It's The Law: The 'Lady Bird' proviso' avoids probate
Published 03/11/2014 at 9:53 a.m.
Question: I am a retired Michigan attorney enjoying my old age and winters in Bonita Springs. Like many residents I belong to a golf group all of which members are retired. Often during a round, in contrast to discussing individual ...
It's The Law: Settlement agreement is tough to undo
Published 02/24/2014 at 10:59 p.m.
Question: I was in a lawsuit and the judge ordered us to mediation. In the mediation, I settled with the other party. I now realize the settlement agreement is unfair and want to get rid of it. How hard will ...
It's The Law: Limited competency required to appoint a preneed guardian
Published 02/14/2014 at 4:27 p.m.
Question: My mother has dementia. I am fighting my brother to be appointed guardian. A few years ago, my mother signed a document naming me her preneed guardian, but my brother claims my mother is incompetent and the document won't ...
It's The Law: Statutory formula to calculate child support
Published 02/07/2014 at 11:29 a.m.
Question: I am getting divorced. We've been arguing about almost everything except custody. My spouse wants alimony and child support. My attorney says child support is easy to calculate but has not explained it further. Can you explain how child ...
It's The Law: Judge can be disqualified
Published 01/31/2014 at 12:58 p.m.
Question: I am being sued and just came from court. The judge seemed to be a real good friend of the person suing me and I am worried. Can I get a different judge? Answer: Chapter 38 of Florida Statutes ...
It's The Law: Supportive relationship can terminate alimony
Published 01/28/2014 at 4:09 p.m.
Q: I got divorced some years ago and was ordered to pay permanent alimony. After the divorce, my spouse started living with someone else and told me she would never remarry because it would end alimony. That just doesn't seem ...
It's The Law: Financing contingency can be tricky
Published 01/17/2014 at 9:23 a.m.
Question: I want to buy a condominium, but need mortgage financing. I do not want to risk my deposit. My realtor tells me we can use a contract with a financing contingency. Will that protect me? Answer: A financing contingency ...
It's The Law: Spendthrift trust can protect the beneficiary
Published 01/10/2014 at noon 1 Comment
Question: I have a child who is terrible at money management. He is always broke, no matter how much he earns. If I leave him anything in my will I am afraid he will spend it quickly and unwisely. How ...
It's The Law: Fictitious name explained
Published 01/03/2014 at 11:39 a.m.
Question: I have a corporation and want to do business under a different name. I understand that is a fictitious name and I have to file something with the state. Can you explain? Answer: A fictitious name is a name ...
It's The Law: Worthless check equals big damages
Published 12/30/2013 at 6:17 p.m.
Question: I loaned a former friend of mine some money. When he paid me back, the check bounced. I understand he can be liable for more than the amount of the check if I follow correct procedures. Can you explain?Answer: ...
It's The Law: Disclosure required in HOA and condo sales
Published 12/17/2013 at 2:29 p.m.
Question: I am selling my condominium. My friends tell me I will need to give the buyer a whole lot of documents concerning the condominium association and the same documents for the homeowner association. I am confused. Can you help ...
It's The Law: A gift by any other name
Published 12/11/2013 at 4 a.m.
Question: It is that time of year. I do not believe in Santa Claus, but I believe my fiancé should give me the gift she promised. She got mad at me and says she took it back to the store. ...
It's The Law: Florida is an employment at will state
Published 12/03/2013 at 10:14 a.m. 1 Comment
Question: I just got fired for no reason. Can an employer do that? Answer: Florida continues to be governed by the common law doctrine of employment at will. Unless you have a contract for a definite term of employment or ...
It's The Law: Pre-suit arbitration may be required in condominiums
Published 11/05/2013 at 5:22 p.m. 1 Comment
Q: I have a dispute with my condominium association and want to file suit. The board of directors told me I cannot file suit, but have to go through arbitration. Can you explain?
It's The Law: Florida domicile – How to get it
Published 10/25/2013 at 10:29 a.m.
Question: I understand there are some real benefits to making Florida my domicile. Can you highlight some of those benefits and explain domicile? Answer: Florida domicile has been defined by the courts as "the permanent residence of a person or ...
lt's The Law: Seller has options when buyer defaults
Published 10/22/2013 at 10:38 a.m.
Question: I have a contract for sale of my condominium. The buyer told me he no longer wants to close. Assuming the buyer fails to close, what options do I have? Answer: In any breach of contract case, the first ...
lt's The Law: Homeowner association has super priority – usually
Published 10/15/2013 at 8:46 p.m.
Question: I am president of a homeowners association. I have been told that Florida law gives homeowner association liens a super priority. Is that correct? Answer: Section 720.3085 of Florida statutes attempts to give homeowner association liens super pr
lt's The Law: Promise to make a will must be written
Published 10/09/2013 at 4 a.m. 1 Comment
Question: My neighbor offered to leave me a substantial gift in his will if I would take care of his yard for the rest of his life. If I take care of his yard, will I be able to collect? ...
lt's The Law: Partition can cure property dispute
Published 10/01/2013 at 3:38 p.m.
Question: I own a house with a former friend. We are supposed to be 50/50. He has not been paying his part of expenses and I want to sell the house and be done with it. He refuses to sell. ...
lt's The Law: Alimony comes in many forms
Published 09/24/2013 at 12:36 p.m.
Question: My wife is suing me for divorce. When I read through her petition, I got to the end and she is asking for alimony. Not just any alimony, but all kinds of alimony like permanent, rehabilitative, lump-sum and others. ...
It's The Law: Sale of limited common element can be tricky
Published 09/19/2013 at 10:38 a.m.
Question: I am selling my condominium unit. I bought a boat slip at time I bought my unit, which is a limited common element. I have a possible buyer, but the buyer is not interested in the boat slip. Can ...
It's The Law: Attorney might bind client
Published 09/06/2013 at 11:33 a.m.
Question: I have been working on a contract. We made some changes and the attorney for the other side signed the changes. I asked for his client to sign, but he told me his signature was good enough. A few ...
It's The Law: Creditors can reach revocable trusts
Published 08/30/2013 at 4:54 p.m.
Question: I want to protect my assets from creditors. I am thinking about creating a revocable living trust and transferring the assets to the trust with me as trustee. Is that a good idea? Answer: Creating a revocable trust can ...
It's The Law: PIP law explained
Published 08/29/2013 at 1:24 p.m.
Q: I just moved to Florida and understand I am supposed to have PIP insurance for my car. Can you explain what that is? A: Florida requires automobile owners maintain personal injury protection ("PIP") insurance coverage. The insurance is a ...
It's The Law: Adult child caring for parent does not equal undue influence
Published 08/15/2013 at 2:09 p.m.
Question: My wife took care of her mother for the last five years of her mother's life. She took her everywhere, made sure her meals were cooked, and it was basically a full-time job. Her mother left her almost her ...
It's The Law: Income may be imputed for alimony calculation
Published 08/02/2013 at 5:26 p.m.
Question: I am getting divorced. My wife has not worked for a long time, despite my requests that she get a job. I know she could work, but she claims she is entitled to alimony because she has no income. ...
It's The Law: You might gift a job in a will
Published 07/26/2013 at 8:59 a.m.
Question: I work for a company. The owner says he will guarantee my employment for life by giving me a job through his last will and testament. Can he do that? Answer: It is possible to gift a job through ...
It's The Law: Florida trust is only a small part of estate planning
Published 07/19/2013 at 9:21 a.m.
Question: I have a will and do not want to go to the trouble or expense of preparing a trust. What estate planning related documents should I consider? Answer: If you had a living trust, you likely would appoint yourself ...
It's The Law: Attorneys fees are not always awarded
Published 07/12/2013 at 9:58 a.m.
Question: If I file suit and win, do I get my attorneys fees in addition to any other damages? Answer: The general rule is that attorneys fees are only available if, (a) suit is for breach of contract and the ...
It's The Law: Adult adoption may be an estate planning tool
Published 07/05/2013 at 1:36 p.m.
Question: In your article a few months ago, you wrote about a case where the court voided a man's adoption of his adult girlfriend. Does that mean all adult adoptions are problematic? Answer: The article discussed the case of Goodman ...
It's The Law: How to force an HOA to enforce rules
Published 06/28/2013 at 1:46 p.m.
Question: My neighbor is building a gazebo, and it is ugly. The covenants in our neighborhood prohibit construction of accessory structures, which I think includes gazebos. I can't get the homeowners association to take action to enforce our covenants. Ca
It's The Law: Spendthrift trusts offer protection
Published 06/21/2013 at 3:59 p.m.
Question: I am working on my will and need some help. One of my children is not good with money. Actually, that is not quite true. He is really good at spending it, but not too good at earning or ...
It's The Law: Condos have reserve account investment choices
Published 06/14/2013 at 12:11 p.m.
Question: As president of our association, I have a question regarding reserves. Is it possible to invest monies that are assessed and are accumulating in a reserve account sitting as cash in a bank? These funds may not be required ...
It's The Law: Security deposit gets special treatment
Published 06/13/2013 at 12:51 p.m.
Q: I am having some problems with my landlord. We are near the end of our lease and I am concerned he will keep the security deposit. What are my rights? A: I assume you are a residential tenant. Florida ...
It's The Law: Sperm donor is not a parent
Published 05/30/2013 at 3:05 p.m.
Q: A while back, I agreed to be a sperm donor for one of my friends. We did this informally and did not go through a doctor's office. We agreed that I would have no involvement with the child and ...
It's The Law: Condominium disclosure required for all buyers
Published 05/20/2013 at 10:03 a.m.
Question: I am buying a condominium and have heard there is mandatory seller disclosure. Can you explain? Answer: Florida's legislature apparently believes condominium buyers require special attention. The legislature confirms that position through Sectio
It's The Law: Tax sale certificates are not deeds
Published 04/29/2013 at 2:38 p.m.
Question: I understand that you do not lose title to your property if you do not pay taxes. Instead, some type of tax certificate is issued. Can you explain?
It's The Law: Adoption of a girlfriend can be problematic
Published 04/18/2013 at 2:33 p.m.
Q: I heard something recently about an old man who wanted to adopt his girlfriend. Is that legal? A: Adoption terminates the status of parent and child with a former parent and replaces it with a new, legal relationship. An ...
It's The Law: Condominium can install hurricane protection
Published 04/10/2013 at 4 a.m.
Question: Hi. My condo complex board decided to let everyone change out their sliding doors and windows to hurricane proof type, only for the owners who wanted them. Now they are talking about forcing the rest of the owners to ...
It's The Law: Where there’s a will ... Last testament can impose marriage restrictionscan
Published 03/17/2011 at 5:04 p.m.
Q: My father has a clause in his will that I only get something if I am married to a person of a particular religious faith. Is that legal? A: The right of a person to include restrictions on a ...
It's The Law: Income vs support
Published 05/14/2010 at 1:11 p.m.
Q: I have a friend who is getting divorced. She is asking for alimony and child support but her husband has cut back on his work so he can show the court he makes very little money. Is that fair? ...
It's The Law: Fees and short sales
Published 04/30/2010 at 1:18 p.m.
Q: I am on the Board my Condominium Association. One of our owners is far behind in assessments and is now trying to do a short sale. The mortgage holder will not allow deduction from the sale proceeds of anything ...
It's the law: Mediation can resolve lawsuits
Published 02/19/2010 at 5:11 p.m.
Mediation is a process under which a neutral mediator works with parties in a lawsuit in an effort to reach a settlement. The mediator does not issue a decision, but acts as a facilitator. Mediation does not end a lawsuit ...
It's the Law: Contracts can be made via e-mail
Published 02/11/2010 at 3:23 p.m.
Q: I received an e-mail offer for a car I am selling. I sent back an e-mail accepting the offer, and now the buyer claims we did not have a contract, because we did not sign a paper contract. Is ...
It's the Law: Durable power of attorney important in time of illness
Published 02/05/2010 at 10:18 a.m.
Q: My wife is very ill and our insurance companies and others will not talk to me about her case because they say I have no authority. Can you help me find a way to deal with these problems?
It's the Law: Estate tax is dead, but comes back to life next year
Published 01/29/2010 at 1:26 p.m.
Q: I heard that the Estate Tax was abolished. Is that true?
It's the Law: Court cannot approve custodial parent relocation in advance
Published 01/22/2010 at 1:20 p.m.
Q: I am going through a divorce. We have tentatively agreed that my spouse will have custody, but now she is talking about moving to Atlanta in a few years.
It's the Law: What to expect in foreclosure process
Published 01/14/2010 at 3:03 p.m.
Q: I have fallen behind in my mortgage and suspect foreclosure is imminent. Can you explain the foreclosure process?
It's the Law: Personal representative can have tax liability
Published 01/08/2010 at 3:01 p.m.
Q: My Uncle is doing estate planing with his attorney. He asked me if I would be the personal representative of his estate. My wife is worried that I will end up having personal liability for his taxes. Is that ...
It's the Law: Probate need not be a daunting process
Published 12/29/2009 at 3:50 p.m.
Q: My mother recently died and her Will appoints me to administer her estate. Can you give me a brief outline of Florida probate?