Inheritance of Virtual Assets in Florida

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We live in a world where almost every person owns digital valuables. In the past, movies, music, bills, receipts, photos, and other documents were commonly held in physical form. In the event of the death of the original owner, these items were inherited by the beneficiary.

However, with rapid tech advances, many of us prefer virtual assets. While digital movies and music have many advantages, passing on these virtual assets is complicated as not every state has adopted laws addressing access to virtual assets when a user passes away.

Most of the decisions regarding virtual inheritance are based on related laws or the terms and conditions of the digital asset provider. In today’s spotlight, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the inheritance of virtual assets in Florida.

Definition of Virtual Assets

Virtual assets include documents, photos, movies, and other things in digital format that have an economic or sentimental value. Email accounts, websites, social media accounts are also considered virtual assets, as well as licenses of software and games.  Frequent flyer miles with airlines are also digital assets.

In today’s digital economy, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, and Tether all too, are considered digital assets and should be included in a comprehensive estate evaluation. If you happen to be a YouTube influencer, this is a valuable digital asset that also should be addressed by an experienced and up-to-date estate planner.

Inheritance of the virtual assets can create a lot of confusion among beneficiaries about their legal rights.

Virtual Assets in Legal Context

In the legal context, there is a big difference between the right to use and the ownership of assets. This includes virtual assets. In this context, an heir only has rights over the virtual assets that were owned by the deceased person. Digital estate includes data that the deceased person has in the cloud or on their personal computer.

The US Uniform Law Commission Act allows the deceased person’s close relatives or executor the right to manage and access their virtual assets. This law states that the personal representative of the deceased person can access the digital assets by obtaining probate or the grant of power from the court.

In 2016, Florida enacted the Florida Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (see Florida Statute Title XLII, Chapter 740). The Act helps address access to various digital assets like email and social media accounts, blogs, websites, and other electronically-stored media.

The powers to manage a deceased person’s digital assets are limited by the will and intent of the user. The in-service choice of the user will take preference over the provision of the will.  For instance, if the user has mentioned in their digital account settings how access to virtual assets will be granted, the user’s intent overrides anything written in the deceased person’s will.

How to Pass on Virtual Assets to Beneficiaries?

Popular social media platforms such as Google, Twitter, and Facebook allow users to specify who will inherit the account in the event of the account owner’s death. It’s important to understand the differences between different platforms.

Facebook

Using the legacy contact feature of Facebook, users can choose choose a person to manage their account after their death. However, the appointed contact has limited control. They can only announce the death of the account holder and change the cover photo, as well as some profile information. The legacy contact cannot add or remove posts or images on the account of the deceased person.

Google

Google also has a feature known as an inactive account manager. This allows a user to nominate up to 10 trusted contacts. The user can specify what data will be shared with the trusted person, such as photos, documents in Google Drive, and other data. Google will notify the trusted persons in case of no account activity between 3 to 18 months, as specified by the user.

Twitter

Twitter does not give many options to the legal heirs of the deceased person. User accounts can be deactivated by heirs. However, they cannot tweet on the account.  In addition, heirs cannot change the profile. 

Frequent Flyer Miles

Airlines like Delta, JetBlue, and Emirates allow close relatives of a dead person to inherit the frequent flyer miles. Southwest also allows the dead person’s relatives to inherit miles to their account. But they must use the frequent miles within two years of the death of a close relative. 

No laws are available that enforce the transfer of frequent flyer miles of other airlines. The companies can forfeit the assets after the miles’ owner dies.

Online Password Management Services

Many online services (DigiPulse and SecureSafe) allow users to save multiple accounts and passwords. These paid online services allow users to pass on virtual assets to their heirs. But legal heirs have to submit a death certificate and give two references to verify the death of the account holder to gain legal ownership of the virtual assets.

Virtual Asset and Estate Evaluation

Virtual asset inheritance in Florida can be fairly complex, which is why having an experienced estate planning attorney is key to understanding all your options and the best path for your unique situation. Contact us today for a personalized plan, including expert legal advice about virtual asset transfer.

USCIS Fees Change October, 2020

US Visa Application, USCIS Application fees change October 2, 2020

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently announced a sweeping overhaul of immigration and naturalization benefit request fees. The changes come in the midst of a major budget crisis for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The revised fee schedule will take effect on October 2, 2020 and will increase costs for most applicants. Read on to learn more about the impact of these scheduled changes.


Why Are USCIS Fees Changing?

During a biennial review, the USCIS found that their current fee structure leaves them underfunded by roughly $1 billion per year. Since the USCIS is almost entirely fee funded, the fee changes will help them recover costs and meet their operational needs. The scheduled change accounts for a wave of increased expenses, including immigration fraud detection, thorough applicant vetting, and new technology. The agency expects these fee increases to help them overcome this shortfall.

Fees for Employment-Based Visas

The final rule increases USCIS fees by a weighted average of 21%. Under the final rule, fees for H-1, L-1, and other employment-based visa applications will climb as much as 75%. In a major change to work visa fees, the USCIS will require employers to file I-129 forms based on worker visa classification. The standard I-129 fee is now $555 for H-1B, $805 for L-1, and $705 for O-1 and O-2. These are a steep increase from the previous $460 fee and represent fee increases ranging from 50-85%.

In addition to I-129 fee changes, employers with H-1B and L-1 workers will also be on the hook for other fees. USCIS is set to impose fees on companies with over 50 employees that have a workforce comprised of at least 50% H-1B and L-1 employees. A $4,000 fee on H-1B and a $4,500 fee on L-1 petitions will be invoked when an employee’s status is extended. High-skilled employment visas, like O and TN, will rise by over 50% as well. Non-DACA immigrants applying for employment authorization will also see a steep application increase of 34%.

New USCIS Application Rules

The final rule not only impacts existing application fees, but it will create new ones as well. The removal of certain fee exceptions will result in new charges for asylum seekers coming to the U.S. They will pay $50 to process their 1-765 requests. Employment authorization applicants must also pay a new $30 biometrics fee and an additional $140 fee increase to file their application.

The USCIS will no longer bundle the adjustment of status fee with the employment authorization document and advance parole fees. Previously, filers could bundle all three applications for a fee of $1,125. The final rule requires separate filing fees for all three applications for a cost of $2,270 — an increase of over 100%. Other key changes include a longer timeline for premium processing and an over $500 increase for naturalization applications.

Biggest Changes in the USCIS Fee Schedule

Applications impacted the most by the fee changes lies in immigrant and citizenship petitions. Most notably, total fees for Adjustment of Status Applications increased by a whopping 85%.

Citizenship petitions for naturalization will also see a significant increase in October. The fee for online naturalization applications increases by 81%. The fee for paper paper filing of naturalization increases by 83%. The scheduled changes are outlined in the table below.

Don’t Wait. File Now!

If you have been thinking of applying for any US employment-based visa, adjustment of status, or naturalization, now is the best time to avoid the increase fees that will go into effect this October.

Contact us to discuss your immigration needs. During the current political climate, immigration issues can be very complex. An experienced immigration attorney can help reduce the likelihood your petition is denied. Our attorneys will advise you on the best course of action during your immigration process.

FormCurrent FeeFinal FeeChange
NON-IMMIGRANT
I-129H1$460$55521%
I-129H2B (Named Beneficiaries)$460$71555%
I-129H-2B (Unnamed Beneficiaries)$460$385-10%
I-129L (includes L-1A, L-1B and L blankets)$460$80575%
I-129O$460$70553%
I-129E & TN & I-129CW (includes E-1, E-2, E-3, TN and CW)$460$69551%
I-129MISC (includes H-3, P, Q, R)$460$69551%
I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant status (Online Filing)$370$3905%
I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant status (Paper Application)$370$4008%
IMMIGRANT
I-140, Immigrant Visa Petition$700$555-21%
I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur$3,675$4,0109%
I-485, Application to Adjust Status$1,140$1,130-1%
I-485, Application to Adjust Status for applicant under the age of 14$750$1,13051%
I-765, Application for Employment Authorization (Non-DACA)$410$55034%
I-765, Application for Employment Authorization (DACA)$410$4100%
I-131, Application for Travel Document$575$5903%
Biometrics Fee (NON-DACA)$85$30-65%
Biometrics Fee (DACA)$85$850%
Total Fees for Adjustment of Status Applications bundle -- I-485 with I-765, and I-131 $1,225$2,27085%
I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card (online filing)$455$405-11%
I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card (paper filing)$455$415-9%
CITIZENSHIP
N-400, Application for Naturalization (online)$640$1,16081%
N-400, Application for Naturalization (paper filing)$640$1,17083%

What a Florida Estate Planning Lawyer Can Do For You?

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Estate planning is the process of planning the transfer of your assets to your heirs upon your death. Deciding how your wealth should be distributed among your loved ones isn’t easy. After all, estate planning is a complex process involving a series of decisions that affects the financial security of your family. In this blog, we explain the basics of estate planning. We will explore what it encompasses and how a Florida estate planning lawyer can help you make the best decisions.

Estate Planning: What You Need to Know

The estate planning process typically starts with a review of all your assets, including intellectual property. A will is then drafted that determines how your assets will be distributed once you are gone. The document typically contains the name of an personal representative. This is the person who will be in charge of executing your will after your death.

Another crucial aspect of estate planning is creating a living trust to pass your assets to your heirs. It entails naming a trustee, such as a family member or attorney, who will manage your assets after your death.

Creating a trust can result in tax savings if you have substantial wealth or property. You also appoint a power of attorney who has the legal power to handle your financial affairs, especially if you can’t take care of yourself due to a debilitating disease. Not only will the power of attorney look after your financial affairs but they will also make important decisions on your behalf.

Benefits of Hiring Florida Estate Planning Lawyer

Experienced estate planning lawyers have extensive knowledge about estate plans and trusts. As legal experts, they can provide you detailed insights into estate planning laws in your state. They also can educate you on tax implications regarding the transfer of your property.

An attorney who specializes in estate planning can help you develop a comprehensive plan to avoid or minimize estate taxes. They will work with you to ensure that your assets remain safe from your heir’s creditors after your demise.

An experienced Florida estate planning lawyer can help you to address a range of issues, including determining how your assets should be distributed, who should take over your business, who should look after the assets of your minor children, and more.

At Boyer Law Firm, our team of lawyers possess years of experience in Florida estate planning. Our legal experts are also well-versed in ancillary probate and estate planning with international tax implications. Our offices are located in Jacksonville, Orlando, and Miami, and New York City. For a full review of your estate planning needs, contact us by calling (407) 574-2573 or sending us a private message through our secure contact form. Appointments are available by telephone or video-conference for your safety and convenience.

Challenging a Prenuptial Agreement in Florida

Florida Family Law Prenuptial Contract, Challenging a Prenuptial Agreement

A prenuptial agreement is a legal contract that defines what a married couple will receive in case of a divorce. In Florida, the Uniform Prenuptial Agreement Act (UPAA), adopted in 2007, governs prenuptial contracts.

Couples enter into a prenuptial agreement prior to marriage to protect their assets. The contractual agreement specifies how property, assets and debt will be divided between the two partners in the event of a divorce. This contract can also protect the inheritance rights of children from a previous marriage.

Prenuptial agreements can be challenged in court in certain situations. In this blog post, you will learn about the circumstances for when you can challenge a prenuptial agreement in Florida.

Challenging a Prenuptial Agreement in Florida

A prenuptial contract is a legally binding contract. But if fraud or undue influence was a reason for entering into the contract, you can challenge it in court. Florida courts may void a prenup. But you have to prove that there is a valid reason for it to be void.

1. Terms of the Prenuptial Agreement Violate State Laws

The terms of the prenuptial contract must not contradict state laws. A judge may void the contract if the provisions regarding child custody restrictions, visitation rights, or other matters violate state laws. In this case, the prenuptial contract will not hold in court.

2. The Prenuptial Agreement was Signed Under Pressure

 A partner can challenge a prenup contract if signed under stress. A partner may attempt to force the other partner into signing the contract. The partner may use threats that could be physical or financial in nature. Again, this will also void the contract.

A contract is valid if all partners willingly enter into the prenup contract. There must be no compulsion. The use of threat will void the contract.

3. Unfair Prenuptial Agreement Provisions

You can also challenge a prenup contract if you believe that the provisions were grossly unfair. The specific provisions of the contract should be reasonable. No provisions should be unfair as per the state laws.

Examples of unreasonable provision include no claim to assets in case of infidelity. In this case, the prenuptial contract is an unconscionable contract that will not hold up in court. The contract will not be considered valid.

4. Full Disclosure of Assets and Liabilities Was Not Made

It is necessary for both parties to fully disclose their assets and debt before signing the contract. The partner who waives the right of the other partner to full disclosure should do so knowingly.

A partner must fully disclose their assets unless there is a waiver for disclosure. If a partner withholds information about some assets, the prenuptial contract will be void.

If you want to challenge a prenuptial agreement in Florida, contact an experienced family law attorney.

Boyer Law Firm, P.L.’s family law attorneys offer expert advice to individuals in Florida and New York. Using our secure contact form, message us for a free case evaluation.

How Do Mechanic’s Liens Work?

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A mechanic’s lien is a legal claim on unpaid compensation for work or goods provided. The company that performed work or delivered materials  can file a lien against property. The ensuring they will be paid first if the individual or company sells, refinances, or mortgages the property.

For example, if a construction company remodels a home for $50,000 and the homeowner does not pay the bill, then a lien can be filed on the property. As a result, the construction company will receive sales proceeds to cover their losses, if the owner attempts to sell the house.

As more businesses feel the financial strain of coronavirus, they may find mechanic’s liens useful to secure revenue for services and goods previously provided.

Easy to Understand, Challenging in Practice

Mechanic’s liens are simple tools to help your business but can become quite complicated when put into place. It is a type of lien that provides assurance that workers and companies will be paid even if the buyer does not make good on his or her end of the agreement.

There are a few moving parts to mechanic’s liens, which means that business owners should discuss their options with a Florida business lawyer to help them through the process.

Misconceptions About Mechanic’s Liens

The most common misconception is that a mechanic’s lien is for mechanics to take back possession of a vehicle. As confusing as this may sound, mechanic’s do not use this type of lien. Instead, they use artisan liens when trying to recuperate their losses for unpaid work performed if the seller attempts to sell the vehicle.

How Do They Work?

Qualifying for a mechanic’s lien is a matter of filing one. Almost any industry can use them. To obtain this cash flow protection, one must take the following actions:

  1. Provide notice to the homeowner
  2. File a claim of mechanic’s lien in the proper county
  3. File a civil suit to put the lien in place

In general, a lien will remain in effect until the owner sells the property. The proceeds are transferred to the lien holder. Every jurisdiction has its own specific laws regarding the timing of filing a mechanic’s lien. This is why it is important that business owners discuss their options with an experienced Florida business lawyer.

Connect with a Florida Business Law Attorney to File or Enforce a Mechanic’s Lien

Are you are awaiting payment for a project? If so, then filing a mechanic’s lien may be the next step in recovering the money you are owed. It is important to act sooner rather than later since the payer could file for bankruptcy or liquidate the assets quickly.

Do not let your customers get away based on a technicality on a promise that they made to you. You deserve to be paid for the work you performed and the materials you used. Contact Boyer Law Firm, PL to discuss your situation, by calling (407) 574-2573 or sending us a message through our secure online contact form.