Frequently Asked Questions

The Alvarez Law Firm predominantly practices four areas of law:
Real Estate, Corporate Law, Estate Planning, and Bankruptcy. The following are frequently
asked questions from each of our areas of practice.

Real Estate
  • What is a short sale?
  • What is a short refinance?
  • What is a deed in lieu of foreclosure?
  • Can I evict the tenant for not paying their late fees?
Corporations
  • Why would I need an attorney to set up my corporation?
  • Should I have my agreement with my business partner in writing?
Estate Planning
  • When should I update my will?
  • What does a health care directive do?
Bankruptcy
  • How can the Alvarez Law Firm help with bankruptcy?
  • How do I know when to file?
  • What is Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
  • What is Chapter 13 bankruptcy?
  • What is the procedure for foreclosure?

Real Estate

  1. What is a short sale?  When you purchase a home, the bank will lend you an amount of money for that purchase. That amount of money is your mortgage. When a property owner has fallen behind on the payments and property values have drastically decreased, then some lenders are willing to accept an offer on the property for less than the amount that is owed to the lender. Therefore, you are purchasing a home for a reduced price. This is a short sale.
  2. What is a short refinance?  A short refinance is when a lender who holds the original mortgage agrees to refinance the mortgage for less than is owed because the property value has dropped drastically.
  3. What is a deed in lieu of foreclosure?  A deed in lieu of foreclosure is when the borrower willingly releases the deed to the home to the mortgage company in exchange for a release of all contractual and legal obligations.
  4. Can I evict the tenant for not paying their late fees?  As a landlord’s attorney we encounter many situations. One of the most frequent fact patterns we encounter is as follows: “I have a tenant that has not paid his rent on time since the commencing of the lease. Every month this tenant will pay their rent late and the tenant has accumulated several late fees. I am collecting their rent late each month but the late fees continue to accumulate”.  The answer is no. Under Florida Law if a Landlord continues to collect rent each month they waive their right to collect late fees for that month. Also you must look at the rent provision of the lease, typically rent is defined by the lease and unless otherwise agreed late fees are not considered to be part of the rent.

Corporations

  1. Why would I need an attorney to set up my corporation?  There are many corporate formalities that a business must maintain in order to preserve its corporate structure. It is important to have an attorney educate you in the importance of preserving corporate formalities and its affect on your business.
  2. Should I have my agreement with my business partner in writing?  Yes it is very important for you to have your agreements in writing. However, when dealing with corporations, having it in writing may not always suffice. You should seek legal counsel when attempting to negotiate terms with your business partners. Allow an attorney give you the knowledge you need to make wise business decisions.

Estate Planning

  1. When should I update my will? You should update your will any time you have any change of circumstance. If you get married, divorced, have children, buy real estate or a business. There are legal implications of dying intestate (without a will). The end result may not be the end result you were seeking.(Back to Top)
  2. What does a health care directive do?A Health Care Directive gives instructions to a person you designate to handle your health care in the event that you are unable to express your own desires. It specifies as to whom you would like to make those decisions and gives instructions on how you would like certain health issues handled such as prolonging life artificially. Further, with the appropriate health care directives even if you are unable to make decisions for a short period of time you can express your desires for your health care needs.(Back to Top)

Bankruptcy

  1. How can the Alvarez Law Firm help with bankruptcy?  Financial problems can cause extreme frustration and stress, and in today’s economy, affect individuals and families from all walks of life.  As an experienced Orlando Florida Bankruptcy attorney, I understand the burden of financial strain. My firm understands each client has different needs, and my priority is to address each client’s specific debt-relief goals.  Every client is important to me, and I take pride in partnering with my clients and educating them on how the bankruptcy process will affect them and their set of circumstances. I am approachable and I am here to assist you.(Back to Top)
  2. How do I know when to file? Typically, the most difficult part of the bankruptcy process is deciding whether or not to file.  Bankruptcy can be a stressful and emotionally draining process, but finding a good lawyer that will take the time to explain the process and what to expect in a bankruptcy is key.   A person can be considered “bankrupt” when their expenses exceed their income and they are experiencing financial hardship. What most people do not understand is that once you file for bankruptcy, the U.S. Bankruptcy court has the authority to perform a financial analysis of all your financial transactions.(Back to Top)
  3. What is Chapter 7 bankruptcy? Chapter 7 cases are commonly referred to as straight bankruptcy or liquidation cases, and may be filed by an individual, corporation, or a partnership. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy case does not involve the filing of a plan of repayment as in Chapter 13. Instead, the bankruptcy trustee gathers and sells the debtor’s nonexempt assets and uses the proceeds of such assets to pay holders of claims (creditors) in accordance with the provisions of the Bankruptcy Code. Part of the debtor’s property may be subject to liens and mortgages that pledge the property to other creditors. In addition, the Bankruptcy Code will allow the debtor to keep certain “exempt” property; but a trustee will liquidate the debtor’s remaining assets. Accordingly, potential debtors should realize that the filing of a petition under Chapter 7 may result in the loss of property.(Back to Top)
  4. What is Chapter 13 bankruptcy? A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is also called a wage earner’s plan. It enables individuals with regular income to develop a plan to repay all or part of their debts. Under this chapter, debtors propose a repayment plan to make installments to creditors over three to five years. Chapter 13 permits individuals to keep their property by repaying creditors out of their future income. It is not available to corporations or partnerships. After completion of payments under the plan, Chapter 13 debtors receive a discharge of most debts.(Back to Top)
  5. What is the procedure for foreclosure? Foreclosure is the legal proceeding in which a bank or other secured creditor sells or repossesses a parcel of real property (immovable property) due to the owner’s failure to comply with an agreement between the lender and borrower called a “mortgage” or “deed of trust”.  Commonly, the violation of the mortgage is a default in payment of a promissory note, secured by a lien on the property. When the process is complete, it is typically said that “the lender has foreclosed its mortgage or lien”.   A Foreclosure by Sale ends in the posting of a sign advertising the auction of your home on the sale date.  The only ways to stop a foreclosure are full payment of the arrearage, or the filing of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Full Payment: If you are able to obtain and tender the full amount of your arrearage, including fees and costs, you can stop the foreclosure of a standard residential mortgage.  Most people lack the money to make full payment.  This process stops the foreclosure and allows you to repay your arrearage over a three-to-five year period.   The arrearage is paid through a court-appointed official, while you resume your regular monthly payments to the bank in order to keep your home.   A Chapter 13 can be filed at any time prior to the law day or sale date, and it is often the only avenue to save your home.(Back to Top)