Tuesday, December 20, 2011

How Does Social Media Effect a Family Law Case

By: Steven D. Fichtman

In this digital age, we’ve all gotten used to sharing a lot about our lives on our social media accounts. But there are some things that should never be posted! If you’re staying home “sick” from work, don’t talk about your actual whereabouts; if you’re going out of town, don’t tell everyone when your house will be vacant; and don’t post about your ongoing family law case.

There is a good chance your spouse will check your social media accounts and, now, opposing lawyers and even judges are getting in on the act. It is common place in today’s family law cases for participants to learn more information about you from your social media pages. Sometimes, a person’s Facebook account can provide enough information to lose their family law case.

Often a party will not need to look too far to find messages about a spouse, lawyer, or even the Judge. These messages can be easily saved, printed, and used against you. A good rule of thumb is not to post statements that you would not want your mother to read (or, at the very least, your judge).

Another issue we have run into is that individuals involved in family law cases sometimes post embarrassing photographs of themselves which can also be used in court. While a photograph from a party you went to six months ago may sound like a great image to include in your profile, that same image can be used by an opposing lawyer against you. During your family law case it is not a good idea to post photographs of yourself that you would not want a judge to see. Obviously it will be hard to convince a judge what a wonderful parent you are – even if it’s true – when there are photographs of you intoxicated, incapacitated, or in an uncompromising position available for anyone to see.

The most egregious mistake you can make is to post information you have discussed in communication with your lawyer. Often times in your family law case there is a strategy adopted from the onset which will be used throughout the case and ultimately through to trial. Clients sometimes post those private communications and even trial strategy on their social media accounts. Needless to say, this can be devastating to your family law case as it will not only encourage your spouse to change their behavior, but the opposing lawyer will also learn your strategy and be prepared to defend against it. When information is posted for everyone to see, it may have a devastating impact on your case.

So if you’re involved in a family law case, before you post about your spouse, children, opposing counsel, judges, or communications you had with your lawyer, understand that social media can easily jeopardize your case long before you ever step foot into a courtroom.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Bill of Rights Day

The Law Office of Keith R. Taylor Celebrates the 220th Anniversary of the
Adoption of the Bill of Rights into the United States Constitution  

On December 15, 1971, exactly 220 years ago today, history changed forever. The tenth state, Virginia, ratified the Bill of Rights making it part of our Constitution. This historic moment saved a new and fragile United States of America from an inevitable collapse of the ongoing negotiations between the states about the new Constitution following the failure of the Articles of Confederation.

Even today, the Bill of Rights remains the heartbeat that holds America up as a pillar of inspiration for liberty-seekers around the world. Its balance of political principles and personal freedoms has endured the changes that history has brought to our nation and has proven the Bill of Rights to be one of the most important documents for establishing global human rights.

The power of the document is even more amazing when you consider, as Chris Bills, Executive Director of MyBillofRights.org points out, that it only applied to about 5% of Americans in 1791. Since it didn’t apply to slaves or Native Americans or, in large part, to women, that really only left white men with enough property and position. But because the language of the Bill of Rights itself was not limited to a certain type, color, or class, it was able to evolve as our national concept of liberty evolved through the years. When we came through the tragedy of the civil war, we had the Bill of Rights as a blueprint for our future and, today, it is universally accepted that the freedoms in the Bill of Rights belong to us all as Americans.

While in today’s politics, “compromise” seems to be a nasty word, it is easy to forget that the Bill of Rights was the product of such tremendous compromise that it saved the fate of our nation. When the Federalists sat down with the Anti-Federalists and came to a compromise, it was not because they lacked conviction, but because they respected the knowledge of others and knew the limitation of their own.

Our founders knew that a lack of compromise was a road to tyranny and that concentrations of power would be had at the expense of personal liberty. It was on this basis that they established a system of checks and balances, focused on the liberty of each individual. America is the first nation in history that was founded on such a set of principles. Our greatest achievements as a nation can be traced to the times we fought to defend these principles and our worst failures when we abandoned them. At we sit at a crossroads in our nation with a difficult path ahead, there could be no better time to revisit the principles of our Bill of Rights and look to it for inspiration.

Unfortunately, on a day memorializing one of the most important moments of our collective national history, very few are celebrating. The Bill of Rights is barely taught in our schools and is largely ignored in the public sphere. It seems more widely known that December 15th is National Cupcake Day. It is our hope that you will take a moment today to consider the Bill of Rights and the tremendous impact it has had on our nation. Think about the principles it embodies and how we can embrace them today to move forward through a difficult time in our nation. Read the Bill of Rights, talk to your kids about what it means, and appreciate what a blessing it is to be an American.

Of course, you could also eat a cupcake. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What if my will was written in another state?

By: Attorney Adam A. Czaya

Wills written outside of Florida are valid in here in Florida if they were validly written in that state (or country). Florida, however, does not recognize holographic wills (wills that do not have two witness signatures and the signature of the testator). So you will need to make sure that your will does have two witness signatures and your own signature in order for it to be valid here in Florida.

However, even if your will is valid, you may want to consider re-writing your will now that you're here in the Sunshine State. There are advantages to having a Florida will including that Florida allows the testator to create a separate document that distributes tangible personal property without amending their will. Tangible personal property includes things like fur coats, specific pieces of jewelry, or pieces of art. This is very convenient and many people like the advantage of being able to keep a separate list of these tangible personal property items and who they want to leave them to because the process for updating or changing this list is much simpler than revising your will.

A separate writing is only valid if the document is specifically referred to in the will itself. If your will was written in a state that does not allow the use of the separate tangible personal property list, it will most likely not be referred to in your will and you will not be able to take advantage of this convenient statutory provision. More detailed information regarding the separate memorandum distributing tangible personal property can be found at § 732.515, Florida Statutes. If you're considering updating your last will and testament from Florida or from another state, feel free to call our office and schedule a consultation with me.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Merry Chri--um--Holidays?

Christmas versus Holidays: A National Debate
In the last decade, a great debate has grown that begins each year in December. We have seen a trend in many state governments and in many corporate entities to take the Christmas out and put the Holidays in. We started having “holiday trees” in town squares and Walmarts, and “happy holidays” as the quote on City Hall signs and as the required greeting in stores nationwide. What many did not expect from this change was a huge backlash. After loud protest by many who felt the change was overly politically correct and insincere, most of the changes were reversed. Yet this year, as every year, it has come up again. Lincoln Chafee, Governor of Rhode Island is facing public backlash after dubbing his 17 foot spruce a “holiday tree.” According to the Associated Press, he said that calling the tree “a holiday tree is in keeping with Rhode Island’s founding in 1636 by religious dissident Roger Williams as a haven for tolerance, where government and religion were kept separate.” Since his decision, Chafee has heard mockery and scorn from the residents of Rhode Island as well as from national media. 

So, is calling it a holiday tree a nice way to include those of faiths other than Christianity? Or is it overly politically correct and just plain silly? Many are of the mind that a large decorated evergreen is a symbol of Christmas whether you call it that or not, and trying to change it seems insincere. Some atheists are even bothered by the change to “holiday tree.” As Christmas has become more secularized, they feel that they can celebrate with a tree and gifts without it necessarily being a religious holiday for them. Most do not get offended when someone wishes them a Merry Christmas but, in fact, wish it right back. There are, of course, extreme views on both ends. Some groups (popularly voiced by Lou Dobbs, for example) feel that refusal to say “Merry Christmas” or have a “Christmas tree” is a deliberate attempt to alienate Christians, while others feel government use of the term "Christmas" alienates those of other faiths or no faith, and even violates First Amendment rights mandating separation of church and state. What is your opinion? Do you feel that political correctness has gone too far, or do you think dubbing December the month of Holidays, rather than Christmas, is an appropriate reflection of the diversity of our nation?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Happy Birthday to Walt Disney!

All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them”

Walter Elias “Walt” Disney was born on December 5th, 1901 in Chicago. In 1923, he established the Walt Disney Company, which is now the largest media conglomerate in the world by revenue. Best known for the classic films and, of course, his creation Mickey Mouse, Disney also spawned the creation of 14 theme parks around the world. In his short 65 years, he completely changed the face of American entertainment and showed generations the magic of a good story. So today, on his birthday, we would like to recognize Walt Disney as a businessman, entertainer, and American icon.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Citrus County Holiday Events this December

There are a number of exciting events and activities going on in and around Citrus County this December to celebrate Christmas. Here are some highlights – you won’t want to miss them!

December 2nd – Inverness Historical Society Tree Lighting (5:30-7:00 pm)
Taking place at the Old Courthouse Heritage Museum in downtown Inverness, the Historical Society will be hosting a tree lighting along with Christmas Carols and a visit from Santa!
December 3rd – Crystal River Christmas Parade (6:00-9:00 pm)
The Crystal River Christmas parade will begin at NE 3rd and head down Highway 19 toward Port Paradise Road. The parade will feature dozens of floats, Christmas music, marching bands, and of course Santa.
December 3rd – The Nutcracker at the Curtis Peterson Auditorium in Lecanto (6:00pm)
The Nutcracker School of Dance Arts at Inverness presents their annual production of “The Nutcracker,” Saturday, December 3rd, at Lecanto’s Curtis Peterson Auditorium at 6 pm.
December 10th – Inverness Christmas Parade (12:00-2:00 pm)
The Inverness Christmas Parade, presented by the Citrus County Chamber of Commerce, will take place in the downtown square at noon. With floats, lights, and music it will be fun for the whole family.
December 18th – Citrus Springs Christmas Parade (2:00pm)
Beginning at Fountain on Citrus Springs Boulevard off Route 41, the parade will feature family and business floats, marchers, and awards for the best and funniest floats. Contact the Citrus Springs Civic Association for more information.

If you're looking for a chance to give back this season, check out our other post here to learn some great charities where you can volunteer or donate to give back to our community this month. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas Season Community Events - Part I

As we officially begin the Christmas season, many want to use this time to give back to our community. If you're looking for an opportunity to provide a helping hand or get more involved in a Citrus County charitable organization this Christmas season, we're here to help you with some ideas. Our attorneys and staff are involved with a number of wonderful organizations that provide many opportunities for us all to give back at this joyful time of year. Here are just a few of the upcoming events in Citrus County to give back to our community:

December 3rd - Rotary Club of Crystal River's K-Mart Christmas Shopping
Every December, the Rotary Club of Crystal River teams up with the Crystal River Big K in the Crystal River Mall to provide Citrus County youth the chance to purchase Christmas gifts for their families. Many of the children would not have gifts to open on Christmas morning without this opportunity to purchase them on this charitable day. After shopping, the group also helps the children wrap their gifts. If you would like more information on the Christmas Shopping or would like to learn how you can help, visit the Club's website or give them a call at 352-417-1160. 

All Month - Citrus United Basket Toy Drive
Citrus United Basket provides financial assistance, food and clothing, as well as employment support to local residents in need. For Christmas, they are having a food and toy drive. They are located at 103 N. Mill Ave. in downtown Inverness. For more information call 352-344-2242.

Through December 22 - Spot Family Center Toy Drive
The Spot Family Center is collecting new, unwrapped toys for distribution to needy Citrus County children on December 23 and 24th. There are 8 collection centers throughout the county.They also need volunteers to help wrap gifts at wrapping parties on December 13, 15, 20 and 22. For information on wrapping parties, or toy drop-offs, visit their website.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Happy Birthday to Mark Twain

Mark Twain - Photo by A.F. Bradley, New York, 1907

Today Google honored Mark Twain's 176th Birthday with a doodle of Tom Sawyer and his hoodwinked friend whitewashing a fence. That got us thinking about Mark Twain, one of the great literary minds of our time, and how he may have felt about lawyers. It comes as no surprise that someone whose great fame grew from his wit and humor would be so proficient at telling great lawyer jokes. 

What may come as a surprise is that his father was a lawyer and a judge. And Mark Twain (real name: Samuel Clemens) had lawyers of his own. He was represented by the firm Howard, Kohn, Sprague and FitzGerald in Hartford, Connecticut, the city where Twain would write his most famous works including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. While his lawyer, Charles Perkins, has long since passed away, the law firm continues to operate in Hartford today. For his own lawyer, Twain had a great deal of respect, once calling him "the best lawyer in Hartford."

So we would like to thank Mark Twain on this anniversary of his birth for his lighthearted humor, the great literature he gave our country, and for going easy on the lawyer jokes.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The NFA Trust

At our firm, we often hear from people who are interested in purchasing various firearms, including Title II weapons like fully automatic firearms and short-barreled rifles and shotguns. As strong supporters of your Second Amendment right to bear arms, we help gun enthusiasts comply with the strict regulations put in place by the National Firearms Act (NFA). There are a variety of ways to comply with the NFA while still owning Title II weapons, but perhaps one of the simplest forms is by establishing an NFA Trust. To learn more about this type of trust, or more about the NFA and complying with it, please read the informative article in our Fall 2011 Newsletter, or give us a call. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Our Newest Attorney

Attorney Adam A. Czaya being sworn in by Fifth Judicial Circuit Judge Richard Howard
Attorney Adam A. Czaya was sworn in on September 22nd, 2011 by Judge Richard Howard of the Fifth Judicial Circuit, making him the newest addition to the team at The Law Office of Keith R.Taylor, P.A. 
Adam will be handling Estate Planning, Probate, Business and Commercial Law, but is happy to help you with a variety of your legal needs. 
To learn more about Adam or any of our attorneys, you can visit the About Us section of this blog, or  our website: www.KeithTaylorLaw.com/AttorneyAdamCzaya.htm

Friday, September 23, 2011

People's Law School Estate Planning: Part I

The Living Will
In this edition of The People's Law School, Florida Attorney Keith R. Taylor explains the basics of The Living Will for your Estate Planning. Learn how a Living Will works, whether you need one, and when you should get one. Learn more at http://keithtaylorlaw.com/People'sLawSchool.htm.

First day of Fall

Pumpkin Spice Latte

In honor of the first day of fall, 2011, here is a way to stop spending so much on those fancy coffee drinks as the weather turns chilly! These Pumpkin Spice Lattes are easy, inexpensive, and taste like autumn.

First, brew a shot of espresso (1.5 fluid ounces) or 1/4 cup of very strong coffee.
While that is brewing, place a small saucepan on the stove with 1 cup of milk, 2 tablespoons of canned pumpkin puree, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 2 tablespoons of white sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice (or you can make your own with 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice or cloves, 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg - Makes 1 teaspoon).
Warm this mixture on medium heat, whisking the whole time, until it is hot and frothy but not boiling.
Pour your espresso or coffee into a mug and add your pumpkin spiced milk.
You can top your Latte with whipped cream and cinnamon for the coffee shop style.

Enjoy and happy fall!

(This post by Jessica Czaya, Legal Clerk for The Law Office of Keith R. Taylor)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Are You Insuring Defensively?

We’ve all heard how important it is to drive defensively; but what about insuring defensively? A recent study by the Insurance Research Council found that one in every four Florida drivers may be driving without insurance. With a strong correlation between uninsured driving and unemployment, that number only grows as we continue to face tough economic times. Florida law requires every driver to have automobile insurance, and a driver who doesn’t may be fined, lose their license, or lose their registration or vehicle tag. However, drivers who are facing tough situations like unemployment or underemployment may take the risk and break the law that requires they have automobile insurance before operating their vehicle. This is a big risk not only for themselves, but for other drivers on the road as well. 
To protect yourself against this risk, it is important to have adequate insurance coverage in case you are ever in a collision with an uninsured or underinsured driver. In order to protect yourself, you should purchase uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage as part of your insurance policy. This will protect you if you are in a collision with an at-fault driver whose own insurance cannot cover your vehicle damage or your bodily injury. Our firm regularly evaluates claims that involve at-fault drivers who have no, or not enough, insurance. Florida’s laws on debtor protection often make it difficult or impossible to collect against an at-fault driver if they are uninsured. There are many lawyers who don’t understand the intricacies of Florida’s insurance law, so it is important that you find an attorney who has experience and expertise in accident cases involving insurance. Our experienced attorneys have spent years working within Florida’s system to get recoveries for injured motorists. If you or someone you know has been in an accident and is faced with the daunting task of sorting through the intricacies of our insurance system, please feel free to contact us to get more information on how we can help you recover for your losses

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

New Edition of the Legally Speaking Newsletter

In our newest edition of Legally Speaking, find out how to keep your home secure while you're on vacation, learn whether you should be insuring defensively, and find strategies for negotiating in your daily life. Also, learn more about Attorney Fichtman's induction as President of the local Bar Association, learn about changes to Florida Alimony, and consider whether you're adequately protecting your finances. Finally, look Jury Duty, why it is important, and how it affects individuals in litigation today.
Visit the Newsletter section of our website to see this and all previous editions of Legally Speaking, or sign up to receive the newsletter by mail or email in the future.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Firm Heads Out On The Town

The Law Office of Keith R. Taylor at The Key Training Center's Reach for the Stars Dinner Auction
July 15th, 2011
The Law Office of Keith R. Taylor headed out on the town Friday night to take part in The Key Training Center's Reach for the Stars Charity Dinner Auction, which raises money to help provide services for developmentally disabled adults in Citrus County. Attorney Keith Taylor had the winning bid on a Florida Gator football signed by Former Florida Gator and Tampa Bay Buccaneer Linebacker, Scot Brantley, Former Florida Gator Quarterback, John Brantley Sr., and current Florida Gator Quarterback, John Brantley Jr. Here, the firm table is pictured with Scot Brantley and the signed football. 

Pictured Left to Right: Julie K. Taylor, Account Manager; Keith R. Taylor, Senior Attorney and Litigation Specialist; Scot Brantley, Former Gator and Buccaneer Linebacker; Adam A. Czaya, Legal Clerk; Jessica K. Czaya, Legal Clerk; Kristen Fichtman, and Steven D. Fichtman, Associate Attorney.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Coming Soon - New Edition of The People's Law School

We are excited to bring you a new edition of The People's Law School, a free web seminar series that helps you understand and handle your own legal issues without the need to hire an attorney. With the success of our most recent episodes on handling your own small claims case, we want to continue to provide you with the information that matters to you. To make sure we do, we want to know what topic you would like us to cover next. Visit our facebook page to take a quick survey on which topic we should use for our next episode (Understanding Florida's No-Fault Insurance; Dissolution of Marriage in Florida; Basic Estate Planning; or something else) or leave a comment on this post! Thanks for your input!

Friday, June 24, 2011

How to Handle Your Own Small Claims Case in Florida

In this installment of The People's Law School, Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney, Keith Taylor, explains how you can handle your own Florida Small Claims Case without hiring a lawyer. You should watch the previous installment first to decide if you meet all the requirements for bringing a small claims case. Visit www.keithtaylorlaw.com for more useful information on Florida Law.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Things to consider before handling your own small claims case:

Attorney Keith Taylor is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney in Florida. The People's Law School is a free seminar program offered by The Law Office of Keith R. Taylor, designed to help you identify when you can handle your own case without a lawyer, and how to handle those cases.
Visit our website: www.keithtaylorlaw.com to see all our installments of The People's Law School.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Handling your own small claims case?

If you are thinking of handling your own small claims case, you should check out the free two-part web seminar from our People's Law School series that can help get you started!
Handling Your Own Small Claims Case

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Spring Newsletter

We are excited to announce that The Law Office of Keith R. Taylor is publishing a quarterly newsletter! This is our Spring 2011 edition of Legally Speaking. Previous issues will available on our website (www.keithtaylorlaw.com) soon. If you would like to receive the newsletter either by mail or electronically, please click here. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Picking Up At Airport

It's been I while since I blogged... kind of been busy.  Someone suggested that occassionaly I add some non-legal stuff.  Hence this post.  Driving from Citrus County to Tampa International Airport to pick someone up, and on the way find that the flight is delayed.  Being roughly 1.5 hours from airport, its a turnaround trip, and if you hit it right, you really don't have to park.  Parking at TIA is not really bad, however, today I discovered something really cool... Cell Phone Waiting Lot.  It's on the airport property, where folks like me sit in their cars waiting for their loved ones to arrive.  Very secure lot (just saw Tampa Police Officer cruising the lot).  There are a couple of scoreboard size flight boards listing all the incoming flights and their status.  You can see when the flight lands as well.  Best part of it, I'd say is that there is free wireless service... while sitting in your car listening to your chosen tunes.  Tampa International Airport (TPA) did this right.

I hope to blog more often now, so if you have any questions, send them to me or go through my firm website at www.keithtaylorlaw.com .  Happy Flying.