Saturday, January 20, 2018 12:46

Legal New Year’s Resolutions

The start of a new year is a great time to do some legal housekeeping. Whether you are a small business owner or an individual, it is important to take a moment to consider some legal preventative maintenance to avoid large issues down the line. This is absolutely a situation where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Quite often, these reflections are put off to one day, some day, or simply another day. However, now is the perfect time to take inventory of what needs you may have. Here are a few points to consider (these are only a sample of some considerations—there are far more topics and subtopics to consider:

  1. Estate Planning. Do you have an estate plan (will, trust, living will, power of attorney, health care surrogate, etc.)? Everyone should have at least some of these in place regardless of financial or current health circumstances.
  2. Small Business. Are all ownership documents up to date? Annual registrations in Florida are not due until May 1, but you can file such annual reports starting January 1st of each year. Check all ongoing contracts for end dates, renewal dates, and the like to make sure you don’t have any unexpected surprises. Check with your accountant for changes to the tax code and to update any financial requirements to start in the new year/
  3. Real Estate. Make sure all property taxes are current and that no encumbrances (liens, lis pendens, etc.) have been filed against the property over the past year. Check to make sure any leases for property you are renting or rent to others don’t have any clauses that change the rental relationship in the new year or that come due (rent escalation, notice requirements for renewal, etc.).

Other considerations that could have impact on legal issues:

  1. Insurance. Check all insurance policies and discuss with insurance agent to make sure you are sufficiently protected in both scope and amount of insurance for both your personal and business activities
  2. Valuables. Inventory all valuables and store documentary evidence (photos, receipts, appraisals, etc.) in a safe location such as an encrypted cloud storage vault or physical safe that is secured against theft and has a measure of fire and water protection.
  3. Licenses and Permits. Make sure to verify validity and renewal dates of any licenses and permits that you may have such as driver’s licenses, concealed weapon permits, hunting/fishing licenses, parking permits, toll passes (e.g. Sunpass), etc.
  4. Subscriptions and Memberships. Check subscription status for your subscriptions and consider making a master list to track expiration dates and auto-renwal dates. This could be anything from magazine subscriptions, satellite radio, domain registrations, gym memberships, etc.
  5. Computer Data. Make sure to have multiple layers of backups and redundancy to protect against loss. Consider local backups, cloud back-ups, and off-site backups.

If you need assistance reviewing your legal needs for the year, please contact The Gordon Law Firm | P.A. at www.thegordonfirm.com.  The Gordon Law Firm serves Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Tampa, and throughout Florida.  The Gordon Law Firm can help you understand your rights, seek justice, and represent your needs.

“Making the law work for you and your business”

Please note that the above questions were answered generally in context of Florida Law. The laws of other states may differ. In addition, the statements above are general comments about the law. As such, these statements should not be relied upon when making a legal decision. If you have any questions, please consult with an attorney licensed to practice law in your jurisdiction.

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