Publications and News

New Survey Standards – Don’t Just Rely On Certifications!

February 23, 2016 was an important date for the real estate industry when the new 2016 ALTA/NSPS* Survey Standards went into effect – long and short, this 8 th revision of the survey standards mean that owners and lenders should no long assume that a “recertified survey” is just as good as a new survey! Every few years, the industry clarifies and updates standards. Standards change and title insurance coverage changes. If the owner or lender want to be assured that the survey exception ...

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Why Form Your LLC In Delaware?

Often, we are asked why you should form a limited liability company (LLC) in Delaware rather than somewhere else. Although there are duplicative annual filing fees and registered agents fees (add another $500 – $800 per year), there are some important and beneficial reasons why the decision should be made to form the LLC in Delaware. Consider the following: REASON #1 – BUSINESS EXPERIENCE. For many decades, Delaware has been the go-to venue for business; courts routinely deal with busi...

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“Discretion” Matters in Leases – Mandate Arbitration

Commercial leases call for the landlord’s discretion in many instances; three of these instances are very important to all tenants: Any changes to the premises The “use” clause for the premises Any change in the makeup of the tenant(s) All of these require a quick and efficient answer without the tenant spending time, money, and other resources waiting for a court to determine if the landlord was reasonable or acting properly under the lease. Too often, attorneys overlook these pro...

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Federal and State Overtime Rules – Don’t Get Snagged!

Federal and local law regulates overtime pay and hourly wage minimums of certain classes of employees; other laws require employees paid either twice per month or every two weeks. There are severe penalties for not following these laws. Do you comply? Are you exempt from overtime laws based upon the status of the employee? If you pay employees hourly, the employees must be paid overtime. Even if you have employees on a salary basis, their classification as “managerial” or “overtime-exemp...

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Legal Tools all Employers Should Consider: Importance of Employment Releases and Arbitration Clauses

Quite some time ago, the young attorney mentioned to his mentor that “the laws must have been so much easier on business when you were young.” Replied his mentor, “sure, that’s what I said to my mentor!” For employers, the law keeps moving away from the employer to the employee. However, there are still a few tools left that all employers should consider. These tools are the employment release forms and carefully-drawn employment handbooks containing mandatory arbitration clauses. ...

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Lawsuits and the Statutes of Limitations – How Long to Sue?

Real estate developers, contractors, and those in business regularly enter into agreements all the time – leases, contracts, promissory notes, deeds of trust, assignments, etc. A breach of any of those agreements can subject one to a lawsuit. Plaintiffs have a limited period of time within which to sue – that is called the statute of limitations. What is the typical statute of limitation during which one may be sued or one may sue? In some states, it is typically 3 years (District of Columbi...

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Miss the Portability Election Deadline for a Deceased Spouse’s Estate Tax Exemption? You May be in Luck!

Many with estate planning experience are aware of value of estate tax exemption portability. Since 2011, surviving spouses of deceased individuals who claimed less than the maximum estate tax exemption (currently set at $5.49 million and indexed for inflation) have been eligible to elect to “port” the remaining balance of their spouse’s exemption to themselves, for their own estates or even for gifts during life. However, electing to transfer this exemption has been somewha...

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New Real Estate Laws Affecting Titling of Properties

I have had many small business owners come to me seeking advice on how to transfer title to property owned in their individual name into a limited liability company. Current law in Maryland and the District of Columbia already allows partners in a general partnership to transfer property held in their individual names to a limited liability company in which they are the sole members, tax-free. However, currently in those two jurisdictions, the same exemption does not apply when a sole propri...

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LLC Partner Stalemate and “Getting Divorced” Threats – Demands and the Unsavory Results

Alfie and Bruce went to college together and graduated in business management. Believing they could make it on their own they formed an LLC to create a hip clothing store, each owning and managing the store 50/50. As is typical, Alfie and Bruce being best of friends and not wanting to hire an attorney, either did not have a partnership agreement (operating agreement) or used a template off of the internet. As oftentimes occurs, things started off well — but after a year Alfie and Bruce wer...

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CAM Charges in Leases – Don’t Get Ripped Off!

Most commercial leases are triple net leases whereby tenants are expected to pay for real estate taxes, building insurance and common area and maintenance (CAM) expenses in addition to rent and utilities. CAM charges should be carefully negotiated and delineated in the lease. A landlord will usually try to draft a lease to allow for the immediate pass-through of all costs incurred in its ownership of the property. CAM clauses in leases have become so broad that CAM charges can ap...

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