The Elliot Legal Group, P.A. Offices | Fort Lauderdale and Miami

3101 N. Federal Hwy., Suite 609,
Oakland Park, Florida 33306

*Licensed in England and Wales, Florida and Washington D.C.

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Fort Lauderdale

754-332-2101

Miami

305-399-3832

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Recent blog posts

Plantation business law attorney

Owning a business is no easy undertaking. Regardless of the size of your company, work tasks can seem overwhelming. In addition to your average workday, you are likely considering new ideas and areas of improvement during your off time, especially as the new year rings in. This past year may have been exceedingly difficult on your business as was the case with many small businesses across the country. With the COVID-19 vaccine becoming available to Americans, the economy and society are finally making their way back to normal. You should consider the following New Year’s resolutions to get your Florida business back on track and start 2021 with your best foot forward.

Do a Deep Clean

Throughout the year, paperwork can quickly pile up and you may feel as though you are stuck in the weeds. You should take time at the beginning of each year to refresh your databases and filing system. This will keep things organized, make important documents easier to find, and improve your business’ efficiency.

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Sunrise bankruptcy attorney

This past year has been filled with ups and downs, leaving many Americans in financial disarray. Millions have lost their jobs, taken a pay cut, or have had to reduce their spending to survive the ongoing pandemic. Although it may not have seemed like the best time to relocate, many have left large cities or moved to another state to reduce their cost of living and gain the necessary distance from others to avoid contracting COVID-19. If you have relocated to Florida and are still struggling financially, you may be at the point where filing for bankruptcy is one of your only options. Newfound Floridians are still able to file for bankruptcy after relocating, but they should be aware of the implications that their move can have on the legal process.

Beginning the Bankruptcy Process

Depending on how new you are to the state, you may need to wait before filing. Bankruptcy law is federal law, meaning that a federal court will need to hear and review your case. Generally speaking, you are required to have lived in the state where you are filing—in this case, Florida—for at least 91 days. The court will verify your claimed state of residency in your official bankruptcy paperwork, typically through an apartment lease agreement or utility bill, before moving forward with the process. It is a good idea to hold off on filing until you meet this 91-day requirement; otherwise, you may be able to file in your previous state, although this would require significant travel between Florida and your previous home state.

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Sunrise bankruptcy attorney

The past 10 months have undoubtedly been some of the most challenging in American history. The COVID-19 pandemic began to sweep the nation in early March and has continued to rage ever since. Shutting down society for public safety has led to numerous repercussions, including leaving businesses struggling to stay afloat as well as renters and homeowners scrambling to make their monthly payments. While aid was initially provided by the U.S. government, many Americans have been left to fend for themselves now and have considered filing for bankruptcy since the last previous stimulus check was provided. Months of stalemate and negotiations by Congress has finally led to a new relief package to welcome the country into the new year.

Obtaining Financial Assistance

In the last week of 2020, Congress has struck a deal on approximately $900 billion in COVID-19 relief, with the goal being to assist families and businesses struggling from the pandemic. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the four leaders of the House and Senate finalized an agreement late on December 20. Many Americans will receive direct payments from the government, including stimulus checks of up to $600 per person for those earning $75,000 or less per year in addition to $600 for each child dependent. This is reflective of the country’s initial stimulus package months prior.

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Sunrise residential real estate attorney

The thought of buying a home may seem like an endeavor that is far in the future. Maybe you are waiting until you have a family, or perhaps you do not think that you are financially stable enough to make such a large purchase. While both of these are valid reasons to hold off on purchasing a home, many are unaware of the benefits that buying a home, rather than renting, has to offer. Aside from having a place to call your own, purchasing a house also provides several tax benefits and the ability to grow equity.

The Continuous Increase in Rent

Rent prices have increased at a fast rate throughout the United States, regardless of the state in which you reside. According to research from the Urban Institute, rent in many markets has grown exponentially compared to median incomes. In other words, your rent will continue to rise while your paycheck will likely remain stagnant. In many areas, monthly mortgage costs are comparable or even cheaper than monthly rent.

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Broward County business law attorney

Depending on when you started your business and how you record your finances, your fiscal year may not be the same as others around you. With the end of the calendar year landing on December 31 and tax day occurring in mid-April, most businesses do their final yearly to-dos within this four-month time span. The month of December is undoubtedly one of the busiest of the year, and many businesses will opt to complete their year-end tasks before the start of the new calendar year. Whether you decide to finish up these business chores before the holidays begin or a bit later in the year, it is important to complete the following before the end of your business’ fiscal year.

1. Financial Bookkeeping

Every business owner is different and so are their tactics for recording their finances. Some may have every i dotted and t crossed, while others may have a giant box filled with receipts. It is critical that you get your financial information properly recorded before tax season begins; otherwise, you may be spending days locating and entering this information into a proper log. It may be a good idea to get your books in order before the start of the holiday season, that way you can start 2021 more organized and have your records together before filing your taxes a few months down the road.

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Sunrise bankruptcy attorney

Those who are unfamiliar with the details of bankruptcy, which typically includes anyone who has not filed for bankruptcy, may incorrectly believe that all of your debts disappear upon filing. While bankruptcy is meant to help rid you of significant debt, the process will still require you to pay off most of your debts. The details of this financial breakdown vary depending on the type of bankruptcy that you file as well as the depth of your debts. Many filers do, however, get some form of a break, known as a discharge. Before moving forward with the bankruptcy filing process, it is important to understand what exactly you are responsible for and which of your debts will be forgiven without full repayment.

What Is a Bankruptcy Discharge?

A bankruptcy discharge is a legal term for debt forgiveness. In other words, a discharge releases a debtor from personal liability for a number of specified debts, not requiring him or her to pay back the discharged debts. A discharge is a permanent legal order that restricts the debtor’s creditors from taking action to obtain money for the outstanding debts. A bankruptcy discharge does not, however, cancel out any liens that a creditor may have against a property, meaning that a creditor is still able to enforce a lien and recover the associated property.

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Fort Lauderdale, FL real estate attorney

Buying a home is a lifelong goal that many Americans look forward to reaching one day. Whether you are single and interested in settling down, or you are married and on the brink of starting a family, purchasing a home is an exciting, yet expensive endeavor. When looking for a new place to call home, it can be easy to get hooked on the included accommodations and overall look of the house. Finding the right location, proper layout, and design style in one home can take time, but once you do find the right one, you may feel a huge sense of relief. Unfortunately, the bumps that go along with the home purchasing process do not stop at aesthetics. In fact, the paperwork behind the purchase can sometimes lead to more headaches than the real estate search itself. 

Property Title Problems

The property title, also known as the deed, is the most important thing that buyers should pay close attention to. The details held within the property title will give you a clear understanding of what you are getting yourself into. In order to avoid facing the following ownership difficulties down the road, it is important to work with an attorney who is well-versed in the following:

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Surfside business law attorney

If you are an entrepreneur who is just getting started building your business, or even if you have been a business owner for decades, it is important to be cognizant of business contract essentials to avoid running into difficulties down the road. Those who fail to adhere to the following six requirements could end up with an unenforceable agreement with a business partner, vendors, employees, and anyone else with whom you draft and sign a contract

Official Agreements

Business law can be complicated, especially for first-time business owners. While it is never advisable to rely solely on your limited legal knowledge during business negotiations, it is always a good idea to have a general understanding of these requirements:

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Surfside bankruptcy attorney

For most people facing financial difficulties, the thought of filing for bankruptcy can seem out of reach. You keep thinking, “This will be the month where I get things together,” then find yourself hit with another round of unforeseen expenses. This cycle can go on for months, or even years, before people start to seriously consider filing for bankruptcy. There is a reason for this—no one actively chooses bankruptcy until it is the very last option—but this denial can allow your debt to continue building until it feels insurmountable. As a result of COVID-19, many Americans are facing the possibility of bankruptcy, which is why it is important to have the following considerations in mind before moving forward with this legal process.

Reasons You Should Consider Bankruptcy

As previously mentioned, many people do not realize that they are on the verge of bankruptcy, or that their situation is a common reason why others file for bankruptcy. If you are in the middle of any of the following scenarios, filing for bankruptcy can be a common remedy:

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Surfside business law attorney

If you are a business owner, you likely try to avoid getting involved in legal proceedings at all costs. Not only do legal battles take up a lot of your time and money, but it can also be difficult to find an attorney who understands your company and can easily defend you in court. If you are a growing company, you may run into your fair share of legal conflict, and it is best to be prepared for when the time comes. Some companies will go so far as hiring in-house counsel to have by their side at all times, while others may opt for outsourced general counsel for the times when they need it most.

What Is Outsourced General Counsel?

Before you feel the need to have full-time, in-house counsel, it may be best to work with a particular attorney whenever a legal conflict arises. Outsourced general counsel involves working with an external attorney who can handle and manage the routine legal needs of your business on a part-time basis. This can include a number of responsibilities, such as contract drafting and negotiations, human resource issues and documentation, customer agreements, Board of Directors matters, and corporate governance. Depending on the size of your company, you may need help in some or all of these areas.

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Surfside business law attorney alternative dispute resolution

As a business owner, you have likely experienced your fair share of conflict in the workplace. Whether it is an undependable employee or frequent arguments between two employees or a business partner, running a successful business is a difficult task that requires patience, understanding, and a strong hand when necessary. Rising disputes in the workplace can lead to a toxic work environment for everyone, even those who are not involved in the conflict. While going to court to end the dispute is an option, you should consider the two following alternatives before spending the time and money in litigation.

Mediation

Mediation is typically the starting point for business owners who are noticing a dispute emerging. This form of alternative dispute resolution resolves misunderstandings with a neutral party present to manage the process. Mediation is not as structured as litigation and can allow the two disputing parties to discuss their grievances in a private, relaxed setting before getting a judge involved. The mediator is hired to manage the discussion, speaking privately with each party, or bringing the two parties together for further discussion. The mediator’s job is to help the two parties come to a voluntary agreement, not to take on an authoritative role and choose for them. 

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Surfside bankruptcy attorney

Due to the financial impact of COVID-19 on individual families and the economy as a whole, governors across the country put up protections against evictions and foreclosures. Now seven months into the pandemic, states have begun allowing these eviction and foreclosure moratoriums to expire, Florida included. Governor Ron DeSantis’ moratorium expired on October 1, leaving many Floridians panicked about how they will make ends meet. You may be concerned about your family’s financial well-being, feeling as if you are on the brink of bankruptcy. Luckily, financial assistance is available and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have picked up where some of the states left off.

Affordable Housing Coronavirus Relief Initiative

In late June, Gov. DeSantis announced $250 million in CARES Act funding would be used as rental and mortgage assistance for families who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. Known as the Affordable Housing Coronavirus Relief Initiative, the large sum of $250 million has been divided into two even pools. One was administered by the Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC) as short-term rental assistance and the other half was released to counties throughout the state based on its reemployment assistance rate. According to the official press release, this second $120 million will be used for rental and homeowner assistance programs such as rehabilitation, new construction, mortgage buydowns, and more for those who have been impacted by COVID-19. The FHFC has information about the progress of the program.

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Surfside real estate attorney

Buying a house is likely one of the most expensive and meaningful purchases that you will make in your lifetime. Whether this is your first home buying experience or your fifth, it is important that you have a legal expert by your side to guide you through the process. Florida law does not require the purchasing or selling parties to hire a real estate attorney, though it is always advisable to do so. Not only can this save you time and money, but a reputable real estate lawyer will confirm that the terms outlined in these complex contracts do indeed match your stated agreement to the seller. If you are considering purchasing a home, our Broward County real estate attorney can guide you through the below steps. 

The Purchase and Sale Agreement

One of the first documents in the buying process, the purchase and sale agreement determines the terms of your purchase—and the enclosed details may not be adjusted or avoided later in the process. For this reason, it is important to hire an attorney before signing any legal documents. Florida law requires judges to treat you as if you read every word of a document before you signed it. In other words, if you skipped a few lines and missed key details, the judge will likely still enforce the terms of the agreement.

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Posted on in Bankruptcy

Surfside bankruptcy attorney

Finding yourself drowning in debt is never the place that anyone expects to see themselves a few years down the road. Unfortunately, life can serve you with unforeseen circumstances—an ongoing illness that requires regular treatment or the loss of a job and regular income—and you can quickly see your debts piling up. Filing for bankruptcy is often people’s last resort; however, you may come to the realization that you actually do not qualify for bankruptcy. Depending on a number of factors, you may or may not be able to take this route when trying to get your finances under control. While it is always best to consult a bankruptcy attorney to know for sure, you may conduct your own financial analysis first to determine whether or not filing for bankruptcy is an option for you.

Passing the Means Test

There are two common ways to file for bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves the liquidation of your assets, then using these liquidated funds to pay off your debts. Not all assets are eligible, allowing you to keep a number of your assets in the process. Chapter 7 bankruptcy provides you with a financial fresh start once the legal process is complete. Sounds like a great option, right? While this type of bankruptcy is helpful for many families, not everyone qualifies to use its benefits. In 2005, a means test was created in order to make it more difficult for wealthy consumers to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The test uses Florida’s median family income for your household size as an indicator of your eligibility. In 2018, this income threshold totaled to $53,267 per household. In other words, if your household makes less than this amount, you automatically qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If, however, your household has a combined income that is higher than this amount, you will need to follow additional steps to determine your eligibility. 

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Dania Beach bankruptcy attorney

It is no secret that the economy has taken a significant hit from the COVID-19 pandemic. As stay-at-home orders initially went into effect back in March, the unpredictability of the virus has many restaurants and other businesses slowly opening as cases fall, only to reel back their services as cases rise again. The uncertainty regarding when things will go back to normal has forced many American businesses to make tough decisions about their workforce, including filing for bankruptcy. Although the entire country has taken a hit from COVID-19, Floridians are seeing some of the most significant financial distress in the country.

Looking at the Numbers

WalletHub conducted an economic analysis of all 50 states to determine who has been hit especially hard by the pandemic. According to their research, Florida ranks as the fifth-worst state when looking at the financial situation of its residents. The analysis was done by looking at credit scores; the number of people whose financial accounts are in forbearance or have deferred payments; the change in the number of bankruptcies filed in January versus July; and search trends for the term “bankruptcy” within that state. It was found that approximately 1.16 million Floridians were unemployed in July, resulting in an 11.5 percent unemployment rate for the state. The location for most of these unemployment numbers? The Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-West Palm Beach metro area with just over 402,000 residents unemployed that same month.

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Sunrise business law attorney non-compete agreement

Whether you are a newly hired employee or you intend on going into business with someone else, you will likely be required to sign a contract before you can begin work. Many people will sign these employment or business contracts without giving them a second glance. You may be thinking that the contract is not relevant to you as an employee, but more directed toward management positions. No matter what your incoming role in the company may be, it is important to look into the details of any contract with a legal professional before signing. Non-compete agreements are commonly overlooked in Florida business contracts.

What Is a Non-Compete Agreement?

A non-compete agreement is a term within a contract that prohibits the signer from working for another company or starting his or her own business for a certain period of time. The purpose of these agreements is to reduce the chances of an integral employee leaving the company and becoming a competitor. This can involve going to your current employer’s biggest competitor and bringing your experience and previous employer’s business secrets to their competition. Alternatively, you may use the knowledge and connections that you have learned from your current employer and build your own business to compete with them. While it is impossible to restrict these opportunities forever, a non-compete agreement can typically place these legal constraints for six months to two years, and many include a geographic range in which the agreement spans. In other words, you cannot start a competing business down the street, but you can work in another county.

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Broward County real estate attorney foreclosure

Since COVID-19 shut down the U.S. economy in March of 2020, the state and federal governments have been trying to pick up the pieces. The virus’s high rate of contagion forced businesses to close their doors and citizens to remain in their households. For some businesses, this meant working remotely for the time being, while others were hit especially hard and have had to make difficult decisions regarding layoffs, furloughs, and even closing their doors for good. Without a steady income, Americans everywhere have struggled to make ends meet, especially when it comes to paying costly rent and mortgage bills.

Flash-forward six months later and legislation is continuing to be made to avoid mass homelessness across the country. Florida has seen an exceedingly high number of positive cases and the state has closed and reopened a few times since March. With 623,471 positive cases and 11,331 deaths in Florida alone at the time of this writing, Governor DeSantis has recognized and addressed Floridians’ financial difficulties in the midst of the pandemic. Foreclosures and evictions are on the horizon for many Floridians, but Gov. DeSantis continues to put off the inevitable for many.

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Surfside business law attorney

Whether you are starting your first business, revamping your current business, or purchasing someone else’s, selecting the proper business structure that aligns with your mission is an important step. The type of business structure, or business entity, that you decide upon can impact your day-to-day dealings, taxes, your personal asset involvement, and more. It is important to understand the implications of each different business entity before settling upon one that you think fits best. It is always advisable to work with a reputable business lawyer throughout your company’s lifespan, but it is also a good idea to have your own personal understanding of the matter.

Sole Proprietorship

Are you planning on being the sole owner of your business? For those who wish to have complete control over their business, a sole proprietorship is their best and simplest option. In fact, if you do not register your business as any other type of entity, it is automatically considered a sole proprietorship. The risk that sole proprietors take is mixing their business and personal assets and liabilities. If your business accumulates significant debts, you can be held personally liable. Sole proprietorships are a good option for low-risk businesses and owners who wish to test out their business idea prior to establishing a more official business entity.

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Sunrise bankruptcy attorney

When your credit card bills begin to build up and your pockets are feeling empty, you may be unsure of how to handle the situation. Debt can accumulate quickly, and without additional income coming in, you may not be able to pay off your debts by the date that your creditors are requesting. Filing for bankruptcy may be in the back of your mind, but you are likely considering your other options before fully making your decision. There are a number of bankruptcy alternatives, many of which do not fully solve your problems. Debt settlement companies are often considered by those who are deeply in debt and are avoiding filing for bankruptcy. While you may be avoiding bankruptcy, the risks of debt settlement companies are rarely worth taking.

What Is a Debt Settlement Company?

Debt settlement companies have the same goal as bankruptcy -- helping you rid yourself of insurmountable debt. However, these debt settlement programs are typically for-profit companies. The company or program will attempt to negotiate with your creditors to allow you to pay a “settlement” to resolve your debt. This settlement will typically be a lump sum payment that is less than the total amount that you owe. In order to build up this lump sum, the company will request that you set aside money each month into an account that holds your funds for paying off your debt. This savings account will eventually build up to the settlement that the company negotiated for you and you will pay off the debt with that saved money.

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Surfside real estate attorney

Despite COVID-19’s impact on the U.S. economy, the housing market has not come to a stop. Since a high number of Floridians have lost their jobs or taken a pay cut in the last six months, many of these individuals are looking to downsize and reduce their mortgage payments. Additionally, some Floridians have begun to recognize the risks that large cities can pose on its inhabitants, choosing to move outside of these urban areas and avoid forced close quarters. And for those who refuse to let COVID-19 put their life on pause, there is no time like the present to start fresh. Regardless of the reasoning behind moving or deciding to purchase your first home, making such a large purchase can be exciting and intimidating. The home buying process involves much more than simply finding the right type of floors or cabinets. From finding a property to completing the closing process, working with a real estate attorney is your best way to be prepared every step of the way.

Find the Right Professionals

It is never advisable to take on the house hunt and legal home buying process without the help of reputable professionals. Your first step is to find a real estate agent who understands what you are looking for and is familiar with the area in which you are looking to move. A well-experienced real estate agent will be able to help you find a property that fits your financial and personal needs in a reasonable amount of time. A mistake that many first-time homebuyers make is attempting to find a property on their own, spending months or up to one year looking for places to live. Although it is helpful to see a number of properties before deciding on one, the process can sometimes make homebuyers feel overwhelmed. Once you have found a property that you are interested in, hire a reputable real estate attorney to help you with the remainder of the legal process.

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