Sep17

Legal Potpourri

Hand holding pen asking for a signature on a mortgage contract

The 2013 Legislative Session passed many new laws some of which became effective July 1st and some will become effective October 1st. Also the courts have been active with a number of recent decisions. The following is a potpourri of new laws or important case law decisions that should be of interest to many.

Mortgage Foreclosures

A new Mortgage foreclosure Florida deficiency judgment law went into effect July 1, 2013. It applies to deficiencies resulting from both short sales and foreclosure sales. Generally speaking it shortens the time within which the lender may apply for a deficiency judgment from 5 years to 1 year. This will make lenders more aggressive in pursuing deficiencies. If you get a notice of a hearing or served with a lawsuit seeking a deficiency judgment do not ignore as there may be defenses available to you.

Estate Planning

In most instances life insurance proceeds are exempt not only from your creditor’s claims, but also the creditors of your beneficiaries. However, a recent Florida court ruling holds to the contrary when your trust or estate is named as beneficiary. This troubling decision, however, can be avoided with appropriate drafting of your will or trust.

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

All should be aware that Florida adopted a new, revised Limited Liability Company Act during this last legislative session. The Act goes into effect January 1, 2014. Anyone operating out of an LLC would be wise to have their Operating Agreement reviewed for compliance.

Builder/Developer Implied Warranties

A recent Florida Supreme Court ruling grants extended protection to home owners and homeowner associations. It expands the builder/developer implied warranty to include defective roads and drainage causing flooding, erosion or damage to properties.

Family Law

The recent Supreme Court cases dealing with Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and legalizing gay marriage should underscore and emphasize awareness and need for estate planning not only for same sex partners, but also for traditional opposite sex partners.

Landlord/Tenant

Effective July 1st the landlord tenant act was revised. Of particular interest the new law provides for specific form language and procedures for written disclosures to be given to tenants regarding rights and remedies; landlord’s obligations to maintain the premises and landlord’s rights and remedies regarding termination of rental agreements.

Power of Attorney

The Florida Power of Attorney Act enacted in 2011 substantially rewrote the Power of Attorney Statute. Effective this year new legislative provides for additional changes especially as it relates to acquiring and disposing of real property by Power of Attorney.

You should review the impact of these new laws with your financial advisors, accountants, and lawyers as to the effect they may have on you and your family.