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5 Facts About Construction Liens in Florida – (Part 1)

When working with a construction’s liens, knowing what laws and rules apply to your situation can make a big difference in securing a successful outcome. There are several state-issued guidelines that govern the notice, handling, and qualifications for construction liens. These five tips will help you understand what is needed to comply with construction lien laws in the state of Florida.

  1. Notice to the Owner is Mandatory

It is important to give notice to the owner after initially providing labor or materials. If this is not done, you may risk losing your construction’s liens rights. Any parties who do no contract directly with the property owner must serve a notice to owner with 45 days of providing labor and or materials to the project. The two exceptions to this rule are:

  • Individual workers who do not require a notice to owner
  • Engineers or other design professionals

Direct contractors may provide the property owner with a list of subcontractors and suppliers that are involved with the project. The contractor is required to provide this information within 10 days. The following rules apply to issuing the notice:

  • If hired by a general contractor, the notice should be sent to the property owner
  • If the work is hired by a subcontractor, the notice should be sent to the property owner and the general contractor.
  • If hired by a sub-contractor, the notice should be sent to the property owner, general contractor, and the sub-contractor.
  • If you are unaware of the specific parties, Florida law will allow you to reply on specifically publicly available information.
  • When sending the notice to the owner, it must be sent via certified mail with a return receipt requested.
  • A Construction’s Lien Must be Filed Within 90 Days of Last Labor

In the state of Florida, construction’s liens must be recorded within 90 days of the last labor completed or materials provided. The three-month period begins when the majority of the work is complete, and corrections to work or warranty work cannot be used towards establishing the deadline. For rental equipment companies, the last date of use is the last date that the equipment was on site and available to the designated parties.

3)  You Must Qualify for Lien Rights in the State of Florida

Lien rights are not automatically granted to all citizens in the state of Florida. Generally, the state grants lien rights to contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers, rental equipment companies, manual laborers, and other professionals. You are not required to have a written contract for a construction’s lien. The contract may be oral, written, or implied.

Those who do not qualify for construction liens in Florida include:

  • Sub sub-contractors
  • Suppliers who supply to other suppliers
  • Suppliers to sub sub-contractors
  • Laborers who do not meet license requirements in the state of Florida
  • Maintenance workers

The Boutty Law firm is a Winter Park law firm that helps clients with construction liens, as well as commercial and real estate law. For more information, contact us today at (407) 537-0543.

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5 Risks of Purchasing a Foreclosure

There are many ways to make money in the real estate industry, and people are always looking for an opportunity to invest. In some cases, an investor may consider purchasing a home which has been foreclosed, as foreclosed homes normally come with low asking prices. But is it really worth it to buy a foreclosure, and will your investment pay off in the end? Continue reading why it may be difficult to get a return on a foreclosure investment.

  1. You will be purchasing the house “as is”

Foreclosures occur when a lender repossesses a property from a borrower who failed to maintain the mortgage payments. The lender then offers the home for sale at a public auction for foreclosures. The highest bidder at the auction will purchase the condition as is, meaning there will be no improvements to the property prior to purchase, and all liens, unpaid taxes, and encumbrances will come with the property.

  • The property may still be occupied

There are few things more awkward than buying a new home and immediately having to evict its previous owners because the property is still occupied. Unless you are familiar and experience with the process of evicting tenants, it’s helpful to have an attorney delegate this process for you.

  • There won’t be any inspections

Normally, when you purchase a property that is not a foreclosure, you have the opportunity to have a formal inspection: first, when you visit the open house, and second at the time of purchase. When the home is a foreclosure, however, there will not be a professional inspection of the property, and chances are you will not enter the home prior to the foreclosure auction, either. Without an inspection, you will not be able to see what kind of condition the property is in or what repairs will be needed.  

  • It can be time consuming

The process of purchasing a foreclosed property is not the same as purchasing a regular property. Buying a foreclosure is more complicated as the process includes waiting periods which vary depending on what state you live in. Also, if you are purchasing the property from a bank, there are often multiple forms and approvals that are necessary to make the purchase. Purchasing a foreclosure can have many delays, and if the previous owners file for bankruptcy protection, it may even stop the sale.

  • The property may not actually pay off

In the beginning, the lower price of a foreclosed property may seem enticing, but in the long run, it may not turn out be a good deal or a wise financial investment. After spending money to remove the liens, complete all the necessary renovations, and pay back taxes, the payoff for the property may leave you feeling disappointed.

      The Boutty Law Firm is experienced in helping individuals and families throughout central Florida with foreclosures and other legal real estate matters. For more information, contact us at (407) 537-0543

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What Not to Include in a Will

Many people are aware that creating a will is a good way to protect your wealth and ensure that your assets are passed on to your beneficiaries. You may not be aware that there are some assets that you should not include when writing your will. Property that already has laws governing its distribution should not be included. The following types of property should be excluded when writing your will:

  • Transfer on death property: These assets do not need to be included in a will because they pass automatically to the person who was named a beneficiary on the account. Transfer on death assets include real estate, vehicles, and stocks and bonds.
  • Pay on death bank accounts: Similar to transfer on death property, these types of assets go directly to the beneficiary after the account holder passes away.
  • Property with a right of survivorship: Some property is communally owned by more than one party, and if the asset has a right to survivorship, the surviving party will take ownership of the property at the time of the other party’s death. It cannot be transferred onto beneficiaries in a will as long as one of the joint owners is alive.
  • Life insurance and annuity benefits: These assets cannot be included in a will. The benefits of a life insurance policy or annuity are automatically passed on to the designated beneficiaries at the owner’s time of death.
  •  Proceeds from 401k and other accounts:  401k accounts, retirement plans, IRA’s and pensions all have a similar payout policy as life insurance: only those named as beneficiaries receive the funds after the death of the account holder.

What you should include in your will

After reading the above exceptions, you might be wondering what types of assets you should include in your will. The good news is the answer is fairly simple: all other assets. Generally speaking, any asset that is not automatically paid or distributed upon the death of the asset holder should be included in the will. If you are unsure of which assets you have, consider keeping a notebook that lists all your different assets to see which should be included and which should be left out. Keep this with you until you are ready to write your will. If you are unsure, you may seek the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney to help you review your assets and decide what should be included in your will.

You do not need to wait until you have built significant wealth or assets to begin drafting your last will and testament. The Boutty Law Firm is a Central Florida law firm that has helped many families protect their wealth and assets through estate planning. We assist in the writing of wills, as well as other estate planning services, such a probate and estate administration. For more information on wills and to get in touch with an estate planning attorney, call our Winter Park office at 407-537-0543.

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6 Tax Deductions for Businesses

Many entrepreneurs know that there are lots of things to include on their business tax returns to help them manage the costs of running a business. While there are limits as well as timing constraints, most expenses can be written off and this is definitely something to take advantage of this upcoming 2018/2019 tax season. Many of the same type of deductions that apply to sole proprietorship can also be used for other business entities including C and S Corporations, limited liability companies, and partnerships. Depending on what type of business you have, the rules may apply differently to you, but more than likely you’ll have much to gain by considering these potential tax deductions for your business:

  1. Wages and Salaries

Most forms of payment to employees are considered tax deductible expenses for businesses. These include bonuses, commissions, and taxable fringe benefits, in addition to the common salaries and wages of employees. Employee payment should not be confused with payments to sole proprietors. Payments to these entities are not considered wages, and are therefore not tax deductible.

  • Freelance and Contract Labor

Similar to employee wages, payments to independent contractors and freelancers are deductible business expenses you can claim on your taxes. In order for the deductible to be valid, the contractor or freelancer will have needed to have been paid a minimum of $600 for the year, and it will be required that you issue a 1099 tax form.

  • Business Supplies

All great businesses need resources and supplies to run effectively. The good news is that in most cases you are able to include these supplies on your tax form as a deductible. These supplies are deductible business expenses if they are purchased or furnished to customers.

  • Car and Truck Expenses

Operations and transportation is a huge element and a source of expenses for many businesses. Most small businesses use some type of vehicle, and the cost of operating the vehicle is deductible, but only in the case that there are records to prove business usage. When deducting costs, it is not required to keep receipts of expenses if you use the IRS standard mileage rate of 54.5 cents per mile for 2018. The standard mileage rate can be used regardless of whether you lease or own the vehicle.

  • Utilities

If you didn’t already know, the electricity bill for powering your business facility is fully deductible from your business taxes. This can include mobile phone expenses as well as a second landline from your home office.

  • Rent

Luckily, the rent for your business space is also deductible from your small business taxes. This applies regardless of the size of the facility or whether it is an office, boutique, factory, or other facility.

The Boutty Law Firm works with many small businesses across Central Florida, from corporations, to partnerships, and more. For legal assistance with your commercial business needs, contact our law firm at 407-216-2766.

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5 Important Things to Do After Writing a Will

So you’ve decided to think ahead and plan for the future by writing your will. Congratulations, you’re much more prepared than most people who postpone writing a will until the last minute or forgo one altogether. But is simply writing a will enough? It might not be if you want your loved ones to be fully prepared and informed of your wishes. Here are some things to consider creating once you’ve completed the writing of your will:

  • A List of Accounts

Generally, a will can tell you how an individual’s assets and property are to be distributed once they die. However, a will can leave out a lot of information such as how to access the assets. Consider leaving a list of accounts that your loved ones will be able to access. Include things such as bank accounts, credit cards, mortgages, and personal loans.

  • A Password List

Few things will be as frustrating as realizing you’ve inherited an important financial asset but have no means of accessing it online.  Login names, pin numbers, e-mails, and passwords are all important parts of an online account’s security. Keeping a list of passwords and other sensitive information pertaining to your will is a smart move and your relatives will thank you for it.

  • Note of Investments

Like a list of accounts, the inheritors of your assets will want to be informed of whatever investments you have in your name. These can include stocks, bonds, annuities, life insurance policies, retirement assets, and other investments. If you have a broker or agency that helps manage your assets, be sure to include their contact information.

  • Funeral Plans

If you’re facing an illness, or simply want to have all the details of your funeral taken care of ahead of time, you can have specific instructions left to your loved ones for your funeral arrangements. You can even plan your burial, funeral, or cremation in advance. If you want to lift the burden off your loved ones, you can also set aside funds to cover your funeral costs.

  • Instructions For Your Will

Last but not least, it’s good to discuss everything with your family ahead of time and let them know you’re planning to have your will, investments, and other financial accounts prepared for when you pass on.  Give them instructions on where to find your will, your list of passwords and accounts, your funeral plans, and other important details. Explain to them what your wishes are and how you would like to have the assets of your will distributed once you pass on.  Being proactive in your will can help save your loved ones much stress and concern, and provide peace of mind to you that your desires are carried out in the end.

The Boutty Law Firm assists individuals in Central Florida prepare for their future with wills, probate, and estate administration services. Contact us for more information.  

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