Snowbirds, vacation homes and planning ahead!

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As the weather is getting colder throughout much of world, we are getting geared up in South Florida for all the snowbirds! There are so many snowbirds that own one or more properties here in Florida and now is a great time to visit as we are having some BEAUTIFUL weather this week. It is not just the snowbirds that are flocking down: we have so many northerners with vacation or second homes here in Florida that will start making our streets much more crowded in the coming weeks!

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The State of Florida requires ancillary probate if a resident of another state or country passes away while owning real estate in Florida. Ancillary probate can cost at least several thousands of dollars of attorney fees and costs and take anywhere from 9-12 months to process. Not the best scenario for that owner's family. I have had to clean up many messes left behind, which could have been very easily avoided by setting up ownership with an automatic transfer upon death!

Ancillary probate (including its fees and costs) can all be avoided by at minimum including some magic language in the owner's deed. The investment is small to get this accomplished and will save the family thousands of dollars and a lot of time and headache.

Therefore, while the snowbirds and vacationers are in town, it is a great time to have a complimentary review of their ownership status with our Firm.  At Grimaldi Law Firm, we would be happy to review the ownership of you, your family or your client's property here in Florida and guide them in the right direction, if needed. Be a resource to your family, friends, and clients and let them know that this is an important part of their overall asset and estate plan. 

Please let me know if you have any questions!

Melinda Grimaldi is an attorney in Hollywood, Florida, whose practice is concentrated in the areas of commercial and residential real estate and estate planning law. 

She can be reached at (954) 491-8707

or

melinda@grimaldi-law.com

 Special Note

The information on this blog is of a general nature and is not intended to answer any individual’s legal questions. Do not rely on the information presented herein to address your individual legal concerns. If you have a legal question about your individual facts and circumstances, you should consult an experienced real estate attorney. Your receipt of information from this website or blog does not create an attorney-client relationship and the legal privileges inherent therein.

7 ways to own property in Florida

South Florida Real Estate

Home ownership is the American Dream! When you are ready to purchase a home, you usually begin the process of visiting neighborhoods until you narrow it down to a few perfect areas where you would love to live.  You find your dream home or lucrative investment property and now you are ready to make an offer.  

WAIT!

It can take months of searching, 45 days to get financing and weeks of negotiating but it can take one minute to make a mess! How you write your offer is how you will be able to take ownership of the property at closing. 

Here are some of your main options available in Florida:

1.    Fee Simple (ownership as a single owner)rea

2.    Tenants in common

3.    Tenants by the Entirety (as husband and wife)

4.    Joint Tenants with right of survivorship

5.    Life Estate

6.    Holding Company

7.    Revocable Trust

Each option has different inheritance, tax and practical characteristics that may or may not work for you.  The best option is to make sure you consult with a Real Estate Lawyer prior to entering into a contract.  It is also important that a Real Estate Lawyer is acting as a closing agent so that you can be advised as to which of these 6 options above is best for you and your family or portfolio.

Real estate in South Florida is booming now more than ever and Grimaldi Law Firm is prepared to help you with your home buying needs. Melinda Grimaldi, the firm’s founder, has been a real estate attorney for over 8 years and wants to make buying a home in Florida a great experience for you.

At Grimaldi Law Firm, your future is our present.

Melinda Grimaldi is an attorney in Hollywood, Florida, whose practice is concentrated in the areas of commercial and residential real estate and estate planning law. 

She can be reached at (954) 491-8707

or

melinda@grimaldi-law.com

 Special Note

The information on this blog is of a general nature and is not intended to answer any individual’s legal questions. Do not rely on the information presented herein to address your individual legal concerns. If you have a legal question about your individual facts and circumstances, you should consult an experienced real estate attorney. Your receipt of information from this website or blog does not create an attorney-client relationship and the legal privileges inherent therein.

The Top Ways to Avoid a Failed Real Estate Sale

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At Grimaldi Law Firm, a leading real estate law firm in Florida, we’re always working hard to protect and educate new home buyers on the potential pitfalls of a purchase gone wrong.

We all need to remember that sellers need protection too!

A seller has needs just as important as a buyer in any real estate transaction and those needs should be protected with their own representation during the closing process. We have seen a trend of real estate contracts becoming “dead deals” when the home is older or overpriced and we want to help you avoid even come close to this.

Grimaldi Law Firm prides itself on taking our clients from contracts to keys without any hiccups, so here are four ways to ensure your real estate sale makings it to the closing table as smoothly as possible.

1.     Inspect early

Conduct a pre-contract inspection on your property with a licensed inspector. This avoids having the potential buyer run into any unsatisfactory surprises that may turn them off to purchasing your place altogether. When a pre-contract inspection is conducted, you have the ability to fix, repair, or replace anything that could potentially turn your sale sour way before the buyer’s inspector steps in to do his work.

2.     Avoid the unqualified buyer

An unqualified buyer only means one thing for a person selling their home in Florida: major risk. The risk involved here is that if you enter into a contract with a person who ends up not qualifying for their loan, you’ve just wasted a great deal of your time engaging in and negotiating with a flake of a buyer. To ensure this doesn’t happen to you, insist upon only showing your home to pre-qualified buyers. It is not uncommon for a seller to request a pre-qualification letter and/or proof to ensure the deal can actually make it to the closing table.

3.     Appraise early

Much like an early inspection, an appraisal ahead of the game can save you tons of headaches down the road. Before your realtor recommends a price or you go ahead and overprice your home – have it appraised. It is important to get an understanding of what your property is truly worth and what you can reasonably expect as a final sale price of your home before the buyer’s appraiser steps in. If you overprice your home and enter into a contract with someone who has the house appraised only to find that it is worth less than you’re asking – you’re very likely going to end up with less than you’re asking for the sale of your home. Avoid any surprises like these by doing the dirty work up front, and ensuring you’re setting a price for your home that is reasonable.

4.     Review your file with the city for any open or expired permits

We recommend that all of our Buyers include a clause in their contract for the seller tp close out any open or expired permits.  There is nothing that can delay or “kill” a closing like knowing that there is a permit issue as they can sometimes take months to resolve.  Sellers usually don’t realize that a contractor they hired years ago never finished the last step of closing out the permit.  Pull your property on your city’s permit search system to make sure you don’t have anything lurking in the shadows. 

When it comes to the best real estate advice for buyers and sellers, reach out to  us today! We want to ensure that your real estate transaction not only ends up in your favor, but that you also obtain all the knowledge of real estate from a trusted professional.

At Grimaldi Law Firm, your future is our present.

Melinda Grimaldi is an attorney in Hollywood, Florida, whose practice is concentrated in the areas of commercial and residential real estate and estate planning law. 

She can be reached at (954) 491-8707

or

melinda@grimaldi-law.com

Special Note

The information on this blog is of a general nature and is not intended to answer any individual’s legal questions. Do not rely on information presented herein to address your individual legal concerns. If you have a legal question about your individual facts and circumstances, you should consult an experienced real estate attorney. Your receipt of information from this website or blog does not create an attorney-client relationship and the legal privileges inherent therein.

 

A Lesson In Protecting Your Property Rights in Florida, Part Two

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There is no doubt that Grimaldi Law Firm, a Real Estate Law Firm in Florida, goes the extra mile to ensure our clients rights as property owners are protected.

Which is why we’re on a mission to educate everyone, from first time home buyers in Florida to the most seasoned real estate investor, on the hidden secrets of purchasing real estate.

In the first part of our series on Lessons in Protecting Your Property Rights in Florida, we shared a story about an unknowing couple from Missouri who nearly lost everything when the home they purchased had liens against it from the previous owner. Had it not been for their Real Estate Attorney and Title Insurance Policy, this couple would have not only lost their home to foreclosure, they would have been out a great deal of money as well.

Another example of why it makes all the difference to have the right legal professional involved in the real estate process comes from a story about prominent home builder in Texas, Casa Linda Homes.

This Texas-based builder, who had developed a prestigious reputation over time of developing and selling beautiful homes at affordable prices, found themselves in some hot water over some illegal activity. This builder had been selling first-time homebuyers homes that were overloaded with undisclosed liens. Because these homebuyers did not know what potential challenges they could face as homeowners, they naturally didn’t think to ask if they’d ever end in up hot water over their purchase.

It wasn’t until Casa Linda Homes failed to pay its debt, that the creditors then went after the homebuyers for the money. Foreclosure proceedings and filed lawsuits began flooding in by the dozen, leaving unsuspecting homebuyers to blame for the debt. These deals were “seller financed,” meaning the person selling the house lends the buyer the money for the purchase. The buyer and seller execute a promissory note providing an interest rate, repayment schedule, and consequences of default.

This builder’s biggest crime, was not requiring, or informing, the buyers to buy title insurance. Title insurance would have prevented or resolved this whole mess, protecting the buyers from having any responsibility for such debts.

So, who would have informed them to obtain this important insurance? A Real Estate Attorney – one like Grimaldi Law Firm – who always has your best interests at heart.

For your next real estate deal or for questions regarding the home buying process in Florida, contact Grimaldi Law Firm, where your future is our present.

Melinda Grimaldi is an attorney in Hollywood, Florida, whose practice is concentrated in the areas of commercial and residential real estate and estate planning law. 

She can be reached at (954) 491-8707

or

melinda@grimaldi-law.com

Special Note

The information on this blog is of a general nature and is not intended to answer any individual’s legal questions. Do not rely on information presented herein to address your individual legal concerns. If you have a legal question about your individual facts and circumstances, you should consult an experienced real estate attorney. Your receipt of information from this website or blog does not create an attorney-client relationship and the legal privileges inherent therein.

 

A Lesson in Protecting Your Property Rights in Florida, Part One

If you own a home in Florida, you probably know that there are a few circumstances that can threaten your rights as a property owner. At Grimaldi Law Firm, we aim to keep you, your finances, and your property safe, which is why we’re sharing all you need to know about protecting your property rights.

Unfortunately, running into problems as a homeowner may sometimes have nothing to do with you at all. If you’re purchasing a home that was once owned by someone else, it’s important to go the extra mile to ensure you’re not stepping into their mess, literally or figuratively.

Take, for example, this story about an unknowing couple from Missouri:

The Parker’s* had purchased a home from their landlord, who had previously taken out a loan of almost $420,000 to invest in multiple properties. When a title search was performed, this lien was missed, so instead of paying off the lien with the Parker’s money, the landlord received the funds instead. Despite being up to date with their own mortgage payments and doing everything by the book, their former landlord’s bank sent a letter to the Parker’s saying that their home would be auctioned since no payments had been made towards the lien.

Scary situation, right? Imagine being told you had to cough up a huge amount of cash because of someone else’s mistake?

Luckily, the Parker’s Real Estate Attorney had advised them to purchase an Owner’s Title Insurance Policy. Without the help of their attorney, the Parker’s would have never been educated on the potential “what if’s” of buying their new dream home. Their lawyer’s advice kept them from ending up with a foreclosure sign on their front lawn, and also shielded them from having to be responsible for some serious debt. In the end, this insurance policy meant that the title insurance company was responsible for paying the lien. The Parker’s kept their home.

Because the couple purchased an Owner’s Title Insurance Policy, the title insruancecompany paid the lien and the husband and wife kept their home.

 

There is no better decision to make when buying a home in Florida than to hire a Florida Real Estate Attorney who is on your side. Only your Real Estate attorney can:

 

-          Answer your legal questions pertaining to your closing.

-          Decipher the ‘legalese’ of any documents you are signing.

-          Resolve any issues with the title and/or existing contract.

-          Give you legal advice as needed.

And this means ensuring that all research is done so that you’re never left in a lurch. This is exactly what we mean when we say that at Grimaldi Law Firm, your future is our present.

*Names have been changed for privacy

Melinda Grimaldi is an attorney in Hollywood, Florida, whose practice is concentrated in the areas of commercial and residential real estate and estate planning law. 

She can be reached at (954) 491-8707

or

melinda@grimaldi-law.com

Special Note

The information on this blog is of a general nature and is not intended to answer any individual’s legal questions. Do not rely on information presented herein to address your individual legal concerns. If you have a legal question about your individual facts and circumstances, you should consult an experienced real estate attorney. Your receipt of information from this website or blog does not create an attorney-client relationship and the legal privileges inherent therein.

 

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Two Ways to Protect Your Real Estate Assets with Grimaldi Law Firm

One of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make in your life happens when you decide to buy a home. Owning real estate means there are important assets in your name, and you have likely taken steps to protect your real estate assets in case something should happen that causes damage or even the loss of your home.

But have you considered the importance of protecting these assets from potential lawsuit or probate case?

Whether the home you own is the one you go to after a long, hard day, or it’s the one you purchased to rent out to other tenants, Grimaldi Law Firm, a leader in Real Estate Law in Hollywood, wants to help you protect every part of your assets. It is just as common for a landlord to jeopardize losing the property he owns after being sued by his renters as it is for your death to cause a family feud over your home or real estate investments or have it be stuck for over a year in probate.

Neither of these risks are one’s worth bearing.

Working with Grimaldi Law Firm for your real estate needs means getting your real estate done right. This includes giving you the two tools for real estate asset protection:

Limited Liability Companies (LLCs)

If the real estate you own is earning you income, then going the LLC route is a great option. Setting up an LLC means you will be able to protect your personal assets from any claims or lawsuits brought against you as a result of being the owner of the property. Your liability is limited to what is owned by thye LLC. In addition, having the LLC associated with your property brings a level of security and anonymity. It is especially important to seek counsel when developing an LLC so that you can ensure you have the guidance you need in order to maintain the LLC and continue to comply with the rules associated with it.

Trusts

A revocable trust, can be changed at any time without the consent of the beneficiaries offers flexibility, privacy and the ability to avoid probate. . Another bonus? Your assets stay within the control of your family.


If you have multiple properties, not to worry! Combining LLCs and trusts in order to ensure your real estate assets are protected is a common practice. Let’s sit down and decide the best course of action to keep you protected and out of court.

Because at Grimaldi Law Firm, your future is our present.

Melinda Grimaldi is an attorney in Hollywood, Florida, whose practice is concentrated in the areas of commercial and residential real estate and estate planning law. 

She can be reached at (954) 491-8707

or

melinda@grimaldi-law.com

Special Note

The information on this blog is of a general nature and is not intended to answer any individual’s legal questions. Do not rely on information presented herein to address your individual legal concerns. If you have a legal question about your individual facts and circumstances, you should consult an experienced real estate attorney. Your receipt of information from this website or blog does not create an attorney-client relationship and the legal privileges inherent therein.



 

 

 

Closing on Your New Home in Florida? Here are 6 Things You Need to Know!

When purchasing a home in Florida, there is quite a bit to consider before packing your flip flops and swimsuit. Purchasing a new home comes with a lot of planning, and as you approach the finish line and get ready for your closing, there are a few things you’ll need to do.

Knowing what to expect and how to make the home buying process as easy as possible for you and your family is a Grimaldi Law Firm mission. This is a time where you’d like things to go off without a hitch, and we understand that.

So, what should you plan for when getting ready to close on your dream home?

1.     Hiring a closing agent

A closing agent is an impartial third party who plays the important role of overseeing the final details of a real estate transaction, like collecting funds, etc.  Relying on a title company to help you close on your new home is not the best option. By hiring a real estate attorney as your closing agent, you will get the most bang for your buck. Here’s the thing: While a title company may make sure that the title to your property is clear and be able to offer you title insurance to protect the lender and/or owner, a title company does not represent you. A Real Estate Attorney Closing Agent does all that plus here are a few other things your attorney can do that your title company cannot:

- Answer your legal questions pertaining to your closing.

- Decipher the ‘legalese’ of any documents you are signing.

- Resolve any issues with the title and/or existing contract.

- Give you legal advice as needed.

-Represent you in the event there is a conflict during the process.

-Protect your “Good Faith Deposit” if there is a claim.

2.     Making a “good faith deposit”

A deposit made in good faith on your soon-to-be new home shows the seller that you’re serious and ready to business. Once you have made an offer and are under contract for your future home, your good faith deposit is put into an escrow account, where they will be held until closing.

3.     Having a title search conducted

Knowledge is power, and a title search on the home of your dreams could uncover some problems you may not want to deal with down the road. This will help you determine whether there are any issues with the title such as liens against the property. If a problem is discovered, not to worry, this usually can be resolved by your real estate attorney before you even know about it. Once the search is complete and any problems are dealt with, the closing agent can then provide you with a title insurance policy to take you the next step.

4.     Lender’s and Owner’s Title Insurance Policy

Speaking of title insurance, it’s important to know that there are two types of coverage you’ll need when purchasing your home. There is something called a Lender’s policy, which protects the lender for the amount of the mortgage loan and an Owner’s policy, which covers the homebuyer for the amount of the purchase price.  Title insurance is a important took to protect your investment with a one-time premium payment.

5.     Receiving a Closing Disclosure

A closing disclosure is you closing statement which includes all your debits, credits, costs and expenses for the purchase.  When you are down to the wire and getting ready to close, did you know that by law your lender must provide you with a closing disclosure at least three days prior to closing? If any major changes are made in this period between receiving the closing disclosure and the closing date, a new disclosure must be issued.

6.     The last step: Preparing for Closing

You’ve dreamt about it. You’ve stressed over it. You’ve planned and plotted and packed and waited as patiently as possible. And just like that, your closing date is around the corner. Your team of Real Estate professionals have likely been working around the clock to make sure all of your paperwork is in order and has been handled appropriately. Now is the time to make sure you are briefed on what you’ll need to bring to your closing. Most closing agents require a wire for the funds that you will need to bring with you in order to close.  Make sure to call the closing agent’s office to ensure that you received the correct wire instructions as wire fraud is unfortunately not an uncommon practice.  Additionally, you’ll need to bring your government issued ID so that your signature can be notarized.

Grimaldi Law Firm, a leader in Real Estate Law in Florida, loves to celebrate the home buying process right along with you. We know just how exciting, and challenging, the process can be. Allow us to help you make this, the biggest purchase of your life, a smooth one, by having your back during the real estate process.

At Grimaldi Law Firm, your future is our present.

We can be reached at (954) 491-8707

or

melinda@grimaldi-law.com

Special Note: The information on this blog is of a general nature and is not intended to answer any individual’s legal questions. Do not rely on information presented herein to address your individual legal concerns. If you have a legal question about your individual facts and circumstances, you should consult an experienced real estate attorney. Your receipt of information from this website or blog does not create an attorney-client relationship and the legal privileges inherent therein.

Grandparents and Estate Planning in Florida

At Grimaldi Law Firm, a firm focusing on estate planning in Florida, we know that there is nothing quite like the grandparent/grandchild relationship. For those of us lucky enough to experience it, it is clear why this relationship is considered to special.

But as with any relationship, things can change when you least expect it.

What happens when, in the case of an extreme emergency, the grandparent needs to become the parent? Or if there is a divorce in the family that affects a grandparent’s ability to have visitation with their grandchild.

Believe it or not, these instances are becoming more common with each passing year.

This is particularly an issue you’ll want to be aware of if your child has a close relationship with your parents, or if you are a grandparent who wouldn’t want something like this to affect your relationship with your grandkids.

On the flipside, you may choose not to have a relationship with your parents, and want the same for your children. It is important to consider that in the that event something happens to you, rules must be put in place so that your child or children are not handed off to their grandparents.

How do we cover all bases so that we can avoid one of these situations?

Organized planning by way of an Estate Plan with Grimaldi Law Firm of course.

Here are a few scenarios to consider when deciding how you’d like to maintain, handle, or protect the grandparent relationship you’ve established for your family:

Grandparents as guardians

If your child as a close relationship with your parents or in-laws that you are happy with maintaining, put it in writing. Nominating the grandparents as legal guardians of your children in the event that something were to happen to you, will ensure that they will be able to enforce that through the courts. Remember, without this nomination, grandparents are not necessarily entitled to legal rights of their grandchild.

Steering clear of the grandparents

Lots of things happen within families that could lead you to want to put the lid on a potential relationship between your children and your parents. In that event that both you and your partner pass away or become incapacitated, it’s likely that the set of grandparents you’re trying to steer clear of would become the first option as caregivers by the Court system. This is yet another reason to name legal guardians for your child or children in the event of a tragedy.

If you did choose someone else and wanted to avoid having your parents find out about this we could help you prepare a plan for this as well.

Finally, if you are a grandparent who takes care of your grandchildren on a regular basis, a health care surrogate designation is an important tool so that you would be able to take your grandchild to the doctor or hospital if the parent is traveling or unavailable.

There are so many things to think about as a parent, and so many more to consider when thinking of the best possible future you can create for your child. Let’s sit down for a Family Planning Session and create a plan that helps put you at ease knowing that your children will be cared for according to your wishes and desires.

At Grimaldi Law Firm, your future is our present.

We can be reached at (954) 491-8707

or

melinda@grimaldi-law.com

Special Note: The information on this blog is of a general nature and is not intended to answer any individual’s legal questions. Do not rely on information presented herein to address your individual legal concerns. If you have a legal question about your individual facts and circumstances, you should consult an experienced real estate attorney. Your receipt of information from this website or blog does not create an attorney-client relationship and the legal privileges inherent therein.

If You're the Parent of a High School Graduate, READ THIS!

In the blink of an eye, our children grow up. No matter how old your child is, it’s as if each time you glance in their direction your first thought is,

How does time fly by so quickly?”

This is especially true if you’re the parent of a recent high school graduate.

First, congratulations. At Grimaldi Law Firm, a law firm that focuses on helping families through various changes in their lives, we know what it takes to make it to this point in your child’s life.

It takes a lot of time, energy, and dedication to raise a child through their adolescence into early adulthood. Now that they’re on to this next major step in their lives, we’re sure you’re going to want to protect your child just as you did for the last 18 years.

Before you send your child off into the world, whether it be to their dream university or a job across the country, it’s important that you understand the legal rights your child will now have. Turning 18 brings about a hefty dose of responsibility in the legal sense.

Even though they will always be your babies, a child is not longer considered a child once their 18th birthday rolls around – at least not in terms of the law. Unfortunately, even though Mom and Dad may know best, you will no longer have the legal right to make some of the decisions you once made for your children. This includes access to their health care information, school records, and even financial records, at least not without their permission. 

Here are some steps you should take before your child flies the coop, that will help ensure your peace of mind and their safety once they are out in the world on their own:

Add the ICE app to your child’s phone.

Speaking of phones, you’ll want to take advantage of an app called Ice, which stands for In Case of Emergency. This is another way to ensure that you will be contacted should your child have an emergency. Add the ICE app to the home page of your child’s phone and make sure that it lists your contact information.  Your child is more likely to always have their phone with them than to carry a printed card or document with the same information.

 Create an advance healthcare directive

A healthcare directive that will allow you to access their medical records and make medical decisions for them in case your child becomes incapacitated is critical once they reach adulthood.  You will need this in case of an emergency. At Grimaldi Law Firm, we can help you create an advance healthcare directive and modify it down the line if need be.

For more information on protecting your baby now that they’ve reached adulthood, call our office to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk about a Family Planning Session. Together, we can identify the best ways for you to ensure the security of your children as they go off into the world on their own for the very first time. This is one instance in life where you’ll certainly want to have all of your bases covered.

 Visit us anytime this Summer for a Family Planning Session and we’ll waive our $750 planning fee PLUS create a free healthcare directive for your young adult child.

 At Grimaldi Law Firm, your future is our present.

We can be reached at (954) 491-8707

or

melinda@grimaldi-law.com

Special Note: The information on this blog is of a general nature and is not intended to answer any individual’s legal questions. Do not rely on information presented herein to address your individual legal concerns. If you have a legal question about your individual facts and circumstances, you should consult an experienced real estate attorney. Your receipt of information from this website or blog does not create an attorney-client relationship and the legal privileges inherent therein.