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Miami Business & Commercial Law Blog

When should you update your will?

Creating a will is not a one-time-only deal. This essential document must be current for it to best serve your wishes and benefit your family. However, how often should you review it to see if it requires modification?

The simple answer is to do so every one to three years depending on the complexity of your assets. But regardless of the time frame, you should always revise your will whenever there is a major change in the following areas of your life.

$11 million Florida settlement may put developers on notice

According to a recent article published by The Real Deal in Miami, Florida, a judge approved an $11 million settlement in favor a homeowners’ association after the trial revealed the developer and its agents breached fiduciary duties to the association and acted in a manner that violated public policy. The judge also found that the developer, D.R. Horton and its employees “engaged in ‘immoral, unethical, oppressive, and unscrupulous’ trade practices.” Evidence presented at trial showed that the developer’s agents had not only failed to act in the best interests of the homeowners’ association for Majorca Isles in Miami Gardens, Florida but had engaged in “practices ‘that offend established public policy for its financial benefit.’”

In its order, published by the U.S. Government Publishing Office, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida issued its findings of facts, wherein it found that D.R. Horton’s agents were directors on the Master Association’s board as well as local associations and, consequently, owed duties of loyalty, good faith, and care to the association but simultaneously maintained conflicts of interest. According to the judge, D.R. Horton and its agents breached that duty when, among other things, they conspired to divert funds away from the association, purposely avoided the collection of revenues owed to the association, and failed to maintain meaningful financial records.

Deceptive trade practices covered by the FTCA

In the Florida business world, some people will do just about anything to get a sale or increase their customer base. Luckily, the government has instituted policies to keep competition fair and prevent unjust actions. One of these laws is the Federal Trade Commission Act.

 

What employers need to know about employee handbooks

When a business in Miami hires a new employee, it can be difficult and time consuming to inform and train that person on all of the company’s rules and regulations. Some business owners chose to publish and distribute an employee handbook for that purpose.

The Balance points out that, while not mandatory under the law, employee handbooks can be very beneficial. They give employees a good idea of what is expected of them and what the company’s policies are toward things like employee conduct, disciplinary measures and how conflicts will be handled. Handbooks can also cover topics such as sick leave, maternity leave and other types of paid time off that the company may or not provide.

Understanding Florida construction liens

Florida contractors who work on a project only to face failure to pay have several remedies to get payment. A popular option is the construction lien, which allows contractors to file a lien on the improved real property, giving it the status of security.

Construction liens must comply with a variety of legal requirements. Contractors must take care to ensure proper filing, as failure to do so may lead to legal repercussions and a finding of fraudulent lien in some cases.

Essential considerations before signing a new employment contract

In their excitement about a new job in Florida, some job applicants who receive an employment offer fail to spend enough time on their employment contracts. This can cause big problems once the honeymoon phase of the new job has ended.

Here are some of the things prospective employees should think about before putting pen to paper.

Do not forget to include your pets in your estate plans

When it comes to estate planning in Coral Gables, the one thing that many people overlook is their pets. It may be hard for you to think about your pets outliving you or becoming unable to care for them because of a disability. But not taking those issues into consideration while creating your estate plans can result in your furry companions suffering a dramatic change in living conditions and care and ending up in a shelter when you die.

Learn how to protect your pets’ future with your estate plans.

How can I avoid contract disputes?

If you’re at the helm of a business in Miami, you know that contract disputes can be extremely harmful to your overall success. While legal help is highly beneficial to avoiding disputes, there are also steps you can take to ensure that any official documents are compliant to the law and legally binding.

According to Inc., there are three helpful methods you can utilize to sidestep any potential contract disputes. For instance, getting a contract notarized can be extremely useful. Notarization entails ensuing that a document can be enforced from a legal perspective. This occurs as a result of the notarization process, which typically causes the person signing the document to read it fully. Additionally, those signing will be unable to claim they did not actually sign the document if a lawsuit occurs.

What is an easement and how does it affect my property?

If you are purchasing property in Miami for commercial purposes, there may be terms that pop up that you are unfamiliar with, especially if this is your first large property deal. For example, a title search may reveal that there is an easement on the land you are buying. Here is what you need to know about easements and what they mean for you as a property owner.

People sometimes use the terms “right-of-way” and “easement” interchangeably. According to the Balance, an easement is when another entity has the legal right to use some or all of your property for a certain purpose. A right-of-way is a specific type of easement that allows some to traverse across your property. For example, if someone owns the tract of land behind you but needs to pass through your land in order to gain access to the road, you could grant them an easement that allows them to legally cross your property.

Do I have to provide my employees with paid sick leave?

If you own a business in Miami, you likely depend on your employees showing up for work when they are scheduled to be on duty. However, inevitably people do get sick and are sometimes unable to make it to work. While some companies may offer paid time for employees who are sick, there is no law that requires employers to do so.

According to CNN, legislation was passed in 2013 specifically barring municipalities in Florida from requiring companies to offer sick days. This means that employees who call out sick from work risk losing their jobs. The law was generally considered positive for employers in that they would not need to pay employees who do not show up. Some also point out that it also made the law consistent across the state as opposed to cities and counties enacting their own sick leave policies.

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