Happy New Year from all of us at Gulati Law!

2020 certainly threw some curveballs to our friends, family, & clients. As we rebuild our community back to the vibrant economy it once was, it is a great time to review your estate plan or corporate documents and evaluate any needs going forward.

New Year Checklist:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Make sure that…

  • All major decisions requiring owner/partner approvals have been documented and are included in the company’s record books.
  • Secretary of State filings due during the year have been filed (please note Florida’s deadline is May 1st, 2021).
  • Agreements among members, employees, and consultants have been documented and signed.
  • The company’s agreed value (if applicable), financial statements, and ownership records are current.
  • State taxes (if applicable) have been paid and business licenses renewed.
  • The company is in good standing in its state of formation and in each state where it is qualified to do business.
  • And most importantly your family estate plan is up to date.

If any of the above items have not been updated or handled, we suggest taking the time to speak with your Florida attorney to get them updated. This is also a good time to communicate with members about the company’s progress during the year. Finally, 2021 Annual Corporate Renewals are now due, please reach out to Gulati Law, P.L. for assistance with any of these matters at (407) 900-5054.

Prepare for Hurricane Season- Helpful Tips!

Please utilize the resources below if necessary. I also encourage you to share this information with your friends and neighbors as we work together to recover from this storm- Hurricane Michael.

FEMA ASSISTANCE

To apply for FEMA assistance visit: www.disasterassistance.gov or call 1-800-621-FEMA (1-800-621-3362) TTY: 1-800-462-7585. To find the nearest FEMA Disaster Recovery Center visit: https://egateway.fema.gov/ESF6/ DRCLocator

EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE

If you need emergency help call 9-1-1.

BASIC SUPPLIES

If you need supplies, such as food, water, or ice, please contact your county emergency management at: http://www.floridadisaste r.org/fl_county_em.asp or by phone at (850) 815-4001 for the location of the nearest distribution center. Your county emergency management can provide up-to-date information about shelters and local distribution centers for food and supplies.

HELP FOR SENIORS

If you know of a senior who needs assistance call the Florida Department of Elder Affairs hotline at 1-800-96-ELDER (1-800-963-5337). To report elder abuse, call 1-800-96-ABUSE (1-800-962-2873).

HELP FOR VETERANS

Veterans in need of assistance or in need of their medication can contact the Veteran Disaster Hotline at 1-800-507-4571 or go to any VA medical facility for assistance.

MENTAL HEALTH

If you or someone you know is experiencing emotional distress please call the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained counselor. You may also visit: http://bit.ly/2vH2Huc for more information about managing stress after a disaster and talking with children about traumatic events.

DIALYSIS

To find a dialysis center in your area visit: http://www.dialysisunits.com/. Patients of DaVita Dialysis may contact 1-800-400-8331 to find the nearest Dialysis Center.

MORTGAGE RELIEF

To find out if you qualify for temporary mortgage relief, visit the Freddie Mac website at: http://www.freddiem ac.com/about/hurricane-relief.html , the Fannie Mae website at:http://www .fanniemae.com/portal/about-fm/hurricane-relief.html or by phone at 1-800-2FANNIE (800-232-6643). To contact the Federal Housing Finance Agency visit:https://www.fhfa.gov/Homeownersbuyer/MortgageAssistance/ Pages /Disa ster-Assistance.aspx

You may also contact the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to find out if you qualify for any hurricane related help with your mortgage or mortgage insurance. To contact HUD about disaster assistance visit: https://www. hud.gov/program_offices/housing/sfh/ins/203h-dft or https://www. hud.gov/program_offices/housing/sfh/nsc/qaho0121

TAX RELIEF

Taxpayers in affected areas may be eligible for tax relief from the IRS. To learn more about IRS assistance visit: https://ww w.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-relief-in-disaster-situations.

DISASTER RECOVERY LOANS

The U.S. Small Business Administration is providing various disaster loans to qualifying Floridians. For more information about SBA disaster loans visit:https://www.sba.gov/disaster-ass istance/. The U.S. Department of Agriculture provides loans to qualifying individuals, businesses, and communities after disasters. For more information visit: https://www.usda.gov/topics/d isaster/storms, or contact the USDA office in Florida at: (352) 338-3400.

DISASTER UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE

Floridians who are unemployed as a result of a disaster, and who are ineligible for regular state unemployment insurance, are encouraged to apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) through the U.S. Department of Labor. For additional information about DUA visit: https://workfo rcesecurity.doleta.gov/unemploy/disaster.asp or contact the U.S. Department of Labor by phone at 1-866-487-2365.

HURRICANE RESPONSE HIRING

The U.S. Small Business Administration is hiring a variety of temporary positions located throughout areas affected by recent disasters. For more information visit:https://www.sba.gov/disaster-assistance/hurricane-response -jobs -sba< /a>. For FEMA hiring visit: https://careers.fema.gov/hur ricane-workforce.

FEMA ASSISTANCE

For in-person assistance with storm related questions, visit your local FEMA Disaster Recovery Center. For a list of centers in your area visit: https://egateway.fema.gov/ESF6/ DRCLocator or call 1-800-621-FEMA (1-800-621-3362) TTY: 1-800-462-7585.

Be aware of SCAMS: Federal and state workers never ask for or accept money, and always carry identification badges. There is no fee required to apply for or to get disaster assistance from FEMA, or the State of Florida. If you suspect fraud call FEMA’s Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721, or the Florida Attorney General fraud hotline at 1-866-966-7226.

RESOURCES

Emergency Assistance 9-1-1

Local resources (food, shelter, childcare,) 2-1-1

Food, water, ice distribution https://www.floridadisaster.org/, 850-815-4001, TDD/TTY: 1-800-226-4329

County Emergency Management Offices https://www.floridadisaster.org /counties/

Shelters www.floridadisaster.org/sh elter-status/

Florida Highway Conditions: www.flhsmv.gov/f hp/traffic/live_traffic_feed.html, or dial 5-1-1 or *FHP (347)

Florida Elder Affairs Hotline 1-800-96-ELDER (1-800-963-5337)http://elderaffairs.state.fl.us/

Veteran Disaster Hotline www.va.gov, 1-800-507-4571

Disaster Distress Helpline (for emotional distress) 1-800-985-5990, or text TalkWithUs to 66746

Blue Tarp Roofs (Army Corps of Engineers) 1-888-ROOF-BLU

FEMA www.disasterassistance.gov, 1-800-621-FEMA (1-800-621-3362) TTY: 1-800-745-0243

Source: BILL NELSON OFFICES IN FLORIDA

Beware of Non-Government Affiliated Trademark Solicitations!

 

blog4Please be aware that private companies that are not associated with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) are using trademark applications and registration information from the USPTO’s databases to issue trademark-related solicitations. These solicitations may include offers for legal services, for trademark monitoring services, record trademarks with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and even to “register” trademarks in the company’s own private registry.

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Some applicants have reported paying fees to these companies, mistakenly under the assumption that they were paying mandatory fees to the USPTO.  If you receive documents that appear to be from an official government agency, please be sure to read the fine print. If an address is provided, always perform a search to verify that the location is legitimate. Sometimes these companies will provide an address for a vacant building or office space. Usually, an official correspondence will be from the “United States Patent and Trademark Office” in Alexandria, VA, and if by e-mail, specifically from the domain “@uspto.gov.”

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Unfortunately, if you have already submitted any payment to these companies for services offered, the USPTO is unable to provide a refund. The USPTO encourages you to file an on-line consumer complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”), at www.FTC.gov. If you receive one of these solicitations and you’re unsure of its legitimacy, or if you are interested in filing for a new trademark, we can help! Contact us today so that our legal professionals can discuss your options.

Purchased a New Property In Florida? Beware of Solicitations!

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As many of you know, the process of purchasing a new home, or commercial property involves quite a few important documents that you need to be familiar with. Title and Deed documents are given to you by your attorney. Usually, these documents are also accessible online via your county’s property appraiser’s website FOR FREE. In instances where you have purchased a new property, you may receive a letters in the mail that might look like an official county or state document which states that you will need to take additional steps to finalize documentation, or that you will need to order vital documentation that shows ownership of your property.

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This mailing will have your name, parcel number, and property address on it. What Record Transfer Services is doing might not be illegal; however, these services are usually already performed either before or at closing by a title company or real estate attorney. A title search is usually performed by a title company or an attorney, who researches the vested owner, the liens or other judgments on the property, the loans on the property and the property taxes due before the closing is done. If duplicates are needed or documents are misplaced from your records, these documents can usually be found via your county property appraiser’s website or you may contact your real estate attorney.

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Given that the letter includes a deadline for which to request for these documents, it appears to be an official document, however, make special note of the disclaimer in fine print at the bottom of the letter: “This product or service has not been approved, or endorsed by any government…” Generally, if you receive a solicitation asking for more money after your closing, it is not necessary and is rarely legitimate. If you are not sure or you would like more information, contact your Florida Real Estate attorney or title company as soon as possible.

Broward County’s New Recording Procedures

journalsBroward County, Florida, has released a recent update on their new record keeping procedures. Effective January 1, 2015, Broward County will no longer assign Book and Page numbers to the documents being recorded. The new record keeping procedures will be done through an “Instrument Number” which is how the documents will be found if searched in their database. They do make an exception for large format documents. See Broward County’s Memo for further information.

Source: RTT Instrument Number Memo

ATTENTION: NEW FLORIDA SMALL BUSINESSES- BEWARE OF SCAMS!


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A Florida company based out of Tallahassee, Florida, has been attempting to convince new business owners who have recently formed a new corporation or LLC, to send money by exaggerating to be involved in a vital step in the business formation process. This “company” has gone by other aliases such as the “Florida Center of Corporation,” and now currently operates under “United Business Services”

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In the letter it states: “You have one step left to receive your Florida Certificate of Status”, they are instructed to complete their filing by filling out a stub and to “mail back to the corporations center with your payment of $47.00 (some recent mailings have said $47.99 or a similar amount) to complete your articles of organization certificate.” We urge caution because the correspondence is made deceptively like it is coming from a government agency. And note in the image here, that in very fine print, it states that “This is not a government agency.”

 

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We classify this as an inappropriate deception of the Florida Department of State services because the only service United Business Services is providing is to obtain a Certificate of Status (or good standing) from the Secretary of State of Florida.  The state only charges either $8.75 (for an INC) or $5 (for an LLC) for this.  Furthermore, when we checked the address for the company, it came up as an empty office space which is available for rent. The company came up in no searches affiliated with that address, or any other.

 

If you have any questions as to the legitimacy of these letters, do not hesitate to contact your Florida Business Law Attorney as soon as possible.

Is Commercial Real Estate a Worthwhile Investment?

If you have been investing in residential real estate for some time now, you might have been considering commercial investments.  The absolute best way to get involved with investments is by doing research, getting advice, and contrasting the familiarity’s with some of the differences.  Knowing the pros and cons before getting involved in a big purchase can help you weigh your options and find out what is best for you.

One major difference between commercial and residential real estate is how the bank values them.  Commercial bank loans tend to require a higher down payment that can easily be more than 30 percent.  Check with your lending institution to find out if they deal with commercial real estate. We have a list of commercial lenders we have worked with in the past, just contact us today and we will be happy to provide them to you!

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Commercial real estate offers the potential for increased cash flow and higher stability.  Renting out several spaces in a multi-unit property means more income, and the return is usually higher per square foot if you’re getting the full potential out of the property.  This can also mean less risk. If one of several tenants leaves, you will only lose a portion of the return.  Commercial leases offer steady income because they are also usually much longer in duration.

As with both residential and commercial investments, it is always important to ask questions and do your research.  There are many parts to look into when purchasing commercial real estate specifically.  Some of these include questions about former management, lease renewals, population income, and the seller’s cash flow statements, among others.  See our Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts of Purchasing Commercial Real Estate- click here.

Source: Entrepreneur Article 

 

Valuable Tips When Closing on the Sale of Your Business!

Whether you are planning to retire or venture out into a new business project, the sale of your business is a very important stage, just as is the purchase. There are items you must take care of before handing over the keys to your business.

Now that you have decided to take action and proceed with your business closing, it is important that you and your partners decided how you will dissolve the organization.

Here are some simple steps to take and follow when preparing for your business closing:

1. Get Expert Advice.

This sale of your business is a delicate process and it is a good idea to have a knowledgeable attorney and certified public accountant handy. They know the caveats to look for when drafting all closing documents and filing follow up tax forms.

2. File Your Dissolution Documents.

Failing to dissolve your company may cause potential liabilities in the future as far as taxes and filings.

3. Cancel all Registrations, Permits, Licenses and Business Names,

This will protect things like your finances and reputation. This will also depend on whether you, as the Seller, and the Buyer decide to sell the trade name and transfer licenses, etc.

4. Comply with Employment and Labor Laws.

Ensure that you have paid all of employees by their last day of work. Other requirements may require you to pay for unused leave time.

5. Fulfill All Financial Obligations.

Taxes, Yes!! The department of revenue requires proper documentation, when filling tax returns and upon the dissolution of your business.

6. Keep All Of Your Records.

Keep all of your closing documents in a safe place. It is advisable to keep your records for at least three to seven years, depending on your profession.

At Gulati Law, we have handled numerous business closings from restaurants, gas stations, convenience stores, medical centers and much more. If you have any questions or are in need of a Business Closing Attorney we would be happy to help!

Source:

 

Source: SBA Gov

Attorney Gulati Mentors at Jacksonville Start Up Weekend Event

Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding start-ups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 400 past events in 100 countries around the world in 2011.

Attorney Gulati participated in the Jacksonville Start Up Weekend as a Mentor and Coach for start-up businesses on January 25-27, 2013. There was a great turnout and we thank everyone for participating.

Here are some of the pictures from the Event.

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Attorney Gulati & Karen Barnes of KL Barnes & Associates.

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If you are a start-up business or have a new idea, contact us today, we can help with the formation of your business or connect you with people that may be able to help you!

Contact Us Today!

    Gulati Law