Loss of Residency Status From an Overseas Trip

If you have a green card and stay out of the U.S. for an extended period of time, you could risk losing you residency status.

Legal Permanent Residents (green card holders) can be considered to have abandoned their permanent resident status if they move to another country intending to stay their permanently or remain out of the country for over a year without obtaining a reentry permit or a returning resident visa.

Photo Courtesy of Stockfreeeimages.comAlthough LPRs are allowed to stay outside of the U.S. for up to a year, if they remain out of the country for any length of time it could raise suspicion with immigration officers; The LPR could be found to have abandoned his permanent resident status.

LPRs should apply for a reentry visa before they leave the country if they plan to be gone for an extended period of time. This visa is valid for two years, but any length of absence from the U.S., even less than a year, may be considered abandoning permanent resident status. Reentry permits should make it easier to prove that the LPR is returning from a temporary visit abroad, which will greatly increase the chances of reentry.

LPRs may also lose their status if they fail to file their income taxes, declare themselves as a “nonimmigrant” on their tax return, or move and fail to inform the Department of Homeland Security. Male LPRs between the ages of 18 and 26 are also required to register with the Selective Service.

Sources: USCIS , VisaPro , ImmigrationUnitedStates.org

Real Estate Closing Process in Florida

Image courtesy of Stockfreeimages.comThe real estate closing process in Florida customarily follows a series of steps. As a result, even the simplest transaction can take between 30-45 days to close.

Once the buyer and seller of a property have agreed to an offer, it is drafted in writing, signed by the buyer and seller, and an initial escrow deposit is made by the buyer.

After the escrow deposit is made, the buyer’s lender or real estate agent (depended on whether the transaction is a cash sale or being financed) will send a request for title to a closing attorney chosen by the buyer.

The closing attorney will then process the file by ordering documents such as tax information, loan payoff statements, and inspection reports. At the same time, the attorney will order a title search from an insurance underwriter. This searches any documents in public record that may affect the title of the house such as deeds, liens, or divorce settlements.

If everything is clear after reviewing the documents, the closing attorney will verify that the “seller” is the legal owner of the property and will make note of any debts owed.

The attorney will then prepare all of the closing documents, such as a HUD Form 1, if a RESPA transaction, or a Closing Statement, a Warranty Deed, and any Affidavits that may be needed for clearing title. These documents may go through several drafts and revisions, but they will be approved by the buyer and seller well in advance of the actual closing.

Finally, a date and time is scheduled for both parties to show up and sign the closing documents, this process also maybe done electronically. After this is complete, the transaction will disburse, and certain documents will be sent to the county in which the property is located to be recorded.

Does this process sound a little confusing?

It is. That is why it is important to find a real estate attorney to help move the process along in an efficient manner.

Sources: Federal Title & Escrow Company, Trulia

Technology of a Large Florida Firm, Personality of a Small Florida Firm

Clarity Photo Courtesy of Stockfreeimages.com

Whether you’re going to buy groceries or hiring an attorney, costs and fees are always a concern. That is why we at Boyer Law Firm insist on a written fee agreement with you, the client. We have hourly, contingency and flat fee rates, and we offer convenient online payments with Visa, MasterCard, and Paypal.

We take time to explain any questions that our clients may haven order to provide comfort for you and confidence in our firm.

Technology

We maintain all of our files in electronic format using the latest technology available to large firms, which we have chosen to acquire. Every document is scanned within 24 hours, read,Photo Courtesy of Stockfreeimages.com analyzed, and processed. We will often email you the document as well in order to keep you updated on your case. We want to make sure that we are providing for you, our client.

We have subscriptions to online, specialized legal software to access the most up-to-date legal information, case laws, and statutes that may be relevant to your case.

Our central server allows our staff to access information and documents relevant to your case from anywhere, anytime, including while in court, while traveling, and even overseas!

Our case management software allows us to schedule with greater precision. This allows us to not only stay on top of your case, but also to plan well ahead of deadlines imposed by law.

Personality

Because we are a small firm, we are able to build a lasting relationship with our clients. We understand that legal matters usually take an emotional toll on all parties involved, and we strive to show compassion in every case.

If you need legal representation regarding business law, international law, immigration, real estate or estate planning, please contact us today.

Now is the Time for Foreign Investment in Florida

Foreing Investment in FloridaThe diminished value of the U.S. Dollar is still offering the opportunity to make money for foreigners who invest in real estate in Florida.

With the rise in short-sales and foreclosures, foreign investors are able to buy properties for a low cost. Investors are able to buy a multi-family home for the cost of an efficient apartment in their own country.

In addition, because many Floridians are now renting instead of buying, there is an opportunity to make a true investment that will gain profit not only from an eventual resale, but also through renting out properties such as condos, which many foreign investors are buying in bulk.

Management and repair costs are also lower in Florida than in many foreign countries. Foreign investors who rent out some properties are estimated to receive a 10-15% return rate.

Even if you are looking to buy a second home on one of Florida’s sunny beaches, renting the property out on a seasonal basis can still result in profit gain (not to mention a nice place to get away.)

Foreign investment in Florida is becoming more popular, and, as a result, the number of properties available is diminishing, and the price of these properties is expected to increase as the demand does. The trend is already in full affect in South Florida areas such as Miami, and it is expected to be replicated in other coastal areas of Florida in a South to North pattern.

Sources: Condo Owner, Equity First

*Image courtesy of stockfreeimages.com

Florida Registered Agent

All companies in Florida, whether they be corporations, LLCs, Limited Partnerships, etc., are required by law to designate and maintain a registered agent. Failing to do so can result in civil sanctions such as fines or loss of incorporation.

A registered agent acts as the company’s representative for receiving Service of Process of important documents, such as legal documents, notices from state agencies, and tax documents from the IRS. Your registered agent is the only person authorized by the State of Florida to receive these documents.

A registered agent must have a Florida address, not a P.O. Box, and be open to the public during regular business hours.

It is a good idea to hire an attorney for your company’s registered agent. This will ensure these important documents get to you in a timely fashion.Florida Registered Agent

One of the main benefits of hiring an attorney as a registered agent comes in the instance that the company is sued. If this occurs, the company has 20 calendar days to respond. If not, it could result in the automatic loss of the case by default or a much greater expense to defend the case.

A lawyer will also insure that you understand the importance of maintaining your corporate formalities, such as annual returns, corporate minutes, and annual meetings for your company. This is critical to maintaining your personal liability protection.

Sources: EHow.com , Florida Registered Agents

*Image courtesy of stockfreeimages.com

 

E-commerce and Virtual Storefronts

E-commerce is the term for any business or commercial transaction that takes place across the internet.

e-commerceThere are different categories of e-commerce, which include “virtual storefronts” (like amazon.com); the gathering and exchange of demographic data; data exchange, such as email, between businesses for the use of reaching perspective clients and establishing customers; and buying and selling between businesses (B2B) over the internet.

Both already existing retail businesses and new ventures operating solely online are using the “virtual storefront” as a method of selling their products. Ordering items and having them shipped through the mail was available long before the internet, but using the internet for this method of buying and selling has many benefits.

These benefits include lower transaction costs, especially in the areas of ordering and customer service; the ability to offer more information about a purchase, such as where the item is in the shipping process; a larger inventory to choose from (no one wants to read a 1000 page magazine, but it’s convenient to use a search toolbar to find the item you want); and improved interaction with customers through mediums such as email.

Although there are many benefits to building a “virtual storefront” for your business, there are certain hoops you have to jump through to make it a success. These include building an effective website, the cost of shipping (the price of postage has gone up since the good ole’ days), and accepting online payments.

As with any start-up business, a good business-law attorney can help you strategically place your business in the online landscape.

Sources: How Stuff Works ; Network Solutions

* Photo courtesy of Stockfreeimages.com

Debt Collection Scams

Debt Collection ScamsThere are many debt collection scams going on across the country. Allied Litigation Group, a company that claims to be based out of Houston, Texas, has been named a phony debt collection agency by the Better Business Bureau.

It is only one of the debt collection scams affecting people nationwide. Complaints against the “company” have been filed with attorney generals in Texas, Ohio, Florida, and the Federal Trade Commission.

The language company employees used in the calls was described as “very aggressive, very threatening, and very angry.” They claimed they were criminal investigators or court officers who had warrants or court-proceedings against the alleged debtor, and even threatened them with arrest.

In addition, the company would not provide proof of the alleged debt to the people they were calling. “They have never sent me proof,” said Patrick Gaghan, one of the people who filed complaints against Allied Litigation Group. “They just kept demanding money or saying they’re getting warrants for my arrest.”

If you receive a call from a debt collector, do your homework. Debt collectors are required by law to provide you with a written statement of how much is owed and to whom the money is owed. If you have further skepticism, you can call the original creditor to ask if the debt has been turned over to a collection agency.

If a debt collector threatens you with arrest, this is a BIG warning sign.   The Constitution of the State of Florida, Section 11, states that “no person shall be imprisoned for debt, except in cases of fraud.”

This is not always the case, however. In some states, debt collectors are manipulating courts by asking the debtor submit a document called a Fact Information Sheet or appear in court for an “examination” of the debtor’s ability to pay. If the debtor does not comply, they may be held in contempt of court, which may result in a warrant for their arrest.

If you are receiving calls from a debt collector, legitimate or not, a Florida debt collection attorney can help you understand your rights and how you should go about resolving the issue.

Sources: Law Firm Newswire ; Daily Finance ; KHOU.com

*Photo Courtesy of stockfreeimages.com

Will Executors

The death of a loved one is always a traumatic event, and as the will executor, making decisions regarding their will and estate can make the process that much more difficult.Will Executor

If you have been appointed as the fiduciary of a will, or a will executor, then you have a legal obligation to settle the deceased’s estate in a timely manner.  By hiring a Florida Probate Attorney, you can make this process easier for yourself and your loved ones.

Probate is a legal process that occurs after someone dies. It protects the rights of creditors and entitled beneficiaries.

During the probate process, it is the responsibility of the executor to prove in court the will is valid, inventory and appraise the deceased’s property, pay debts and taxes, and distribute the remaining assets to beneficiaries. This can take a few months or a few years, depending on the complexity of the deceased’s estate.

If the fiduciary fails to execute this process, then litigation will usually occur and the fiduciary will be held personally liable.

The right Probate Attorney will give you clarity, efficiency and peace of mind as you go through this difficult process. It is important to find an attorney that will not only aggressively represent you, but will also show compassion.

* Photo courtesy of Stockfreeimages.com

SBA Backs Loans to Florida Small Business Exporters

As we become a more “globalized” world, international trade is becoming more popular and more important, especially in the small business world. E-commerce and logistics have allowed Florida small businesses to more easily reach the 96% of consumers who reside outside of the U.S.

By creating a business in Florida and exporting goods and services to other countries, you are receiving the benefits of owning a business in Florida, while still being able to reach a vast arena of consumers. This allows for increased sales and profit opportunities.

South Florida, in particular, is a major hub for international trade activity. Image courtesy of Stockfreeimages.com

The U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) had loaned over $213 million in the Miami-Dade area alone in the 2012 fiscal year (FY2012). SBA loans in South Florida have increased 25% since the FY2010.

“Loans have been guaranteed for as little as $5,000 all the way up to the new loan limit of $5 million,” SBA Deputy District Director Jonel Hein said.

In addition to facilitating loans, SBA offers counseling and training, export matchmaking conferences, and other information to help small businesses.

Small business increasing their exports helps to create jobs and stimulate the economy of the local community. Creating a business in Florida will benefit you, your employees, and the Florida community.

If you are considering opening a business in Florida, Boyer Law Firm can help you.

Sources: Miami Today, SBA.gov

Short Sales for Non-Delinquent Borrowers in Florida and Across the U.S.

Starting TODAY, for the first time ever, borrowers, in Florida and across the U.S., who have never missed a mortgage payment will be able to short sell their houses if they can demonstrate a hardship, such as loss of employment or the death of a spouse.

This new rule will allow for underwater homeowners to get rid of their mortgage and also take advantage of the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, which is expected to expire at the end of the year.

Previously, only delinquent borrowers have been eligible for short sales.

There is a downside. The average person suffers a 150 point credit score loss after a short sale. This will be no different for non-delinquent homeowners because there is no special coding that differentiates them from those who went months without paying their mortgages.

Photo courtesy of stockfreeimages.comThe Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is currently in discussions with the credit industry to determine if and how this new law will affect credit scoring, but no solution has been found as of yet.

If you are considering a short sale, you should consult an attorney to discuss your options. There are many things changing in the housing market, and it is important to have all of the facts before making a decision.

Source: Inman News