Monthly Archives: October 2014

With many title companies closing their doors, are you wondering where to get title polices and who can do your closings?

The spiral downturn in the real estate market caused title companies to take an especially hard hit.  Brokers and their agents, who once relied on their favorite title company, are now faced with the task of searching for a new place they can trust.  They need a place to bring their closings and a place that can issue that necessary title policy.  I know of such a place.  It’s your local real estate attorney.

During the real estate boom there was so much work for everyone that real estate professionals, more often than not, looked to the closest and best title company to assist them with their closings.  Once they developed a relationship with that certain title company, they did not need to look anywhere else for quality closings.

For this reason, many brokers and their agents have never had the opportunity to work with a real estate attorney.  Unlike title companies, many real estate attorneys were able to weather the real estate crash by assisting individuals with short sales, loan modifications, foreclosures and civil lawsuits.  Now as the real estate market starts to slowly climb back, those without their trusted title company should consider taking their business to a real estate attorney.

Most attorneys who specialize in real estate law usually have the ability to write a title insurance policy and conduct closings.  More importantly, if legal issues arise, they are capable of expediently resolving these issues before crucial deadlines that can sometimes make a deal fall completely apart.

While many states, require the services of a licensed attorney for all real estate transactions Florida is not one of those states.  In Florida, an attorney is not required for the issuance of a title policy or to close real property.  Notwithstanding that fact, many Florida brokers realize the value of having a real estate attorney at closing and wouldn’t think of doing it any other way.

Still some Brokers may be reluctant to take their real estate matters to an attorney.  It is a common misconception that it is more expensive to get a title policy or have a closing conducted with an attorney.   However, the cost of title insurance in Florida is promulgated, which means that the rates for that type of insurance are set by the State.  Therefore, it is the same price for the policy regardless of who does the issuing.  More importantly, having a real estate attorney on your side may actually save money.

A real estate attorney has typically reviewed hundreds of real estate documents.  They are familiar with titles to real estate and real estate transactions in general.  They know what to look for and how to spot and avoid potential problems.  Most importantly, a licensed attorney is the only person who can give you legal advice.

Give us a call and  tell us about your next deal.  You will be pleasantly surprised to find our doors are open and we will be pleased to issue that title policy and close your transaction.

What is the NFA?

NFA stands for the National Firearms Act.

The Act is a federal statute which imposes a statutory excise tax on the manufacture and transfer of certain firearms (such as gun suppressors, gun silencers, SBRs and machine guns) and mandates the registration of those firearms.

Useful NFA Links

What if I am making my own weapon and I have a gun trust?

After the trust is executed, you will need to provide ATF Form 1 and a copy of the trust to the ATF. ATF Form 1 is available on the ATF website. Download ATF Form 1 here.  Once you receive the tax stamp, you may purchase the parts necessary to make your own weapon.

PLEASE BE AWARE that you may not be in possession of all the parts necessary to manufacture the Class 3 weapon until you receive the tax stamp from the ATF.

What is the ATF?

ATF stands for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The ATF enforces Federal statutes and regulations dealing with firearms and explosives.

Useful ATF Links:
Click here for the ATF web site.
Click here for the ATF’s National Firearms Act Handbook

What happens if the National Firearms Act is violated?

Individuals who violate the NFA act may be subject to substantial fines, criminal charges, and forfeiture of their weapons. 

A prepared gun trust is a revocable living trust, which is a trust created during your lifetime, which you can revoke or amend whenever you wish. A living trust has a Trustee(s) (who may be you) who has the responsibility of managing the property transferred to the trust. Upon your death, the Trustee is typically directed to distribute the trust property to the beneficiaries or to continue to hold it and manage it for the benefit of the beneficiaries.

A Successor Trustee is the person named in the revocable trust agreement who will assume control of the trust if the original Trustee(s) dies, or becomes unable or unwilling to act. There can be one or several back-up Trustees to take over the Trust in the order you designate.
A Trustee is a fiduciary. As a fiduciary, the Trustee stands in a position of confidence and trust with respect to the beneficiaries. Trustees must act in the best interests of the beneficiaries, and can be sued by the beneficiaries if they act improperly.

What happens to the Class III weapons upon the passing of the Grantor(s) of the Gun Trust?

The suppressors, silencers, fully automatic weapons, SBRs or other Class 3 weapons would typically go to the beneficiary. A properly drafted trust will address what the trustee must do to be in compliance with the law, and as well as what to do if the beneficiary is a minor.This is a brief synopsis regarding a revocable living trust, but is not intended to be all inclusive.

We encourage you to become familiar with Florida Statute 736 which details the rights and responsibilities of a trustee under a trust.