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Articles Tagged with Miami asset protection lawyer

By Phillip B. Rarick, Esq.,  Miami Lakes and Weston Estate Planning Attorney

Within the past week, the Florida Department of State began sending notices by email to all persons with interests in Florida corporate entities, such as LLC’s, corporations, and limited partnerships.  These reports are due May 1, 2019 and there is no waiver of the $400 late fee if you miss this deadline.

The official Florida web site  at www.sunbiz.org has “Consumer Notices”  to alert you to bogus web sites that try to scam persons who file these reports.

May the odds be with you –but frankly they’re not.    More than 60% of doctors over the age of 55 have been sued at least once, according to a new survey by the American Medical Association (AMA).  Doctors are not the only professionals at risk. Virtually all small business owners and professionals face multiple risks from the person injured at a party on  one of your properties, the “friend” who borrows your jet ski and hits a swimmer,  dissatisfied customers, disgruntled employees, and unhappy ex-partners.

It is a simple reality: We live in a hostile legal environment, and the chance you will not face costly litigation at some point in your career is not good. The good news is that you can fight back.  Here is a quick summary of our “Porcupine” Asset Protection Strategy with tested legal strategies that can help protect your investments and property.

  1. Make Your Assets As Unattractive as Possible to Attack with a Good Asset Protection Strategy

By Phillip B. Rarick, Esq., Miami Probate Attorney

Florida’s 30% elective share law was completely rewritten in 2001 because the old law could be easily circumvented by placing assets in a revocable trust or using non-probate transfers (e.g. life insurance, IRAs etc.)  In an effort to curtail such tactics, the legislature overhauled the statute and broadened the share.  The result is an expansive elective share that sweeps into the decedent’s “elective estate” many non-probate assets.  See F.S. §732.201 —§732.2155.

What Is Included?  Florida’s  elective share statute retains the 30% share under prior law, but introduces the concept of the “elective estate” (sometimes referred to as “augmented estate”)  that consists of the following property interests under F.S. §732.2035:

By Phillip B. Rarick, Miami Lakes and Weston Estate Planning Attorney

Note: This 10 Point Checklist is for those persons who have interests in one or more Florida entities, such as a corporation,  limited liability company (LLC),  or  limited Partnership (LP).

1.     Annual Fees.   In January the State of Florida will send notices via email reminding you that annual fees for each corporate entity are due no later than May 1.   Do not wait to get an email notice from the state, as your fees are due regardless of whether you get a notice.   Remember:   The deadline to pay these fees is May 1 without penalty.

You will miss this deadline if you do not read carefully – and you may need a magnifying glass to find it.  Within the past two weeks you should have received in the mail a “Notice of Proposed Property Taxes” or “TRIM Notice” from your county property tax appraiser.  Buried at the bottom of your  Notice in small print is an important deadline for appealing your tax assessment.

Clearly, the county does not want to encourage you to appeal your property taxes.

Note these deadlines:

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As most attorneys know, a Florida LLC needs to be multi-member so members are afforded the highest protection. This is the result of recent state legislation which has clarified a charging order is the exclusive remedy against a multi-member LLC, but not against a single member LLC.  For more background on the new LLC law, see our past reports,  Beware of Single Member LLC’sOlmstead Patch Bill Signed by Governor; and 4 Take-Away Points To Know Under Florida’s New LLC Law.

This raises the question, if the LLC should be multi-member, who are good candidates for additional members? If a person is married, the obvious candidate may be the spouse. However, if the spouse is not a good option, or if the client is single, it may be advisable to consider a Children’s Trust, Grandchildren’s Trust, or life insurance trust as the second member.

Such trusts would typically be structured as irrevocable grantor trusts.

By Phil Rarick, Miami Asset Protection Attorney

Nevada Asset Protection Trusts have become exceptionally popular for California physicians and other professionals looking for the best way to protect their assets in our present environment of high cost litigation.  Although each person’s individual goals and circumstances are different, a Nevada Asset Protection Trust, properly structured and set up in a timely fashion, may be the best option for many Florida professionals.  Here are 3 reasons:

  1. Nevada law allows self-settled trusts; Florida does not. This means that a Nevada Asset Protection Trust can be structured so that you, as the grantor – the person who establishes the trust – can also be the beneficiary and still have your trust assets protected.

By Phil Rarick, Weston Estate Planning Attorney

This report is a reminder that the FBAR or Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Account is due June 30.    The FBAR is required for U.S. persons having a financial interest or signature authority over one or more foreign financial accounts, including a bank account, brokerage account, mutual fund, trust, estate, pension, cash value life insurance, or other type of foreign financial account having an aggregate value over $10,000 at any time during 2015.

Note:  A U.S. person may have a reporting obligation even though the foreign financial account does not generate any taxable income.

By Phillip B. Rarick, Esq., Miami Asset Protection Attorney

In our litigious society anyone can become a target of a plaintiff seeking to get a money judgment against you personally.   In today’s real estate market, where it is usually impossible to negotiate with the lender, deficiency judgments are a major concern.  You may have excellent car or property insurance, but a good personal injury attorney will typically seek to go beyond the insurance limits and name you as a defendant if the damages are substantial.    Owning assets that are exposed is an invitation to a lawsuit.

Thanks to the Internet, it is now easy for a creditor to find every piece of real estate that you own.   In fact, if you own real estate for commercial or investment purposes, you might as well publish your property holdings on the front page of the Miami Herald because it now takes minutes to find what property you own on the Internet.

By Phil Rarick, Weston Business Attorney

Here is a Big Red Flag:  bundling multiple investment properties in the same LLC. This is a mistake we are seeing more and more often:  a real estate investor has six condo rental homes; all rental homes are owned by the same LLC. This investor has essentially defeated the purpose of the LLC. A slip and fall claim on one of the properties would expose all six to the claim.

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Bundling multiple investment properties in one LLC

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