How To Protect Smartphone Apps & Digital Work for Hire Projects

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by Philip H. Ward III, Partner 

For many years, companies have required that employees and independent contractors hired to conduct work execute agreements which include “work for hire” provisions.  These provisions simply mean that the work for which the employee or independent contractor has been engaged belongs to the Employer, not the Employee.  Documents and work product would include engineering drawings, manuals, websites, architectural drawings, and other works.

Software development and smartphone app designs have created new issues for companies.  Recently, we negotiated a contract for a client who is developing a smart phone app.  An independent contractor was hired to design and develop the app.  In most cases, the independent contractor seeks to retain as much ownership as possible.  On the other hand, the owner needs to know that the app is theirs and won’t be copied. Continue reading

Eight Common Real Estate Mistakes

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By Michael J Posner

After more than 30 years of concentrating my legal practice in real estate matters, below is a brief listing of common mistakes I repeatedly see.  Read below and find out how a few quick fixes can save you time, money and headaches.

  1. Deeds Without Estate Status:

You want to add dad, mom or a sibling to your Florida property, so you get a Quit Claim Deed from an out-of-state lawyer, an office supply store or online, fill it out and mail it in to be recorded.  Three years later they die, and when you go to sell the property you discover that in order to clear their interest, you need to file an ancillary administration in Florida.  An easy fix could have saved you $3,000 and a few months of time.  You eventually close and share the proceeds with their heirs, however this can be avoided by using the proper language on the deed.  If you want the property to go to everyone’s heirs, do nothing, but if you want to be sure that the property goes to the surviving grantees, simply add, “joint tenants with full rights of survivorship, and not as tenants in common” after the grantee’s name. Upon their death, the title goes to the remaining grantee without probate.

  1. Second Home/Condo:

If you own a second home/condominium in Florida and are a resident of another state, you can avoid two probates by simply deeding your second Florida property to yourself for life with a remainder to your chosen heirs.  Then, when you die, no probate is necessary.  You can even keep full control of your property by adding Ladybird Powers to your Life Estate Deed, which means you can sell or mortgage your property without your remainderman’s (person who inherts property) consent. Continue reading

So You Are Thinking About Getting Married?

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By Eddie Stephens

So you are thinking about getting married?

Marriage is more than two people pledging love and devotion to each other; it is the formation of a legal relationship.  Because the State of Florida has an interest in protecting and maintaining its citizens and in protecting and advancing families, upon your marriage, the state has many laws that regulate what will happen to a person’s estate when the dissolution of the marriage is sought or when a spouse dies.

In other words, getting married has many consequences on the ownership of your money and possessions, the way you will raise your children, and the way you will relate to your partner.  These rules are complicated and convoluted.  A basic understanding of these rules is necessary for anyone contemplating this type of union. Continue reading

How Do The New Overtime Rules Affect Your Company?

silhouettes-81830_1920By Sally Still

The U.S. Department of Labor recently adopted new regulations that change the employer’s salary obligations under the federal overtime law. This change makes many thousands of workers, who previously were exempt and not entitled to overtime, subject to overtime pay. Now is the time to review overtime pay policies to ensure compliance with the new rules.

Certain executive, administrative, professional, outside sales, and highly compensated employees are “exempt” from the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) if they meet both the “duties” test and the “salary” test. Otherwise, absent the exemption, employers must pay employees time and one-half their regular rate of pay whenever the employee works more than 40 hours in any week. Continue reading

What are my rights now that the alimony reform bill was vetoed?

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By Dane E. Leitner

Recently Florida Governor Rick Scott vetoed a bill that would have restricted alimony payments and child custody.  Governor Scott also vetoed a similar bill back in 2013 saying it tampered with the settled economic expectations of many Floridians who have experienced divorce.  Meaning that the bill had the potential to undo and/or affect settlement agreements that were previously entered into by divorcing parties.

However, in vetoing the alimony reform bill brought before him this year that included child custody, Governor Scott was silent on the actual language of the alimony portion of the bill.  He instead focused on the 50/50 time sharing section of the bill that stated there would be a premise that a minor child should spend approximately equal amounts of time with each parent.  Governor Scott stated that the bill had the potential to put the wants of a parent before the child’s best interest.  Continue reading