Practice Areas

Foreclosure Defense

People find themselves defaulting on their mortgages for various reasons. Sometimes, people feel helpless and leave it to chance as to what happens with their homes. Even though you may have defaulted on your mortgage or are contemplating defaulting, you should always defend a foreclosure filed against you. In defending a foreclosure lawsuit, you may actually end up saving your home. If you simply do nothing, not only will you lose you home, but you leave the door open for the bank to sue you for the deficiency, that is the difference between what you owe the bank versus what the house is worth the day it is sold by the court at an auction sale.  

There are many strategies that we can utilize to achieve your goal, whatever that goal may be. In the end, saving the home may not make sense for everyone, but you should know all your options and come to the best decision for you and your family. If you have defaulted on your mortgage loan, here are some of your options:

Defend the foreclosure lawsuit

Apply for a loan modification 

Enter into a forbearance agreement

Reinstate the loan

Sell your home

Deed the property to the bank

File for bankruptcy

Debt Settlement

People incur debt for many different reasons. Some lose their jobs and can’t pay back what they borrowed. Others get ill and have to reduce the amount of hours they work. Others go through a divorce and lose a substantial amount of their wealth. Even though the debt is piling, most people want to pay it back. What you need to know is that you can always negotiate with your creditors. If you feel intimidated by creditors calling you, ask them to send you everything in writing. Yes, you do have that right. 

At the end of the day, creditors want to get paid. Have a plan as to what what you want to settle each account for. Call the creditor and be firm. Don’t waste your time in the phone trying to negotiate. Give the amount and tell them to consider. Don’t worry, they will call you back with an answer after they have considered. You would be (pleasantly) surprised what some creditors are willing to take. The longer the debt, the more they are willing to negotiate.

It is not always possible for creditors to collect on the debt you owe; there may be  issues with the statute of limitations barring their right to collect, standing (as to who is truly the creditor), or you may have another valid defense. You should consult with an attorney to determine where you stand. Lastly, always open your mail. Many people dig a deeper hole for themselves, because they make the decision to not open their mail. How can you solve your problems if you don’t know where you stand? You do have to keep in mind that it is not always possible for them to collect on the debt you owe; there may be are issues with the statute of limitations barring their right to collect, standing (as to who is truly the creditor), or you may have another valid defense. You should consult with an attorney to figure out what where you stand. Lastly, always open your mail. Many people dig a deeper hole for themselves, because they make the decision not to open their mail. How can anyone solve their problems if they don’t know where they stand?

Loan Modification

Most people bought or built their dream home, and their number one goal is to save their home. Our Firm is a strong proponent of homeowners making well-informed decisions. We will sit down with you, look at your finances, amount owed on the mortgage, value of home and advise whether or not going through the loan modification process is in the best interest of your family. We can help you with the process and shed light on what it takes to obtain a loan modification.  

Short Sales

Not everyone is able to save their home from foreclosure. Some homeowners simply decide they want to let go of their home and relocate or move in with family members. If you decide to go through a short sale–where you sell the home for less than is owed on the mortgages–there are pit falls that you should be aware exist and that you must avoid. For example, you do not want to sell your home, make no profit, and then later find out that the bank reserved the right to sue you for the deficiency and actually sues you for the deficiency. The bank always approves the short sale. If you live in a community and owe the association for unpaid assessments, the association may prevent the short sale from going forward if it is not paid in full. It would be wise that you have an experienced attorney help you review the short sale contract and the closing documents. Remember, your realtor is not an attorney and does not have the legal background to advice you. Even if you believe your realtor knows what he/she is talking about, if you rely on your realtor for legal advice and contract interpretation, you may find yourself in hot waters later on. Good realtors  reserve from providing legal counsel and advice their clients to get professional help. 

Debt Collection

So, you obtained a judgment against someone and now look to the court for help to execute on that judgment. The clerk at the courthouse tells you that she can’t give you any legal advice. You have to be mind helpful that obtaining a judgment is not just a “piece of paper.” By having a judgment entered in your favor, the law gives you a lot of tools to try and collect on the judgment. As a creditor, you can get  assets owned by the debtor to try and satisfy the judgment. Some of the options available are to garnish the wages or bank accounts of the debtor, take their vehicle, airplanes, boats, motorcycles, etc., and any other valuable items such as art, jewelry, and sculptures and sell them to satisfy the judgment. If you know of real estate of other assets owned by the debtor, you can levy on them to satisfy the judgment. If the debtor has an interest in a single member LLC, you can get a charging order against the LLC to have the LLC pay you any of the distributions that the member would have received. If the amount of the judgment is high and the distributions will take a long time to satisfy the judgment, you can foreclose on the LLC. There are many other avenues you can take to try and collect on the judgment, but you consider first talking with the debtor and find out if he/she will pay you or set up a repayment plan. What would be the point to go through all of the steps to collect the amount owed, when the debtor may not have any assets that you can seize? You can always pursue collection later. A judgment stays alive for 20 years, giving you a long time to collect on the judgment. 

Contracts

Contracts are a very important tool in any transaction you enter into. By having written  a contract, you have an instrument that shows exactly what the parties agreed to. You do not want to find yourself in a position where the other party fails to do something and you have nothing in writing that shows what the agreement was between the two of you.  Before you sign a contract, read it. Then read it again. Make sure you understand it. Don’t let others force you to sign a contract or simply say it is “boilerplate language.” There is no rule that requires that you sign the contract which is presented to you. You can choose to revise the terms of the contract and then present it back to the other party for review.

People get into trouble because they don’t read the contracts they sign; then, the other party sues them for breach of contract. It may take you a few minutes or a few hours to read the contract, depending on the length of the contract and complexity of the deal, but it is best to do the work initially than to be sued later on by  the other party. You will save you and your family a lot of time, heartache and money. 

Adult Adoption

In Florida, an adult can adopt another adult, i.e., an individual over 18 years of age. For example, a step-parent can adopt the adult children of his/her spouse, or a teacher can decide to adopt a student. It does not matter whether or not the parents of the adult being adopted are alive. The fact that the person being adopted is an adult, under the law, allows that adult to make the decision to be adopted by another adult. It may seem odd at first to think why an adult would want to adopt another adult, but the reasons are truly endless. 

Wills and Trusts

No one knows for sure when and how we are going to pass on. However, we all know for certain it will happen one day. Do you want the court to decide how your assets are divided between your family members? Or do you want your wealth to escheat to the state if you have no family? Planning is key in life, especially, when it comes to your legacy. At the very least, you should have a will. There are formalities that you have to comply by in order for the state to recognize your will. If you simply write one by hand and it is not notarized and witnessed, the court will not recognize your will.

If  you want someone close to you to make medical decisions on your behalf, you should have a health care surrogate. You should have a conversation with this person before you appoint him or her regarding your wishes and your believes. The person may not be comfortable doing certain things and you would be wise to find another person you trust who would comply with your wishes.

Have you ever thought if you want to receive CPR if you go into cardiac arrest? What about from complications from the flu? Do you want to receive chemotherapy if it will prolong your life by only 6 months? Do you wan to be hooked up to a respirator? For how long? These are very difficult questions and if you sit down and think about them may be daunting. It is best that you talk with your doctor, family members or your spouse and discuss what is best for you. You can have a plan in writing by doing a living will that advises your doctors as to what you would like to happen and medical care you wish to receive or not receive, instead of having your family be put in a difficult position where it has to figure out what your wishes would have been.  

Landlord/Tenant

Having a written lease with tenants is very important. As a landlord, you should spell out all the terms in a written lease agreement. By spending a bit of time before a tenant moves in to draft a lease agreement, can save you a lot time and resources later on when the tenants do not comply with what you “thought” was the agreement. At the same time, as the tenant, you want to be sure you understand what your rights and responsibilities are. You should carefully review the lease before you sign it. You should negotiate any terms that you do not feel comfortable with or know that you cannot fulfill. You are renting a home or commercial space, you should treat it like your own. If you find that the place is not safe or the landlord is actively failing to make necessary repairs, you should not feel like you have no options. You should immediately inform the landlord in writing of any issues and put in writing any repair requests. This way, you will have a record of when and what was requested from the landlord instead of simply relying on oral requests.

Nothing in this website should be construed as legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is created. Whatever legal issue you face or think you will face, you should consult with an attorney as to your specific case. Knowledge is power.