December 2009 Archives

December 26, 2009

Jacksonville Florida Guardianship Lawyer helps those who are in need

A Jacksonville Guardianship lawyer can help individuals who are not able to deal with their own affairs in a physical or financial manner. By having a person appointed through a Florida Guardianship Proceeding, an individual (the ward), appoints a person( the guardian) to help the ward in those areas where they do not want to or can not represent their own best interests.

A Florida Guardianship attorney can either help to represent the individual or represent others to make sure that the proper guardian is chosen and that they fulfill their fiduciary obligations. Often we find that guardians do what they want and not necessarily what is in the best interest of the ward. This can cause damages and can open the guardian to liability for the actions that they took.

If you or someone you know if in need of a Florida Guardianship or might have been taken advantage by their Florida Guardian, you should contact a Jacksonville Guardianship Attorney to discuss your situation and what options are available to you through Florida's Guardianship proceedings.

December 26, 2009

Florida Foreclosures Continue to Rise

Florida is not the number 2 state for Foreclosures as it moves ahead of California with 1 of every 165 homes in danger of becoming bank-owned reported the Palm Beach Post.

Many properties that sold in 2003-2006 are now upside down and if people loose their jobs, they risk not being able to pay their mortgage or sell their home. In November there were more than 3300 foreclosures filings. While this number is similar to October's number it is 26% greater than in 2008.

With 1 of six foreclosures in the US being reported in Florida, there a greater risk of foreclosure in Florida than in most states.

If your home is in Foreclosure, or your are at risk of a Florida Foreclosure, or are in the process of attempting a loan modification, you should contact a Florida Foreclosure Lawyer to discuss your options and what rights you have. Often families faced with foreclosure in Florida may find that there are defenses to the foreclosure and counterclaims that can help them stay in the home and may be a better option than walking away or doing a short sale, or a loan modification.

For more information on Jacksonville or Florida Foreclosure Defense See the Florida Foreclosure Defense Lawyers Blog.

December 13, 2009

2010 Annual Gift Tax Exclusion $13000

pile_of_money.jpgThe IRS recently announced that the gift tax annual exclusion will remain unchanged in 2010 at $13,000

The yearly amount of the exclusion is based on the Consumer Price Index and has increased from $10,000 in 1997 to $13,000 in 2009 and 2010. As long as your gifts to an individual are less than the exclusion amount, there is no gift tax return that is required to be filed and no gift taxes are due. Each spouse gets an exclusion so a married couple can actually gift $26000 to each individual without creating a tax liability or necessity for reporting.

With proper gift planning a family can transfer a significant amount of money to their children and grandchildren. Take a family who has 3 kids, each married and each with 2 grandchildren.
This creates 3 kids + 3 spouses + 6 Grandchildren. A gift of $13,000 to each by each parent could remove 312,000 a year from your estate. Do this for 10 years and you could remove over 3.1 Million dollars. Given that the current tax rate is 45%, this could save $1.4 Million in estate taxes.

There are other ways of reducing your estate taxes and you should discuss your objectives and goals with a Florida Estate Planning Lawyer or Florida Asset Protection Lawyer who will review your individual circumstances and make recommendations based on them.

Remember that gifting is not for everyone and as you get older and your chance of needing Medicaid increased, gifting can disqualify you from certain government benefits. If there are issues or concerns you should discuss them with your Florida Estate Planning Lawyer

December 13, 2009

Specific Training and Trusts:- Does Your Trust Provide for the Training You and Your Family Need or Willl Want?

Florida Revocable Trust's as well as those created in other states often have language that provides for the health, education, maintenance, and support of our spouses and children. Recently I was reading an article written by a CA Estate Planning Lawyer and firearms instructor on providing firearms training as an option within the definition of education. David R. Duringer wrote an article entitled Does the Definition of Education in Your Revocable Trust Allow for Firearms Training? and while it is a short article and only deals with firearms education, it got me thinking about other types of education and training that may be important to your beneficiaries or family tradition that you may want to include in your traditional revocable trust. Obviously this is something that would make sense to provide for in a NFA Gun Trust or a firearms trust designed specifically for firearms. In David's article he goes on to state

Such training can provide your children with the comfort of skill at arms so they can protect themselves and their own children, and furthermore, passes on American values necessary to preserve political independence of families in our society. Other benefits of such training can include increased personal responsibility and lower juvenile delinquency rates.

You may even want to go further with an incentive trust provision actually requiring this training, possibly with achievement standards.


Whether your passion is firearms, golf, tennis, a musical instrument, or anything else its important to discuss this with your Florida Estate Planning Lawyer to draft documents that reflect your goals and help achieve your families desires.

December 11, 2009

HAMP homeowners stuck in limbo

As a Florida Foreclosure Lawyer we notice trends that would lead you to believe that the banks are using HAMP to collect fees and not to actually help people. A recent article on PUBLICCITIZEN a Consumer Law & Policy Blog has an article by Alan White where they quote some of the HAMP Conversion rates. It would appear from the very low rates, that there is an intentional effort not to approve, or to allow many into the program who they know will not qualify. The these numbers are compounded further by those who wait months to try to receive approval for temporary modifications.

As of August 2009, Bank of America had only accepted 59891 temporary loan modifications, while this may seem like a lot, they only converted 98. That means they collected fees from more than 600 people for every conversion. With All of the fees go to the servicer, It easy to see how Bank of America and other Banks are padding their bottom line at the expense of the American Consumer.

The bad news is that even those who are eventually approved find themselves in a worse position than if there was no loan modification. While the current payment is lower, many will actually end up paying more for their home than if they were able to perform under the original note. Since a prerequisite of the program is your upside down in the home (but not too much- we would not want to help those who really need it) maybe its a good that few of the HAMP modifications are actually approved.

If you are stuck in limbo contact a Jacksonville Foreclosure Lawyers who helps clients from many states who are subject to a Florida Foreclosure by Contacting us to discuss your situation, goals, objectives, and ways we can help.

For more information on Jacksonville or Florida Foreclosure Defense See the Florida Foreclosure Defense Lawyers Blog.

December 4, 2009

Stopping a Florida Foreclosure Lawsuit

Most homeowners do not realize that a Florida foreclosure can be defended. Homeowners have the ability to fight for your right to remain in you home. THE Law Office of David M. Goldman PLLC CAN FIGHT FOR YOU!

You may be upside down in your property today and think that walking away is your best option. STOP AND THINK. This may not be the right choice for you and your family! Over time your equity will return and by defending your foreclosure now, your future equity can be in protected and you may stand a better chance to economically survive. Fighting a Foreclosure makes sense for many Florida families and should be discussed with a Florida Foreclosure Lawyer or a Florida Foreclosure Lawyer who can look at your individual circumstances and let you know what your options are.

You may be behind in your payments and might have received a notice of default. That does not mean you must leave your property! Regardless of what debt collectors are telling you. You are a homeowner, not a renter. Eviction is not the lenders remedy. You have a right to fight for your home.

Sometimes events in your life have result in a financial hardship. Just because you are in default, it does not mean you have to rollover and abandon your home. By allowing the foreclosure to proceed without asserting your rights, you are providing relief to lender and giving them an easy out to seek the judicial sale your home, whether they actually own your home or not. You may believe you are in the wrong because you haven't made your payments. This is not always the case. An experienced Jacksonville Foreclosure Lawyers or Florida Foreclosure Lawyer can explain why you should assert your rights and ways to protect your home.

There has been a barrage of "Non-Lawyer assistance" programs soliciting services to negotiate a "work-out". Once a lawsuit has been filed, they cannot represent you and protect you in the Florida foreclosure lawsuit. Unless and until you receive a court document confirming the foreclosure has been dismissed, the lawyers on the other side will proceed. Regardless of what anyone is telling you! 


We have seen many clients that are in the process of a loan modification and a Florida Foreclosure case is filed against them. There are steps that every homeowner should take to protect their rights even if they are not in foreclosure at this time. The company you are paying for your monthly payment to may not even own your note and you may find that you owe the money to someone else. IF you own a home and are at risk of a foreclosure in Florida you should contact a Jacksonville Foreclosure Lawyers or Florida Foreclosure Lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your options.

For more information on Jacksonville or Florida Foreclosure Defense See the Florida Foreclosure Defense Lawyers Blog.

December 4, 2009

Breaking News: House Votes Yes on Estate Tax Bill

Yesterday, the House of Representatives voted 225-200 in favor of H.R. 4154. The bill will make the 2009 Estate Tax Level Permanent.

Currently (for 2009) the estate tax exemption is $3.5 million and the maximum tax rate on estates is 45%. The Bill referred to as the Permanent Estate Tax Relief for Families, Farmers, and Small Businesses Act of 2009, would permanently extend this estate tax exemption amount and tax rate.

The Bill still needs the Senate and President's approval.

December 2, 2009

The Family Dog and Florida Probate

Most people would not believe that a family pet needs to be subjected to the Florida Probate process, but Florida Law defines animals as personal property and as such are subject to probate just like other personal property. Fortunately we can create provisions in our Florida Revocable Trust to deal with our animals or at least to own them so that they are not subjected to probate. If you want to provide for more than an easy transfer of the ownership of the animals, you might consider pet trust provisions to allow for the care of the animal in the event they survive you.

Next time you talk with your Florida Estate Planning Lawyer ask them about your pet and how they will be dealt with if you were to die.

December 2, 2009

'The Will' airing on INVESTIGATION DISCOVERY

Canadian-based TV production company - CMJ PRODUCTIONS - is currently shooting a new documentary series called, 'The Will' airing on INVESTIGATION DISCOVERY.
"The Will" tells the true life stories of complex and surprising disputes that have arisen surrounding a will, estate or trust.

The series is now accepting story submissions to appear on-air. They are looking for dramatic, unusual stories with numerous twists and turns, secrets and real emotion. Most importantly, all cases must have reached a final ruling or settlement in order to be considered. The company wants to interview all parties involved as well as their legal representatives.
Stories from Canada, the United States or the United Kingdom will all be accepted.
The goal of this series is to objectively illustrate both sides involved.

Each episode will explore why each party felt entitled to the involved inheritance and why they might have thought that others were less deserving than themselves.

Involvement with the series offers a great opportunity for legal experts to help viewers to deepen their understanding of the importance of wills and estates.

If you would like to participate in this series, or have a case you think they should profile, please contact researcher Ramelle Mair at r.mair@cmjprod.ca.

For more information on the production company, feel free to check out the CMJ Productions, 100-640 Notre-Dame, Saint Lambert (Quebec), Canada, J4P 2L1.