Estate Planning For Minor Children

        It is often thought that estate planning is just for older people who are more established in their careers and lives and have more to plan for, when, that could not be further from the truth. From individuals planning for themselves, to married couples with young children, to retired adults, everyone can use some sort of planning.  This post will focus on estate planning for individuals or couples with a minor child and address some of the topics that they should be consider when planning for their child.           If you ask anyone with a minor child what their biggest concern is should they as parents, pass away, and most will answer that their largest concern is making sure their child is well taken care of. They generally do not mean this in the financial sense, but more in the sense that they will be raised in a good home and provided with the proper support system to help them grow. Here are a few things you should consider when planning for your minor child.         The first question you want to ask yourself, if you pass away, who would you want to raise your child?  That person or people need to be named in your Last Will and Testament. If your preference is not outlined in your documents, there is a chance that a legal battle will ensue to determine the best Guardian for your child(ren). The preference you have indicated in your Last Will is generally honored by the courts.         When considering who to name as Guardian, it is worthwhile to consider, the proposed Guardian’s religious and social values, the Guardian’s other children, where the Guardian lives and the arrangements available for your child.         Once you have decided who would be best suited to act as Guardian for your child, you need to decide how your assets should be distributed.  Without a plan, at your death, your assets would be given to the Guardian of your minor child and held for your child...

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SB 56: Impact On Association Collection Practices

        New changes to the Florida Statutes governing community associations will become effective July 1, 2021, pursuant to multiple bills passed during the most recent legislative session.  Among these bills, SB 56 is particularly directed to community associations’ collection of maintenance fees and assessments.  Board members, property managers, and any community association staff involved in assessment collection must be familiar with these new provisions so as not to jeopardize or delay the ability of their associations to collect assessments from owners who have become delinquent.         Perhaps the most critical legislative change contained in SB 56 likely to affect all associations at one time or another is a new requirement that associations send owners who have become delinquent a sort of “courtesy” notice advising of their delinquency prior to requiring payment of any attorney fees for collection to be paid by the owner.  Currently, there is no actual statutory requirement that an association first notify an owner of their delinquency before sending the account to the attorney (even though many associations already routinely do so.)           However, SB 56 amends the Florida Statutes governing community association “pre-lien” collection practices to now require associations to first send a delinquent owner a “Notice of Late Assessment,” specifying the amount due on the owner’s account and providing the owner 30 days to pay that amount before any “further collection action” (i.e., attorney collection efforts) and attorney fees for collection are charged to the owner.  Form language for these notices is included in the legislation, and, unless the association substantially follows this language, subsequent collection efforts by the association attorney are likely to be negatively impacted.  Further, the legislation creates a rebuttable presumption that the “courtesy” notice was mailed if a board member, officer, agent, or licensed community association manager “provides a sworn affidavit attesting to such mailing.”  This means that associations will need to have forms prepared and ready attesting that the notice was mailed to each owner it sends to the association attorney for collection.         Secondly, the legislation prohibits...

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Estate Planning During an Uncertain Time

          The COVID-19 crisis has caused many of our Clients to raise questions pertaining to their own estate planning, particularly documents that family members may need in the event that a loved one becomes hospitalized. Given this unprecedented time, we encourage all of our clients to consider the following: A. Are your estate planning documents that address legal and medical matters while you are still alive up to date, consistent with your wishes, and readily available or accessible? Estate Planning Documents that are effective immediately that we strongly recommend for Clients: Durable Power of Attorney A Durable Power of Attorney is a written document that appoints an “Agent” to manage your legal and financial affairs, and it gives the Agent legal authority over your assets and other legal rights. The Durable Power of Attorney becomes effective immediately upon signing, and it continues to be valid and effective if you were to become incapacitated. You should only appoint somebody that you completely trust. A Durable Power of Attorney often helps to avoid guardianship proceedings if a person becomes incapacitated, however the power granted by the document would terminate upon death. We recommend that Clients should review their Durable Power of Attorney to insure they are comfortable with the Agent(s) designated as well as the scope of the power given to said Agent(s). Your Agent should also be aware of the document and know where a copy is located. Designation of Healthcare Surrogate Also known as a Healthcare Power of Attorney, a Designation of Healthcare Surrogate nominates an individual (or multiple individuals) to make medical decisions on your behalf. It specifies the types of treatments that the health care surrogate is allowed to consent to, and it names alternate health care surrogates if your first choice is unable or unwilling to serve as your surrogate. A Designation of Healthcare Surrogate is effective immediately, however, when you are awake and have mental capacity, then you maintain complete control of all your own healthcare decisions. We strongly recommend to all our Clients to execute this document and to discuss their respective...

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Covid Order 2020-012: Associations

          As many of you may know, Palm Beach County has issued Order 2020-012 to mandate the wearing of face masks throughout the County. At this time, based upon our review of the Order, and the information currently available, we advise that any association with an open indoor facility, clubhouse, recreation center or the like, should mandate that all people that enter the building be wearing a mask. It is likely that employees who are limiting their movements to an office with no interactions with any other person may not be required to wear a mask. However, if there is any interaction between people within an association building, all participants are required to wear a mask.           For outdoor common areas or common elements, a mask is not required IF social distancing is possible AND followed. The County has placed the burden on the respective establishment, including community associations, to ensure compliance with this order, or face the possibility of fines. There are several exceptions to the mask requirement, including while exercising, for religious reasons, or for medical reasons. We think that some owners may begin to express a medical basis to be exempt from the mask requirement, however, that does not exempt that person from maintaining proper social distancing, which the association should insist upon. Please let us know if you have any questions.

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Covid-19 State of Emergency Extended Amid Phase 2 Reopening

          By recent order of Governor DeSantis, Florida’s state of emergency due to COVID-19 has been extended to the beginning of November 2020. In part, this means that homeowners’ associations and condominium associations continue to be able to utilize emergency powers pursuant to Fla. Stat. §720.316 and Fla. Stat. §718.1265 respectively. Notably, among other emergency powers, is associations’ emergency power to determine that portions of association property are unavailable for entry, use, or occupancy. As such, this emergency power allows associations to keep facilities closed or to reopen them subject to limitations upon use and/or access.           Furthermore, despite what state and local governments may be permitting in terms of reopening public facilities and businesses, because of associations’ statutory emergency powers and the continuing state of emergency, there is no requirement that associations reopen association facilities at this time. In addition, those associations that choose to reopen association properties may elect to do so in a way that is more restrictive (but not less restrictive) than what is required by applicable government reopening orders.           In terms of current reopening orders, note that Palm Beach County has just entered Phase 2 of reopening after being in Phase 1 since May 11, 2020. Some salient aspects of Phase 2 which are likely to be germane to associations are as follows: CDC social distancing guidelines as well as CDC cleaning and disinfecting guidelines remain in effect.Mandates on wearing facial coverings remain in effect and unchanged by entry into Phase 2.Restaurants and food establishments including clubhouses, banquet halls, and ballrooms may increase indoor service up to 50% seating capacity, bar top meal service may be resumed, and parties of no more than ten people will be permitted provided that separate parties are spaced at least six feet apart from each other.Restaurants and food establishments may be open for dining at all times except between 12:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. Take out and delivery services are permitted after dining hours.Spas, acupuncture establishments, massage establishments, gyms, and fitness centers may resume operating at full...

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Sachs completes 10 years of service on the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council

Download PDF File Here

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March 10, 2021 Sachs Sax Caplan at the PM-Expo, Palm Beach County

steve and michael
afternoon class

          Sachs Sax Caplan participated in the PM-Expo at the South Florida Fairgrounds on March 10, 2021. This was one of the first in-person trade shows since the Covid-19 pandemic took over the globe. It was great to get out and see our property managers, community association boards and homeowners association boards. Attorneys Steven Rappaport and Michael Chapnick led a Condo/HOA Board Certification class to discuss relevant governing documents and amendments, elections, reserves, official records and how associations should operate during Covid-19. Those in attendance received a certificate of completion. Later in the day, Attorney Steven Rappaport delivered a Legal Update on new and updated legislation and its effects. Being in-person (safely) has its perks, and we were glad we could connect with current and potential clients at the expo. Looking forward to the next events whether they are virtual or in-person.

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Three Attorneys Elevated from Senior Counsel to Principal

        BOCA RATON, Fla. (March 16, 2021) – Boca Raton-based law firm Sachs Sax Caplan has announced the elevation of three of their attorneys, Michael Chapnick, Joel Kenwood and Angela Prudenti from the position of Senior Counsel to Principal.         Michael Chapnick is Florida Bar Board Certified in Condominium and Planned Unit Development Law. He represents community associations, advising on all aspects of cluster housing operation, including day-to-day operational issues, collection and lien foreclosures, turnover of control and election issues. Chapnick graduated from the University of Maryland at College Park where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Government and Politics. He attended the Detroit College of Law where he earned his Juris Doctor, cum laude. He teaches continuing education courses to Florida Community Association Managers, conducts board member certification courses, and speaks on various topics including construction defects, real estate and condominium disputes, white collar criminal law, covenant enforcement, and occupancy screening issues.          Joel Kenwood is Board Certified by the Florida Bar in Civil Trial Law and Business Litigation Law. He is also Certified as a Circuit Court Civil Mediator by the Florida Supreme Court. His practice includes business related litigation involving real estate, construction defects, corporate disputes and general commercial litigation law. He also handles matters involving personal injury. He is a past President of the South Palm Beach County Bar Association. He received his undergraduate degree from Stanford University in Stanford, California. He attended the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and received his Juris Doctor from The American University College of Law in Washington, D.C.         Angela Prudenti concentrates her practice in commercial litigation. Prior to joining Sachs Sax Caplan, Prudenti was Chief of the White Collar Crime Unit at the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office in West Palm Beach. She also previously held the position of senior trial attorney in the Homicide/Crimes against Children Unit at the State Attorney’s Office. She received her Bachelor of Arts at The American University in Washington, D.C., and her Juris Doctor from Temple University.          ...

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Boca Attorney Helps Coordinate an Interfaith Vaccine Initiative

        BOCA RATON, Florida – On March 3rd more than 500 South Palm Beach County residents and workers received Covid-19 vaccines at an interfaith initiative hosted on the Temple Beth El campus in Boca Raton.  Nearly 20 religious organizations, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, Boca Raton Police Department and local teachers participated.         Daniel Kaskel, a partner with the law firm of Sachs Sax Caplan, and Vice President of the Boca Raton Synagogue, began working on this event in mid-January, 2021. “In January, vaccines were very scarce, particularly in Palm Beach County,” advises Kaskel.  “I reached out to nearly every elected official and state and local government agency to create a POD, a point of distribution, to help the seniors in my synagogue obtain vaccines.”         In early February, Mr. Kaskel heard back from the Florida Division of Emergency Management, the agency tasked with creating PODs.  He was advised that the DEM was inundated with such requests and could not accommodate each one.  Kaskel then asked if the DEM would elevate the request if he presented an interfaith initiate comprised of a synagogue, church and mosque.  The answer was an encouraging YES.         In the few weeks that passed, a significant number of the senior population of Boca Raton Synagogue had fortunately received vaccines, so Kaskel turned to Temple Beth El. “Within a day I received a call from Rita Diamond, Temple Beth El’s Director of Operations.  They were very excited about the opportunity to not only provide vaccinations their seniors, but to invite other houses of worship to join,” recounts Kaskel.         Rabbi Greg Weisman of Beth El invited the Islamic Center of Boca Raton and Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church to partner in the event.  Kaskel presented a proposal to the DEM in mid-February, and the event was quickly approved, with a March 3rd date and an anticipated 500 doses. Among the DEM’s requirements was that vaccines could only be administered to individuals who qualify under state guidelines, no walk-ins were permitted, and the...

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April is Fair Housing Month

        April is #NationalFairHousingMonth!             This year, we celebrate the 53rd anniversary of the Fair Housing Act. This landmark law was signed into law on April 11, 1968, by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing discrimination because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, and family status. The Act furthers the beliefs advocated by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the other heroes of the Civil Rights Movement.           “Fair Housing Month is a time to recommit to our nation’s obligation to ensure that everyone has equal access to safe, affordable housing,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “Unfortunately, housing discrimination still exists, from individuals and families being denied a place to call home because of the color of their skin or where they come from, to landlords refusing to allow persons with disabilities to keep assistance animals, to individuals being denied a place to live because of who they love. In this moment of unprecedented crisis, fair housing is more important than ever. 53 years after the Fair Housing Act was signed, our journey to justice in housing continues.”For more information on Fair Housing from HUD, click here.   

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Boca Raton Attorney Joins Palm Beach County Sports Commission Board of Directors

            Boca Raton, Florida - The Palm Beach County Sports Commission has appointed Larry Schner as member of the Board of Directors. The Palm Beach County Sports Commission is a private, not-for-profit organization contracted by Palm Beach County to promote and market the County as a sports and sports tourism destination. The Commission brings sporting events and activities to the County, enhances economic impact, stimulates bed tax revenues (with a focus on the off-season), and maximizes utilization of County facilities.             Larry is currently a partner at Sachs Sax Caplan, P.L. in Boca Raton, Florida. Larry joined Sachs Sax Caplan on December 1, 2016 after maintaining his own practice of Larry E. Schner, P.A. for twenty-five years in Boca Raton. Mr. Schner practices in the area of Community Associations Law, representing condominium and homeowners throughout Broward and Palm Beach County. He has extensive experience in this area and has represented hundreds of associations since his admission into the Florida Bar in 1985.             Sachs Sax Caplan is a full-service Florida law firm. Practice areas include Community Association Law, Estate Planning & Probate Litigation, Commercial Litigation & Appeals, Real Estate, Corporate & Land Use, and Governmental Law & Lobbying.             Larry is very eager to serve on the board of directors for the commission. He is excited to assist in planning and organizing events in the county for professional and amateur athletes. He hopes it will help improve and support the commissions goal of increasing tourism especially now that there is a better handle on the pandemic.               Larry has always had an affinity for sports. He played college basketball at Northwestern University. Decades ago, he helped put together the first exhibition game with the Miami Heat and the Seattle Supersonics that took place at FAU. Previously, he has been President of the Blue and White Club at Lynn University as well as the Owl Club at FAU. The love of sports has been passed down...

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Community Association Law 2019

New 4th DCA decision discussing the proper application of the “Business Judgment Rule” in community associations, and involving our client, Homeland Property Owners Association, Inc.

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Is Coronavirus a Force Majeure Event?

By Jeffrey Wolfe, Esq., Attorney at Sachs Sax Caplan, P.L. As the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic expands, we are receiving an increasing number of calls from clients as to whether COVID-19 provides an excuse for nonperformance under a contract (mostly in the context of purchase agreement, leases and business contracts). As is the case of most legal questions, there is no general answer, it depends upon the facts. Some contracts have a “force majeure” clause which excuses a party’s performance for certain events that are not within a party’s control, such as Acts of God, terrorism, and war. Whether COID-19 qualifies as a force majeure event will depend on the wording in the agreement, as well as the surrounding facts. Parties need to be careful not to declare force majeure if their agreement does not contractually entitle them to do so as such action could constitute a breach of contract. Please contact our firm with any questions or concerns. We would be happy to assist you in determining whether COIVD-19 qualifies as a force majeure event under your agreement.

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Business Interruption Insurance

Business interruption insurance, like all coverage, is technical in nature. It is intended to cover interruption from certain perils and in most instances, it addresses physical damage to a property or business which locks you out or makes it impossible for you conduct the business. Unfortunately, the SARS outbreak from 2002/2003 put the insurance companies on notice about the possibility of an interruption to business based on a pandemic and infectious disease outbreaks as a cause were often exempted from coverage in most generally offered business insurance policies. However, all may not be lost. You will have to examine your policy carefully to see if there is coverage for interruption by civil or military authority. Thus, you would argue that it was not the coronavirus that caused the interruption, but the federal or state executive order to close your business. However, there is nothing you can take to the bank concerning your policy’s coverage on quick review. The policy must be studied. It may have limits on the length of coverage, sometimes as little as 14 days. It will undoubtedly have limits as to a Dollar amount. There may be waiting periods before a claim can be made. It is time to take out your insurance policies and have them carefully considered. If you believe you have a claim, and need some assistance with the highly technical language, please feel free to contact us.

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Association Emergency Powers

Florida’s governor has declared a state of emergency due to novel coronavirus. This has triggered the availability of statutory emergency powers to condominium associations and homeowners’ associations. Although the applicable statutory sections were clearly written with natural disasters in mind, the majority view of association law practitioners appears to be that emergency powers are now available. However, because condominium associations and homeowners’ associations are unaccustomed to utilizing emergency powers and, in many cases, are unfamiliar with them, many communities have been slow to avail themselves of benefits of the use of such powers. Nevertheless, emergency powers are expressly limited to times when the use of such powers are “reasonably necessary to protect the health, safety, and welfare” of residents and may not be abused. If an association has any questions about the use of emergency powers, it is recommended to contact legal counsel and obtain advice. As the state of emergency is likely to continue for some time, associations will likely have ample opportunity to familiarize themselves with available emergency powers and to make use of them.

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TFB

 

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