Practice Areas

Through our experienced legal and counseling services, we help our individual and business clients take care of their needs in the following important areas:

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Foreclosure Defense and Lender Negotiations

The legal issues that can come up when dealing with real estate are numerous. As a law firm with extensive experience dealing with both the transactional and litigation issues arising in commercial and residential real estate, …

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Foreclosure Defense and Lender Negotiations

Though practicing law since 1992, Charles Castellon founded CPC Law in 2008 as the historical foreclosure crisis emerged.  From the inception, the firm’s main focus has been helping literally hundreds of homeowners and investors through this difficult crisis to defend their rights and pursue our clients’ desired solutions.  CPC Law did not recently jump on the foreclosure bandwagon as the crisis grew.  We were at the forefront of this historical event and continue representing our clients at every stage of the foreclosure process, from “pre-foreclosure” when borrowers have begun to miss payments (or expect to stop paying soon) through every step of the litigation process.

We treat our clients in a fundamentally fair way through reasonable fees and flexible payment plan arrangements.  Unlike most law firms and attorneys who have emerged to defend foreclosures, we do not use an “infinite” fee arrangement.  We have never followed the common foreclosure defense practice of billing clients a recurring monthly fee for the life of the case, regardless of the amount of work (or whether any work is) performed.  This has led to very unfair results when cases have dragged out for several years and the total fee paid far exceeds the value of the legal services provided.  Such arrangements cause law firms to have a greater interest in delaying the case to keep collecting fees than resolving the client’s foreclosure problem.  In fact, many of our clients have come to CPC Law as refugees from these other firms.  CPC Law has defended foreclosures in court in some instances for more than six years, but our fees have an end point.   Yes, we have left money on the table, but we have maintained our ethics and integrity while putting our clients’ interests above ours.

By representing our clients through this crisis, we are acutely aware of the pain and stress a foreclosure causes.  We listen and work with our clients to guide them through foreclosures to find the best available solution to the problem.

Foreclosure Defense

When lenders sue our clients, we file legal papers in response and go to court and fight for our clients’ rights.  We seek settlements such as loan modifications through mediation, process and close short sales and actively engage the lenders’ attorneys through out of court negotiations.

We also call out the lenders for their common illegal and unethical practices that have received much publicity throughout the crisis.  By doing so, we gain leverage in negotiations and sometimes get cases dismissed.  These lender defects include “robo-signing,” “standing” issues (regarding who has the right to file the foreclosure due to the practice of repeatedly selling off mortgage rights), lost promissory notes, predatory lending and other shameful practices committed against borrowers.  We have seen everything, including  clients being sued by two different plaintiffs, each claiming rights to the same mortgage on the same property.  When cynics (including  some judges)  don’t get what the big deal is and think the discussion begins and ends with the borrower’s failure to pay, we have much to say in response.

Our attorneys have over 30 years combined litigation experience we bring to court.  We also know how to effectively negotiate settlements for our clients to approve and avoid the risks of going to trial when our clients want to settle.  We are battle-tested and relentless in pursuit of the best outcomes for our clients.

Short Sales

A large segment of our clients have chosen a short sale as their negotiated solution to the foreclosure.  Simply put, a short sale is the market sale of a home for an amount less than is owed to the lenders holding mortgages. This is usually around fair market value for properties that are “upside down” and not worth the mortgage balance.  Short sales are a very effective solution for clients seeking an exit strategy and damage control against the harmful effects of foreclosure.  At CPC Law, we have an experienced team of lawyers, short sale negotiators and closing agents working together to obtain lender approval and close the deal. For a more detailed discussion of short sale, check out our blog entry titled “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Short Sales But Were Afraid To Ask.”

Our attorney-owned title agency, Esquire Title Company handles the closings.  We always seek deficiency waivers for our clients to guarantee the lender will not be able to sue our clients to collect the difference between the short sale proceeds and the total debt owed the lender, known as the deficiency.  Additionally, we often succeed in getting cash payment incentives for our clients from the lenders, thereby helping many clients get paid to short sell their homes and receive relocation money in the process.

Loan Modifications

A popular out of court settlement for clients desiring to keep their homes is the loan modification.  At CPC Law, we use attorneys to negotiate and process modification applications with our clients’ lenders.  We work with lenders and their attorneys to push through modifications that lower monthly payments to a reasonable level and sometimes get reductions of the principal balance due.  We have gotten loan modifications by all available means, including government initiative such as HAMP, HARP and internal lender programs.  With both short sales and loan modification efforts, persistence is the key.  Our attorneys and support team members are relentless in pursuit of our clients’ objectives and we never surrender.

Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure

Simply put, a deed in lieu of foreclosure (“DIL”) is a foreclosure settlement between the borrower/owner of a property and the lender whereby title is transferred to the lender to avoid foreclosure.  Like a short sale, it’s an exit strategy when the borrower prefers to get out of the property and mortgage debt instead of keeping the home.  Generally, our firm does not recommend the DIL settlement option until other efforts are exhausted.  One reason is that the credit impact to the borrower will be approximately the same as a completed foreclosure and court auction through the legal system.   Also, the DIL option will not likely be available if there are other lien-holders such as second mortgage lenders.  This is because the first mortgage lender pursuing a foreclosure will need to see the case all the way through to a final judgment and court sale to extinguish those junior lien rights.

It is usually worthwhile to pursue the short sale exit strategy first because of the lesser credit harm and shallower hole to dig out of during the rebuilding phase of credit and finances.  A DIL deal should always come with a deficiency waiver from the lender so the borrower doesn’t have to worry about being sued for the lender’s loss later.  Otherwise, there is little incentive to agree to a DIL.

Strategic Default

The concept of strategic default is a controversial topic that has received much media attention in recent years.  A significant segment of CPC Law’s clients may be fairly deemed strategic defaulters because they have made a rational economic decision to discontinue paying a mortgage while retaining the ability to pay.  This is a complex matter and no borrower should take the decision to stop paying lightly.  We counsel our clients by guiding them through the cost-benefit analysis with careful consideration of both the certain and potential consequences flowing from a strategic default. Most of our strategically defaulting clients pursue a damage-control settlement solution with the lender through a short sale. For more detailed information on Strategic Default, check out our blog entry, “What is a Strategic Default and When is it an Appropriate Decision?”

 

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Real Estate

Real Estate Investing Our firm is a member of Central Florida Realty Investors and represents investors throughout Florida in a variety of matters including transactional engineering, private lending and title services through our affiliated title agency, Esquire Title Company.  Charles Castellon is also a real estate investor and a founding member of Common Wealth Land Trust […]

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Real Estate Investing

Our firm is a member of Central Florida Realty Investors and represents investors throughout Florida in a variety of matters including transactional engineering, private lending and title services through our affiliated title agency, Esquire Title Company.  Charles Castellon is also a real estate investor and a founding member of Common Wealth Land Trust Services.  We understand investors and when we encounter challenges in real estate deals, we don’t say “that can’t be done.”  Instead, we ask “how can we do this?” while seeking legal and ethical solutions and encouraging win-win results.

Additionally, many of our Problem-solving services involve litigation assistance tailored to helping our clients in the investing community.  This includes litigation services such as commercial and residential evictions, foreclosures for private lenders, contract disputes, quiet title actions and more.

Land Trusts with Common Wealth Trust Services

A land trust is contractual legal arrangement created by one party called the “grantor” or “settlor” naming a second party called the “trustee” to hold certain property in the trustee’s name for the benefit of a third party called the “beneficiary.”   This is actually easier to understand than it sounds. There are many varieties of trusts created to accomplish different purposes, and many can become quite complicated.  For our purposes we will only be discussing one type of trust in this article; the land trust.

The primary objective of a land trust is to get certain real property out of the name of the trust’s creator or grantor and put the legal title in the name of the trustee while still having the income or benefits of the property flow to the beneficiary.  In many cases the “grantor” and beneficiary are one and the same.

The advantages to the land trust beneficiary are numerous and include (but aren’t limited to) the following:

  • Investors, wealthy or famous people, or other parties fearing being the target of harassment or litigation, can keep their interests in real estate private.
  • The beneficiary’s spouse has no marital claim on the real estate in trust and does not have to join in conveying the property.
  • Members of the public can deal with the trustee as the owner of the property and by law not have to inquire about the extent of his powers or the interests of the beneficiaries.
  • Transferring the interest in the real estate becomes easier and less costly to accomplish. The trust beneficiary can transfer effective ownership of the real property by assigning his interest in the trust to another party, rather than by having to execute and record a deed to the real property resulting in a private transaction.
  • Judgments against the beneficiary will not attach to the real estate in the trust and hence will not cloud the legal title. A beneficiary’s judgment creditor will be unlikely to even discover the beneficiary’s interest in the trust. However, the beneficiary’s interest in the trust can be attached if a creditor does learn of it.

Real Estate Investor Subscription Services

In response to investors who consistently needed legal services related to real estate investment, we are now offering subscription services. Benefits include but are not limited to:

  • Having a real estate attorney on call for answers and advice
  • Peace of mind that comes from avoiding liability
  • One-stop shop for all your real estate & title needs
  • Access to legal forms with an attorney’s guidance on how to use them
  • Updates on changes in law that affect your business
  • Avoid consult fees and putting money down for retainer agreements

Our 3 Plan Options include

  • Entry Level Plan
  • Basic Plan
  • Premium Plan

More information on this new service is forthcoming. If you have questions about real estate subscription services and would like more information, please call us and ask for Charles.

Landlord Tenant Including Evictions

At CPC Law, we believe that real estate investing should be a major component of every diversified investment portfolio.  Most of our investor clients rent out their properties to generate income and we work to protect that cash flow and the underlying property by preempting and responding to the many disputes and problems that arise.  We understand our investor clients in both the residential and commercial markets.  Our attorneys themselves have invested in real estate and know the challenges that landlords often face.  We consider ourselves part of the investor community and consider it our duty to protect our clients and their investments.

Our firm offers a complete array of landlord-tenant services and all other forms of legal assistance for the investor community.  We are especially aware of the time-sensitive nature of this work, especially when landlords are forced to pay expenses including mortgages, taxes and insurance while the tenant is not paying rent.  We move quickly, skillfully and decisively in full consideration of the stress and pressure that comes from landlord-tenant disputes.

We also believe that preventive legal care, like preventive medicine, can avoid many problems and their resulting costs before they happen.  As such, we draft carefully-tailored and thorough legal documents including leases, lease-options, statutory notices, correspondence and lawsuits such as evictions and other causes of action.  Our attorneys have extensive courtroom experience and we’ve seen everything.  CPC Law goes to court to fight for our clients and we effectively negotiate settlements for our clients’ benefit at mediation conferences.  Our landlord-tenant services and other legal work for the investor community are provided with the highest level of skill, knowledge and professionalism for all clients from the “mom & pop” landlords to commercial property owners under reasonable fee arrangements.

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Credit Restoration

Credit Restoration Credit restoration (sometimes referred to as credit repair) is CPC Law’s process of ensuring your credit history and biographical information is accurately reflected in your credit report. According to a ten-year study by the Federal Trade Commission examining the accuracy of credit reports, 20% of the consumers examined had an error in which […]

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Credit Restoration

Credit restoration (sometimes referred to as credit repair) is CPC Law’s process of ensuring your credit history and biographical information is accurately reflected in your credit report. According to a ten-year study by the Federal Trade Commission examining the accuracy of credit reports, 20% of the consumers examined had an error in which a modification was made to at least one of their credit reports.

Why is my credit important?

Most people are familiar with the terms “Credit Score” and “Credit Report” but it is important to understand how these terms affect your life. Your credit report is a history of credit accounts you have had and payment history. It also includes biographical information such as your current and previous addresses, your social security number and names you’ve previously used.

Your credit report and credit score (derived from the items in your credit report) are used in a range of important situations. These include:

  • Determining eligibility for renting a home or apartment
  • Whether you’ll own a home and the cost of doing so
  • When buying a vehicle, your credit report will often be examined to determine eligibility for financing and what you’ll pay
  • Some employers look at the credit report when hiring
  • Lenders and banks look at credit reports when you apply for a credit card or loan

What can I do to correct errors in my credit report?

You, the consumer, have the power to correct your credit report on your own. Federal law requires each of the major credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian, and Transunion – to give you a free copy of your credit report once per twelve months. You can visit annualcreditreport.com for more details on obtaining your credit reports. Once you have obtained a copy of your credit report you will need to review it for inaccurate or improperly listed information and begin the process of disputing the information with the credit reporting agency. This can be done by letter or online at their respective website. Writing the dispute and mailing the correspondence thereafter is generally the best route as you can keep track of when items are received or sent. Only inaccurate information will be removed or modified.

Why use CPC Law Credit Restoration if I can do it myself?

While the process of disputing items in a credit report is fairly straightforward, it is important to know the relevant consumer protection laws that form the basis of your dispute. By hiring CPC Law to handle your credit issues, you won’t need to invest the time to learn the applicable laws and you won’t have to keep track of the relevant time frames or follow through in communications with creditors or the credit reporting agencies. The attorneys at CPC Law know the dispute process and the applicable laws that form the rights of consumers.  We view the dispute process from a statute based angle when addressing the issues in your credit report and strive to make our communications with the credit reporting agencies easy to process. Call or email CPC Law now for a free consultation.

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Consumer Law

CPC Law is committed to representing the rights of consumers in their dealings with businesses. We believe that everyone should have access to competent legal counsel and it shouldn’t be exclusively for the benefit of big business

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Collection Lawsuit Defense and Negotiation

Debts and paying bills are regular parts of life. These expenses come in the form of credit cards, student loans, automobile loans, home loans and medical expenses. At CPC Law we understand that life is full of unexpected events that can lead to bills being unpaid. When this happens it’s usually only a matter of time before a lawsuit comes from either the original creditor or a party who purchased the debt that you have never heard of. This lawsuit will typically come in the form of a stranger knocking at your door and handing you a document containing a summons and a complaint. If you are served a complaint from a debt collector, speak with an attorney and make sure you know your rights. Failure to do so may lead to an unfavorable outcome that wasn’t necessary.

These debt collection lawsuits come in a wide variety of forms. At CPC Law we have experience defending these suits and negotiating settlement of claims when it makes sense to do so. What CPC Law will provide in the event you are sued by a debt collector:

• Clear outline of what to expect in your lawsuit

•  Representation in court so you don’t have to show up to hearings. This includes taking the case all the way to trial if the circumstances merit

•  Regular updates on your case so you’re fully in the loop

It is important to remember that the debt collector is not automatically entitled to payment from you. They have to prove their case. Call or email CPC Law now for a free consultation.

Creditor Harassment

State and federal laws protect Florida consumers from harassment by debt collectors. Whether it is repeated phone calls, threats or contacting friends and family about a debt, there are a number of prohibited activities debt collectors are prohibited from engaging in when attempting to collect a debt. Additional illegal behavior includes (but not limited to):

• Calling or mailing you attempting to collect a debt when they know you have retained a lawyer

• Telling third parties about the debt

• Telling your employer about the debt or threatening to tell an employer unless they have a judgment against you

• Repeatedly harassing you or family members about the debt

• Contact regarding the debt after 9PM or before 8AM

• Creditors giving the impression they’re an attorney when they are not

• Communications that appear to be letters from an attorney or look like government documents

• Bad language when speaking to your or your family

• Trying to enforce an illegitimate debt

• Simulating the police and that the creditor is acting on behalf of a government agency

• Use of force or violence or threatening same

• Where you disputed the debt at issue: reporting or threatening to report, negative information about a disputed debt to a credit reporting agency without also disclosing the existence of your dispute

Stop Debt Collection Harassment

If you believe you’ve been the victim of any of the behaviors outlined above or something similar, contact CPC Law now for a free consultation. These cases are handled on a contingency fee basis which means no cost to you. If you prevail you may be entitled to up to $1000 in statutory damages as well as actual damages for any medical expenses or other expenses incurred as a result of the offensive behavior.

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Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy Bankruptcy can be a powerful tool for alleviating financial pressures created by debt. Depending on your particular situation and what you hope to accomplish, the two types of bankruptcy we provide our clients are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Chapter 7 Bankruptcy (“Liquidation”) results in a discharge of  unsecured debts i.e. credit […]

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Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy can be a powerful tool for alleviating financial pressures created by debt. Depending on your particular situation and what you hope to accomplish, the two types of bankruptcy we provide our clients are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy (“Liquidation”) results in a discharge of  unsecured debts i.e. credit cards, medical bills, collection accounts etc. after your nonexempt assets have been liquidated and distributed to creditors. During the bankruptcy process, a Trustee will take your nonexempt assets and sell them for the benefit of your unsecured creditors. Exempt assets, such as your homestead and other exempt assets under Florida law will be protected. Whether or not the laws (and therefore the exemptions) of Florida apply depends on multiple factors when you have a prior relationship with another state. Whether Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a good fit for you depends on your circumstances and requires the analysis of an attorney.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is a reorganization of debt resulting in a court supervised payment plan in which your creditors are paid a set amount that is based on how much you make and the expenses you have. Chapter 13 is preferable to chapter 7 in certain circumstances where you want to discharge secured debts or in a foreclosure context. In addition, there are sometimes unsecured debts that can’t be discharged in Chapter 7 that are dischargeable in Chapter 13.  Once again, whether or not Chapter 13 is appropriate for you depends on your circumstances.

 

 

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Estate Planning

Estate planning is the process of anticipating and arranging for the disposal of an estate during a person’s life.

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Estate Planning

We are a society of planners.  We plan our days, weeks, vacations, weddings and so much else.  There is a whole industry built on event planning.  Despite all of this, how much do we plan for the one sure thing in life we know is coming?  Death and serious disability are events that can cause unimaginable trauma to families.  Through the skilled counsel of estate-planning attorneys, our clients prepare for and mitigate the damage from these traumatic life events.   There is no price that can be put on the peace of mind that comes from knowing you have done everything you can to protect your family and assets.

Estate planning is a broad legal area through which our clients decide how to take care of their loved ones and assets.  Despite common misconceptions, estate planning is not just for the elderly or the wealthy.  Everyone should have an estate plan.  We educate and advise our clients to create the best plan with the right tools to fit their particular needs.  Our attorneys think and advise outside the legal box by educating our clients on the merits of financial and insurance products to enhance the planning process and seal all the gaps.

We represent clients from all walks of life, including members of the LGBT community. The recent legal decisions granting full marriage equality to same sex couples was a great historical event.  All families, including those receiving these new rights, should carefully consider their estate planning needs.  CPC Law welcomes our LGBT friends to come talk with us about protecting their loved ones in the event of death or serious disability. We offer estate planning services to the modern family.

Wills

A last will and testament is an important estate planning tool.  You don’t have to be wealthy to need a will.  All you need is people and/or organizations in your life and assets you want them to receive.  We draft wills tailored to our clients’ specific needs, including taking care of minor children or minor children.  A legally valid will is essential for relationships lacking legal protections.

Trusts

There may be situations when you need to when you need to own assets through a trust.  This could involve personal property trusts to avoid probate or you can set up a trust through your will to help minor heirs manage their assets or take care of disabled loved ones through special-needs trusts.
If you own investment real estate, we want to show you all the benefits of holding title through a Florida Land Trust.

Living Wills

When people hear the word “will” in the context of a person dying, they often think of a document that disposes of the decedent’s property. A living will is not the same thing as this “last will and testament.” A living will is a document that allows a person to express how they want life-prolonging procedures to be handled in the event they have a terminal condition, an end-stage condition, or are in a persistent vegetative state.

By having a living will in place, a person can avoid placing their family and loved ones in the difficult position of having to decide whether or not to withdraw or continue life prolonging treatment. This difficult situation was brought to prominence by the Terri Schiavo case in which her parents insisted on continuing life prolonging care while her husband insisted she would not want such treatment. A living will is a means of making a person’s preference crystal clear and avoids the type of situation that arose in the Schiavo case.

A living will is an important part of planning for end of life care and we would be happy to discuss this document with you. There are specific requirements for a valid living will that must be adhered to. Call or email CPC Law now for a free consultation.

Health Care Surrogates

Circumstances can arise where a person becomes incapacitated due to injury or disease. Obviously if you are in this position you won’t be able to make your own treatment decisions. Choosing a health care surrogate lets you name a person you trust to make these important decisions. Failure to name a health care surrogate may result in estranged family members, doctors, or sometimes even judges making your treatment decisions even if they have little understanding of what you would prefer.

Florida Statute 765.203 provides a suggested form for the written designation of your healthcare surrogate. There are a couple of requirements for executing a valid written designation of your healthcare surrogate. The Designation of Health Care Surrogate needs to be signed by two witnesses. Both witnesses must be at least 18 years old. Neither witness can be your health care surrogate. Further, one of your witnesses must not be your spouse or a blood relative.

At CPC Law we believe the Designation of Health Care Surrogate is an important part of planning for your future and we would be happy to discuss this document with you. This law exists to allow people self-determination in their health care decisions. Call or email CPC Law now for a free consultation.

Powers of Attorney

According to the Florida Bar’s Power of Attorney Pamphlet, “Power of Attorney is a legal document delegating authority from one person to another.” Basically, it allows someone to give another person the power to take actions on their behalf. Power of attorney can be customized to fit the specific needs of the situation and can give others the right to do almost any legal act that the maker of the Power of Attorney could do. Examples of how a power of attorney can be used include giving another the right to sell a piece of property, sign legal documents or handle financial transactions.

There are a number of situations where a power of attorney can be very helpful but it’s a powerful tool that needs to be crafted to the specific needs of the person creating it. Many times a power of attorney can be a useful planning tool that we would be happy to discuss with you.  Call or email CPC Law now for a free consultation.

 

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Probate

Probate is the legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person, resolving all claims and distributing assets either with or without a will…

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Probate

The death of a loved one will always be a stressful matter for the surviving family and probate is often part of the stress.  Probate involves the legal process of distributing the assets and paying the debts of the deceased. Sometimes, probate matters are contested and that can be an extremely costly and stressful process.  We represent and guide our clients throughout the entire probate process beyond the court filings.  Our legal and financial counseling helps families solve a wide variety of problems involving business, creditor and real estate issues, among others.

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Asset Protection

Asset protection is a set of legal techniques and a body of statutory and common law dealing with protecting…

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Asset Protection

When you work hard and sacrifice to build assets, you don’t want the stress of losing it all.  Lawsuits and creditors are everyday realities in our society but with proper advance planning, you can become judgment-proof with the peace of mind of knowing what you’ve worked hard to acquire will be difficult to lose.

At CPC Law, we counsel our clients on how to ethically and legally use the following asset protection tools, among others, for maximum protection.

• Limited Liability Companies and Other Corporate Entities

• Land Trusts (visit our website at Common Wealth Trust Services for more information)

• Annuities and cash value life insurance policies

• Off-shore trusts

• Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts

• Personal property trusts

• Marital Property

• Florida Homestead Law

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Civil Litigation

A civil case involves a legal dispute between two or more parties. To begin a civil lawsuit in either federal or state court, the plaintiff files a complaint with the court and …

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Civil Litigation

When you’re being sued or need to sue someone, that’s a big problem.  Our experienced team of attorneys and paralegals have handled hundreds of civil lawsuits for businesses and individuals on a variety of issues.  Our firm recognizes that lawsuits can easily result in a bloodbath of expenses and stress that often lasts years.  Our approach to litigation focuses on fighting hard, but within a rational and logical framework of problem-solving to end the battle favorably for our clients without destroying them. In fact, we’ll work hard to prevent a lawsuit from being filed by actively seeking pre-suit settlements to the highest degree possible through negotiations. We believe that mediation is a valuable tool to settle lawsuits through fair deals for our clients.  We don’t “churn” cases simply to collect fees from our clients.  Instead, we counsel our clients on risk assessment and cost-benefit analysis principles to seek the best possible return on investment in our services.

CPC Law represents clients in a variety of litigation including foreclosures, contract disputes, collection actions, evictions and other types of cases involving civil matters.

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Business Law

Businesses and organizations of all types deal with the legal system. Sometimes these issues are expected, other times they’re not …

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Business Law

CPC Law protects our clients’ interests in a variety of transactional matters.  Many things can go wrong in a transaction and we are your  experienced and knowledgeable advocates on your side from the initial due diligence stage through negotiations, drafting or reviewing contracts through closing.

At CPC Law, we believe small business is the backbone of our nation’s economy.  In fact, we are a small business and our team members’ families rely upon our firm for their livelihood.  Most small businesses don’t have lobbyists advocating their interests to the government, so we have to look out for ourselves.

Succession Planning

As a small business owner, if you were to die, what would happen to

• The business you’ve worked so hard to build?

• Your surviving loved ones?

• Your business partners?

• Your employees?

Just as we promote the virtues of estate planning for individuals and families, we urge all small business owners to craft a carefully thought-out succession plan for the only sure thing in life—death (follow this link to learn about the basics of Business Succession Planning).  Unlike giant multi-national corporations, the death of one business owner can cause permanent devastation to the stakeholders of the business, including family, employees and surviving partners.

Our answer is found in business succession planning.  Here’s how it works.

The Buy-Sell Agreement is a contract for business people that may include:

• Corporate shareholders

• Partners

• LLC Members

• Key Employees of a Business

Through a Buy-Sell Agreement, we can ensure the transfer of business interests following death or disability in a pre-determined, mutually-agreed upon way that guarantees a market for their sale.  The Buy-Sell Agreement between business partners allows the company to buy from the deceased business owners’ heirs their share of the business.  The partners agree on a fair valuation for the company and the business sale is funded through life insurance policies the partners buy on each others’ lives.

Without this kind of thoughtful planning, undesired results will follow the death of a business owner.  This may include scenarios such as the surviving family members stepping into ownership to be partners with the surviving owner, often without the interest or ability to run the business.

We advocate the right planning for our clients to take control of their lives and businesses, both for themselves and the people they care about—their family members, partners and employees.

Commercial Litigation

It’s an unfortunate reality in the business world that many business people do not behave honestly.  We believe that the promises in contracts and agreements, whether verbal or written, should be honored or the business world cannot function and our economy suffers.

At CPC Law, we counsel our small business clients through their legal battles, including contract disputes, collections and all of the various problems that arise in commercial dealings.  Our time-honored approach is to pursue the best solutions in the most economical fashion available. This means that we don’t rush to file lawsuits but, instead, work diligently to achieve out of court solutions even when a compromise is required to contain the damage.

In commercial lawsuits, a money blood bath can easily happen where only the lawyers win.  We believe in old-school ideas such as principle and what’s right, but part of our job is to remind our clients of the costs associated with principle and doing the right thing.  Our small business clients have lives outside of work and the stress of the business in general and lawsuits in particular can be overwhelming.  At CPC Law, we strive to help our clients achieve their desired work-family life balance  and pay special attention to quick and satisfactory resolutions of disputes before they get out of control and cause undue stress.  Our firm believes in mediation as a useful way to resolve disputes and work diligently to achieve the best deal while avoiding the risks of trial, if reasonably possible.

When there’s no alternative than to go to court, whether when we file cases as plaintiff’s counsel or defend cases filed against our business clients, we fight effectively, efficiently and hard to achieve the best results.  Our attorneys are effective and experienced litigators and we understand the importance of good people skills, even with our opponents.  If you want a “pit bull” to pursue a “scorched earth” policy to hurt our adversaries regardless of costs and consequences, we’re not the right firm for you.  If you want outstanding representation and a great ROI on your legal services investment, we want to talk with you.

 

Foreclosure Defense and Lender Negotiations

Though practicing law since 1992, Charles Castellon founded CPC Law in 2008 as the historical foreclosure crisis emerged.  From the inception, the firm’s main focus has been helping literally hundreds of homeowners and investors through this difficult crisis to defend their rights and pursue our clients’ desired solutions.  CPC Law did not recently jump on the foreclosure bandwagon as the crisis grew.  We were at the forefront of this historical event and continue representing our clients at every stage of the foreclosure process, from “pre-foreclosure” when borrowers have begun to miss payments (or expect to stop paying soon) through every step of the litigation process.

We treat our clients in a fundamentally fair way through reasonable fees and flexible payment plan arrangements.  Unlike most law firms and attorneys who have emerged to defend foreclosures, we do not use an “infinite” fee arrangement.  We have never followed the common foreclosure defense practice of billing clients a recurring monthly fee for the life of the case, regardless of the amount of work (or whether any work is) performed.  This has led to very unfair results when cases have dragged out for several years and the total fee paid far exceeds the value of the legal services provided.  Such arrangements cause law firms to have a greater interest in delaying the case to keep collecting fees than resolving the client’s foreclosure problem.  In fact, many of our clients have come to CPC Law as refugees from these other firms.  CPC Law has defended foreclosures in court in some instances for more than six years, but our fees have an end point.   Yes, we have left money on the table, but we have maintained our ethics and integrity while putting our clients’ interests above ours.

By representing our clients through this crisis, we are acutely aware of the pain and stress a foreclosure causes.  We listen and work with our clients to guide them through foreclosures to find the best available solution to the problem.

Foreclosure Defense

When lenders sue our clients, we file legal papers in response and go to court and fight for our clients’ rights.  We seek settlements such as loan modifications through mediation, process and close short sales and actively engage the lenders’ attorneys through out of court negotiations.

We also call out the lenders for their common illegal and unethical practices that have received much publicity throughout the crisis.  By doing so, we gain leverage in negotiations and sometimes get cases dismissed.  These lender defects include “robo-signing,” “standing” issues (regarding who has the right to file the foreclosure due to the practice of repeatedly selling off mortgage rights), lost promissory notes, predatory lending and other shameful practices committed against borrowers.  We have seen everything, including  clients being sued by two different plaintiffs, each claiming rights to the same mortgage on the same property.  When cynics (including  some judges)  don’t get what the big deal is and think the discussion begins and ends with the borrower’s failure to pay, we have much to say in response.

Our attorneys have over 30 years combined litigation experience we bring to court.  We also know how to effectively negotiate settlements for our clients to approve and avoid the risks of going to trial when our clients want to settle.  We are battle-tested and relentless in pursuit of the best outcomes for our clients.

Short Sales

A large segment of our clients have chosen a short sale as their negotiated solution to the foreclosure.  Simply put, a short sale is the market sale of a home for an amount less than is owed to the lenders holding mortgages. This is usually around fair market value for properties that are “upside down” and not worth the mortgage balance.  Short sales are a very effective solution for clients seeking an exit strategy and damage control against the harmful effects of foreclosure.  At CPC Law, we have an experienced team of lawyers, short sale negotiators and closing agents working together to obtain lender approval and close the deal. For a more detailed discussion of short sale, check out our blog entry titled “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Short Sales But Were Afraid To Ask.”

Our attorney-owned title agency, Esquire Title Company handles the closings.  We always seek deficiency waivers for our clients to guarantee the lender will not be able to sue our clients to collect the difference between the short sale proceeds and the total debt owed the lender, known as the deficiency.  Additionally, we often succeed in getting cash payment incentives for our clients from the lenders, thereby helping many clients get paid to short sell their homes and receive relocation money in the process.

Loan Modifications

A popular out of court settlement for clients desiring to keep their homes is the loan modification.  At CPC Law, we use attorneys to negotiate and process modification applications with our clients’ lenders.  We work with lenders and their attorneys to push through modifications that lower monthly payments to a reasonable level and sometimes get reductions of the principal balance due.  We have gotten loan modifications by all available means, including government initiative such as HAMP, HARP and internal lender programs.  With both short sales and loan modification efforts, persistence is the key.  Our attorneys and support team members are relentless in pursuit of our clients’ objectives and we never surrender.

Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure

Simply put, a deed in lieu of foreclosure (“DIL”) is a foreclosure settlement between the borrower/owner of a property and the lender whereby title is transferred to the lender to avoid foreclosure.  Like a short sale, it’s an exit strategy when the borrower prefers to get out of the property and mortgage debt instead of keeping the home.  Generally, our firm does not recommend the DIL settlement option until other efforts are exhausted.  One reason is that the credit impact to the borrower will be approximately the same as a completed foreclosure and court auction through the legal system.   Also, the DIL option will not likely be available if there are other lien-holders such as second mortgage lenders.  This is because the first mortgage lender pursuing a foreclosure will need to see the case all the way through to a final judgment and court sale to extinguish those junior lien rights.

It is usually worthwhile to pursue the short sale exit strategy first because of the lesser credit harm and shallower hole to dig out of during the rebuilding phase of credit and finances.  A DIL deal should always come with a deficiency waiver from the lender so the borrower doesn’t have to worry about being sued for the lender’s loss later.  Otherwise, there is little incentive to agree to a DIL.

Strategic Default

The concept of strategic default is a controversial topic that has received much media attention in recent years.  A significant segment of CPC Law’s clients may be fairly deemed strategic defaulters because they have made a rational economic decision to discontinue paying a mortgage while retaining the ability to pay.  This is a complex matter and no borrower should take the decision to stop paying lightly.  We counsel our clients by guiding them through the cost-benefit analysis with careful consideration of both the certain and potential consequences flowing from a strategic default. Most of our strategically defaulting clients pursue a damage-control settlement solution with the lender through a short sale. For more detailed information on Strategic Default, check out our blog entry, “What is a Strategic Default and When is it an Appropriate Decision?”

 

Real Estate Investing

Our firm is a member of Central Florida Realty Investors and represents investors throughout Florida in a variety of matters including transactional engineering, private lending and title services through our affiliated title agency, Esquire Title Company.  Charles Castellon is also a real estate investor and a founding member of Common Wealth Land Trust Services.  We understand investors and when we encounter challenges in real estate deals, we don’t say “that can’t be done.”  Instead, we ask “how can we do this?” while seeking legal and ethical solutions and encouraging win-win results.

Additionally, many of our Problem-solving services involve litigation assistance tailored to helping our clients in the investing community.  This includes litigation services such as commercial and residential evictions, foreclosures for private lenders, contract disputes, quiet title actions and more.

Land Trusts with Common Wealth Trust Services

A land trust is contractual legal arrangement created by one party called the “grantor” or “settlor” naming a second party called the “trustee” to hold certain property in the trustee’s name for the benefit of a third party called the “beneficiary.”   This is actually easier to understand than it sounds. There are many varieties of trusts created to accomplish different purposes, and many can become quite complicated.  For our purposes we will only be discussing one type of trust in this article; the land trust.

The primary objective of a land trust is to get certain real property out of the name of the trust’s creator or grantor and put the legal title in the name of the trustee while still having the income or benefits of the property flow to the beneficiary.  In many cases the “grantor” and beneficiary are one and the same.

The advantages to the land trust beneficiary are numerous and include (but aren’t limited to) the following:

  • Investors, wealthy or famous people, or other parties fearing being the target of harassment or litigation, can keep their interests in real estate private.
  • The beneficiary’s spouse has no marital claim on the real estate in trust and does not have to join in conveying the property.
  • Members of the public can deal with the trustee as the owner of the property and by law not have to inquire about the extent of his powers or the interests of the beneficiaries.
  • Transferring the interest in the real estate becomes easier and less costly to accomplish. The trust beneficiary can transfer effective ownership of the real property by assigning his interest in the trust to another party, rather than by having to execute and record a deed to the real property resulting in a private transaction.
  • Judgments against the beneficiary will not attach to the real estate in the trust and hence will not cloud the legal title. A beneficiary’s judgment creditor will be unlikely to even discover the beneficiary’s interest in the trust. However, the beneficiary’s interest in the trust can be attached if a creditor does learn of it.

Real Estate Investor Subscription Services

In response to investors who consistently needed legal services related to real estate investment, we are now offering subscription services. Benefits include but are not limited to:

  • Having a real estate attorney on call for answers and advice
  • Peace of mind that comes from avoiding liability
  • One-stop shop for all your real estate & title needs
  • Access to legal forms with an attorney’s guidance on how to use them
  • Updates on changes in law that affect your business
  • Avoid consult fees and putting money down for retainer agreements

Our 3 Plan Options include

  • Entry Level Plan
  • Basic Plan
  • Premium Plan

More information on this new service is forthcoming. If you have questions about real estate subscription services and would like more information, please call us and ask for Charles.

Landlord Tenant Including Evictions

At CPC Law, we believe that real estate investing should be a major component of every diversified investment portfolio.  Most of our investor clients rent out their properties to generate income and we work to protect that cash flow and the underlying property by preempting and responding to the many disputes and problems that arise.  We understand our investor clients in both the residential and commercial markets.  Our attorneys themselves have invested in real estate and know the challenges that landlords often face.  We consider ourselves part of the investor community and consider it our duty to protect our clients and their investments.

Our firm offers a complete array of landlord-tenant services and all other forms of legal assistance for the investor community.  We are especially aware of the time-sensitive nature of this work, especially when landlords are forced to pay expenses including mortgages, taxes and insurance while the tenant is not paying rent.  We move quickly, skillfully and decisively in full consideration of the stress and pressure that comes from landlord-tenant disputes.

We also believe that preventive legal care, like preventive medicine, can avoid many problems and their resulting costs before they happen.  As such, we draft carefully-tailored and thorough legal documents including leases, lease-options, statutory notices, correspondence and lawsuits such as evictions and other causes of action.  Our attorneys have extensive courtroom experience and we’ve seen everything.  CPC Law goes to court to fight for our clients and we effectively negotiate settlements for our clients’ benefit at mediation conferences.  Our landlord-tenant services and other legal work for the investor community are provided with the highest level of skill, knowledge and professionalism for all clients from the “mom & pop” landlords to commercial property owners under reasonable fee arrangements.

Credit Restoration

Credit restoration (sometimes referred to as credit repair) is CPC Law’s process of ensuring your credit history and biographical information is accurately reflected in your credit report. According to a ten-year study by the Federal Trade Commission examining the accuracy of credit reports, 20% of the consumers examined had an error in which a modification was made to at least one of their credit reports.

Why is my credit important?

Most people are familiar with the terms “Credit Score” and “Credit Report” but it is important to understand how these terms affect your life. Your credit report is a history of credit accounts you have had and payment history. It also includes biographical information such as your current and previous addresses, your social security number and names you’ve previously used.

Your credit report and credit score (derived from the items in your credit report) are used in a range of important situations. These include:

  • Determining eligibility for renting a home or apartment
  • Whether you’ll own a home and the cost of doing so
  • When buying a vehicle, your credit report will often be examined to determine eligibility for financing and what you’ll pay
  • Some employers look at the credit report when hiring
  • Lenders and banks look at credit reports when you apply for a credit card or loan

What can I do to correct errors in my credit report?

You, the consumer, have the power to correct your credit report on your own. Federal law requires each of the major credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian, and Transunion – to give you a free copy of your credit report once per twelve months. You can visit annualcreditreport.com for more details on obtaining your credit reports. Once you have obtained a copy of your credit report you will need to review it for inaccurate or improperly listed information and begin the process of disputing the information with the credit reporting agency. This can be done by letter or online at their respective website. Writing the dispute and mailing the correspondence thereafter is generally the best route as you can keep track of when items are received or sent. Only inaccurate information will be removed or modified.

Why use CPC Law Credit Restoration if I can do it myself?

While the process of disputing items in a credit report is fairly straightforward, it is important to know the relevant consumer protection laws that form the basis of your dispute. By hiring CPC Law to handle your credit issues, you won’t need to invest the time to learn the applicable laws and you won’t have to keep track of the relevant time frames or follow through in communications with creditors or the credit reporting agencies. The attorneys at CPC Law know the dispute process and the applicable laws that form the rights of consumers.  We view the dispute process from a statute based angle when addressing the issues in your credit report and strive to make our communications with the credit reporting agencies easy to process. Call or email CPC Law now for a free consultation.

Collection Lawsuit Defense and Negotiation

Debts and paying bills are regular parts of life. These expenses come in the form of credit cards, student loans, automobile loans, home loans and medical expenses. At CPC Law we understand that life is full of unexpected events that can lead to bills being unpaid. When this happens it’s usually only a matter of time before a lawsuit comes from either the original creditor or a party who purchased the debt that you have never heard of. This lawsuit will typically come in the form of a stranger knocking at your door and handing you a document containing a summons and a complaint. If you are served a complaint from a debt collector, speak with an attorney and make sure you know your rights. Failure to do so may lead to an unfavorable outcome that wasn’t necessary.

These debt collection lawsuits come in a wide variety of forms. At CPC Law we have experience defending these suits and negotiating settlement of claims when it makes sense to do so. What CPC Law will provide in the event you are sued by a debt collector:

• Clear outline of what to expect in your lawsuit

•  Representation in court so you don’t have to show up to hearings. This includes taking the case all the way to trial if the circumstances merit

•  Regular updates on your case so you’re fully in the loop

It is important to remember that the debt collector is not automatically entitled to payment from you. They have to prove their case. Call or email CPC Law now for a free consultation.

Creditor Harassment

State and federal laws protect Florida consumers from harassment by debt collectors. Whether it is repeated phone calls, threats or contacting friends and family about a debt, there are a number of prohibited activities debt collectors are prohibited from engaging in when attempting to collect a debt. Additional illegal behavior includes (but not limited to):

• Calling or mailing you attempting to collect a debt when they know you have retained a lawyer

• Telling third parties about the debt

• Telling your employer about the debt or threatening to tell an employer unless they have a judgment against you

• Repeatedly harassing you or family members about the debt

• Contact regarding the debt after 9PM or before 8AM

• Creditors giving the impression they’re an attorney when they are not

• Communications that appear to be letters from an attorney or look like government documents

• Bad language when speaking to your or your family

• Trying to enforce an illegitimate debt

• Simulating the police and that the creditor is acting on behalf of a government agency

• Use of force or violence or threatening same

• Where you disputed the debt at issue: reporting or threatening to report, negative information about a disputed debt to a credit reporting agency without also disclosing the existence of your dispute

Stop Debt Collection Harassment

If you believe you’ve been the victim of any of the behaviors outlined above or something similar, contact CPC Law now for a free consultation. These cases are handled on a contingency fee basis which means no cost to you. If you prevail you may be entitled to up to $1000 in statutory damages as well as actual damages for any medical expenses or other expenses incurred as a result of the offensive behavior.

Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy can be a powerful tool for alleviating financial pressures created by debt. Depending on your particular situation and what you hope to accomplish, the two types of bankruptcy we provide our clients are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy (“Liquidation”) results in a discharge of  unsecured debts i.e. credit cards, medical bills, collection accounts etc. after your nonexempt assets have been liquidated and distributed to creditors. During the bankruptcy process, a Trustee will take your nonexempt assets and sell them for the benefit of your unsecured creditors. Exempt assets, such as your homestead and other exempt assets under Florida law will be protected. Whether or not the laws (and therefore the exemptions) of Florida apply depends on multiple factors when you have a prior relationship with another state. Whether Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a good fit for you depends on your circumstances and requires the analysis of an attorney.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is a reorganization of debt resulting in a court supervised payment plan in which your creditors are paid a set amount that is based on how much you make and the expenses you have. Chapter 13 is preferable to chapter 7 in certain circumstances where you want to discharge secured debts or in a foreclosure context. In addition, there are sometimes unsecured debts that can’t be discharged in Chapter 7 that are dischargeable in Chapter 13.  Once again, whether or not Chapter 13 is appropriate for you depends on your circumstances.

 

 

Estate Planning

We are a society of planners.  We plan our days, weeks, vacations, weddings and so much else.  There is a whole industry built on event planning.  Despite all of this, how much do we plan for the one sure thing in life we know is coming?  Death and serious disability are events that can cause unimaginable trauma to families.  Through the skilled counsel of estate-planning attorneys, our clients prepare for and mitigate the damage from these traumatic life events.   There is no price that can be put on the peace of mind that comes from knowing you have done everything you can to protect your family and assets.

Estate planning is a broad legal area through which our clients decide how to take care of their loved ones and assets.  Despite common misconceptions, estate planning is not just for the elderly or the wealthy.  Everyone should have an estate plan.  We educate and advise our clients to create the best plan with the right tools to fit their particular needs.  Our attorneys think and advise outside the legal box by educating our clients on the merits of financial and insurance products to enhance the planning process and seal all the gaps.

We represent clients from all walks of life, including members of the LGBT community. The recent legal decisions granting full marriage equality to same sex couples was a great historical event.  All families, including those receiving these new rights, should carefully consider their estate planning needs.  CPC Law welcomes our LGBT friends to come talk with us about protecting their loved ones in the event of death or serious disability. We offer estate planning services to the modern family.

Wills

A last will and testament is an important estate planning tool.  You don’t have to be wealthy to need a will.  All you need is people and/or organizations in your life and assets you want them to receive.  We draft wills tailored to our clients’ specific needs, including taking care of minor children or minor children.  A legally valid will is essential for relationships lacking legal protections.

Trusts

There may be situations when you need to when you need to own assets through a trust.  This could involve personal property trusts to avoid probate or you can set up a trust through your will to help minor heirs manage their assets or take care of disabled loved ones through special-needs trusts.
If you own investment real estate, we want to show you all the benefits of holding title through a Florida Land Trust.

Living Wills

When people hear the word “will” in the context of a person dying, they often think of a document that disposes of the decedent’s property. A living will is not the same thing as this “last will and testament.” A living will is a document that allows a person to express how they want life-prolonging procedures to be handled in the event they have a terminal condition, an end-stage condition, or are in a persistent vegetative state.

By having a living will in place, a person can avoid placing their family and loved ones in the difficult position of having to decide whether or not to withdraw or continue life prolonging treatment. This difficult situation was brought to prominence by the Terri Schiavo case in which her parents insisted on continuing life prolonging care while her husband insisted she would not want such treatment. A living will is a means of making a person’s preference crystal clear and avoids the type of situation that arose in the Schiavo case.

A living will is an important part of planning for end of life care and we would be happy to discuss this document with you. There are specific requirements for a valid living will that must be adhered to. Call or email CPC Law now for a free consultation.

Health Care Surrogates

Circumstances can arise where a person becomes incapacitated due to injury or disease. Obviously if you are in this position you won’t be able to make your own treatment decisions. Choosing a health care surrogate lets you name a person you trust to make these important decisions. Failure to name a health care surrogate may result in estranged family members, doctors, or sometimes even judges making your treatment decisions even if they have little understanding of what you would prefer.

Florida Statute 765.203 provides a suggested form for the written designation of your healthcare surrogate. There are a couple of requirements for executing a valid written designation of your healthcare surrogate. The Designation of Health Care Surrogate needs to be signed by two witnesses. Both witnesses must be at least 18 years old. Neither witness can be your health care surrogate. Further, one of your witnesses must not be your spouse or a blood relative.

At CPC Law we believe the Designation of Health Care Surrogate is an important part of planning for your future and we would be happy to discuss this document with you. This law exists to allow people self-determination in their health care decisions. Call or email CPC Law now for a free consultation.

Powers of Attorney

According to the Florida Bar’s Power of Attorney Pamphlet, “Power of Attorney is a legal document delegating authority from one person to another.” Basically, it allows someone to give another person the power to take actions on their behalf. Power of attorney can be customized to fit the specific needs of the situation and can give others the right to do almost any legal act that the maker of the Power of Attorney could do. Examples of how a power of attorney can be used include giving another the right to sell a piece of property, sign legal documents or handle financial transactions.

There are a number of situations where a power of attorney can be very helpful but it’s a powerful tool that needs to be crafted to the specific needs of the person creating it. Many times a power of attorney can be a useful planning tool that we would be happy to discuss with you.  Call or email CPC Law now for a free consultation.

 

Probate

The death of a loved one will always be a stressful matter for the surviving family and probate is often part of the stress.  Probate involves the legal process of distributing the assets and paying the debts of the deceased. Sometimes, probate matters are contested and that can be an extremely costly and stressful process.  We represent and guide our clients throughout the entire probate process beyond the court filings.  Our legal and financial counseling helps families solve a wide variety of problems involving business, creditor and real estate issues, among others.

Asset Protection

When you work hard and sacrifice to build assets, you don’t want the stress of losing it all.  Lawsuits and creditors are everyday realities in our society but with proper advance planning, you can become judgment-proof with the peace of mind of knowing what you’ve worked hard to acquire will be difficult to lose.

At CPC Law, we counsel our clients on how to ethically and legally use the following asset protection tools, among others, for maximum protection.

• Limited Liability Companies and Other Corporate Entities

• Land Trusts (visit our website at Common Wealth Trust Services for more information)

• Annuities and cash value life insurance policies

• Off-shore trusts

• Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts

• Personal property trusts

• Marital Property

• Florida Homestead Law

Civil Litigation

When you’re being sued or need to sue someone, that’s a big problem.  Our experienced team of attorneys and paralegals have handled hundreds of civil lawsuits for businesses and individuals on a variety of issues.  Our firm recognizes that lawsuits can easily result in a bloodbath of expenses and stress that often lasts years.  Our approach to litigation focuses on fighting hard, but within a rational and logical framework of problem-solving to end the battle favorably for our clients without destroying them. In fact, we’ll work hard to prevent a lawsuit from being filed by actively seeking pre-suit settlements to the highest degree possible through negotiations. We believe that mediation is a valuable tool to settle lawsuits through fair deals for our clients.  We don’t “churn” cases simply to collect fees from our clients.  Instead, we counsel our clients on risk assessment and cost-benefit analysis principles to seek the best possible return on investment in our services.

CPC Law represents clients in a variety of litigation including foreclosures, contract disputes, collection actions, evictions and other types of cases involving civil matters.

Business Law

CPC Law protects our clients’ interests in a variety of transactional matters.  Many things can go wrong in a transaction and we are your  experienced and knowledgeable advocates on your side from the initial due diligence stage through negotiations, drafting or reviewing contracts through closing.

At CPC Law, we believe small business is the backbone of our nation’s economy.  In fact, we are a small business and our team members’ families rely upon our firm for their livelihood.  Most small businesses don’t have lobbyists advocating their interests to the government, so we have to look out for ourselves.

Succession Planning

As a small business owner, if you were to die, what would happen to

• The business you’ve worked so hard to build?

• Your surviving loved ones?

• Your business partners?

• Your employees?

Just as we promote the virtues of estate planning for individuals and families, we urge all small business owners to craft a carefully thought-out succession plan for the only sure thing in life—death (follow this link to learn about the basics of Business Succession Planning).  Unlike giant multi-national corporations, the death of one business owner can cause permanent devastation to the stakeholders of the business, including family, employees and surviving partners.

Our answer is found in business succession planning.  Here’s how it works.

The Buy-Sell Agreement is a contract for business people that may include:

• Corporate shareholders

• Partners

• LLC Members

• Key Employees of a Business

Through a Buy-Sell Agreement, we can ensure the transfer of business interests following death or disability in a pre-determined, mutually-agreed upon way that guarantees a market for their sale.  The Buy-Sell Agreement between business partners allows the company to buy from the deceased business owners’ heirs their share of the business.  The partners agree on a fair valuation for the company and the business sale is funded through life insurance policies the partners buy on each others’ lives.

Without this kind of thoughtful planning, undesired results will follow the death of a business owner.  This may include scenarios such as the surviving family members stepping into ownership to be partners with the surviving owner, often without the interest or ability to run the business.

We advocate the right planning for our clients to take control of their lives and businesses, both for themselves and the people they care about—their family members, partners and employees.

Commercial Litigation

It’s an unfortunate reality in the business world that many business people do not behave honestly.  We believe that the promises in contracts and agreements, whether verbal or written, should be honored or the business world cannot function and our economy suffers.

At CPC Law, we counsel our small business clients through their legal battles, including contract disputes, collections and all of the various problems that arise in commercial dealings.  Our time-honored approach is to pursue the best solutions in the most economical fashion available. This means that we don’t rush to file lawsuits but, instead, work diligently to achieve out of court solutions even when a compromise is required to contain the damage.

In commercial lawsuits, a money blood bath can easily happen where only the lawyers win.  We believe in old-school ideas such as principle and what’s right, but part of our job is to remind our clients of the costs associated with principle and doing the right thing.  Our small business clients have lives outside of work and the stress of the business in general and lawsuits in particular can be overwhelming.  At CPC Law, we strive to help our clients achieve their desired work-family life balance  and pay special attention to quick and satisfactory resolutions of disputes before they get out of control and cause undue stress.  Our firm believes in mediation as a useful way to resolve disputes and work diligently to achieve the best deal while avoiding the risks of trial, if reasonably possible.

When there’s no alternative than to go to court, whether when we file cases as plaintiff’s counsel or defend cases filed against our business clients, we fight effectively, efficiently and hard to achieve the best results.  Our attorneys are effective and experienced litigators and we understand the importance of good people skills, even with our opponents.  If you want a “pit bull” to pursue a “scorched earth” policy to hurt our adversaries regardless of costs and consequences, we’re not the right firm for you.  If you want outstanding representation and a great ROI on your legal services investment, we want to talk with you.