New Requirements for Businesses - The Corporate Transparency Act

January 1, 2024

In January 2024, a significant reporting requirement will take effect for businesses in the United States with the Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) reporting under the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA). The CTA, enacted in 2021, aims to enhance transparency in entity structures and ownership, combatting money laundering, tax fraud and other illicit activities.

As a business owner or professional, your understanding of the key aspects of this regulation is crucial for your compliance. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you navigate the Corporate Transparency Act.

Key Compliance Deadlines

Entities formed before January 1, 2024, have until January 1, 2025, to file their initial BOI reports.

Entities formed on or after January 1, 2024, must submit their initial BOI report within 90 days of formation.

Who Needs to Report?

Reporting companies include entities formed or registered to do business in the U.S., such as corporations and LLCs.

Exemptions and Exceptions

There are 23 listed exemptions, including large operating companies, nonprofit entities, political organizations and others. Public companies, insurance companies, banks and entities subject to regulatory oversight are also among the exemptions.

BOI Report Information

The report includes details about the reporting company, such as its name, address and taxpayer identification number. Beneficial owners, individuals with substantial control or ownership of 25 percent or more, are identified with information like full legal name, date of birth and passport or driver’s license number.

Submission Process

BOI reports are expected to be filed electronically through an online interface provided by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN. BOI information is not publicly available and is disclosed only to law enforcement agencies in specific circumstances.

Penalties for not filing BOI reports include civil and criminal consequences, which emphasize the importance of accurate reporting.

Small Business Compliance

Small businesses should prepare for compliance starting January 1, 2024, with reports accepted electronically through FinCEN’s website.

The Corporate Transparency Act introduces a new era of accountability and transparency for businesses. Staying informed and compliant with the reporting requirements is essential to avoid penalties and contribute to the broader goal of combating financial crimes.

Understanding Lady-Bird Deeds in Florida: A Guide for Savvy Estate Planning

September 16, 2023

Estate planning is a vital aspect of financial security, ensuring that your assets are distributed according to your wishes after you're no longer around. In Florida, a unique tool known as a "Lady-Bird Deed" has gained popularity for its versatility in facilitating estate planning. This blog will explore the intricacies of Lady-Bird Deeds in Florida and how they can be a valuable addition to your estate planning strategy.

What is a Lady-Bird Deed?

A Lady-Bird Deed, formally known as an "enhanced life estate deed," is a legal instrument that allows property owners to retain control over their real estate while ensuring a smooth and seamless transfer of ownership upon their passing. This type of deed is particularly popular among Florida residents due to its flexibility and ability to bypass probate.

Key Features of a Lady-Bird Deed

1. Retained Control: With a Lady-Bird Deed, the property owner maintains full control and ownership rights over the property during their lifetime. They can sell, mortgage, or even gift the property without seeking permission from the beneficiaries.

2. Avoidance of Probate: One of the primary advantages of a Lady-Bird Deed is its ability to bypass the probate process. Probate can be time-consuming and expensive, but with this deed, the property is automatically transferred to the designated beneficiary upon the owner's death, without the need for court involvement.

3. Medicaid Planning: Lady-Bird Deeds can also be a valuable tool in Medicaid planning. Since the property does not go through probate, it may not be counted as an asset when determining Medicaid eligibility, allowing the property owner to qualify for Medicaid benefits if needed.

4. Revocable: Another benefit of a Lady-Bird Deed is that it is revocable during the property owner's lifetime. This means the owner can change their mind and alter the beneficiaries or the terms of the deed if circumstances change.

5. Protection from Creditors: Lady-Bird Deeds offer some protection from the claims of creditors, as the property does not form part of the owner's probate estate upon their death.

How to Create a Lady-Bird Deed in Florida

Creating a Lady-Bird Deed in Florida involves a specific legal process:

1. Consult an Attorney: It is highly recommended to consult an experienced estate planning attorney who is well-versed in Florida law. They will guide you through the process and ensure the deed is drafted correctly.

2. Draft the Deed: The attorney will draft the Lady-Bird Deed according to your wishes and ensure it complies with Florida's legal requirements.

3. Execute the Deed: You, as the property owner, must sign the Lady-Bird Deed in the presence of two witnesses and a notary public. The witnesses and notary must also sign the document.

4. Record the Deed: To make it legally binding and effective, the Lady-Bird Deed should be recorded in the public records of the county where the property is located.

A Lady-Bird Deed is a powerful tool in Florida's estate planning toolbox, offering property owners a way to maintain control over their real estate while ensuring a seamless transfer to their chosen beneficiaries upon their passing. It can help you avoid the complexities of probate, protect your property from creditors, and even be used for Medicaid planning.

However, Lady-Bird Deeds are not suitable for everyone, and their legal requirements can be complex. To ensure that this estate planning tool is used effectively and tailored to your specific needs, it's essential to consult with an experienced attorney who can guide you through the process and provide personalized advice.

If you have questions about Lady-Bird Deeds or need assistance with your estate planning in Florida, don't hesitate to reach out to our experienced legal team. We are here to help you secure your family's financial future and ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes. Contact The Penza Law Firm, PLLC today for a consultation by calling (239)-799-8486 or email

Understanding Florida's New Tort Reform: What You Need to Know

September 15, 2023

In recent years, Florida has undergone significant changes in its legal landscape, particularly in the realm of tort law. These changes, collectively referred to as "Florida's New Tort Reform," have sparked debates and discussions across the legal community. As a leading law firm, we believe it's essential to provide our clients with a clear understanding of these reforms and how they may impact personal injury cases. In this blog post, we will delve into the key aspects of Florida's New Tort Reform and its implications.

What is Tort Reform?

Tort reform refers to the process of modifying and updating laws governing civil lawsuits, specifically those related to personal injury claims. The primary goal of tort reform is to balance the interests of injured parties seeking compensation and those of defendants and insurers who face potential financial burdens from these claims.

Key Components of Florida's New Tort Reform

1. Limitation on Contingency Fee Arrangement:  - One of the most significant changes introduced by Florida's New Tort Reform is the limitation on contingency fee arrangements for plaintiffs' attorneys. Under these reforms, contingency fees are now capped at 40% for the first $1 million recovered, decreasing to 30% for amounts between $1 million and $2 million, and further decreasing to 20% for amounts exceeding $2 million. This aims to make legal representation more affordable for plaintiffs.

2. Changes to Joint and Several Liability - Florida has modified its approach to joint and several liability, which determines how damages are allocated among multiple defendants in a personal injury case. Under the new law, each defendant is only responsible for their share of the damages, rather than being held jointly and severally liable for the entire amount. This change can reduce the financial burden on defendants.

3. Limits on Non-Economic Damages - Florida's New Tort Reform also places limits on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. Non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, are now capped at $500,000 per plaintiff and $1 million in cases involving catastrophic injuries or fatalities. These limits seek to control the rising costs of malpractice insurance.

4. Expert Witness Standards - The reform includes stricter standards for expert witnesses, requiring them to be licensed in the same or a similar field as the defendant. This aims to enhance the credibility of expert testimony in court.

5. Mandatory Pre-suit Mediation  - The new law mandates pre-suit mediation in medical malpractice cases, where both parties must participate in a mediation process before proceeding to court. This can encourage settlements and reduce the strain on the court system.

6. Statute of Limitations - The new reform limits a claimants ability to bring forth a negligence cause of action to two (2) years. The statute of limitations was reduced from four years to only two years.

Implications for Personal Injury Cases

Florida's New Tort Reform has generated various opinions among legal professionals and stakeholders. Proponents argue that these reforms will reduce frivolous lawsuits, control insurance costs, and promote fairness in personal injury cases. On the other hand, critics express concerns that the reforms may limit access to justice for injured individuals and their ability to seek full compensation.

As a law firm, it is our duty to adapt to these changes while providing our clients with the best legal representation possible. We understand that navigating these reforms can be complex, and our experienced attorneys are here to guide you through the evolving legal landscape.

Florida's New Tort Reform brings significant changes to the state's personal injury laws, impacting both plaintiffs and defendants. While proponents believe these reforms will lead to a fairer and more balanced legal system, there are concerns about potential limitations on access to justice. As the legal landscape continues to evolve, our law firm remains committed to serving our clients with the highest level of expertise and dedication, ensuring that their rights and interests are protected within the framework of these new regulations. If you have any questions or require legal assistance in navigating these changes, please do not hesitate to contact us.