone calls, letters, legal actions, etc. The…   + Read More…

F@ck the Big Banks: Every Business Owner Should be with a Community bank (and have Their Banker’s cell Phone Number)

Now that the United States Government has implemented the CARES Act, a historic stimulus bill, there might be recovery yet for the extreme slow down in business one may experience. However, too many people are having difficulties with banks granting them the loans this stimulus was intended to provide.

Is there a Grace Period for Rental Payments during the COVID-19 Pandemic?

A grace period is a predetermined period of time immediately following a payment due date during which a late fee or other is waived provided that the obligation is satisfied during the grace period.  Your grace period, if any, will be stated within your lease agreement, and will typically be limited to three to five…   + Read More…

CARES ACT §1102 Paycheck Protection Program §1106 Loan Forgiveness

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The CARES ACT passed by the U.S. Congress on Friday, March 27, 2020 and signed into law by President Donald J. Trump on the same day is a massive coronavirus relief bill that in part provides tremendous relief for small businesses currently in flux. Businesses and nonprofit organizations may be eligible for an…   + Read More…

Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae Protect Renters From Eviction During Coronavirus

Last week Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac suspended evictions and foreclosures for families living in houses financed through one of their loans. This policy was now extended by the two banks to include renters as well, in the event when they are not able to pay rent due to the coronavirus outbreak.

How to Prevent an ADA Lawsuit

Many businesses have been concerned about ADA lawsuits and have sought methods to prevent them. While the measures are not particularly complex, they are essential to avoid the frustrations and expenses related to ADA lawsuits.

Florida Coronavirus Executive Orders

Throughout March, Governor Ron DeSantis has issued multiple Executive Orders related to the COVID-19 outbreak. As of March 23, 2020, Governor DeSantis has issued seven Executive Orders directly related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Force Majeure and Excusable Non-Performance in Contracts Affected by COVID-19

Due to the forced closure of many “non-essential” businesses, many contractual obligations have been affected due to the resulting workforce and supply shortages. These disruptions have left many wondering whether “force majeure” provisions will relieve them of their contractual obligations.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The FFCRA applies to only businesses with less than 500 employees. Divisions C and E establish two new laws that will take effect April 2, 2020 and will remain in effect until December 31, 2020 – the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act and the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act.

What Economic Assistance is Available to Small Businesses During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

The federal and state governments have offered a variety of aid or relief to individuals and small business owners related to the coronavirus pandemic and the COVID-19 disease.  Our attorneys at EPGD have been closely monitoring all legal developments and changes in administrative policy to make sure we can guide you through this difficult time…   + Read More…

What Happens if my City Passes an Emergency Ordinance in Response to COVID -19 that is More Restrictive than My State’s Emergency Order? Which Law do I Follow?

When conflict between laws or orders issued from different levels of government exists, the law at the higher level will typically govern unless that law or declaration is found to be unconstitutional.  For instance, when federal and state law is in conflict, the federal law will supersede, or preempt, the state law and take precedence due to the supremacy clause of the United States Constitution. 

What Constitutes a Valid Escrow in Florida?

An escrow occurs when property is held by a third party until the occurrence of a predetermined event, at which time the third party delivers the property as instructed by the parties to the transaction.  Thus, an escrow agent is the intermediary third-party depositary assisting the parties to the transaction.  Escrows are used to ensure that the parties to the underlying transaction act as agreed upon.

How to Patent Internationally

It is worth noting that the granting of the patents still remains in control of the national or regional patent offices. This is due to the fact that there is no universal patent law, and each nation has different legal standards for granting patents as well as enforcing them.

Should you Lease Property to a Business?

Saving money on taxes is a great incentive to consider leasing your assets to a corporation.  It is common for shareholders of corporations to lease real estate, equipment, and other property, such as vehicles, to the corporation, either directly or indirectly.

What is an Operating Agreement?

The operating agreement for an LLC is imperative because it can outline all the company’s procedural and financial decisions. Although an operating agreement is not required in many states, most limited liability owners create an operating agreement as soon as they create their company. The operating agreement protects owners and sets out anything that has been orally agreed on.

What is a Third-Party Purchaser?

When most people think of foreclosures, the two parties instantly discussed are the owner that is being foreclosed upon and the bank that is doing the foreclosing. However, when the property is headed to the auction block there is another party that comes into the picture: third party purchasers. When the bank lists the property at the foreclosure auction, a third-party purchaser often decides to buy the property if he or she believes it is a good deal. Third-party purchaser can take strategic risks and make money through legal loopholes.

Can you file for Bankruptcy if your House is in Foreclosure?

If you believe foreclosure is imminent and need assistance moving forward, please do not hesitate to contact one of our knowledgeable attorneys at EPGD Business Law.

EPGD Coronavirus Bulletin: New Developments, Preparedness, Facts, and Health Tips

EPGD Business Law is committed to the health and welfare of our employees, clients, and friends.  As such, we have prepared this bulletin to offer the latest developments, facts, and health tips in light of the ongoing developments of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Can an Employer Inquire into Whether its Employees have been Exposed to Coronavirus?

The COVID-19 Virus (“Coronavirus”) is presenting challenges for businesses in a multitude of areas. One particularly concerning prospect is an employee being exposed to the virus and in turn contaminating the rest of the business. While employers may want to ask their employees questions about their health to evaluate the risk of exposure, employers need to be aware of the various laws surrounding this sensitive topic.

Can you Revoke or Amend a Trust?

Trusts allow a third party, or trustee, of your choosing, to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary or beneficiaries.  One of the great factors of a trust, is that trusts tend to avoid probate. Probate is the process after a person passes or becomes disabled; their assets are put on hold until the will is validated, any remaining debt is paid off, and the beneficiaries of the will are identified.  Probate can be a long and stressful process for your loved ones. 

What is the IRS Trust Fund Recovery Penalty?

Every month your employer has to hold back a certain percentage from your paycheck. They have to withhold 6.2% for social security and 1.45% for Medicare. The IRS calls the withholding of income tax, Medicare, and social security the trust fund taxes. An employer is supposed to send the trust fund taxes amount to the IRS every quarter using Form 941.

Does my Employer Have to pay me if I am Quarantined due to the Coronavirus?

With the current state of the world, you may be thinking about what you can expect if you are unable to go to work due to the Coronavirus. Employment and Labor laws can vary by state, and by county. Additionally, you may have a contract or collective bargaining agreement with your employer that determines what happens when you cannot show up to work due to a public health emergency. While your employer will most likely not require you to come to work if you are under quarantine, your employer may not be required to pay you for the time you are out.

Can I claim Unemployment if I am Laid off because of Coronavirus?

With the pandemic that is the Coronavirus affecting the whole world, many employees may be considering staying home these next few weeks while the virus is spreading throughout the United States.

Can I be Fired if I Stay Home During the Corona Virus Panic?

Many employees across the world are contemplating staying home with the spread of the Corona Virus pandemic. If you are in an at-will state, your employer may have a lot of power if you decide to not to show up for work.

Design and Author’s Rights (Part 2)

The expression of the idea, being the artist’s intention – the artist’s purpose in creating that work. If we assume that the work is called “post post post modernism”; that would be the expression.

Design & Author’s Rights (Part 1)

Intellectual property consists of four regimes of law that govern different aspects of human creations – that’s why it is called “intellectual” property; they are born from the intelligence and imagination of human beings. These laws are copyright, trademarks, business secrets, and patents.

Copyright Myths # 5 – “I Bought the work, I can do what I want with it.” (Part 2)

The right of attribution refers to the author’s power to be recognized as the creator of his work, and therefore the power to affirm that he is not recognized as the author of a work he has not created. It also implies the alternative of attributing a pseudonym or remaining anonymous.

Copyright Myths # 4 – “I Bought the work, I can do what I want with it.” (Part 1)

The Copyright Act of 1976 grants a series of exclusive rights to the authors of original works – reproduction of the work in copies; distribution of those copies; derivative works; public display; public execution and; transmissions.

Copyrights Myths #3 – “I have to Include a ‘Copyright Notice’ for my Right to Exist.”

The most important function of the Copyright mechanism, for works created today, is that it serves as a warning for persons who improperly appropriate them or infringe on any copyright.

Attacking the Validity of the Mortgage

One of the ways to win a foreclosure fight is by attacking the validity of the mortgage.  There are multiple ways to do this, including but not limited to, using defenses such as fraud, standing to sue, and proving the statute of limitations.

What to Think About when Starting a Small Business

Starting a new business can be scary with all of the legal issues that arise, the taxes one may incur, the fear of losing money invested, etc.  To deal with these issues, it is best you consult an attorney to ensure all of your questions are answered and there are no hidden surprises.

Why do I need a PPM?

Even companies engaging in private placements frequently have to meet certain disclosure requirements. Such requirements are met through the creation of a Private Placement Memorandum (PPM)

What Happens when a Business is part of a Divorce?

Divorces can be stressful, emotionally and financially draining, and sometimes even confusing.  Some people do not understand how assets are divided in a divorce.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act

The term ‘service provider’ means an entity offering the transmission, routing, or providing of connections for digital online communications, between or among points specified by a user, of material of the user’s choosing, without modification to the content of the material as sent or received.

What is a Trust Amendment?

A trust amendment is a legal document that revises specific provisions of a revocable living trust or an “inter vivos” trust. It is only intended for making changes to specific provisions, while leaving the rest of the document in its original form and other provisions unchanged.

Prevent Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Sexual harassment occurs far more often than one would expect.  Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination which violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees in any capacity, whether it is a private workplace or a government agency.

Updating your FDD in Response to Change of fees

The FDD must be given to the potential Franchisee 14 days before the Franchisee is able to sign the Franchise Agreement. The purpose of such disclosure to a potential Franchisee has historically been to allow the Franchisee to make an informed decision. An FDD typically includes a fees chart, the franchise’s legal and financial history, along with other terms and conditions of the operation of the franchise.

How to Properly Dissolve a Florida Nonprofit Organization

When a nonprofit corporation decides to close its doors, there are steps that the organization must follow to legally terminate its operations or dissolve. Similarly, to for-profit corporations, nonprofit corporations must file Articles of Dissolution with the Florida Department of State. But that is not the final step.

Can a Dissolved Company sue?

Voluntary dissolution is an action taken by shareholders or incorporators to dissolve a corporation. This process is typically initiated by a vote of the corporation’s stockholders. Under a voluntary dissolution, the company will stop to exist as a legal entity.

Is it Legal to take Clients away from your Employer?

Client lists are usually labeled as “confidential” and within the company access to them is limited. Other companies divide their client lists by sales/business geographical territory to minimize access of employees to the lists even more.

When is the Florida Reciprocity rule for Attorney’s fees Applicable?

Under Florida statute, a court can enforce an attorney’s fees clause even if the original language of the clause did not provide for attorney’s fee for that specific party. This is called reciprocity.

The Florida Spousal “Elective Share” Explained

The Florida Spousal Elective Share is a statutory right created by the legislature that is available to the surviving spouses of persons who were domiciled in Florida at the time of their death.

How to Negotiate like a “Freelancer” (Part 2)

Negotiating at times can be a step forward and two backwards. It is expected that mistakes will be made along the way; each negotiation is unique for its level of complexity, subjects and interests behind them.

How to Negotiate like a “Freelancer” (Part 1)

Negotiations arise in the face of a conflict of opposite interests; because if there was no conflict, there would be no need to make concessions. But just because there are converging interests does not mean that there must be conflict between those who represent them.

Signing Your Will Under Seal

Generally speaking, signing under seal makes the contract more formal. “The formality of a promise under seal is an efficient, trustworthy method of channeling a person’s deliberate intent to be legally obligated”

How to Protect your “Ideas”

An idea in a vacuum does not have much inherent value. The protection you may have over your “ideas” – that is, concepts and thoughts that have not yet been realized – arises primarily from two sources – intellectual property rights and contractual obligations.

How to sell Design (Part 2)

You offer a service of which you are an expert; However, you have to justify that value. The goal is for the client to understand the value of the service.

Forget About Landing a “Hit” Single (Part 2)

“Winning the attention of any audience is an exercise of supreme deliberation and tireless execution. More than ever, the popularity of an artist depends on factors beyond his or her music.”

Can a U.S Non-Profit Organization Provide Services in Foreign Countries?

Along with registering an organization in the United States, many, if not all countries require proper registration within their governmental agency as well. This not only allows foreign countries to have control over U.S organizations operating within their nation’s borders, it also helps keep track of activities and allows the enforcement of local laws.

Can small Start-up Companies Sponsor Foreign Individuals when Their OPT has Expired?

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary work authorization, granted to F-1 “International Student” visa holders. OPT is offered to students that qualify under their degree program to engage in work directly related to their major area of study.

Forget About Landing a “Hit” Single (Part 1)

Do you want to know what is wrong in the music industry? The problem with the industry is not that talent is lacking, it is the overdose of it.

What is Ancillary Probate?

The primary probate proceeding is usually held in the decedent’s state of residence or home state. However, a state probate court only has authority over property in its own jurisdiction; it does not have the power to issue orders for property that is located in another state. Therefore, an additional probate proceeding becomes necessary.

How to sell Design (Part 1)

Most clients, in those first meetings, are looking to know what you are thinking as a designer, so they can then go to another one with whom they have more trust so they can do a similar job to the one you presented. Many times, they end up doing poor work.

Copyrights Myths #2 – “If I mail Myself my work and I don’t open the Envelope…”

…I can vindicate my rights without having to register it” – is not correct. This method is known as the “poor man’s rule,” and proposes that if one encloses in a copy of, for example, a guitar composition recorded on a disc, and mails it to his or herself and does not open the envelope, this will evidence, by the postal stamp, the date of the work’s creation.

Kobe Bryant and The Importance of Estate Planning

Unfortunately, the passing of a young and healthy individual like Bryant occurs more often than one would like to acknowledge and does not make headline news.  When these ill-fated events take place, families are often left to mourn the death of a loved one while also navigating the complexities of administering an estate that was not properly planned.

8 Things to keep in mind when Inventing (Part 2)

Once the application is submitted, a rigorous evaluation by USPTO officials follows, to certify that what you present as your “claim” in your application is useful, novel and non-obvious. It is also used to check that there is no current patent on it.

8 Things to keep in mind when Inventing (Part 1)

Applying for a patent can be viewed as a contract between inventors and the public (government) in which inventors, in exchange for making their invention public, are granted a limited monopoly over it.

Preserving a Tenancy by the Entirety in your Florida Estate Plan

Traditionally, estate planners have split tenancies by the entirety in order to fund separate trusts for both spouses, with the aim of maximizing estate tax exemptions.

Copyrights Myths #1 – “The work must be Registered to Acquire Rights”

There are two requirements for copyright – originality and fixation on a tangible means of expression. 

What is an ADA Compliant Website?

Businesses, places of employment, and governments serving the general public are required to accommodate those with disabilities of various sorts.

A Music Artist’s Dream Team

Equally essential elements converge with music that deserve the attention of experts, such as the artist is to his art. Examples are image creation, distribution strategies, and alliances with entities that invest in, or subsidize, efforts.

Bullying in the Workplace

Workplace bullying is generally known as the repeated mistreatment of a person by one or more employees that takes the form of verbal abuse or conduct or behaviors that are threatening, intimidating, or humiliating.

Can a Florida Law Firm Operate as an LLC? Can I convert my PLLC to a PA?

“Lawyers may practice law in the form of professional service corporations, professional limited liability companies, sole proprietorships, general partnerships, or limited liability partnerships organized or qualified under applicable law.”

Sales Tax Decrease on Commercial Property

Since 2018, the sales tax on commercial rent in Florida has consistently gone down, decreasing from 6% to 5.7% to 5.5% in 2020.

Does a Motion to Dismiss stay Discovery in Florida Civil Litigation?

Discovery is the process that opposing parties use to build evidence against another and is an instrumental part of the adversarial system. The Florida Rules of civil procedure provides when discovery can be limited by the trial court.

Taxes Upon Conversion

Corporations are often today converted into “disregarded entities” for tax purposes, such as avoiding “double taxation”. A disregarded entity is a business that is not separated from the owner for tax purposes.

Are ADA Compliant Website Lawsuits a Scam?

There are no clear regulations defining website accessibility. Typically, courts conduct a flexible, case-by-case analysis, to ensure that the Act requirements are not unduly burdensome to businesses.

What is an Integration Clause in a Legal Contract?

Often times, contracts that have integration clauses are referred to as integration contracts. The purpose of an integrated contract is to assure that any material, terms or agreements that are fully intended to be in the contract are included.

How do I Apply for Homestead Exemption in Florida?

In Miami-Dade County, the 2020 Homestead Exemption applications and Portability applications are due on March 2nd. Read our blog below to find out how to apply!

Can a Franchisee Sue a Franchisor for Item 19 Misrepresentations?

Item 19 disclosures are the disclosures that potential franchisees rely on the most when deciding whether to open a franchise. Thus, a franchisor needs to be careful to not make any overly robust financial presentations or promises. To begin with, a franchisor is not required to provide an answer to the most important question, “how much money can I make?”.

Can my Homestead Assessment Savings be Transferred from my old Property to my new Property?

Imagine being a homeowner in Florida, selling your home and not buying a new home until three years later. Did you know that you were most likely receiving property tax savings at your old property? And better yet, you could have transferred some or all of those savings to your new property if you had just filed a homestead portability application within two years.

How can I Report an Amazon Vendor if I am a Seller or Buyer?

Recently, stories have surfaced about consumers purchasing expired goods, broken products, and even counterfeit items. Additionally, some sellers are losing business to other sellers who market these fraudulent or defective items. Whether you are an Amazon buyer or seller, here’s how you can protect yourself.

Foreign Partnerships & Tax Form 8813

Under Internal Revenue Code “IRC” Section 1446, a partnership of this sort may be made up of any kind of foreign corporation, international organization, non-resident individual or foreign estate or trust. Any partnership that falls under the definition of 1446 must pay the required withheld taxes mandated by the IRS.

Can a U.S Non-Profit Organization lose its Tax-Exempt Status by Sending Funds to Foreign Organizations?

There are several ways that funds from U.S. non-profits can be sent to foreign organizations.  However, U.S non-profit organization may be exposing themselves to risks and possible dangers of losing their tax-exemption status.

What do I do if I owe Money to the IRS?

If you have not filed your tax returns for years and now you owe lots of money to the IRS, there are ways to deal with this issue but the best advice is to contact a tax attorney so they can explain all of the different steps and hopefully lower some of the money you owe.

What Happens when you get Served?

Currently, there are two worlds operating at the same time and for some people they never overlap. I am talking about the legal world and the non-legal/real world. In the legal world courts are operating every day and most people are blissfully unaware of it. However, the legal world and the real-world intersect at the moment that individual walks up to you and says, “you’ve been served!”

Homestead Exemption v. JTWROS

In Florida, JTWROS means that the full title to property goes to the owner that survives.  The “survivor” of the joint owner automatically owns 100% of the asset when the other joint owner passes away.

My Contractor Stole My Money! What is the Florida Construction Industry Recovery Fund?

If you have ever found yourself asking this question when working with a contractor or construction company, and the project seems to always be going over budget, then you may be entitled to recover from the Florida Construction Industry Recovery Fund.

What are Some Foreclosure Alternatives?

Foreclosure is a lengthy and expensive process that your lender may also be trying to avoid. Your lender may be calling regarding the following alternatives to foreclosure.

Are Officers and Directors of U.S Non-Profit Organizations Required to be U.S Citizens or Legal Permanent Residents?

Board members are responsible for making strategic goals and decisions for the charitable organization. Officers are generally the “responsible party” of the entity and oversee all financial compliance and funding while working under the board of directors’ control. Generally, there are no restrictions on foreign ownership of a company formed in the United States. Further,…   + Read More…

How to form a Trust Company in Florida

Simply put, trust companies are businesses that have the legal authority to hold and manage other people’s money for compensation.

Financial Performance Representation AKA Item 19

Item 19 is an item on a Franchise Disclosure Document known as a “Financial Performance Representation.”

Trademark Registration With U.S Customs and Border Protection

With a validly registered trademark with the USPTO, the United States Customs & Border Protection (“CBP”) offers further protections with the ability to record that trademark through them as well.

Private Foundation vs. Public Charity: What’s the Difference?

Both a private and public charity are actually very similar in nature, the only small difference between the two is the manner in which funds are attained by the organization.

Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors

An Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors, commonly referred to as ABC, is an alternative to bankruptcy in which the business turns over its assets to creditors.

Florida Worthless Check Statute

Florida statue §68.065 permits the recipient of a bad check to file a lawsuit to collect on the check.

Can I lose my Homestead Exemption in Florida?

To qualify for the homestead exemption, a person must meet certain requirements and a person may lose their homestead exemption if the requirements of the statute are not met every year.

How do I know if I am Being Misclassified as an Independent Contractor?

If your employer controls how long your lunch is, how many hours a day you have to come into the office, how many sick days or vacations you have, how the work is done, when the work is done, and where the work is done then you are being misclassified as an independent contractor.

Do you have to file Form 5471?

Form 5471, is an informational return that reports activity of foreign corporations in which certain U.S. citizens or residents, who are officers, directors, or shareholders of a certain foreign corporation are required to file. The term “certain” leaves room for interpretation, which is why it is important to consult a tax attorney who understand the different categories of fillers the IRS provides.

What is the 2025 Tax Sunset?

President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA”) into law on December 22, 2017, which brought many changes to the Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”).  The changes made have affected many taxpayers in different ways. 

S-Corporations with Disproportionate Distribution

The general rule is that distributions from S-Corporations to shareholders should be proportional to each shareholder’s ownership interest.

Residential Security Deposit Laws in Florida

Florida statute provides that a landlord is to refund the full amount of the security deposit, minus any findings of property damage or other incidentals, within 15 days after the tenants move out of the residence.

What is the Nice Agreement?

With a total of 45 individual classes, the Nice Agreement establishes international classifications of trademarking goods and services.

Are There Advertising Restrictions for Dental Practices?

The American Dental Association and Florida Statute § 466.019 mandate laws for advertising by dentists.

Can I Self File with the USPTO If I Am a Foreign Applicant?

New trademark laws state that any trademark filer that is domiciled abroad must appoint and be represented before the USPTO by an attorney who is licensed to practice law in the United States.

Can You Trademark a Sound?

An individual may apply to register a sound with the USPTO, but the federal courts have held that the sound must be “so inherently different or distinctive that it attaches to the subliminal mind of the listener, to be awakened when heard, and to be associated with the source or event.”

What is Tax Form 1120?

When an individual or group of individuals decide to incorporate their domestic business, it is then a requirement to annually file IRS Form 1120, the U.S. Corporate Income Tax Return.

Is There Self-Employment Tax for a LLC with Passive Income?

If a LLC member is not personally liable for the LLC’s debts, has no authority to contract for the LLC, or does not participate in the LLC’s business for more than 500 hours per year, their income is considered passive, and therefore, not subject to self-employment tax.

What are the Setbacks Required on my Property?

A Setback is the distance from the Base Building Line (the officially mapped street line) to the point where a building may be constructed. The City of Miami provides setback requirements for property owners in the Miami 21 Zoning Code.

Do I Qualify for a Qualified Business Deduction Under §199A?

The Internal Revenue Code provides business owners an income deduction when reporting their qualified trade or business’ income, also known as a qualified business income.

Should You Use a S-Corporation or a LLC for Rental Properties?

After deciding whether to invest in rental properties, it is important to make an informed decision regarding the kind of business entity your company should become.

Don’t be Fooled by “Attorneys…”

Many states have tried providing education to the public to be careful in who they hire to help with their legal problems.  Additionally, many states, such as Florida, have established programs to protect the public against harm caused by individuals pretending to be attorneys.

What to Know About the British Virgin Island Economic Substance Act

The Act came into effect on January 1, 2019 and was amended on January 30, 2019.  The Act was established based on concerns rising from the EU (European Union) Code of Conduct Group for Business Taxation and OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) guidance around the economic substance of entities in jurisdictions a very low to zero percent corporate tax.

What is a GRAT?

GRAT, short for Grantor Retained Annuity Trust, is a type of irrevocable trust that alleviates the tax cost of passing assets to your beneficiaries.

Dissolving a Delaware Corporation

Corporations lean on Delaware’s favorable business laws when it is time to incorporate their business. However, what happens when you want to dissolve your Delaware corporation?

What You Need to Know About Non-Disclosure Agreements

Breaching an NDA can have serious consequences (e.g., a lawsuit against the person who is revealing the private information).  Normally, the remedies for a breach of an NDA are in the NDA itself.  Therefore, it is important to have a detailed NDA, which includes what is covered by the contract and the repercussions for disclosing such information.

Business Tax Planning Opportunities Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

As with any tax act, there are a number of areas for devious planners to take advantage. Following is a list of strategies you can take to ensure your business benefits from the new business tax landscape.

What’s the Deal with GILTI?

Introduced in 2017 as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, GILTI, or “Global Intangible Low Tax Income,” is an outbound provision that broadens the scope of foreign earnings subject to U.S. taxation with the goal of reducing the incentive to shift corporate profits out of the U.S. into low or zero-tax jurisdictions.[1] Applicable to large multinational companies and to U.S. shareholders of certain foreign corporations, GILTI is fundamentally an anti-deferral provision that limits the amount of foreign income a U.S. shareholder can defer from U.S. tax.

Nonprofit Forms 1023 & Form 1023-EZ

The main difference between Form 1023-EZ and Form 1023 is the information required from the organization and the time for approval. Form 1023 is used by organizations that are bigger and expect to receive more than $50,000 in the following three years. While Form 1023-EZ is three pages, Form 1023 is 26 pages!

How Should you Handle Car Ownership in Estate Planning?

Car ownership should always be considered when thinking of estate planning.  There are different options to how a person should approach dealing with their vehicle and an estate plan.

How to Remove Public Online Information

The list of digital assets you may have online are endless, thus it is important that you either (1) set up a password manager kit, (2) include your digital assets in your estate plan, or (3) check if the website you are using allows you to add a recipient to your account once you pass away. 

What Happens If A W-2 Employee Finds Out The Employer Wasn’t Withholding Employment Taxes?

Employers are responsible for sending the W-2 form to the IRS and to the employee each year, which reports the employee’s annual wages and the amount of taxes withheld from his or her paychecks.

What Happens to a Car Lease After the Car Lessee’s Death?

Often times, payments still need to be made and the payments become the responsibility of the deceased car lessee’s estate. Sometimes car dealerships will negotiate with the personal representative of the deceased’s estate and may be able to transfer the remaining lease to another person.

“AS IS” Clause in a Property Contract & Home Inspection Company

Issue 1: Does an “As Is” Clause in a Contract under Florida law Include Termites? Yes.  An “as is” clause in a contract under Florida law does not waive the duty a seller has to disclose to buyer facts materially affecting the value of the property and are not readily observable to the buyer.  Levy…   + Read More…

Qualified Opportunity Zone Funds

The first Opportunity Zones were designated on April 9, 2018. To date, the Treasury Department has certified more than 8,700 Opportunity Zones spanning 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories qualifying for the aforementioned tax benefits.

Higher Stakes in County Court for Florida Civil Lawsuits: What are the Minimum Amounts of Money you can sue for in Circuit Court in Florida?

The Florida court system has two tiers of trial courts; the circuit courts and county courts. Circuit courts have jurisdiction over trials not assigned by statute to the county courts and hear appeals from county courts. Thus, circuit courts in Florida are both the highest trial courts and the lowest appellate courts. Traditionally, the circuit…   + Read More…

What is a Corporate Monitor in Florida?

Monitors are usually appointed to perform a specific set of duties, and often only have a single-purpose duty. Corporate monitors only supervise rather than manage. Specifically, the Department of Justice has stated that the scope of the monitor ship should be tailored to address the specific issues and concerns that created the need for a monitor.

Is an Executor the same as a Personal Representative?

The personal representative you appoint will be the person in charge of handling your estate once you pass. This individual has vast responsibilities and powers; therefore, your personal representative should be someone that you trust.

How do you Serve Process on Corporations?

Service of process in Florida can be made in person as well as by mail. To serve a corporation in person, the plaintiff should coordinate with the sheriff of the county in which the person to be served on behalf of the corporation is located.

The Ultimate Guide to Financial Securities for 2020 Part 2

Typically, a security that is exempt from registration is restricted in some way. See the first post on Restricted Securities, but keep in mind that some exemptions provide for other restrictions.

Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act

Courts have given some guidance on what constitutes deceptive and unfair trade practices by companies in Florida. A business engages in deceptive practices if the action is likely to mislead the consumer. On the other hand, a business participates in unfair practices if it acts contrary to public policy by behaving unethically or oppressively towards consumers or other businesses.

What Can a Landlord do if a Tenant Leaves Behind Property?

One of the most tension fraught relationships is that of a landlord-tenant. Landlords are subject to a variety of laws including regulation of rent, termination, and eviction. One such law is the Disposition of Personal Property Landlord and Tenant Act, which prescribes rules by which landlords are allowed to dispose of tenant property which remains on the premises after a tenancy is terminated.

What are the Requirements for a Valid Will & what is a Self-Proving Will?

In Florida, for a will to be valid it must be in writing, signed by the party seeking to create the will (the testator), the testator must have the mental competence to sign the will, and it must be signed by two witnesses to the execution of the will.

What is a Tax Clearance Letter & what is the Purpose?

A potential buyer should obtain a businesses’ tax clearance letter. If a buyer fails to conduct its due diligence on the tax side of the business, he or she could be on the hook for any taxes owed by the seller.

What are the Consequences of not Having a Will?

What happens if you do not have a will or your will is not valid? In these cases, the state declares the individual to have died “intestate,” and your property follows a chain of succession to determine the owner.

The Ultimate Guide to Financial Securities for 2020 Part 1

In finance, a security is a negotiable financial instrument that holds some type of monetary value. A security can represent a number of positions. Typically, securities represent ownership in a publicly-traded corporation, known as equity securities, or represent a creditor-debtor relationship, known as debt securities.

Probate Assets vs. Non-Probate Assets

Probate is the process after a person passes or becomes disabled; their assets are put on hold until the will is validated, any remaining debt is paid off, and the beneficiaries of the will are identified.  Probate can be a long and stressful process, especially after such a difficult time.  Non-probate assets avoid this long, costly process and pass directly to a decedent’s heirs.

What is a Florida Construction Lien? What are the Preliminary Concerns?

Most contractors, subcontractors, laborers, material-men, or professionals hired to improve, or make improvements to, a property which cost more than $2,500 can file a construction lien.

Can My Boss Fire Me for No Reason?

If you live in an at-will state, you can be fired for no reason at all.  However, if you are wrongfully terminated, you may be able to sue.

Do You Need a Trademark to Sell Your Product on Amazon?

While Amazon offers a variety of ways to sell on its website, one of the most popular and advantageous to sellers is the Amazon Brand Registry.

Who Can Report You to the Credit Bureaus?

Credit report files contain information about a person’s financial debt, including account numbers for current and past debts, loan types and terms and payment history.  When a person defaults on loan payments, the creditor may decide to send a report of the late payment(s) to the credit bureaus so that it will be reflected in the customer’s credit file.

Is My Cryptocurrency Protected?

There’s a number of ways an individual can protect their cryptocurrency, however, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will always be safe. The arising issue with digital exchange is the fact that it can be a popular target for hackers.

What is Defamation?

Defamation is a false statement about a person, portrayed as a fact, that is intended to harm the person’s reputation. All the elements of defamation must be present, meaning that mere gossip may not always be considered defamation.

Discrimination in the Workplace

Federal law recognizes certain characteristics of individuals as immutable and therefore, protected against discrimination. Identical to federal statute, Florida law forbids workplace discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

What you Should Know About CBD Infused Products

In Florida, Governor Ron De Santis signed legislation that legalizes state-licensed hemp farming and sales in Florida. On the other hand, the federal government still considers CBD to be in the same class as marijuana.

Is it Legal to Record Employees without their Knowledge in Florida?

Do you expect to have a camera watching you while you work? In Florida, for the most part, employers are allowed to record their employees. However, certain exceptions apply.

Can my Employer Force me to show them my Social Media Account?

It seems rather absurd that any employer would dive into their employee’s privacy rights in such a way, nevertheless, what they are doing is completely legal (in about half of the United States).  

How can Foreigners Start a Business in the United States?

Starting a new business in the US can be intimidating, especially for those that are not US residents.  However, starting a business in the US is not as complicated as you may think.  In any case though, it is best to contact a business attorney to ensure everything goes smoothly and there are no future…   + Read More…

What Is “Residential Constructive Eviction” In Florida?

In Florida, a residential tenant has a right to enjoy rented property peaceably and quietly. In the event of a constructive eviction, a tenant may terminate their lease with a landlord.

Creating a Trust for your IRA

IRAs allow you to save for retirement with tax-free growth on a tax-free basis.  You can also establish different sub-trusts within the IRA trust for the benefit of your beneficiaries, including your spouse. You can design each sub-trust to fit the unique needs of each beneficiary.

What are the Florida Bar Rules on Attorney Referral Fees?

Referral fees from attorney to attorney may be allowed when an attorney passes a case or a client to another attorney. The Florida Rules of Professional Responsibility do not authorize a lawyer to give anything of value to a non-lawyer in return for recommending that attorney’s legal services.

Everything You Should Know About Maryland Security Deposits

There are general landlord/tenant rules that can be modified differently in each state.  Below is what you need to know about the laws in Maryland. 

Severing Joint Tenancies Between Non-Married Partners in Washington D.C.

A joint tenancy cannot exist unless there is a present unity of interest, title, time and possession; that is to say, the interests must be identical, they must accrue by the same conveyance, they must commence at the same time and the estate must be held by the same undivided possession.

Why Should I Federally Register My Trademark?

A Federal trademark registration will greatly enhance your rights. U.S. trademark rights are created through the use of your mark in commerce, however these use-based rights are just common law rights and only apply to a specific geographic area.

How to Choose the Best Location for Your Subsidiary

Business owners want to choose a location that will provide the most economic benefits to the company. To accomplish this goal, it is critical to gather information and research the demographics and economic characteristics of the cities you’re interested in.

What is Florida’s Uniform Trade Secrets Act?

Florida, among 48 states, has adopted its version of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act known as FUTSA. The purpose of the Act is to ultimately protect one’s intellectual property, ideas and certain types of confidential information.

What are the Penalties for Hiring an Unlicensed Contractor?

Sometimes people opt into hiring unlicensed contractors, which is a very bad idea.  Unlicensed contractors may lead a person to pay penalties and possibly even jail time.

What Happens if you Hire an Unlicensed Contractor?

Conducting business as an unlicensed contractor is a crime in Florida. Therefore, as a homeowner you have special civil remedies in regard to the harm that you have endured by hiring an unlicensed contractor.

Discrimination in the Workplace

Identical to federal statute, Florida law forbids workplace discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Moreover, other types of discrimination that are not particularly immutable, for example, pregnancy, disability, or marital status are also protected classes under both federal and state law.

Can United States Companies Export Goods to Venezuela?

For the most part U.S. companies should be okay when exporting to Venezuela, but there are a few executive orders to be aware of prior to engaging in exportation.

How to Avoid Probate

Preparing for what happens after one’s passing can be difficult.  Most people do not like thinking of the reality that they are not going to be around one day.  However, proper preparation allows you to have a say even after you pass. 

What Are the Most Famous Franchises?

When you think of popular franchises you most likely think of fast food restaurants. Some of the most profitable and longest standing franchises in the United States are fast food restaurants such as McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s, Taco Bell and KFC.

What to Consider When Hiring

Do you hire someone as an employee or as a contractor?  What is the difference between an employee and an independent contractor?  How do you know if someone is legally able to work in the United States?

What is the Difference Between Franchise Agreements and Franchise Disclosure Documents?

Joining the world of franchising can be a little overwhelming at first. First, you should know the difference between the Franchise Agreement (“FA”) and the Franchise Disclosure Documents (“FDD”).

Don’t Be Fooled – Your Accountant Can’t Create Companies

If your accountant or other consultant offers to perform any of these services, that is the unlicensed practice of law. You should seek the assistance of an attorney for such services.

When is there Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice can happen in all types of medicine and at any moment during treatment.  Medical malpractice occurs when a patient is harmed by a doctor’s or other health care provider’s actions or negligence.

The IRS is looking to Use Social Media to Investigate Tax Fraud

Online sellers are notoriously known by the IRS as tax cheats. The IRS estimates that businesses across the United States pay $125 billion less in taxes each year than they actually owe. The IRS is on a mission to reduce that number.

What Businesses Need to Know when Working with Influencers

An influencer is a person that is influential in the social media realm. Influencers are usually found on Instagram with over thousands of followers. However, not all influencers are the same.

What is Workers Compensation Insurance?

If an employer operates their business without purchasing workers compensation even though they are required by Florida Law, then there is a high probability that a penalty will be issued. In order to avoid the penalty, any Florida business operating with four or more employees must purchase workers’ compensation insurance, which in Florida will cost your business about $1.32 per $100 wages.

What is a Prenup?

A prenuptial agreement (or a prenup) is an agreement signed before marriage that outlines what happens to each spouse’s financial assets in the event of divorce or death. This protects each spouse’s personal assets that they have inherited from family members, assets they have obtained before marriage, or income they have generated before marriage.

Copyright Trolls

These are parties that have no interest in using or selling the photos, or other works, they own copyrights for. They may be photographers who own pictures or website who have licensing from photographers. They then purposefully make their pictures readily available online, like on Google.

Online Trade Dress Infringement

Trade dress infringement claims are no longer solely about whether a producer is infringing upon the other because of the packaging or design of a product. Now trade dress infringement also encompasses whether an online user is infringing upon another user’s YouTube channel or blog by copying the name or the content.

Damages Under Lanham Act

The Act permits the injured party to recover (1) any profits the defendant made off the use of the trademark, (2) any damages sustained by rightful owner of the trademark through the unlawful use by the defendant, and (3) the costs of the court action. If the trademark infringement is particularly shocking or offensive, then the court can award the injured party three times the actual amount of damages.

Piercing the Corporate Veil: When Can the Owners Be Liable?

Piercing the veil means the court disregards the limited liability protection and the person suing the company can go after the owners personally.

Trade Dress Infringement

Trade dress infringement occurs when one product’s design or packaging copies that of another product to the degree that there is confusion in the minds of consumers.

Can a Shareholder or Member Transfer Shares?

One of the biggest strengths of the corporate form is its provision of limited personal liability to owners.

What Happens to a Car When the Owner Dies?

There are two ways that the ownership can be transferred, and the court can ultimately determine the legal owner of the vehicle.

Is Remote Electronic Notarization Legal in Florida?

Florida is one step closer to making online notarization legal in the state thanks to the recent approval of House Bill 409 by the Florida House of Representatives and Florida Senate.

Do you have a pet that you consider as a family member?

Providing for all members of your family is of the utmost importance– including your furry, four-legged friends.

Perfecting the Security Interest

A secured party should perfect their security interest, after attachment, in order to fully ensure its legal rights against a third party claiming that they have an interest in the same collateral. By perfecting a security interest, a secured party gains priority over subsequent creditors claiming the same collateral.

What is a Security Interest?

A security interest occurs when a debtor, which can be a person or business, borrows money from a creditor or more specifically a secured party and they agree to execute a security agreement. In the event the debtor defaults by not paying back the loan or by violating a provision in the agreement, the secured party can seize the collateral and may sell it to satisfy the debt.

Why is an LLC Important?

Today, many businesses are forming as a Limited Liability Company (LLC) and are finding that an LLC offers the “best of both worlds” of corporate forms.

What is an Independent Contractor?

Businesses can choose to hire a person as an independent contractor or as an employee. Some employers rather hire independent contractors because of the reduced costs in payroll and taxes. However, an employer must be certain that the worker that is classifying as an independent contractor is truly an independent contractor.

Are You Ready to Retire?

Are you on the right path to retirement? A retirement plan is not something to take lightly or put off to a later date.

Foreign Reporting for US Taxpayers 101

While it is not illegal to earn income abroad or to hold an offshore account, failure to disclose income to the Internal Revenue Service is illegal.

What is “The Uniform Transfer on Death Security Registration Act”?

Beneficiary designations on your financial accounts can provide a quick alternative to traditional estate planning strategies by making sure your accounts are not subject to probate, thus preserving your wealth and preventing unnecessary court expenses and proceedings.

The Different kinds of Tax Penalties

Missed a tax payment? Here are the consequences.

Are Employees Legally Obligated to Take a Lunch Break?

Lunch Breaks: Are you in Compliance with Federal and State Law?

Are you Liable for the Documentary Stamp Tax?

Who Pays the Documentary Stamp Tax? In Florida, people who transfer real estate in exchange for value must pay a transfer fee, called a “documentary stamp tax,” on the documents used. The Florida documentary stamp tax has broad applicability, applying to deeds, instruments, or writings whereby lands, tenements, real property, or interests therein are granted…   + Read More…

What is an Accidental Franchise?

Failure to follow the formalities required under state law and by the FTC might unintentionally create a franchise agreement.

So You Want to SELL a Franchise?

While the sales process time consuming and varies significantly from franchise to franchise, you should generally consider the following steps when selling your franchise.

So You Want to BUY a Franchise?

Buying a franchise offers are variety of benefits, such as instant name recognition and a customer pool that is already familiar with and attracted to your products or services.

Will you lose your Homestead if you go to Jail?

Florida provides homeowners who make their Florida home their principal place of residence with a tax exemption. This exemption is called the Homestead Exemption and has different benefits. The exemption allows homeowners to exempt $25,000 (or $50,000 for married couples) from the taxable value of their home.

What is a Promissory note?

We’ve all heard the old story of two friends sitting at a bar and one agrees to loan the other money. They write out an agreement on a napkin for the loan and believe it or not, if the writing on the napkin includes the required terms, it can be a binding promissory note and enforceable in court.

So You Want to START a Franchise?

If you own a successful business that is unique to you and are interested in expanding, franchising could be a great way to do just that.

What are some of the Benefits of Having a Shell Company?

A shell company can be created when shareholders of a private company purchase control of the public shell company and then merge it with the private company. The publicly traded corporation is called a “shell” since all that exists of the original company is its organizational structure. The private company shareholders receive a substantial majority of the shares of the public company and control of its board of directors.

What are the new procedures after the “OVDP” was terminated?

On September 28, 2018, the IRS officially terminated the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (“OVDP”). The OVDP has been in existence since 2009, which is a form of the tax amnesty program. It allowed U.S. taxpayers with unreported foreign accounts to avoid criminal charges and pay reduced civil penalties by making a voluntary disclosure to the…   + Read More…

Do I Need a Trust Amendment or a Trust Restatement?

We recommend you review your estate planning documents, including your revocable trust at least once a year, especially if you have had a significant life change, such as: Marriage Divorce Birth or adoption of a child Death of a beneficiary Acquiring new property that you want to add to the trust Moving to another state…   + Read More…

What is the Florida Construction Industry Recovery Fund?

Where has all my money gone? If you have ever found yourself asking this question when working with a contractor or construction company, and the project seems to always be going over budget, then you may be entitled to recover from the Florida Construction Industry Recovery Fund. However, there are a few qualifications you must meet before recovering.

¿Cuáles son los riesgos de responsabilidad civil para los funcionarios corporativos al disolver una Corporación FL?

Si usted es un director o funcionario de una corporación que se encuentra en proceso de disolución, debería evaluar si pudiese ser responsable personalmente por obligaciones y deudas de la corporación. Si no se siguen los trámites corporativos y la corporación procede con las distribuciones a los accionistas antes de satisfacer las deudas corporativas pendientes,…   + Read More…

What are the Liability Risks for Corporate Officers when Dissolving a FL Corporation?

If you are the director or a corporate officer of a corporation in the process of dissolution you might want to evaluate whether you will be personally held liable. If corporate formalities are not followed and the corporation proceeds with distributions to the shareholders before satisfying outstanding corporate debts, the directors might be held personally liable.

Should an Independent Contractor Incorporate as an LLC or S-Corporation?

Generally, independent contractors, also known as 1099 workers, are considered self-employed and a sole-proprietorship. As such you will be required to pay self-employment taxes. As an independent contractor, you can be sued for your actions or inactions in performing your work.

What are Restrictive Covenants in Employment?

Restrictive covenants (RC), generally, are clauses in a contract that restrict a person’s actions. They can apply to property, in which case the clause could restrict the use of land. However, for the purposes of this blog, we will discuss RCs in employment.

How Important is an Attorney’s fee Clause?

When writing a contract people usually think that putting in the basics about what they are agreeing to and some standard legal language will cover everything with the agreement. However, most people don’t like to think of the possibility that something may go wrong with their contract and may end up having to take that document to court to enforce either the completion of what was set forth within the contract or whatever remedy was set forth for breaching said contract.

Does my website need to be ADA compliant?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) enacted in 1990, prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. Specifically, Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in a place of public accommodation, including movie theaters, schools, restaurants, and office buildings. All public places and privately-owned commercial facilities must comply with ADA standards….   + Read More…

How does Chinese Overtime work?

The Fair Labor and Standards Act (FLSA) provides that employees paid on an hourly basis must be compensated at the rate of one and one-half their regular wage for each hour over 40 worked in a week. It’s fairly simple, if you are paid $10 an hour and you work 50 hours in one week, those extra 10 hours must be paid at a rate of $15 per hour.

An Overview of Qualified Business Income (QBI) Deductions: Part Three; Taxpayers Between the Taxable Income Thresholds

The first and second post of this series on QBI deductions analyzed the purpose of the deduction and how it applies specifically to taxpayers below the lower threshold or above the higher threshold. This post addresses taxpayers that fall between the two thresholds.

An Overview of Qualified Business Income (QBI) Deductions: Part Two; Taxpayers Above the Higher Taxable Income Threshold

The first post in this series on QBI deductions examined the purpose of the deduction, who can claim it, and how to calculate QBI deductions for taxpayers in a lower threshold. This post specifically addresses taxpayers with a taxable income above the higher threshold of $207,500, for individuals, or $415,000, for joint filers.

An Overview of Qualified Business Income (QBI) Deductions; Part One

A new and important provision in the Tax Cut and Jobs Act (TCJA), enacted in December of 2017, is Section 199A, which allows deductions for qualified business income (QBI). This post is part one of a three-part series and addresses what QBI is, who may claim QBI deductions, how they may claim such deductions, and how to calculate the deduction for taxpayers below the lower threshold.

What are the Deductions for the new Tax Act?

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in 2017, and effective in 2018, provides businesses with a reduced tax rate, but also significantly alters the tax deductions businesses can claim. Some major categories of tax deductions that have been adjusted are meals, entertainment, and travel for either employees or clients

What is Slander of Credit?

The saying used to go, “A man’s only as good as his word.” However, these days, according to banks and other lenders, A man is only as good as his credit. Whether it is applying for a home loan, car loan, personal loan, credit card, or even getting approved to rent an apartment. Your credit…   + Read More…

What is Corporate Social Responsibility?

Corporate Social Responsibility is a private business self-regulating model that helps a company to be accountable to itself, its stakeholders, and to the public. In essence, when a company adopts CSR policies and practices, its planning and decision-making reflect the potential impact of its corporate actions on various stakeholders and constituencies.

If I use old Patent Drawings as art, does it Violate Copyright or Patent law?

Patents are a government-issued license that gives an inventor the exclusive ability, for a period of time, to make, use, or sell an invention of their creation.

How many DBA’s can a FL company have?

We’ll keep it short and simple this time. Every state has different regulations on DBA’s. For all intents and purposes, we’re just focusing on Florida for this blog. Florida state law requires a limited liability company (LLC) to operate under the legal name contained in their Articles of Organization. However, the legal name may not…   + Read More…

How Tax Lien works

When a person fails or neglects to pay income taxes owed, the likely consequences involve the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) placing a federal tax lien on the individual’s property. A federal tax lien is a claim that the United States government makes on the individual’s property where the government’s interest in the person’s property is…   + Read More…

When a fashion model is hired to do pictures, who owns the photographs?

If you are reading this blog, you are probably facing copyright issues as either a model who feels that their copyrights were infringed by a photographer who hired you or a photographer who feels that a model is using your work with other photographers, infringing on your copyright. Under federal copyright law, the author of…   + Read More…

Do I have to pay Property Taxes as a Foreigner Investor?

All foreign investors owning U.S real property are responsible for paying taxes on any and all rental income they earn in the United States from that property. As a general rule, a non-US person who rents out his or her U.S. property is subject to a 30% withholding tax imposed on the gross amount of each rental payment.

EPGD Law Shining Start: Igor Hernandez, Esq.

Ladies and gentlemen, we’re back with another NEWSIES™ Shining Star Highlight! Recently, we had the pleasure of interviewing a fellow attorney in the community, Igor Hernandez, Esq. of CORNISH HERNANDEZ GONZALEZ, PLLC. Let’s start off with a little bit about his background before jumping into the fun interview questions. About Igor; “I’m a native of…   + Read More…

What type of social media posts are admissible in court?

As in with all pieces of evidence, we must ask the same question when it comes to Social Media Posts. Shall we let it in? However, unlike a contract or a scribble on a sheet of paper, social media posts pose a different, yet similar hurdle to clear to admissibility. As would be the case…   + Read More…

How do I Claim the Florida Homestead Exemption?

Florida law allows homeowners who use their Florida home as their residence to claim a homestead exemption. The Florida Constitution provides a tax-saving exemption by reducing the taxable value of real property by up to $25,000, and $50,000 for a married couple. Florida

Can you Claim Trademark Infringement on Google Adwords?

Google allows businesses to purchase advertising space, causing your advertising material and website link to appear more prominently as a result of a search for a particular keyword. However, companies that have a trademark on certain words may have a case for trademark infringement for these types of actions.

What is Trademark Infringement?

Trademark infringement is the unauthorized use of another trademark or service mark (or a substantially similar mark) on competing or related goods and services. Trademark law protects a trademark owner’s exclusive rights to use a trademark when use of the mark by another would be likely to cause consumer confusion as to the source or origin of goods.

Can Facebook Live videos be considered as evidence?

In an age where social media laws are changing as fast as the platforms themselves, always use caution and consideration when uploading videos. The internet is forever.

How do I Write off “Bad Debt”?

There are two types of bad-debts: business and non-business. A business bad debt expense arises from operating your trade or business, so it is pretty simple to spot. These deductions are deducted on Schedule C of an individual income tax return or on the applicable business income tax return.

What are the most Common Types of Foreclosure?

A foreclosure is the legal process in which the lender attempts to recover the balance of a loan by forcing the sale of the property used as collateral for the loan. Foreclosure occurs when the homeowner is unable to make mortgage payments to the lender. A homeowner has a few options to avoid foreclosure.

EPGD Law Shining Star: Raquel Hickey

If you’ve been to any #CoralGablesChamber event, it’s likely that you’ve had a conversation with our #EPGDShiningStar, Raquel Hickey, publisher of Gables Living! As a friend of the firm, we reached out and asked her some questions so that our audience could get to know her on a more personal level. But first, about her…   + Read More…

Can a parent be liable for their adult child?

The question of liability for the actions of a third party has been litigated on several occasions in the state of Florida. Specifically, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled on the liability for parents on the actions of an adult child. The court found, “there is no duty to control the conduct of a…   + Read More…

What is an I-9?

Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) requires all employers to complete a Form I-9 to verify the identity and work authorization of every employee hired, regardless of citizenship. It is the employer’s duty to verify employment authorization. Form I-9 must be completed within three days of the first day of employment. This means…   + Read More…

The 2014 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program is Ending

Unreported foreign accounts or income could trigger huge penalties and criminal liability in the U.S. The IRS has fined taxpayers for unreported offshore assets as much as 300% of the accounts the IRS discovered. So, if you’re hiding $1 million in the Cayman Islands, and the IRS catches you, the penalty could be as much…   + Read More…

Can Lawyers Share a Life Insurance Fee in FL?

When a client purchases a life insurance policy, there is usually a fee attached to it, that is charged by the insurance advisor. The fee is charged in exchange for the advice given in terms of an opinion on the fairness of the premium paid by the policy, the adequacy of the insurance used for…   + Read More…

An Introduction to Small Claims Court

Litigation is not always complex issues with big payouts for the winning party. There are civil actions where the issue does not exceed $5,000 (exclusive of costs, interest, and attorney’s fees), known as Small Claims Court. The most common types of cases in small claims courts are: Personal Injury Cases Breach of Contract Cases Open…   + Read More…

What are the civil and criminal penalties for violating Florida Notary Law?

What does it mean to be a Notary Public in the United States? A Notary Public (“notary”) is a state government official of integrity appointed by a top official of their state, to serve the public as a witness in performing a variety of official fraud-deterrent acts related to the signing of important documents. Notaries…   + Read More…

What can you do when your foreclosure is set for sale?

What is a Foreclosure? A bank will usually foreclose on your house after you have failed to make four successive payments. The bank will send you a notice of default which is an indicator that they are intending on beginning foreclosure proceedings. These proceedings can usually take anywhere between six months up to a year….   + Read More…

I received a foreclosure summons, what do I do?

You’ve received a foreclosure complaint. Before you have a panic attack and believe you are going to lose your house, call an attorney. It is important to seek legal counsel and learn your rights because this may be complicated and stressful. To help relieve some of that stress, we will go into detail about the…   + Read More…

EPGD Law Shining Star: Valeria Hinojosa

We have an amazing special guest for this Shining Star spotlight interview. We got the chance to interview a good friend of the firm, Valeria Hinojosa, Conscious Founder and influencer of WaterThruSkin & WTS Connect! Here is what you need to know about Valeria: Vegan. Yogi. Social entrepreneur. Risk-taker. She worked in the Private Banking…   + Read More…

How Long Does Probate Take?

The short answer is: “It depends.” This is the first question we are asked whenever we are dealing with a probate administration matter, and it is usually the most difficult to answer because there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration: 1. Does the estate have to pay taxes? If the estate…   + Read More…

What are the ancillary probate proceedings?

In Florida, it is very common for individuals to own second homes in other counties, or to have nonresidents own investment properties or vacation homes. Unfortunately, we often see situations where these nonresidents pass away without a proper estate plan that takes into consideration these properties, so when that nonresident dies, an ancillary probate proceeding…   + Read More…

What are the social security survivor benefits?

Losing a loved one can be devastating for any family, but even more so when you lose a spouse. Even more difficult is how the loss of your spouse can affect you financially. By applying for survivor benefits through the Social Security Administration, you can receive benefits based on the credits your deceased spouse earned…   + Read More…

How does the FL Elective Share work?

Under Florida law, you cannot intentionally disinherit your spouse unless your spouse agrees to receive nothing from your estate in a Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement. In Florida, a surviving spouse, whether or not they were mentioned in their deceased spouse’s will, has the option to receive a portion of their deceased spouse’s estate called the…   + Read More…

What is a Totten Trust?

A Totten Trust is a type of estate planning mechanism more commonly known as a “Payable-on-Death” (POD) account or an “In Trust For” account. The name “Totten” comes from a 1904 New York case, which was the first court ruling that allowed setting up a bank account in trust for a beneficiary. With a Totten…   + Read More…

EPGD Law Shining Star: Spencer Lyon

Miami has been developing as an entrepreneurial mecca for quite a few years now. With each uprise of movement, there are people behind it that are substantial contributors. One such contributor is our friend, Spencer Lyon. His entrepreneurial spirit is contagious and trust us when we say, encouraging. Spencer is a person that likes to…   + Read More…

What is an Intentionally Defective Grantor Trust?

What is an Intentionally Defective Grantor Trust? An “Intentionally Defective Grantor Trust” (IDGT) is a tool used for strategic estate planning and income tax purposes. Generally, the grantor funds the trust with appreciated or highly liquid property. Often times, the IDGT beneficiaries are the grantor’s spouse, children, or grandchildren. An IDGT is considered a grantor…   + Read More…

Financial Fad: Cryptocurrency; Issues with ICO’s and FL Causes of Action

In the wake of the 2017 cryptocurrency “fever,” the wall street journal shines light on the potential problems to come with cryptocurrency and fraudulent initial coin offerings (ICOs). An ICO is a platform for investors to buy and sell digital assets, such as tokens or coins. During an ICO companies use coin offerings to raise…   + Read More…

An insight on Jeremy Alters’ Bar Suspension

The Florida Supreme Court issues a SUA Sponte suspension of Jeremy Alters. A sua sponte suspension means the judges ordered the indefinite suspension on their own will. Neither of the parties or the lower court requested a bar suspension. Jeremy Alters went from a prominent attorney who won the largest attorney fee award in South…   + Read More…

Estate Planning with Property Outside the United States

How Do You Plan Your Estate If You Have Property Located Outside the U.S.? A common concern for U.S. citizens who own real property in a country outside the U.S. is, “How do I plan my estate when I have real property located outside the U.S.?” If this concern is not well planned, there may…   + Read More…

Substantial Presence Test

If you are a snowbird or a person that likes to spend a considerable amount of time in the U.S. (often to escape the winters in your country), you should be aware that you might be liable for U.S. income tax. A person is considered a United States resident for tax purposes if she meets…   + Read More…

Short & Simple: How to obtain an ITIN

An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is a tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS issues ITINs to individuals who are required to have a U.S. taxpayer identification number but who do not have, and are not eligible to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN) from the Social Security Administration (SSA)….   + Read More…

Trust Fund Recovery Penalty and the IRS

If you are reading this article, it is likely because you or someone you know received a letter from the IRS. The letter is probably several pages long, gives the name of a revenue agent to contact, and indicates that the IRS is seeking to assess the Trust Fund Recovery Penalty (TFRP) against you under…   + Read More…

EPGD Law Shining Star: Daniel Cooley

Keeping the theme meeting new people, we are excited to introduce you all (and yes, we mean all of our dear friends from Coral Gables too!) to a new friend of the firm, Daniel Cooley of Cooley Creative Media! About Dan: Dant is a digial marketing consultant, and obsessive content consumer and creator from Monmouth…   + Read More…

U.S. Tax considerations for Foreign Non-Residents.

1. Resident Alien of the U.S. for Tax Purposes Under the Internal Revenue Code, an individual is a resident alien of the U.S. for tax purposes if they meet either the green card test or the substantial presence test for the calendar year (January 1 – December 31). To meet the substantial presence test, an…   + Read More…

OVDP is ending, now what?

The Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program or, OVDP, essentially is designed to allow taxpayers to come clean with the certainty that they will not face criminal prosecution for not previously disclosing their overseas accounts. Taxpayers have the added benefit of receiving a fixed penalty structure for settlement of past non-compliance. In exchange for their voluntary compliance…   + Read More…

EPGD Law Shining Star: Alexandre Cormont

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a very special interview for our Newsie™ that we’re more than happy to share with you. We’ve decided to reach out to our dear friend, and love coach, Alexandre Cormont. Here’s a little about Alexandre! Originally from Paris, Alexandre moved to Miami in 2015. He began his career as a…   + Read More…

EPGD Law Shining Star: Diane P. Perez, Esq.

In case you didn’t realize, we’re still in celebration of International Women’s Month. With that, we reached out to another influential #womanofpower, Diane P. Perez, Esq. Diane P. Perez is a Florida Board Certified Labor and Employment Law attorney. Diane is the owner of Diane Perez, PA. She practices exclusively in the area of labor…   + Read More…

Charitable Giving During The Application Process

Can your contributions to a charity that has its IRS application pending be still tax exempt? The answer is that it depends on the final outcome and determination of the IRS. While an IRS application is pending for the charitable organization to receive its final tax exemption status, the organization can still treat itself and…   + Read More…

Does My Company Need a Document Retention Policy? What is a Document Retention Policy Anyways?

What Is a Document Retention Policy? A document retention policy is a company policy, which establishes the customary practice and guidelines regarding the retention and maintenance of company records, and sets forth a schedule for the destruction of certain documents received or created during the course of business. Both state and federal laws require each…   + Read More…

How to : Authentication of Evidence and Social Media

Social media has a big influence in our lives in today’s age. Social Media is defined by Merriam-Webster as forms of electronic communication (such as websites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content. There are various social media platforms such as Facebook,…   + Read More…

Mistakes to Avoid when Transferring a Florida Homestead

When setting up an estate plan, it is common for Floridians to have a revocable living trust in which to transfer their Florida homestead.  Unbeknownst to many, there may be negative consequences to this transfer, but there are things that can be done to avoid such issues: Transferring the homestead into the trust should not…   + Read More…

EPGD Law Shining Star: Elizabeth M. Fernandez, Esq.

In case you don’t know, this month, we celebrate women. The heroines, mentors, professionals, and mothers. We celebrate the work that has been put in to overcome various obstacles and the women who have lead these movements. On that note, we decided to showcase one of our exceptional female attorneys, Elizabeth M. Fernandez, Esq. Elizabeth…   + Read More…

What is FBAR?

The Bank Secrecy Act rules require taxpayers with financial accounts outside of the United States which total more than $10,000 in the aggregate to file an annual report – called the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts or “FBAR” – with the IRS.

Did you know there are “Whistle Blower Awards”?

WHAT IS AN IRS TAX “WHISTLEBLOWER”? A “whistleblower” is someone who reports misconduct by an employer, co-worker, or another party. For decades, whistleblowers have assisted the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) in identifying and prosecuting tax law violations. In 2006, under the Tax Relief and Health Care Act, the IRS Whistleblower Office (“WO”) was created to…   + Read More…

What is the 1031 “Like-Kind” Exchange and what has updated?

What is a 1031 “Like-Kind” Exchange Under the Prior Code? A 1031 exchange, also known as a “like-kind exchange,” allows an investor to “defer” paying capital gains taxes on an investment property when it is sold, as long another property of “like-kind” is purchased with the profit from by the sale of the first property….   + Read More…

The 2018 Federal Tax Filing Due Dates

Important dates to keep in mind for this tax season! Deadline Type: Partnership (Form 1065) and S-Corporations (Form 1120S) – March 15, 2018 C-Corporations (Form 1120) and Individuals (Form 1040) – April 17, 2018 Exempt Organizations, Nonprofits and Charities (Form 990) – May 15, 2018 Trusts and Estates (Form 1041) – April 17, 2018 Foreign Bank Account Reporting (FBAR…   + Read More…

What Must a U.S. Citizen Do Upon Receiving a Large Cash Gift from a Foreign Non-Resident?

As a general rule, foreign gifts of money or property received by a U.S. citizen from a foreign non-resident will be treated as a gift for IRS tax purposes. Reporting Requirements IRS gift taxes only applies to the individual making the gift, not the person receiving the gift. Typically, foreign non-residents are not liable for…   + Read More…

EPGD Shining Star: Dr. Michael Forman, DOM

We’d like to think that we have friends in many different careers that offer new knowledge to our readers. With that in mind, we’ve decided to feature Dr. Forman of Michael Forman, DOM, P.A. Total Health Restoration. About: Dr. Michael Forman received his doctorate degree from the Atlantic Institute of Oriental Medicine with a specialization…   + Read More…

Single-Member LLCs and the New Form 5472 Rules

A Single-Member Limited Liability Company (“SMLLC”) is a Limited Liability Company (“LLC”) which only has one owner and is not classified as a corporation. A SMLLC is also known as a disregarded entity, because it is generally disregarded as separate from its owner. Disregarded entities do not have Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) U.S. tax filing…   + Read More…

Are independent contractors subject to non-compete agreements?

Are independent contractors subject to non-compete agreements? Generally, no. However, in Florida, which is considered to be the most employer friendly state in the country when it comes to non-compete agreements, independent contractors are subject to covenants not to compete just like employees are. Employers interested in entering into a non-compete agreement with an independent…   + Read More…

How to look up your Florida company status on Sunbiz.org.

As corporate attorneys, we hear all kinds of questions regarding LLC’s, Corporations, and other types of entities. A frequent question we get comes from other members of said company, asking for basic publicly available information. Further, whenever doing business with a company in Florida, you should verify that they are registered on Sunbiz. This post…   + Read More…

2018 Florida Corporate Renewal Brief

If you’re the proud owner of an LLC, Corporation, or anything under those categories then you’ll want to look at our Corporate Renewal Brief below. For starters, the due date for corporate renewals is May 1st, 2018. The State of Florida requires that your company update the following: Directors / Managers Addresses Registered Agent(s) After…   + Read More…

EPGD Law Shining Star: Phil Stevenson, CRMP

As we continue the new year with yet, even more, fun interviews, #EPGDLaw is happy to interview our dear friend Phil Stevenson of PS Financial Services. A little about Phil: Phil is 1 of approx 160 Certified Reverse Mortgage Professionals (CRMP) in the United States, and currently sits on the Ethics Committee of the National Reverse Mortgage…   + Read More…

EPGD Law Guide to the New 2018 Tax Reform

If you’re a business owner, you’re probably under some sort of tax category when you first registered your business. Well, did you know there is a new tax reform in the works that could possibly change all that? The new tax reform, which is expected to be signed into law by President Trump, comes with…   + Read More…

EPGD Law Shining Star: Mark Trowbridge

With a warm heart and a big smile, we welcome Mark Trowbridge, President and CEO of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, to our Newsies™! About Mark: Mark Trowbridge serves as the President and CEO of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, a position he has held since 2006. He is the longest-tenured Chamber president…   + Read More…

Tax Law Changes Affecting Partnerships and LLCs starting January 1, 2018

The 2015 Bipartisan Budget Act (the “BBA”), which was signed into law on November 2, 2015, modified certain audit and tax election rules for entities taxed as partnerships (including most LLCs). The IRS has now issued proposed regulations that will take effect on January 1, 2018, which will have implications that necessitate review and action….   + Read More…

The Benefits of having a Buy-Sell Agreement

A buy sell agreement, also known as a buyout agreement, protects business owners when a co-owner wants to leave the company, and protects the owner who’s leaving. It protects everyone’s interests in cases where a co-owner wants out of the business, to retire, to sell his shares to someone else, goes through a divorce, or…   + Read More…

Non-Compete Agreements and Restrictive Covenants

Florida is known as the most employer friendly state in the country when it comes to Non- Compete Agreements. Florida restrictive-covenant statute, Fla. Stat. 542.335, favors an employer enforcing a non-compete agreement over a former employee. The statute has a rebuttable presumption that a violation of an enforceable restrictive covenant creates irreparable injury. This statute…   + Read More…

Tax Law Changes Affecting Partnerships and LLCs starting in 2018

The 2015 Bipartisan Budget Act (the “BBA”), which was signed into law on November 2, 2015, modified certain audit and tax election rules for entities taxed as partnerships (including most LLCs). The IRS has now issued proposed regulations that will take effect on January 1, 2018, which will have implications that necessitate review and action….   + Read More…

Non-Compete Agreements and Independent Contractors

According to FL Statute 542.335(1)(d)(1), non-compete agreements are enforceable against an independent contractor just like an employee. However, the agreement signed may not be legally enforceable for other reasons. Non compete agreements must serve to protect an employer’s “legitimate business interest.”Florida law sets out a non-exclusive list which includes: trade secrets, confidential business or professional…   + Read More…

EPGD Law Shining Star: Rosella Papale

Its time for another Newsies™ spotlight interview. We’re proud to showcase our good friend Rosella Papale of Fast Signs Coral Gables. Before we begin with the questions, here is a short bio so our readers can get to know Rosella a little better. I was born and raised in Caracas Venezuela October 15, 1980. Raised…   + Read More…

EPGD Law Shining Star: Aline Darmouni, CPA.

Each Newsies™ we try to showcase good friends in the community that have great origin and business stories. This month, we showcase Aline Darmouni of EXCO US. Here is a little bit about her and the company she represents. Aline Darmouni, founder and CEO ofExco US is Expert Comptable, Certified Public Accountant in the United…   + Read More…

What is residential constructive eviction in Florida?

A tenant may terminate their lease with a landlord in the event of a constructive eviction. Constructive eviction is defined as any disturbance to the tenant by the landlord that: (1) renders the premises unfit for the purpose for which they were leased; or (2) deprives the tenant of the beneficial enjoyment of the premises….   + Read More…

EPGD Law Shining Star: Deirdre Nero, Esq

EPGD Law is proud to feature our dear friend and of counsel immigration attorney, Deirdre Nero, Esq of NERO Immigration Law, P.L. We’re excited to share with you some fun questions we had her answer for us to get to know her a little better. First, a little about Deirdre! Owner of her own private practice…   + Read More…

Looking Into Trust Fund Recovery

  The initial question at hand; What is the Trust Fund Recovery Penalty? Every single employer is required to pay a trust fund tax to the government. A trust fund tax is an employer’s added responsibility to withhold money from an employee’s wages or salary—such as income taxes, social security, and Medicare taxes—and hold it…   + Read More…

Is Franchising right for you?

Let’s begin with the basics. To understand what we’ll be talking about in this blog post, you must first know what defines a Franchise. Franchise.org defines Franchise as a “method for expanding a business and distributing goods and services through a licensing relationship”. These relationships are defined by the franchisor (the entity or person granting…   + Read More…

Check out this treaty that protects your trademark further!

The Madrid Protocol treaty permits holders of U.S. trademark to extend their trademark rights globally into over 80 countries by filing requests through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. However, this treaty does not create a global trademark that can be used in every single country in the world. How does this work? When a…   + Read More…

Help! I’m liable for trademark infringement!

Although corporate officials often underestimate the degree of liability that could befall them when performing corporate duties and responsibilities, there are certain situations where an officer can be personally liable for actions that cause the corporation to infringe the property rights of other parties.  A corporate officer acting within official capacity is generally shielded from…   + Read More…

For the musicians in life!

When considering copyrighting a musical work, it is important to distinguish between a musical composition and a sound recording, which are both aspects of music that are eligible to be protected by the same individual or multiple individuals at once. Additionally, sending a musical composition doesn’t necessarily mean that there is a claim to copyright…   + Read More…

WIPO and what it does for your brand!

Business and commerce is becoming more and more globalized. Concomitant with this increase in globalization, intellectual property needs more protection, especially internationally, more now than ever before. The United Nations has created an organization —The World Intellectual Property Organization (“WIPO”)—that provides global services for protecting intellectual property (“IP”) across borders. The WIPO provides four services…   + Read More…

Trademarks: Contested v. Uncontested

Some may assume that once a federal trademark registration is obtained it grants the exclusive right to use the mark on particular goods or services and can readily prevent use of the mark by any other party. However, trademark law is more complicated than that. In reality, having a trademark registration, even a valid and…   + Read More…

Federal Intellectual Property – What you should know about securing a judgement.

Federal law does not preempt state law, and the financing statement of a federal trademark should be filed with the secretary of state. With that said, the US Patent and Trademark office (“USPTO“) provides a method for recording a security interest in trademarks and patents. Here are some things to keep in mind. Once you…   + Read More…

R is not for railroad or movie ratings…

One of the easiest ways to protect your brand is to Trademark it. Keeping that in mind, it is unlawful to use the Registered (®) symbol, if not actually registered first. Now, what does it mean? It means that if you’re undergoing the process of a trademark registration, you may use the Trademark (™) symbol…   + Read More…

FLSA rights to make Mary Poppins proud!

You’re probably wondering why we even mention Mary Poppins. Well, “domestic workers” include live in nannies; workers providing child care, elder care, and care to the disabled; and workers providing household help such as cleaning and lawn care. Effective since January 1, 2015, the Fair Labor Standards Act overtime exemption for “domestic service workers” changed, having significant…   + Read More…

Where there’s a will, there’s a way! #CivilTheftRelief

If someone has had money or property taken from them by means of theft, fraud or exploitation, Florida’s Civil Theft Statute may offer them relief, and harsh punishment for the perpetrator. Under Florida Statute 772.11, plaintiffs who assert successful civil theft claims are entitled to recovery of treble (triple) damages and attorney’s fees. Civil theft…   + Read More…

Medicaid; What you should know!

Granted there is a lot of turmoil around health care at the moment, we thought it insightful to let our audience know a little bit more about Medicaid. Let’s start with the basics and break it down from there. 1. What is Medicaid?  Medicaid is a joint state and federal program that provides health coverage…   + Read More…

Love and Marriage.. I mean, Taxes and Bankruptcy…

It is 6:30pm.You open the door, and come home from a long-day of work. You are instantly reminded of the stack of bills lying on your dining room table, which you have been ignoring for the past two-years—more specifically your income tax obligations. However, your significant-other will not allow you to forget. Your family wants…   + Read More…

"Drive By" Lawsuits…. what?

You might think we’re listening to too much Gangsta’s Paradise when in reality, we’re talking about a current legal trend – ADA “Drive By” Lawsuits. To know what we’re talking about, you must first understand a little bit about ADA. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), enacted in 1990, prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in…   + Read More…

A Mini-Guide for Employers on Writ of Garnishment

Writ of Garnishment, a seemingly familiar term that has been heard through the grapevine and usually regarding a former employee experience. Yet, there are significant repercussions, such as liability for debt, that employers need to be aware of. We first begin by understanding what a Writ of Garnishment is. Essentially, it is an order issued…   + Read More…

How well do you know your FMLA rights?

You’ve probably heard of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in passing when a peer, co-worker, friend, or partner, takes time from work when having a child. Although it is very commonly used during such times, did you know that it also applied to many other criteria? The FMLA was established in 1993 as a…   + Read More…

What is Florida Homestead Portability?

In Florida, the first year a home receives a homestead exemption, the property appraiser assesses it at just value. Now, with that in mind, for each of the following years, the Save Our Homes Amendment (SOH) of the FL Constitution, prevents the assessed value of said homestead property from increasing more than 3% per year…   + Read More…

If you have a loved one with special needs, you may want to read this.

What is a special needs trust? A special needs trust is established to provide for the care and needs of a disabled individual without jeopardizing the disabled person’s eligibility for government benefits such as Supplemental Social Income (SSI) and Medicaid. A first-party or self-settled special needs trust is established with the asset’s owned by the…   + Read More…

Will You? … Will you be my special one?

No, we’re not talking about a marriage proposal. We’re talking about taking the role as a personal representative in your estate planning matters. What is a personal representative, you ask? A personal representative is an individual appointed to be in charge of the decedent’s probate estate. The most important duties a personal representative has under…   + Read More…

Let’s blow the whistle on this joint.

A “whistleblower” is someone who reports misconduct by an employer, co-worker, or another party. For decades, whistleblowers have assisted the Internal Revenue Service in identifying and prosecuting tax law violations. In 2006, under the Tax Relief and Health Care Act, the IRS Whistleblower Office was created to oversee the IRS whistleblower program, which rewards informants…   + Read More…

Is your spouse a Non-US Citizen? Do you have a QDOT in place?

An important estate tax deduction for U.S. citizens and resident aliens is the unlimited marital deduction. This deduction allows an individual to transfer an unrestricted amount of assets to his or her spouse at any time, including at the death of the transferor, free from gift or estate tax consequences. However, the unlimited marital deduction…   + Read More…

Could Dorothy be Held Liable for Foreign Taxes in The Land of OZ?

Now that the title caught your attention, the reality is that buyers of real property may be held liable for the Tax of a Foreign Seller. A non-foreign certification is a document that protects buyers of real property interests from liability for the IRS withholding tax, which applies if the seller is a foreign person….   + Read More…

2016 Corporate Tax Filing Deadline

There is a saying, usually attributed to Benjamin Franklin, that says “nothing is certain except for death and taxes”. As 2016 came to an end, one of the things companies focus on, is filing their 2016 corporate taxes. Single member LLC’s, Corporations, and Partnerships, have a tax deadline of March 16th. As this date approaches…   + Read More…

What happens to a Single Member LLC, once the member of the LLC dies?

An LLC can survive beyond the death of its owner. This is determined by the LLC’s operating agreement. When creating a one member LLC, you may need to insert a provision in your operating agreement insuring a smooth transfer of ownership to another person or organization after the member’s death. In the case where there…   + Read More…

Receiving Social Security from an Ex-Spouse

If your ex-spouse was the primary earner, you might be eligible for a higher social security benefit based on his or her work history instead of your own. However, there are limitations, and you must fall within all these categories to qualify for a “divorced spouse” benefit: Your marriage lasted for at least 10 years;…   + Read More…

Buyers of Real Property May Be Held Liable for the Tax of a Foreign Seller!

A non-foreign certification is a document that protects buyers of real property interests from liability for the IRS withholding tax, which applies if the seller is a foreign person. If a seller is a non U.S. citizen or resident, then FIRPTA (The Foreign Investment in Property Tax Act) applies and the buyer must withhold 15%…   + Read More…

USCIS New Hire Update

If you’re an employer, this is definitely something you want to note for any new hires that you may be acquiring. On November 14, 2016, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a revised version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. By Jan. 22, 2017, employers must use only the new version, dated 11/14/2016….   + Read More…

How a Tax Lien Works

When a person fails or neglects to pay income taxes owed, the likely consequences involve the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) placing a federal tax lien on the individual’s property. A federal tax lien is a claim that the United States government makes on the individual’s property where the government’s interest in the person’s property is…   + Read More…

Maternity / Paternity Leave

As Millennials begin to wait more and more to have children, we have also seen an uprise in demand for maternity and paternity leave. This is largely in part to the emphasis of relationship and connections that has developed over the last decade. New parents want to establish that connection with their newborns and lets face it, that’s not something you can do in a week. Currently, here is where we stand on that legally.

What is Qualified Sick Pay?

A Section 105 qualified sick-pay plan (QSPP).  A QSPP enables a business to continue some portion of an employee’s wages during a disability. It is the company’s official plan to continue wages for certain ill and injured employees.

Misclassification Between Employee And Independent Contractor

Misclassified employees are often denied access to the critical benefits and protections they are entitled. Misclassification also generates substantial losses to the federal government and state governments in the form of lower tax revenues, as well as to state unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation funds.

A tweet, a tweet! A Lady Bird Deed!

A lady bird deed (called an enhanced life estate deed in Florida) is a relatively new form of deed that—like a traditional life estate deed—allows property to pass automatically to one or more designated recipients at death, without the need for probate. 

The Extent of Non Compete Agreements in Florida

If you’re a business owner or have EVER been an employed by a larger or specific field, you’ve probably run into or have a NON-COMPETE agreement. Just like any contract, there are limitations to everything and in case you didn’t know, according to FL Statute 542.335(1)(d)(1), non-compete agreements are enforceable against an independent contractor just like an employee.

What are some Simple Facts about Foreclosures and Leases in Florida?

In Florida, what would happen if a tenant is leasing a premises, and the mortgagee—the bank for example—foreclosures upon the property. Is the tenant allowed to remain in the premises? As a consequence of the foreclosure, is the tenant’s lease terminated? What if the tenant was an innocent party with no knowledge of the mortgage?

First Comes Love. Then Comes Joint Accounts…

When you own an account jointly with another individual, the law usually presumes that you each have equal rights to funds held in that account. So, when a creditor attempts to garnish that account, it typically doesn’t have to investigate whether you contributed more money to the account than the co-owner. Unfortunately, this could mean that the money in your account could be garnished to pay for the co-owner’s debt, a debt that you never owed.

Tax Reporting Obligations for Foreigners

As a U.S. citizen or resident alien, you have several reporting obligations to the Internal Revenue Service regarding your foreign assets and accounts that you must be aware of. Failing to comply with these requirements can lead to severe penalties, additional taxes, and even civil and/or criminal penalties. Here is what you need to know:…   + Read More…

ITIN and You!

To invest in a business in the US, especially for establishing a banking relationship with a US bank or for filing tax returns, a foreign investor often runs into a common problem: they don’t have a federal tax ID number. Most citizens and permanent residents have a Social Security Number, so this isn’t a problem….   + Read More…

A Quick Overview of Business Licensing

When thinking of opening a business, it is very important to address the licensing needs at the start up stage. Getting all necessary licenses required for your business is complicated and time consuming, and can thus delay your opening. Multiple governments and agencies have different requirements and it is best to start with a top…   + Read More…

Scam Alert : "FL Compliance Notice"

Florida business owners have been receiving a letter that looks to be from a government agency stating that it is a notice (and in some cases “final notice”) to comply with a state and federal law requiring businesses to post current compliant Employment Posters in the workplace. This scam is hoping to lure business owners…   + Read More…

How To Decant an Irrevocable Trust

An irrevocable trust was once known to be untouchable. This may no longer be true. “Decanting” an irrevocable trust is an estate planning technique that involves pouring the assets from the first trust to a new one with better terms to meet the needs of the client. Common law provides authority for trust decanting, but…   + Read More…

Unauthorized Practice of Law

Practicing law in a state without a license from that particular state is illegal, and therefore knowing what is and what is not considered the “practice of law” is very important. States have the power to regulate their practice of law. For example, a lawyer licensed to practice law in New York, but lives in Florida,…   + Read More…

How to Collect after a Favorable Judgement

A common issue persons may face in lawsuits is not so much the difficulty in obtaining judgment for remedies, but actually collecting on the judgment once obtained. There are different ways in which judgment debtors try to defeat collection on judgments, which pose problems for those holding outstanding executions.

How to: Evict A Person in Florida

Although we hope for the best, it may not work out that way. That’s why, EPGD has decided to provide a few steps on how to evict a person in Florida. Step 1 – Determine whether there are grounds for evicting that person. Step 2 – Send the person you want to evict a letter…   + Read More…

Employee or Independent Contractor?

Should I Classify my Worker as an Employee or an Independent Contractor? It is important that employers correctly categorize their workers as either employees or independent contractors. Specifically, misclassification is not only a tax reporting issue, but also affects claims for reemployment assistance benefits. In Florida, whether a worker is an employee or an independent…   + Read More…

EPGD’s 10 Steps to Start A Business

As times change, businesses change as well. We’ve seen a boom in entrepreneurial businesses throughout South Florida. If you find yourself feeling the bug, here are EPGD’s 10 simple steps to starting your own business.

What is a DBA?

It is important to note that a fictitious business name is not the same as a trademark.  Entities like trademarks, service marks, corporations, and limited partnerships are legal names.  In contrast, the registration of a fictitious business name does not create any exclusive ownership rights, nor does it reserve the name against future use. 

Limited Liability Company (LLC) and Foreign Owners

Today, many businesses are forming as a Limited Liability Company (LLC) and are finding that an LLC offers the “best of both worlds” of corporate forms. LLCs have pass-through taxation while also affording the owners limited liability protection, typical of a corporation.

What are Background Checks?

Aside from certain situations where Florida law requires that employees be screened, such as law enforcement officers or those hired to work with children or the elderly, requiring an applicant or employee to submit to a screening is also possible.

Don’t just put a TM logo; file it!

In Florida, the general rule for trademark rights is “First In Use, First In Right.” In other words, you must be the first to use the mark in commerce. Either by selling products (for goods) or providing services (for services) before you can register the trademark.

Charlie Sheen Changed his name, you can too!

Charlie Sheen, Lady Gaga, Lana Del Rey, Bruno Mars, Jamie Foxx, they all have one thing in common. They’ve changed their name. In case you didn’t know, celebrities aren’t the only ones who can do so. If you would like to legally change your name or restore a former a name, you may do so in Florida, provided that you are 18 years of age or older and satisfy certain other requirements.  In particular, the state of Florida has set forth specific procedures, which govern all legal name changes of Florida residents. 

Life Insurance Trust… in Layman’s Terms!

A trust is a fiduciary arrangement that allows a third party, or trustee, to hold assets or income for the benefit of beneficiaries. Similar to a life insurance there are three parties to a trust. The settlor, the person or entity who creates the trust and usually transfer the property into the trust; the trustee, the person who holds and manages that property for the benefit of the beneficiary; and the beneficiary, the person who receives the benefit of such property.

Why do I need a Non-Compete Agreement?

A non-compete agreement is a contract between an employee and an employer in which the employee agrees not to enter into competition with the employer during or after employment. Non-compete agreements in employment contracts are essential in protecting your business from unfair competition, and safeguarding your trade secrets and confidential information once an employee decides to leave.

What are the Requirements for Workers Compensation Coverage in Florida?

If you are an employee who works for another person, group, or company, you are required to have Workers’ Compensation Insurance. This includes people working under any type of contract and also includes all lawfully and unlawfully employed immigrants and minors.

What are useful pointers when entering a "Joint Agreement"?

In Florida, a joint venture is not a statutory entity or form; rather, it is a contractual arrangement whereby two or more persons or entities join forces to operate a venture. Many joint ventures operate by agreement only.  The participants do not have to create a separate entity as the vehicle for the joint venture….   + Read More…

Got a 1099 instead of a W-2? We can help.

Today is your first day of work. You signed a contract with your employer, which detailed your work responsibilities. Your contract contained information on what time you must clock-in and clock-out; how you should complete your work assignments; when your employer will pay you; and which employment benefits you are entitled to. Today is a…   + Read More…

Estate and Trust Taxes

IRS Form 1041 is an income tax return for estates and trusts, similar to Form 1040 for individuals. If you are the executor for an estate, you may be required to file Form 1041 – U.S. Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts. Form 1041 must be filed for the person who died in addition to any personal income…   + Read More…

Impuestos descargables en bancarrota

Federal income taxes are the only taxes that can be discharged in bankruptcy proceedings, preferably Chapter 7 bankruptcy, if you meet all of the following requirements:  The taxes must be income taxes. Taxes due to fines or penalties cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.  You did not file a fraudulent tax return or tried to willfully…   + Read More…

Impôts libérables en cas de faillite

Federal income taxes are the only taxes that can be discharged in bankruptcy proceedings, preferably Chapter 7 bankruptcy, if you meet all of the following requirements:  The taxes must be income taxes. Taxes due to fines or penalties cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.  You did not file a fraudulent tax return or tried to willfully…   + Read More…

Robo Civil de la Corporación en la Florida

El robo civil es una conversión de derecho común con la intención criminal de robar. Véase 1-27 Florida Torts n.o 27.07. El Estatuto de Florida 812.014 (2014) establece los elementos para el robo civil como:
(1) a sabiendas, (2) obtenido o utilizado, o se esforzó por obtener o utilizar, la propiedad del demandante, (3) con intención criminal, (4) ya sea temporal o permanentemente para (a) privar al demandante de su derecho o beneficio de la propiedad o (b) apropiarse de la propiedad para el uso propio del demandado o para el uso de una persona que no da derecho a la propiedad.

Vol civile d'une société en Floride ?

Civil theft is a common law conversion with the criminal intent to steal. See 1-27 Florida Torts § 27.07. Florida Statute 812.014 (2014) states the elements for civil theft as: (1) knowingly, (2) obtained or used, or endeavored to obtain or use, the plaintiff’s property, (3) with felonious intent, (4) either temporarily or permanently to…   + Read More…

Alquiler a corto plazo Residencial en Coral Gables y Miami

In this day and age, the Internet provides ordinary individuals with business opportunities that were unheard of thirty years ago. For example, recently, we came across a website that allows property owners to list and rent their own single-family home for a short duration of time. Listing the property online is the easy part, but…   + Read More…

Location à court terme résidentiel de Coral Gables et Miami

In this day and age, the Internet provides ordinary individuals with business opportunities that were unheard of thirty years ago. For example, recently, we came across a website that allows property owners to list and rent their own single-family home for a short duration of time. Listing the property online is the easy part, but…   + Read More…

Florida Residencial Seguridad Depósito Devolución

What happens when a landlord wants to keep the tenant’s security deposit? Can the landlord keep the security deposit, or does the tenant need notice beforehand? Under Florida law, a landlord may retain a tenant’s security deposit, but there are a few steps that need to occur before the security deposit, or a portion thereof,…   + Read More…

Florida sécurité Résidentiel fort retour

What happens when a landlord wants to keep the tenant’s security deposit? Can the landlord keep the security deposit, or does the tenant need notice beforehand? Under Florida law, a landlord may retain a tenant’s security deposit, but there are a few steps that need to occur before the security deposit, or a portion thereof,…   + Read More…

Internacional de Marcas de Registro

Business and commerce is becoming more and more globalized. Concomitant with this increase in globalization, intellectual property needs more protection, especially internationally, more now than ever before. The United Nations has created an organization —The World Intellectual Property Organization (“WIPO”)—that provides global services for protecting intellectual property (“IP”) across borders. The WIPO provides four services…   + Read More…

Mark Commerce international inscription

Business and commerce is becoming more and more globalized. Concomitant with this increase in globalization, intellectual property needs more protection, especially internationally, more now than ever before. The United Nations has created an organization —The World Intellectual Property Organization (“WIPO”)—that provides global services for protecting intellectual property (“IP”) across borders. The WIPO provides four services…   + Read More…

¿Son las tasas descargables en bancarrota?

It is 6:30pm.You open the door, and come home from a long-day of work. You are instantly reminded of the stack of bills lying on your dining room table, which you have been ignoring for the past two-years—more specifically your income tax obligations. However, your significant-other will not allow you to forget. Your family wants…   + Read More…

Taxes sont libérables en cas de faillite?

It is 6:30pm.You open the door, and come home from a long-day of work. You are instantly reminded of the stack of bills lying on your dining room table, which you have been ignoring for the past two-years—more specifically your income tax obligations. However, your significant-other will not allow you to forget. Your family wants…   + Read More…

Éviter l’ Stamp impôt documentaire

Jerry is the owner of a $5 million company, Red, Inc. Jerry’s company has one subsidiary, Blue, LLC. Jerry is considering transferring interest from his parent entity, Red, Inc., to his subsidiary—which Jerry fully owns—Blue, LLC. However, there is one minor issue; The Florida Documentary Stamp Tax. Florida imposes a documentary stamp tax on transfers…   + Read More…

Evitar el Impuesto de Sellos Documental

Jerry is the owner of a $5 million company, Red, Inc. Jerry’s company has one subsidiary, Blue, LLC. Jerry is considering transferring interest from his parent entity, Red, Inc., to his subsidiary—which Jerry fully owns—Blue, LLC. However, there is one minor issue; The Florida Documentary Stamp Tax. Florida imposes a documentary stamp tax on transfers…   + Read More…

¿Qué sucede cuando usted descubre que su empleado tiene antecedentes penales ?

Background Checks and What Employers Need to Know: Aside from certain situations where Florida law requires that employees be screened, such as law enforcement officers or those hired to work with children or the elderly, requiring an applicant or employee to submit to a screening is also possible. When the time comes to make a…   + Read More…

Ce qui arrive quand vous découvrez votre employé a un casier judiciaire ?

Background Checks and What Employers Need to Know: Aside from certain situations where Florida law requires that employees be screened, such as law enforcement officers or those hired to work with children or the elderly, requiring an applicant or employee to submit to a screening is also possible. When the time comes to make a…   + Read More…

Comment interjeter appel ou de marché Valeur imposable avec rajustement de la valeur Conseil ( VAB ) de la propriété

Every year, property owners receive a Notice of Proposed Property Taxes from the Miami-Dade Property Appraiser, listing the total of Ad Valorem and non-Ad Valorem property taxes to be paid. These property taxes are based on the assessed value of the property, as determined by the Property Appraiser every January 1st. Sometimes, however, the value…   + Read More…

Cómo apelar Mercado de inmuebles o Evaluado Valor con la Junta de Ajuste de Valores ( VAB )

Every year, property owners receive a Notice of Proposed Property Taxes from the Miami-Dade Property Appraiser, listing the total of Ad Valorem and non-Ad Valorem property taxes to be paid. These property taxes are based on the assessed value of the property, as determined by the Property Appraiser every January 1st. Sometimes, however, the value…   + Read More…

Notice of Proposed Property Taxes

Every year, property owners receive a Notice of Proposed Property Taxes from the Miami-Dade Property Appraiser, listing the total of Ad Valorem and non-Ad Valorem property taxes to be paid. These property taxes are based on the assessed value of the property, as determined by the Property Appraiser every January 1st. Sometimes, however, the value of the property is listed too low, affecting a property’s resale value, or too high, leaving an owner paying an exorbitant amount of taxes.

Compañía de Responsabilidad Limitada ( LLC) y los Propietarios Extranjeros

Hoy en día, muchas empresas se están formando como una Sociedad de Responsabilidad Limitada (LLC) y están descubriendo que una LLC ofrece lo “mejor de ambos mundos” de formularios corporativos. Las CIT tienen impuestos de transferencia y, al mismo tiempo, ofrecen a los propietarios una protección de responsabilidad limitada, típica de una corporación.

Limited Liability Company ( LLC ) et des propriétaires étrangers

Today, many businesses are forming as a Limited Liability Company (LLC) and are finding that an LLC offers the “best of both worlds” of corporate forms. An LLC allows for pass-through taxation (see “Tax Advantage” below), thereby avoiding the “double tax” of a Corporation, yet also affords its owners the personal liability protection of a…   + Read More…

Limited Liability Company (LLC) and Foreign Owners

Today, many businesses are forming as a Limited Liability Company (LLC) and are finding that an LLC offers the “best of both worlds” of corporate forms. An LLC allows for pass-through taxation (see “Tax Advantage” below), thereby avoiding the “double tax” of a Corporation, yet also affords its owners the personal liability protection of a…   + Read More…

Things to Know Before You Remix Music

Remixing other artists’ music in today’s world with so much technology may seem an easy thing to do. The reality is, however, that remixing is an art and it requires talent. Nevertheless, people from all different ages and places try it because it could be very lucrative and it may be done relatively fast since…   + Read More…

Corporation to LLC Conversion and the IRS

Businesses often convert from a Corporation to a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or vice versa. Although the process can be as simple as filing a Certificate of Conversion and paying the appropriate fee(s) to the state, many times it will be necessary to re-apply with the IRS and obtain a new Employer Identification Number (EIN)….   + Read More…

The Importance of a Well Drafted Franchise Agreement

In Florida, there isn’t a specific statute that governs how a Franchise Agreement must be drafted. As a result, many unlawful acts and practices prompted the Florida Legislature in 1971 to enact The Florida Franchise Misrepresentation Act. However, The Act only offers limited legal recourse for victims of fraud and misrepresentation. This blog article identifies…   + Read More…

Getting a Real Estate License in Florida

Florida real estate is booming, and starting a real estate career may be a great option for you. Fortunately, in Florida, obtaining a real estate license is fairly easy and generally involves only a few requirements. First of all, an applicant must be at least 18 years of age and have a United States Social…   + Read More…

What is a Fictitious Business Name?

An important aspect of establishing a business is finding the right name under which a given company is to conduct its business.  While some business owners choose to use their own legal name, such as “Jane Smith’s Hair Salon,” others might prefer to use a catchphrase or a term associated with the nature of the business or its product, for example “Jane’s Cuts,” or “Fashion Cuts.”  In the latter case, the business is said to operate under a fictitious business name.

How to Register a Florida Trademark

In Florida, the general rule for trademark rights is “First In Use, First In Right.” In other words, you must be the first to use the mark in commerce. Either by selling products (for goods) or providing services (for services) before you can register the trademark.

What if my Employer isn’t Paying me the Minimum Wage?

If your employer for whatever reason is not paying you the applicable minimum wage or the agreed wage for your hours worked, you have a legal claim to recover damages against your employer.

When are the Directors of a Company liable?

Generally, not often. The business judgment rule generally prevents a court from holding a corporation’s directors liable for making a bad business decision. This rule evolved from common law, and in Florida, it is codified under Florida Statute §607.0830 and §607.0831. This statute provides that a director must complete his duties in good faith, with…   + Read More…

What Remedies exist for Breach of Contract?

When there’s a breach of contract for the sale of goods, the UCC governs.  Under the UCC, failure to deliver goods is a material breach, but in common law, it is not.  Any contract can contain a “liquidated damages” provision which typically includes a certain amount of money that the non-breaching party is entitled to if a party breaches the contract.  

¿Qué es una “B” Corporación ?

Una Corporación de Beneficios o un “B-Corp.” es una empresa privada que crea un beneficio público al permitir que las empresas sean rentables mientras consideran el bienestar de la sociedad y el medio ambiente. Las corporaciones de beneficios exigen que las empresas hagan que sus prácticas sean transparentes para el público.  Convertirse en una Corporación de Beneficios tiene ciertos requisitos, pero es principalmente un proceso de tres pasos. 

Qu'est-ce qu'un «B» Corporation ?

A Benefit Corporation or a “B-Corp.” is a private enterprise that creates a public benefit by allowing businesses to be profitable while considering the welfare of society and the environment.   Benefit Corporations require businesses to make their practices transparent to the public.  Becoming a Benefit Corporation has certain requirements, but it is mostly a three-step…   + Read More…

What is a “B” Corporation?

A Benefit Corporation or a “B-Corp.” is a private enterprise that creates a public benefit by allowing businesses to be profitable while considering the welfare of society and the environment.   Benefit Corporations require businesses to make their practices transparent to the public.  Becoming a Benefit Corporation has certain requirements, but it is mostly a three-step process.

Las pequeñas empresas comerciales y de las Minorías en el Condado de Miami Dade (Parte 1)

¿Cómo se Convierte en una Pequeña Empresa Certificada? El gobierno federal tiene un programa único que ayuda a las empresas desfavorecidas al registrarlas para contratos gubernamentales.  En otras palabras, como “pequeña empresa” tiene una mayor probabilidad de obtener un contrato gubernamental ante una empresa que no está registrada como una “pequeña empresa”.  La Administración de…   + Read More…

Entreprises et aux entreprises minoritaires petits à Miami Dade County

U.S.  Small Business Certification The federal government has a unique program that assists disadvantaged businesses by registering them for government contracts.  In other words, as a “small business” you have a higher probability of obtaining a government contract before a business that is not registered as a “small business.”  The U.S. Small Business Administration (“SBA”)…   + Read More…

La manera apropiada , para cerrar una LLC en Florida

A Florida limited liability company can dissolve in one of two ways: voluntarily or judicially.  Voluntary dissolution of a Florida LLC typically includes these steps (1) member authorization, (2) filing articles of dissolution with the state, (3) winding up, and (4) filing a statement of termination.  Winding up, is a period when the LLC finalizes…   + Read More…

La bonne façon de liquider une LLC en Floride

A Florida limited liability company can dissolve in one of two ways: voluntarily or judicially.  Voluntary dissolution of a Florida LLC typically includes these steps (1) member authorization, (2) filing articles of dissolution with the state, (3) winding up, and (4) filing a statement of termination.  Winding up, is a period when the LLC finalizes…   + Read More…

Cómo Disolver una corporación en Florida

“Dissolution” is the formal process by which a state-registered business entity, such as a corporation, may be officially ended.  The Florida Business Corporation Act (FBCA), is a Florida general corporate statute that applies to all domestic, for-profit corporations incorporated under a statute of Florida; and is contained in the provisions of Chapter 607 of the…   + Read More…

Comment dissoudre une société en Floride

“Dissolution” is the formal process by which a state-registered business entity, such as a corporation, may be officially ended.  The Florida Business Corporation Act (FBCA), is a Florida general corporate statute that applies to all domestic, for-profit corporations incorporated under a statute of Florida; and is contained in the provisions of Chapter 607 of the…   + Read More…

How to Appeal Property’s Market or Assessed Value with Value Adjustment Board (VAB)

Every year, property owners receive a Notice of Proposed Property Taxes from the Miami-Dade Property Appraiser, listing the total of Ad Valorem and non-Ad Valorem property taxes to be paid. These property taxes are based on the assessed value of the property, as determined by the Property Appraiser every January 1st.

Dissolution of a Florida LLC

How do I Dissolve a Florida LLC? “Dissolution” is the formal process by which a state-registered business entity, such as a corporation, may be officially ended.  The Florida Business Corporation Act (FBCA), is a Florida general corporate statute that applies to all domestic, for-profit corporations incorporated under a statute of Florida; and is contained in…   + Read More…

The Proper Way to Wind Up a Florida LLC

A Florida limited liability company can dissolve in one of two ways: voluntarily or judicially.  Voluntary dissolution of a Florida LLC typically includes these steps (1) member authorization, (2) filing articles of dissolution with the state, (3) winding up, and (4) filing a statement of termination.  Winding up, is a period when the LLC finalizes…   + Read More…

Florida Residential Security Deposit Return

Under Florida law, a landlord may retain a tenant’s security deposit, but there are a few steps that need to occur before the security deposit, or a portion thereof, is withheld. If the tenant leaves the premises, and the landlord does not intend to retain the security deposit, the landlord has fifteen (15) days from the date the tenant vacated the premises to return the security deposit.

Short Term Residential Rental in Coral Gables and Miami

In this day and age, the Internet provides ordinary individuals with business opportunities that were unheard of thirty years ago. For example, recently, we came across a website that allows property owners to list and rent their own single-family home for a short duration of time. Listing the property online is the easy part, but…   + Read More…

Small Business and Minority Businesses in Miami Dade County (Part 1)

The federal government has a unique program that assists disadvantaged businesses by registering them for government contracts.  In other words, as a “small business” you have a higher probability of obtaining a government contract before a business that is not registered as a “small business.”  The U.S. Small Business Administration (“SBA”) defines a “small” business in terms of the average number of employees over the past 12 months or average annual receipts over the past three years.  The SBA defines a U.S. small business as a concern that:

Civil Theft of a Corporation in Florida

Civil theft is a common law conversion with the criminal intent to steal. See 1-27 Florida Torts § 27.07. Florida Statute 812.014 (2014) states the elements for civil theft as:
(1) knowingly, (2) obtained or used, or endeavored to obtain or use, the plaintiff’s property, (3) with felonious intent, (4) either temporarily or permanently to (a) deprive plaintiff of its right to or a benefit from the property or (b) appropriate the property to the defendant’s own use or to the use of a person not entitle to the property.

Taxes Dischargeable in Bankruptcy

Federal income taxes are the only taxes that can be discharged in bankruptcy proceedings, preferably Chapter 7 bankruptcy, if you meet all of the following requirements:  The taxes must be income taxes. Taxes due to fines or penalties cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.  You did not file a fraudulent tax return or tried to willfully…   + Read More…

How to Protect Limited Liability?

So you filed the state requirements to start your own company. Therefore, now you have obtained limited liability and can shield yourself personally from any obligations that may transpire in the course of your business. Wrong! In fact, filing with the state is merely the first step to obtain limited liability.

Penalties for Misclassifying Employees and Independant Contractors

The risks involved in the misclassification of workers as independent contractors rather than employees are serious. Federal and state agencies have the authority to impose both monetary and non-monetary sanctions against employers who misclassify their workers. Yet, employers remain subject to civil liability with respect to the claims of their workers, as well as to potential criminal liability.

How to Evict a Tenant?

Need to evict your tenant for nonpayment of rent? Whether you’re a landlord or a tenant, it is important to know what the consequences for nonpayment of rent are. If yo u are a landlord and your tenant has not paid rent, you can sue the tenant for payment of rent or seek to evict…   + Read More…

What’s in a Label? The FDA and Product Labeling…

The United States Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) is assigned the task of keeping Americans safe by regulating the sale of food and drugs. Among many things, the FDA regulates the “labeling” of many products. Appropriate labeling is significantly important to protect the health of consumers. Additionally, the labels of a cosmetic product allow the average consumer to make informed decisions about their health and to understand the ramifications of what they are purchasing.

Press Release: February 18, 2014 – Alliance Makes Marchman Act More User-Friendly For Families

The Gabel Center – a drug and alcohol rehab in Fort Myers Beach, and South Florida’s EPGD Attorneys at Law, P.A., are excited to announce a new joint effort that simplifies the process of getting drug and alcohol abusers through the court room and into a world-class treatment center. The one-of-a kind collaboration takes advantage…   + Read More…

Are You the Victim of Identity Theft?

If you have been a victim of identity theft and your Social Security is being used to make fraudulent transactions on your behalf, you may have no other recourse than to request a new Social Security number (SSN). The problem is that applying for a new SSN is not as easy as it sounds. Social…   + Read More…

Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP)

In January 2012, the IRS announced a new Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) available to taxpayers with undisclosed foreign assets. The 2012 OVDP is similar to the IRS’ 2009 OVDP and 2011 OVDI, but the 2012 OVDP is (for the time being) open-ended. The 2012 OVDP is designed to allow taxpayers to come clean with the certainty that they will not face criminal prosecution for not previously disclosing their overseas accounts. Taxpayers have the added benefit of receiving a fixed penalty structure for settlement of past non-compliance.

Legal Approaches to Substance Abuse

There are few challenges greater than watching a loved one descend into the depths of drug and alcohol abuse. Lives can be shattered, fortunes squandered, aptitude and potential wasted, and relationships often strained to the breaking point. The damage is two-fold: the abuser’s self-destructive behavior not only hurts his or her own life, but unintentionally inflicts harm on friends, families, coworkers, and neighbors