When to Revise Your Will

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Creating an estate plan is a landmark accomplishment. But even if you already have an estate plan, you'll want to examine it periodically to make sure it continues to reflect your wishes and your situation.

At the very least, your estate plan should be reviewed and possibly revised any time you experience a major life change. Some key examples of these major life changes are:

  • Loss of a spouse
  • Remarriage or divorce
  • Death of an heir
  • Significant change in the health of your proposed executor or alternative executor
  • Changing relationships with family members or others you may have included
  • Birth of children or grandchildren
  • Major shifts in assets, such as the sale of real estate or a business
  • Maturation of long-term investments
  • Changes in estate tax laws that impact the distribution of your assets.

When needed, revisions can be addressed through an amendment or codicil. Even if there are no noticeable life changes, it is best to speak with an estate planning attorney at minimum every three years to ensure the plan is still in order.

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.

Mortgage Types - The Basics

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Mortgages come in many shapes and sizes. They vary in terms of duration, structure, interest rates, and many other factors. We'll provide you with a few examples so that hopefully, you can find the one that's right for you when it comes time for you to purchase a home!

  1. 30 year fixed rate mortgage
    This is the most popular type of home loan because of it's low-interest rates, which does not change for the entire duration of the loan, which is 30 years. Although they may have higher interest rates than other loans, you can make pre-payments which may help you save more in interest payments overall.

  2. 15-year fixed-rate mortgage
    These types of mortgages usually have a lower interest rate, and the loan can be paid off in half the time (since the term is for 15 years). Although the monthly payments may be higher, you may be able to save tens of thousands overall in interest payments.

  3. Adjustable Rate Mortgage
    This is for someone who is looking for an alternative to a fixed rate mortgage. It has a low-interest rate for the first few years, which is adjusted every year. The adjustments usually have a limit, for the most part, so you won't see a big increase in the rates in one year. Over several years, however, the rates can increase enormously. This is an option for someone who is only looking to spend a few years on their property and not as common as the other mortgages.

  4. Little to Nothing Down Mortgage
    With most mortgages, people generally make a down payment of at least 20%. If not, you may have to obtain private mortgage insurance, which adds another monthly cost to homeowners. Many loans, such as VA and USDA Rural Development loans offer "$0 downpayment" loans. Others such as Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac allow you to make down payments as low as 3%. FHA Loans are also an option, and allow you to obtain a home with only 3.5% down. The downside is that you'll be starting with little or no equity, and if the value of the home drops, you may end up owing more than your home is worth. You may also have to pay a higher interest rate throughout the duration of the loan.

  5. Jumbo Loans
    These types of loans are for those who are looking to purchase homes $500-750,000 or more. You might be required to put down more than 20% for your down payment.

  6. The Refinanced Mortgage
    A refinanced mortgage is when you take out a new home loan that pays off the old one. People usually refinance their home when interest rates drop, mostly in comparison to the rates of when they first got their loan. This allows homeowners to make lower monthly payments, and save more. Some homeowners also change the terms of their loans, going from a 30 year fixed rate mortgage to a 15-year mortgage, or even going from an Adjustable Rate Mortgage to a fixed rate mortgage. One thing to keep in mind is how long you will be in your home. People who plan on moving should calculate their "break-even point", and make sure it's a financially sound decision if they plan on moving in the near future. Another reason homeowners will refinance is that the equity in their home has increased and they would like to pull some equity out of their home for a specific purpose (for example: renovations).

Whatever the loan, we can assist you with your closing, and helping your find the right lender 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 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.

Get Organized When it Comes to Your Estate Planning!

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Organize Your Thoughts, Feelings, and Information

When it comes to doing an estate plan, getting organized can help move the process along quickly, and preparing ahead of time can help you feel more confident during the process.

Trust me. I get it. I did it too.

Gathering information for your estate plan can feel overwhelming. Nobody wants to think about the possiblity of no longer being around.

But it doesn't have to be if you just follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Learn about your options for estate planning. Spend time on our blog, FAQ page or ask us for some materials. You'll soon have a basic understanding of the vocabulary and planning tools available to you.

Step 2: Organize your assets. Note account numbers and financial details. Keep this information in a convenient, secure place so you can easily return to it and continue working if need be.

Step 3: Meet with an attorney. Share your information and formalize your estate plan. With these steps completed, you'll be well on your way.

Step 4: Share your intentions. Share this information with loved ones, your executor, and any charities you may include. At the very least, you should leave a copy of your will with your attorney, and make sure your personal representative has your attorney's name and contact information.

Getting organized can help move the process along quickly, and preparing ahead of time can help you feel more confident in your Estate Planning! That is why we created a comprehensive checklist of items for our clients to review and fill out. This list will help make Steps 2 and 3 much easier.

Have more questions? Check out our Estate Planning FAQ Page or visit our Blog for helpful tips!

Do you want to start working on your checklist? E-mail us at info@grimaldi-law.com to schedule a family planning session and request a checklist so you can get started with the process.

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.

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.