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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the questions that clients and prospective clients most frequently ask us about all manner of housekeeping issues- thus the FAQ’s.  If you don’t see your question here, please do contact us and let us give you an answer to your very important question.

  1. What fees do you charge?
    This is the most frequently asked question about our firm’s services. The answer to this question, almost always is – “it depends”.  Many of our services are based upon a flat fee, and for those that are not, we provide a fee-quote or estimate up front, to allow you to plan for what to expect as an investment in your project.  Our fees are reasonable and competitive, and we will be very forthright in discussing fees and managing your expectations about what our services will cost.
  2. What areas of practice do you cover?
    Our areas of practice center around taxation, estate planning/asset protection, and real estate transactions, which are all very inter-related. We also set up business entities (corporations, not for profits, partnerships, and LLC’s), and provide representation in probate.  You can always call us to ask if your need is a service that we offer, and if it is not, we will refer you to another excellent attorney in our network who, in our experience, provides the same level of excellent service in their area of expertise that we do in ours.
  3. I live in another state – can I become a client?
    If you want to become a tax client, the answer is “of course!” We provide tax return preparation to clients in all 50 states, including the preparation of state income tax returns, if applicable.  For other issues, we are also licensed in Michigan, and Samantha provides Michigan clients with estate planning, asset protection, entity formation and deed preparation (for clients who are residents of Michigan, or who are part-year residents of Michigan and part-year in Florida).  We are licensed to provide real estate closing services to clients anywhere in Florida, for any Florida real property.  For issues outside these general parameters, please contact us, and if we are not licensed to assist you, we will refer you to another excellent attorney in our network, who provides the needed services in your geographic area.
  4. I cannot meet in person or during regular business hours – can I become a client?
    Samantha schedules client meetings, by appointment only, during certain evening and weekend hours. If you have a need for an after-hours or weekend meeting, contact our office, and we will schedule at the earliest available to accommodate your schedule.  Samantha also makes house calls on occasion, and will visit clients in a nursing home, hospital, or at a medical care facility when needed.  Finally, for our remote clients, we will schedule a Skype conference, multi-party conference call, or just a regular telephone conference.  Our goal is to accommodate you!
  5. Can you refer me to other professionals, or recommend a skilled trade person for me?
    We have a network of other business owners and professionals that are our colleagues, clients, vendors, or trusted service providers. We are always happy to make a referral of one of these to you.  If you have a need for service in any profession and you don’t know who to call upon, contact us, and we will connect you!
  6. What is the appropriate age for establishing an estate plan?
    Anyone over the age of 18 should have at least a basic estate plan. Our process is tailored to the individual, so those who are just starting on the path of adulthood do need a very simple and basic plan that is priced accordingly.  If you are over 18 and have never had this discussion with an attorney, you should schedule your appointment right away.  You are missing out on important legal protections for yourself and your family, and we can explain to you the many benefits of establishing and maintaining a comprehensive estate plan through your entire adult life.
  7. I am 80 (or 70, or 90, or 100) years old. I heard that I no longer have to file tax returns because of my age. Is this true?
    There is no age that is a cutoff for filing individual tax returns. All filing requirements are based upon income, not age, and it is our recommendation that all adults file at least a basic tax return every year; even if your level of income might indicate that you don’t technically have to file. This is for your future protection, and we are happy to address this with you and answer all of your questions.
  8. I received a notice in the mail to file annual minutes and pay a fee (or to obtain a certified copy of my deed, or to pay another fee to register my company….). Should I go ahead and do it? The notice looks very official.
    These are common scams and we don’t want our clients to fall victim. There are examples of several “scam” notices on our website, and if you received something that you are not sure is a scam, send it over and we will let you know if legitimate.
  9. I received a phone call from the IRS telling me that I will have to pay a tax bill from two years ago, or I will go to jail, or my house will be seized. I didn’t even know I owed a balance. What should I do?
    The IRS rarely initiates collection action with a telephone call. If you received such a telephone call, please refer the caller to us, and report it to us immediately.  This is a very prolific scam and please NEVER, NEVER, give any financial data, or payment information, to such a caller over the phone.  Some of these scam callers are very sophisticated, and leave a callback number – when you return the call, it seems legitimate.  Always call us to verify if you should address this type of telephone call.  The IRS almost always deals in providing taxpayer notice through correspondence through the United States mail, and if you receive an IRS notice by mail, please provide a copy to us immediately so we can assist you in addressing any legitimate notices.  FYI – Non-compliant taxpayers rarely go to jail, and we have never heard of this penalty for owing only a few thousand dollars…..if you are going to be charged with tax evasion, you will know and you will be afforded all manner of due process throughout the process.  The IRS also rarely forecloses on real estate to satisfy a tax bill, and if you are subject to a tax lien that affects your property, you will be given notice by mail.
  10. Why should I use an attorney to close my real estate transaction? Can’t I just use a title company?
    Attorneys who are licensed to close real estate transactions are a very valuable resource in closing real estate transactions for buyers, sellers, or borrowers. The fees that our firm charges for closing services and title insurance are similar if not identical to those charged by a non-attorney title company, so allowing us to close your real estate transaction provides you an attorney to handle your transaction at no additional charge.  As a law firm, we can also handle peripheral issues in-house that may come up in your closing process such as probate, lien clearance, or other matters that may only be handled by a licensed attorney.  We are happy to provide you with a pro-forma settlement statement, so that you can see how the costs and fees of your prospective or upcoming real estate transaction will affect your bottom line.
  11. My realtor/lender/other professional told me that I must use “ABC Title Company” to close my real estate transaction. I would rather use your firm to close my transaction – what should I do?
    In Florida, under most circumstances, the seller of real estate or the borrower (in a refi transaction) has the right to choose the closer of the real estate transaction. If you are the seller or you are doing a refinance transaction, ask your realtor to contact us and make us the title company of record.  If you are the buyer of real estate, it is normally the seller’s right to choose the title company/closing agent.  If you are the buyer, we can still support you in your transaction by reviewing your contract, closing documents, and even attending closing with you if you so desire.
  12. I sent someone in your office an email, (left a message on your voicemail), and I never received a response, what should I do?
    Occasionally, our technology fails, or we do, and a message or email does not get through to the intended recipient, for whatever reason. Please accept our sincere apology, and call back, or re-send the email.  In the case of email, it is often helpful to send the email to more than one staff member, to make sure that your message is received, if one person is experiencing technical difficulties, or email overload on any given day.  You can always call to follow up (and we want you to do so), if your inquiry of any kind has not received an appropriate and timely response.
  13. Should I just go ahead and do my (estate plan, new corporation or LLC, business agreement, deed, tax return…) myself to save money?
    We emphatically do not recommend tackling any of the above-mentioned projects on a do-it-yourself basis. You don’t know what you don’t know, and you could easily create a large mess for yourself, by skipping a step, omitting required language, or missing a vital detail.  Allow us to serve you by doing these things that are in our professional area of expertise, and you stick to what you do best!  There is always a you-tube video, or a web-site with instructions on the internet for a do-itself job for almost anything – there is even one about how to do your own root canal (last time we checked), but you certainly would not undertake that as a do-it-yourself project – what a bloody mess that would create!  Protect yourself and your transaction from what you don’t know, and allow us to serve you, and to do your work correctly, and don’t create any bloody legal messes for yourself!

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Office: (727) 381-6001
Fax: (727) 381-7900