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Latest Blog Posts By Category

  • Arbitration

    The latest posts for Arbitration are listed below.
    • Contracts 101; Avoid Arbitration

      There are two rules in negotiating any contract. The first, before you look at a form or draft, is to make a list of the deal points that are essential to you. The second is to share that list with your lawyer, up front. In a real estate contract your Realtor and your lawyer will work together, but regardless of the nature of the agreement, these two steps will save time and money, and the quality ...
    • Arbitration, Or Not

      Every printed form real estate contract calls for mediation, and if it fails, arbitration. The standard bromide to explain the push to arbitrate is that courts take a long time, cost a lot of money, and the only one who makes money in a court proceeding is the lawyer. This article asks the question whether that explanation is really true, and whose goose gets cooked by arbitration? The procedures ...

    Asset Protection

    The latest posts for Asset Protection are listed below.
    • Should I Sell My Wedding Ring?

      Selling your wedding ring following a divorce is ultimately a personal choice. Some people choose to keep the jewelry as a final keepsake because they cannot bring themselves to completely eradicate this part of their lives. A wedding ring serves as a reminder of what once was, and as such, it can be a special memento for many. If there are no hard feelings regarding the marriage, many people ...
    • Mostly Unwanted Advice for "short-sellers" and for Owners of Property in Foreclosure

      I can’t say “don’t get there”, because some have no choice, and some will be in foreclosure or become short-sellers not by choice but by other considerations that are just as compelling. Whichever is true, don’t rely on advice someone else pays for. Sometimes a lawyer can’t help. There’s enough at stake that I always advise hiring your own lawyer. But even if your lawyer can’t help, he or she will ...
    • How Much Damage Can One Gas Line Cause?

      Walton and Okaloosa Counties are about to be traversed, once again, by a natural gas pipeline to be built across the north end of both counties. This pipeline will be the same in character, but different in degree from two other gas lines that already run the same path. The others are smaller, with less pressure, and less content running through the pipe. Owners in both counties have been offered ...

    Associations

    The latest posts for Associations are listed below.
    • You Will Never Have Enough!

      Of What Commodity Can It Truly Be Said, “You Will Never Have Enough”? This article has been written 3 times. The first draft talks about “Stand Your Ground Law”, and the second about life in a Florida high rise condominium. Both articles are on the cutting room floor, having been squeezed out by the urgency of the message presented here. Before I begin, let me say thanks, again to my friends in ...
    • Riddle Me This: When Can A House Never Be A Home?

      A townhouse in Florida is a unit in a building with one or more floors located on a parcel of land in which fee simple title to the land is conveyed with each unit. The unit is like a slice of bread in a loaf. It differs from a condominium, although often they look exactly alike. A townhouse is most often documented under Chapter 720 of the Florida Statutes. A condominium normally has no land ...
    • Hell in a Very Small Space

      Because some zoning ordinances permit a greater number of condominium units per acre than townhouses, even though there is no structural difference, several years ago developers rushed to use small shards of property within city blocks to build tiny condominiums. My plea to planning officials everywhere is that the laws, regulations, and personalities involved in a condominium are so complex that ...

    Business Law

    The latest posts for Business Law are listed below.
    • Careful What You Say, Someone May Believe You

      These words are about something not likely to do you any good – unless you are among those who write contracts for a living, or read them- and then only if the only thing on TV is the “Kardashians”. But if you have enough wine for something not often contemplated, this is for you. I’ve improved my talent for reading non-verbal clues. I’m now up to about 15% accuracy in deciphering what you really ...
    • What is a "Non-Profit"?

      The law allows any one person to set up a non-profit corporation. I write this article because of the wide-spread misunderstanding about what “non-profit” really means. I can’t tell you the number of contributions made to non-profits because of a high-sounding name that causes people to think the company is religious, charitable, or educational. The internet seems to have made the problem even ...
    • When Should You File a Lawsuit?

      [This month’s article is colored by having just finished two of the best written novels I’ve read in many years. One is The Rent Collector , by Cameron Wright. The other is Mary Coin , by Marisa Silver. Both talk about real estate in a broad sense, but more, by far, about human existence in markets none of us ever want to know. The books are available at a wonderful little book store in Niceville ...

    Child Support

    The latest posts for Child Support are listed below.
    • How to Enforce a Child Support Order

      If you are having difficulties with a parent when it comes to receiving child support payments on time or at all, there are some steps you can take to enforce the order and ensure he or she is providing the financial support your children deserve. Before you take legal action, first contact the parent to figure out why he or she is not making the necessary payments. If you have already done this ...

    Closings

    The latest posts for Closings are listed below.
    • How are Real Estate Closings Like a Game of Poker?

      A buyer takes title to commercial property with an underground gas main running through the middle. Neither the buyer nor his mortgage company had any idea that the property was simply unbuildable. Both lost hundreds of thousands of dollars. How would something like this happen? Your real estate contract calls for a title commitment to be issued relatively soon after signing the contract – usually ...
    • How Do You Like Your Eggs?

      Last week I went to the Coffee Shoppe for breakfast. I hadn’t been there in years and had to wait in line. While I was waiting I read a book and I was OK with waiting (My breakfast was worth the wait, by the way). I then began to imagine what would have happened if several more customers had shown up at the same time. Our society is accustomed to being served now . We don’t wait well. What if I ...
    • What We Do Is Who We Are

      One day in a certain place a real estate closing happened. This story is about what went wrong in that closing, why it matters who closes your purchase, and about who is at risk when a closing goes wrong. The closing is scheduled for 9:00. At that hour everything is laid out on the table for closing, but a boundary survey has not been received. The property to be conveyed is acreage located at the ...

    Contracts

    The latest posts for Contracts are listed below.
    • Selective Enforcement as a Defense

      What is “selective enforcement”? For almost a thousand years, and up until almost the 20 th century, England tried hard to tame the unruly Irish. The Penal Act made their religion a crime, punishable at the King’s discretion. Sometimes the King decided the punishment was beheading, sometimes he made no punishment at all. That’s selective enforcement. Is there any mystery that Thomas Jefferson ...
    • If a Lawyer can't help his friend, who can he help?

      By now you know the setting for this question. Robert owns a parcel which he uses for both residential and commercial purposes. The buildings have serious structural deficiencies that are not obvious to one not familiar with the property, but that Robert and his friends know very well. His circle of friends includes a real estate broker and a lawyer. Robert wants to sell the property to get away ...
    • What Must A Realtor Disclose, And Why?

      Remember from my last article that the law provides that a seller of Residential Property must disclose unknown defects to a purchaser. The facts were that Robert lives on a parcel that has a small bait and tackle shop and his residence, located on the River. Robert has lived and worked on the property for many years. You are his Realtor, and has been your friend for many years. He has grown tired ...

    Deeds

    The latest posts for Deeds are listed below.
    • A Deed Not For the Birds

      Some of you may be familiar with a document called a “Ladybird Deed,” and although the topic of deeds may not be as exciting as discussing the newest episode of Game of Thrones , I encourage you to read on because this is one powerful little document that can save time and money. Most people have heard the term “Quit Claim Deed” which (stated briefly) is a deed used to add or remove someone from ...

    Disclosure

    The latest posts for Disclosure are listed below.
    • If a Lawyer can't help his friend, who can he help?

      By now you know the setting for this question. Robert owns a parcel which he uses for both residential and commercial purposes. The buildings have serious structural deficiencies that are not obvious to one not familiar with the property, but that Robert and his friends know very well. His circle of friends includes a real estate broker and a lawyer. Robert wants to sell the property to get away ...
    • What Must A Realtor Disclose, And Why?

      Remember from my last article that the law provides that a seller of Residential Property must disclose unknown defects to a purchaser. The facts were that Robert lives on a parcel that has a small bait and tackle shop and his residence, located on the River. Robert has lived and worked on the property for many years. You are his Realtor, and has been your friend for many years. He has grown tired ...
    • Your Everyday, Garden Variety, Riddle for Lawyers

      Robert lives on a parcel that has a small bait and tackle shop and his separate residence, located on the Choctawhatchee River. Robert has lived and worked on the property for many years, and has been your friend for many years. He has grown tired of resurrecting the property annually because the river floods, damaging both buildings and the land. He does such a good job repairing the damage that ...

    Divorce

    The latest posts for Divorce are listed below.
    • Issues You Might Face During Divorce

      A plethora of issues can potentially lead to a divorce , but the process of dissolving the marriage itself is not without its own issues, both financial and emotional. Everyone is, of course, unique in their own ways, but some issues simply so prevalent under these circumstances that most divorcing spouses will encounter them. Below is a list of some of the most common issues you can potentially ...
    • President's Circle for 2017 | Emerald Coast Divorce Lawyers

      Chesser & Barr, P.A. Selected as a Member of The Fund’s President’s Circle for 2017 We are excited to announce that our law firm, Chesser & Barr, P.A. has been named as a Member of The Fund’s President’s Circle for 2017. The Fund's President's Circle is an elite group that is made of the top 100 Member firms based on the policies remitted in 2017. Firms that are selected to be part of The Fund’s ...
    • Should I Sell My Wedding Ring?

      Selling your wedding ring following a divorce is ultimately a personal choice. Some people choose to keep the jewelry as a final keepsake because they cannot bring themselves to completely eradicate this part of their lives. A wedding ring serves as a reminder of what once was, and as such, it can be a special memento for many. If there are no hard feelings regarding the marriage, many people ...

    Easements

    The latest posts for Easements are listed below.
    • How Much Damage Can One Gas Line Cause?

      Walton and Okaloosa Counties are about to be traversed, once again, by a natural gas pipeline to be built across the north end of both counties. This pipeline will be the same in character, but different in degree from two other gas lines that already run the same path. The others are smaller, with less pressure, and less content running through the pipe. Owners in both counties have been offered ...

    Estate Planning

    The latest posts for Estate Planning are listed below.
    • How to Possibly avoid Probate with an Estate Plan

      When you pass away, and you do not plan properly, your estate may require a costly and time-consuming legal process called probate to distribute your assets. This process can take 6-9 months to complete because the court needs time to appraise your estate and validate your will. Your “estate” encompasses all the financial assets and real properties you own at the time of your death. Your “estate” ...
    • Estate Planning & Divorce

      Estate planning involves how your estate, or assets, will be passed on to loved ones after you die. Usually, this preparation is done with a will. If people die without a will, the government decides to whom they should allocate these assets. The consequences of leaving no will behind after a divorce or breakup can be significant. Many people forget to make a will because they think of death as a ...

    Family Law

    The latest posts for Family Law are listed below.
    • Visitation Rights for Deployed Parents

      Child custody determinations can be the most difficult and emotionally challenging aspect of a divorce case. Parents may struggle to agree to make a parenting plan, especially if one parent is in the armed forces, because they need to make accommodations for one parent’s frequent deployments. If parents cannot agree, the court will intervene to determine a parenting plan, which will focus on the ...
    • Issues You Might Face During Divorce

      A plethora of issues can potentially lead to a divorce , but the process of dissolving the marriage itself is not without its own issues, both financial and emotional. Everyone is, of course, unique in their own ways, but some issues simply so prevalent under these circumstances that most divorcing spouses will encounter them. Below is a list of some of the most common issues you can potentially ...
    • Can I Change My Divorce Agreement?

      When courts finalize a divorce, they are signing off on an agreement they think is as fair as possible. Likewise, if a child is involved in the divorce, the court is essentially making the decision they believe is in the child’s best interest. However, life rarely goes the way we plan. One parent might lose a job and might no longer be capable of making child support payments, or another parent ...

    Homestead

    The latest posts for Homestead are listed below.
    • When a Player Absent from the Table Has Cards in the Game

      When most of us hear the word “homestead”, we picture a Conestoga wagon racing across the Old West to capture a plot of land. That term really was accurate during the 1800’s in the west; the Federal Homestead Act did jump-started private ownership of parcels of land in the western states. Florida was not part of that, and though we also use the term in Florida, it means something entirely ...

    Investment

    The latest posts for Investment are listed below.
    • Florida Real Estate Questions.com

      Like Rip Van Winkle, I have woken up, and have returned to these pages to say the things I had previously forgotten to say. This time I have company. I shall bring with me those whom I met while sleeping. To begin, my long time partner and friend, Harry Barr, though mostly retired, still practices in the firm. The firm is still Chesser and Barr, P.A., but his ownership place in the firm has been ...
    • Mostly Unwanted Advice for "short-sellers" and for Owners of Property in Foreclosure

      I can’t say “don’t get there”, because some have no choice, and some will be in foreclosure or become short-sellers not by choice but by other considerations that are just as compelling. Whichever is true, don’t rely on advice someone else pays for. Sometimes a lawyer can’t help. There’s enough at stake that I always advise hiring your own lawyer. But even if your lawyer can’t help, he or she will ...
    • If You Build A House, Build It Well

      Not many lawyers started out as both a licensed plumber and electrician. I didn’t really want to, but my dad was both, and because he was, I was. Along the way, I found myself in The University and then the Army, but my mind never got far from where I started. I learned that when you weld a joint, you must weld the back side too. If you don’t, even though you can’t see the back, the job will come ...

    Life Planning Essentials

    The latest posts for Life Planning Essentials are listed below.
    • The "Big Five" Life Planning Essentials

      Estate planning isn’t planning for death: it’s planning for life. Good planning saves money. Good planning enables access to healthcare without financial ruin. And good planning assures those we trust most – not strangers – will care for us if we cannot care for ourselves. All good estate plans include the following key components: 1. The Durable Power of Attorney A durable power of attorney ...

    Mediation

    The latest posts for Mediation are listed below.
    • Mediation: "Collaborate Early; Save Time, Money, and Heartache"

      Twenty days ago Amelia and Adam Buyer went out for a celebratory dinner at their all-time favorite restaurant in the heart of Crestview, having just entered a contract, with the help of their Realtor, to purchase their lakefront dream home in Okaloosa County. Because Randy Seller was relocating within the next sixty days, he was motivated to price his home for a quick sale. He, too, was ecstatic ...

    News

    The latest posts for News are listed below.
    • President's Circle for 2017 | Emerald Coast Divorce Lawyers

      Chesser & Barr, P.A. Selected as a Member of The Fund’s President’s Circle for 2017 We are excited to announce that our law firm, Chesser & Barr, P.A. has been named as a Member of The Fund’s President’s Circle for 2017. The Fund's President's Circle is an elite group that is made of the top 100 Member firms based on the policies remitted in 2017. Firms that are selected to be part of The Fund’s ...
    • We Are Donating 76 Amazon Gift Cards to Teenagers for Christmas!

      Chesser & Barr Attorneys, with offices in Crestview and Shalimar, is donating Amazon gift cards for Christmas to 76 teenagers being served by the Okaloosa Guardian ad Litem Program this year. A spokesperson for the Firm said that “Being able to support 26 teens in Crestview and 50 teens in Fort Walton Beach was a huge accomplishment. The program continues to grow each year and we are fortunate ...
    • Letter To The Editor

      The writer on November 12 finds fault with the opinions stated on October 8 th , that the N.R.A. has sponsored too many American guns. The N.R.A., she believes, protects us from criminals and from the “bureaucracies” like Germany and Russia. I beg to differ. Constitutional Democracies, I submit, have proven themselves to have one thing in common. Someone will test the limits of every ...

    Prenuptial Agreement

    The latest posts for Prenuptial Agreement are listed below.
    • Prenuptial Agreements: Breaking the Idea to Your Fiancé

      Discussing a prenuptial agreement is probably the last conversation you want to have with your fiancé. And, in fairness, your fiancé is probably not going to find the topic uplifting or romantic. However, prenuptial agreements , or “prenups,” are important contracts that protect the asset and property rights of both spouses in the event of divorce. Usually, it’s the notion of divorce that turns a ...

    Professionalism

    The latest posts for Professionalism are listed below.
    • If a Lawyer can't help his friend, who can he help?

      By now you know the setting for this question. Robert owns a parcel which he uses for both residential and commercial purposes. The buildings have serious structural deficiencies that are not obvious to one not familiar with the property, but that Robert and his friends know very well. His circle of friends includes a real estate broker and a lawyer. Robert wants to sell the property to get away ...
    • What Must A Realtor Disclose, And Why?

      Remember from my last article that the law provides that a seller of Residential Property must disclose unknown defects to a purchaser. The facts were that Robert lives on a parcel that has a small bait and tackle shop and his residence, located on the River. Robert has lived and worked on the property for many years. You are his Realtor, and has been your friend for many years. He has grown tired ...
    • Your Everyday, Garden Variety, Riddle for Lawyers

      Robert lives on a parcel that has a small bait and tackle shop and his separate residence, located on the Choctawhatchee River. Robert has lived and worked on the property for many years, and has been your friend for many years. He has grown tired of resurrecting the property annually because the river floods, damaging both buildings and the land. He does such a good job repairing the damage that ...

    Real Estate & Property Law

    The latest posts for Real Estate & Property Law are listed below.
    • HE WHO HEARS NO MUSIC WILL DANCE ALONE

      First a disclaimer. I can’t dance. I know there’s supposed to be a relationship between the music and whatever is happening on the dance floor, but I make excuses by telling people I’m just hearing different music. The truth is that sometimes I hear no music at all. We all like to follow what others have done. Much of real estate is following a form someone else prepared. Deeds, notes, and ...
    • Should I Involve an Attorney When I Buy or Sell My Home?

      Buying and selling a home, for most, is typically the most expensive transaction they will ever be involved in. Therefore, you will want to make sure this process goes smoothly from start to finish. While a real estate agent can assist you in buying or selling your home, you have to keep in mind that they are not attorneys and lack some of the special skills, knowledge, and experience you could ...
    • Home Ownership

      I oftentimes hear folks express their frustration with home ownership. They dream about owning a condominium where they will have little maintenance responsibility and a condominium association looking after the community. When you have a responsible Board of Directors, a professional association manager, and the association providing insurance covering the exterior of the building, what could ...

    Real Estate Law

    The latest posts for Real Estate Law are listed below.
    • Can My Landlord Evict Me?

      In Florida, there are strict laws that govern when and under what circumstances a landlord can evict a tenant. In general, there are certain procedures that a landlord must follow before they can legally evict someone. What must happen before an eviction? Before an eviction, the following steps must be completed: Written notice to vacate provided to the tenant Service of a complaint and summons ...
    • LESSONS FROM A LIFE IN REAL ESTATE

      There was a time when I attended some pretty good schools. I know now that most of the “students” were there without any clear idea why. Mom and Dad sometimes had no idea how uninterested those kids really were. But three months after graduation I had the honor to sit in the best school I’d ever seen, in classes filled with young men who had orders to go to war. Most didn’t end up going. Some did. ...
    • HE WHO HEARS NO MUSIC WILL DANCE ALONE

      First a disclaimer. I can’t dance. I know there’s supposed to be a relationship between the music and whatever is happening on the dance floor, but I make excuses by telling people I’m just hearing different music. The truth is that sometimes I hear no music at all. We all like to follow what others have done. Much of real estate is following a form someone else prepared. Deeds, notes, and ...

    Real Estate Traps

    The latest posts for Real Estate Traps are listed below.
    • Riddle Me This: When Can A House Never Be A Home?

      A townhouse in Florida is a unit in a building with one or more floors located on a parcel of land in which fee simple title to the land is conveyed with each unit. The unit is like a slice of bread in a loaf. It differs from a condominium, although often they look exactly alike. A townhouse is most often documented under Chapter 720 of the Florida Statutes. A condominium normally has no land ...
    • What Is A Ponzi Scheme?

      I can’t provide all of the details of a Ponzi scheme. I am satisfied that check kiting is much simpler. A Ponzi scheme requires a great deal more energy and imagination, but some of it I understand. A Ponzi scheme begins with an asset. It is important that the asset have a value which is not easily discernible. For instance, if I could persuade you to invest in an oil well not yet drilled, and ...

    Rentals

    The latest posts for Rentals are listed below.
    • Why The Rental Manager Will Be King

      If you own residential real estate that you‘re thinking of renting yourself, you can do it. But you will do it only if you have the discipline of a martinet, or the IQ of a post. Here’s why: 1 Personal Relationships: These are always good - if your relationship is with your brother-in-law who is well employed, and lives in a distant city. Also with some dogs, if they are small, or very old. But ...

    Surveys

    The latest posts for Surveys are listed below.
    • Why Should You Get A Survey?

      There are only about 1,000 reasons. The most obvious is that a survey marks the corners of your land. From the corners you can determine where fence lines should be, where a pool can be built, and all of the other dozens of decisions a homeowner might want to make. If you are buying in a developed neighborhood, and a home is already constructed on the lot you buy, the survey will show you setback ...

    Taxes/ Tax Increment Financing

    The latest posts for Taxes/ Tax Increment Financing are listed below.
    • One Percent Sales Tax

      Age has given me a perspective I never had. I know now, for instance, what happens when we eat, every day, a little more than we exercise. Over time our clothes begin to creak and give way to the pressure of too much stuff in a too small a container. Yet we lie to ourselves again, because to do is easy, and there’s no one really looking. Okaloosa County has done just that. If our County had grown ...

    Title Insurance

    The latest posts for Title Insurance are listed below.
    • A Sharper Image

      The words “primary” and “secondary” are probably commonplace if you build booster rockets for the Saturn 5. They may also be common if you assign beneficiaries in a life insurance policy. The words are also important in title insurance. At Old South Land Title, and in my law office, we decide about once a week whether a title policy is to be primary or secondary. That is a several-thousand-dollar ...
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