It’s time for another year in review, and we’ve got a lot to cover. In 2019, we wrote about a variety of different topics on our blog, ranging from business law and insurance issues to some pretty exciting news about our firm. So, without further ado, here are our top 15 articles from 2019:
1. Saavedra Goodwin Expands to Central Florida
On April 1, we formally announced our firm’s expansion to Central Florida. In addition to our longstanding office location in Fort Lauderdale, we now also have an office located at 610 Sycamore Street, Suite 205 in Celebration, Florida. This was a strategic decision based on our clients’ ever-expanding needs; and, now that we have a permanent location in the Greater Orlando area, we are better positioned to serve our clients statewide.
2. 2019 Saavedra Goodwin Super Lawyers
On June 12, we proudly announced that three of our firm’s attorneys had been selected as 2019 Super Lawyers. Diane J. Zelmer was named to the 2019 Super Lawyers listing, and Glen Lindsay was selected as 2019 Super Lawyers Rising Stars. Owned by Thomson Reuters, Super Lawyers is a leading lawyer rating agency that bases its ratings on peer evaluations and 12 indicators of professional achievement. Each year, only five percent of attorneys are selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers and just 2.5 percent are selected as Super Lawyers Rising Stars.
Business Formation, Ownership and Management
3. Starting a Business in Florida: What are the Legal Risks Involved?
Starting a business in Florida (or in any state) carries legal risks. However, the specific types of risks a business faces depend greatly on the company’s structure and the products or services it offers. In Starting a Business in Florida: What are the Legal Risks Involved?, our Fort Lauderdale business litigation lawyers discussed seven different types of legal risks that businesses can face on a day-to-day basis, including some examples that apply to businesses generally and others that are more specific to companies that sell certain products and services and that operate in certain industries.
4. What are the Risks of Not Incorporating or Forming an LLC?
If you have worked for someone else your whole life or you are a young entrepreneur and you are thinking about starting your own business, there are some important decisions you need to make before you get up and running. One of these decisions is: What type of business entity should you form? While you are not required to form a business entity, there are several important reasons to do so, and our Fort Lauderdale business lawyer explained these reasons in: What are the Risks of Not Incorporating or Forming an LLC?
5. C Corporation vs. S Corporation: What’s the Difference?
When forming a business entity, two of the options you have available are forming a C corporation and forming an S corporation. As we explained in C Corporation vs. S Corporation: What’s the Difference?, “[w]hile corporations are formed at the state level (in Florida, the business’s organizers must file Articles of Incorporation with the Division of Corporations), it is the federal tax treatment that dictates a corporation’s ‘C’ or ‘S’ status.” There are limitations on when companies can elect for S corporation status; however, these limitations will not come into play for most small businesses.
6. 7 Key Provisions in LLC Operating Agreements
Another option that is available in Florida is to form a limited liability company (LLC). An LLC is similar to a corporation in that it provides liability protection and offers various options for structuring ownership rights; however, forming an LLC avoids many of the formalities that attend to corporate ownership.
When forming an LLC, it is necessary to prepare an Operating Agreement in addition to preparing the Articles of Organization that get filed with the Florida Division of Corporations. We discussed some important considerations for preparing a custom-tailored Operating Agreement in: 7 Key Provisions in LLC Operating Agreements.
Business Litigation and Liability
7. Internal Disputes: Dealing with Disagreements Among Shareholders or Members
For small businesses with more than one owner, disagreements among shareholders or members can bring progress to a standstill, and potentially even threaten the business’s viability. As a result, resolving these disputes efficiently can be of critical importance. Most internal disputes fall into one of a handful of categories, and there are various strategies that company owners can utilize to try to come to terms. We discussed some key considerations in: Internal Disputes: Dealing with Disagreements Among Shareholders or Members.
8. Business Insurance: What Coverage(s) Does Your Company Need? A Fort Lauderdale Business Lawyer Explains
In addition to forming (and properly managing) a limited liability entity, one of the best ways that small business owners can mitigate their risk is by purchasing business insurance. But, what type of business insurance should you purchase, and how much coverage do you need? Small business owners should take the time to make informed decisions about insurance coverage on an annual basis, and they should consider purchasing additional policies (or increasing their coverage limits) as their risk profiles change. We discussed some additional considerations and provided an overview of seven common types of business insurance policies in: Business Insurance: What Coverage(s) Does Your Company Need?
9. Investigating Personal Injury and Premises Liability Claims on Construction Sites: What Do Companies Need to Know?
Construction in Florida is never-ending. New commercial buildings and residential developments are being built every day; and, while this means that business is good for many companies in the construction industry, it also means that these companies face liability risks on a daily basis. If your company is being sued following an accident on a construction site, conducting a prompt and thorough investigation could be critical to mitigating or avoiding liability.
10. Ensuring Clear Title in Commercial Real Estate Transactions
When buying commercial real estate for business purposes, it is critical to ensure that you are getting clear title to the property. While this may seem fairly obvious, there are a number of issues that can arise, and overlooking these issues can lead to headaches, frustration, and litigation down the line.
In Ensuring Clear Title in Commercial Real Estate Transactions, we discussed four common issues that have the potential to cloud title in commercial property sales. We also explained why buying title insurance won’t always be enough to protect your company.
Property Insurance Coverage and Claims
11. What Does Your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy Cover?
It’s a simple question, and it is a question that all homeowners should be able to answer. However, in our experience, many – if not most – homeowners lack a clear understanding of what their insurance policies cover.
When you bought your homeowner’s insurance policy, did you think critically about all of the coverage options that were offered? Did you shop around to see how insurance companies’ policies differed? If not, you might not have the coverage you need. For an overview of the basic items your homeowner’s policy should cover, you can read: What Does Your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy Cover?
12. What are “Endorsements” in a Homeowner’s Insurance Policy?
Another important consideration to keep in mind when buying homeowner’s insurance is that most policies contain a number of exclusions. This means that specific items – such as watercraft and golf carts – might not be covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy. To obtain coverage for these items, you will need to add endorsements, which essentially “fill in” the standard exclusions. There are various other types of endorsements as well, which our Fort Lauderdale real estate attorney discussed in: What are “Endorsements” in a Homeowner’s Insurance Policy?
13. What Can South Florida Condo Owners Expect from HO-6 Insurance Claims?
While condo associations are required to purchase insurance that provides coverage for individual unit owners, these insurance policies do not cover everything that most homeowners will want covered. As a result, most condo owners purchase their own insurance as well, and this insurance typically comes in the form of an “HO-6” policy. If you need to file a claim under your HO-6 insurance policy, there are some important facts you need to know. We provided tips and links to additional resources in: What Can South Florida Condo Owners Expect from HO-6 Insurance Claims?
14. What is the Statute of Limitations for Homeowner’s Insurance Claims in Florida?
If you need to file a homeowner’s insurance claim after a hurricane, tropical storm or other casualty event, you only have a limited amount of time in which to do so. While Florida’s five-year statute of limitations shouldn’t be an issue in most cases, there are circumstances in which homeowners may need to be aware of the deadlines for asserting their legal rights.
15. Unlicensed Contractors and Assignments of Benefits (AOBs): A Warning for South Florida Homeowners
Dealing with a homeowner’s insurance claim means dealing with contractors; and, unfortunately, some contractors are more scrupulous than others. Fraud scams are common after major storms and other mass-casualty events as well, and one issue of which homeowners need to be aware in particular is assignment of benefits (AOB) fraud. Learn more: Unlicensed Contractors and Assignments of Benefits (AOBs): A Warning for South Florida Homeowners.
Contact Saavedra Goodwin’s Attorneys in South Florida or Central Florida
If you have questions about your legal options or your legal rights as a business or property owner in Florida, we encourage you to get in touch. To schedule a confidential initial consultation with an attorney at our offices in South Florida or Central Florida, please call 954-767-6333 or inquire online today.