What to do if Your Company is Sued in Florida

What to do if Your Company is Sued in Florida

In Florida, if a business entity, such as a Florida LLC, Florida Corporation, or other Florida company is sued in a lawsuit, the owners, managers, or directors are required by law to hire an attorney to represent the business entity.

The reason for this is because when a person represents themselves in court, known as acting “pro se,” they are not practicing law because they are representing themselves. However, since the business is considered a separate entity from the owner(s) of the business, the owner of a company cannot represent that company because it would be considered an unlicensed practice of law, even if he is the only owner, manager, and employee in the entire company.

Companies in Florida are sued for many different reasons, both legitimate and not, but if your company is sued in Florida and you do not hire a Florida attorney to represent you, the Plaintiff in the civil action may receive a default judgment against your company for failing to respond.

A court will grant the default judgment against a business entity because if the owner of a business entity were to respond to a Complaint or Summons on behalf of the company without hiring an attorney to represent the company, they would be guilty of the unlicensed practice of law, which is a third degree felony.

This Final Default Judgment could result in several different scenarios, from a judgment lien being placed against your company, to garnishment of company assets, or even worse. In some scenarios, the Plaintiff may be able to “pierce the corporate veil” and recover your personal assets as payment for the judgment.

If your Florida LLC or Florida corporation has been sued, then you need to contact an attorney IMMEDIATELY, as failure to respond by the deadline could also result in a default judgment being granted against you and/or your company.

If your company has been involved in a business dispute that you feel may result in litigation, then it is also important to contact an attorney. An experienced litigation and business law attorney may be able to take steps, such as pre-litigation negotiations, pre-litigation review of documents, and more, that could eliminate the need for a lengthy and costly court proceeding, or at the very least, be prepared for when the action is initiated by the opposing party.

8 Tips for Owners of Florida Small Businesses

Starting a business can be tremendously thrilling and fun, but also tremendously overwhelming and challenging.”

This was part of the South Florida Business Journal’s recently published an article citing The 8 Tips Every New Business Owner Should Know.

“About 39 percent of entrepreneurs said it was somewhat or extremely easy to start their business, while 38 percent said it was somewhat or extremely difficult. Advisors who counsel and invest in startups said new businesses often struggle with the same issues: growing revenue, adding customers and producing accurate financials,” it went on to say.

The 8 tips are:Florida small businesses

  1. It’s Good to Share: “Top-tier startups are 59 percent more likely to have more than one founder.”

However, if there is more than one owner, manager, or member, then it is that much more important to make sure that your company documents are properly drafted.

  1. Winging It is For the Birds: “One of the first steps for a significant majority of successful entrepreneurs was creating a formal business plan. Don’t wing it! Creating a business plan is absolutely critical and should be done ahead of anything else.”

Here at Boyer Law Firm, we have assisted many Florida small businesses in drafting their business plans, especially for investor’s visas.

  1. Take a Word from the Wise: “54 percent of top-tier founders are more likely to hire an accountant, at least part-time.”

CPAs, attorneys, and other professionals may also be needed. Here at Boyer Law Firm, we specialize in assisting Florida small businesses as a quasi “in-house” attorney they cannot find anywhere else.

  1. Don’t Ignore Modern Marketing: “Marketing is no longer a one-way communications channel. You can (and should) be engaging directly with your customers through the use of social media platforms”

Make sure you are still engaging in a professional fashion.

  1. It’s A Balancing Act: “the most successful entrepreneurs are 58 percent more likely to make family, friends and personal pursuits a top priority in their lives.”

Happy people are much less likely to become overly stressed.

  1. Research, research, research: “Conduct a thorough market analysis. Who are your target customers? Your competitors? What trends can you take advantage of? Gather as much information as possible to help you set specific, realistic short- and long-term objectives.”

And then use this information in your business plan to make it more effective and accurate.

  1. Put Yourself Out There: “Meet people who share your perspective or may show you a new one. Take any opportunity to learn and network.”

This can allow you to both learn and grow your business at the same time

  1. Rules are Sometimes Meant to Be Broken: “Entrepreneurs often have to forge their own paths. Sometimes it’s necessary to break a rule a two in order to grow and succeed.”

But you should check with your attorney first.

Source: South Florida Business Journal

Death and Taxes And the Florida Probate Process

Death and Taxes

Benjamin Franklin said there were only two things certain in life: death and taxes.

This is also true for the Florida probate process.

The purpose of the Florida probate process is to gather the assets and debts of the deceased, pay the debts off, and distribute the remaining assets to the heirs. The Florida personal representative is responsible for ensuring this process is properly completed with the assistance of an attorney.

During the Florida probate process, the Florida personal representative will also need to ensure that all Estate taxes as well as the individual taxes of the deceased have been filed and paid before the probate matter can be closed and the assets can be distributed to the heirs.

If you have been named as the personal representative of an estate in Florida, or where the deceased passed away owning assets in Florida, or if you have recently suffered the loss of a loved one and would like to be appointed as the Personal Representative for the estate, then contact Boyer Law Firm, P.L. today.

Florida Breweries and Alcohol Licenses

Florida breweriesFlorida was named one of the top states for brewery openings at the Craft Brewers Conference in Portland, Oregon. Florida had the fifth most breweries across the U.S. in 2014, with 42 new beer makers setting up shop last year.

Jacksonville has embraced the new Florida breweries, especially for craft beer. There are 8 local Florida breweries in the Jacksonville area, and the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Area will host The 7th Annual Craft & Import Beer Festival on May 15.

If you have or want to start a Florida brewery or Florida business involving alcohol, whether it be brewing, importing, distributing, or selling, there are specific guidelines and requirements that need to be met on a federal, state, and local level.

Failure to properly adhere to these guidelines could result in penalties, including the shutdown of your business operations.

Here at Boyer Law Firm, we assist clients with all types of alcohol licenses, including import licenses, distribution licenses, and more, so contact us today.

Choose a Florida Real Estate Attorney as Your Closing Agent

Florida Real Estate Attorney as Your Closing Agent

If you are buying and selling a property in Florida, then it is important to choose the right closing agent to ensure that the title is conveyed properly and free of any liens or encumbrances.

Hiring an experienced Florida real estate attorney as your closing agent adds an extra level of protection to your closing, which is just one of the benefits of choosing a real estate attorney as your closing agent instead of a title company.

Additionally, title company workers are legally barred from giving legal advice, unless they are also a licensed attorney. However, if you choose a Florida real estate attorney as your closing agent, they may be allowed to provide you with legal advice throughout the closing, depending on who they represent.

When a Florida real estate transaction involves foreign persons or entities, there are additional requirements and responsibilities that need to be addressed during the closing.

Failure to properly process these requirements could result in severe penalties. For example, if you fail to process FIRPTA matters within the allotted time, or if they are processed incorrectly, it can result in severe monetary penalties to the Buyer.

If you are the seller of a property, then you should contact an experienced Florida real estate attorney before you put your property on the market. The attorney can assist you in obtaining a title search to discover any liens, unpaid mortgages, and other clouds on the title that will need to be addressed before the property can be sold and the deed can be conveyed.

In some circumstances, there may be steps that we can take to clear these clouds before there is even a buyer for the property. This will result in a faster and smoother closing.

If you are thinking about selling your property in Florida or if you are purchasing a property in Florida from a foreign seller, then contact Boyer Law Firm, P.L. today to see how we can assist you.