Of Legal Interest

Megan Root Joins

Megan N. Root is a Vero Beach native and a 2009 graduate of Vero Beach High School. She attended the University of South Carolina for
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New Condo & HOA Laws

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  • 01 May, 2019

Public Use Rights in Florida’s Beaches

May 2019 Author: Steve L. Henderson, Board Certified Real Estate Attorney ON JULY 1, 2018 the Florida legislature adopted Fla. Stat. Section 163.035 intending to put a stop to some county and municipal efforts to proclaim that dry sand areas of their beaches were open to the public. The law also codified the Customary Use Doctrine…

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  • 08 May, 2019

New Estate Planning Opportunities

AS YOU PROBABLY KNOW, THE TAX CUTS AND JOBS ACT WAS PASSED IN LATE 2017 (THE “ACT”). The Act, among other things, temporarily increased the amount that an individual could give away during life or at death without paying “transfer taxes”. The new amount is $11.18 million per person, indexed to inflation and known as…

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  • 15 May, 2019

Changes on the Tax Status of Alimony Going Forward

Prior to the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017, support payments that qualified as alimony could always be deducted by the payer for federal income tax purposes. Similarly, the recipients of alimony always had to report the payments as taxable income. This created a situation where parties negotiating a potential settlement,or parties…

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  • 22 May, 2019

Service Animals

A service animal is defined as a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Tasks range from serving as a guide dog for a person with a visual disability to pulling a…

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  • 29 May, 2019

Regarding Habitat for Humanity

Our firm, for over 15 years has participated with Habitat for Humanity constructing homes for new owners. Bruce Barkett, of our office, serves on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity. On February 23, 2019, the smiling faces that you see in the picture showed up as the sun rose in the east for…

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  • 05 Feb, 2020

Vacation Rentals

Many of our second home owner clients rent their properties out to offset carrying costs, and popular websites such as Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway have made it easy for owners and travelers to arrange bookings and payments for short term rentals. However, there are important State and local license requirements to be aware of before…

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  • 08 Feb, 2020


Since Florida’s Collaborative Law Process Act became effective in July 2017, collaborative law has been gaining interest around the state for those contemplating dissolution and the practitioners interested in offering the method to their clientele. Specifically, the collaborative law process is a unique non-adversarial process that preserves a working relationship between parties and reduces the…

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  • 12 Feb, 2020

Legislative Update: Retirement Accounts

On December 20, 2019, President Trump signed into law the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (SECURE Act). The SECURE Act is effective January 1, 2020 and is the most significant legislation affecting retirement accounts in the past thirty years. The SECURE Act has a number of positive changes in that the Act…

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  • 19 Feb, 2020

Alimony Outlook

For the last couple years, various lobbying groups have attempted to reform Florida’s alimony laws. While bills were previously proposed, and one was even passed by the legislature in 2016, Gov. Rick Scott vetoed that bill in 2017 due to the child time-sharing issues included in the bill, and the other bills never even made…

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  • 26 Feb, 2020

Guardian Advocacy

By Lisa Thompson Barnes Master Of Laws Real Property Development;Also Admitted In The Commonwealth Of The Bahamas Do you have a family member who was born with developmental disabilities? If the family member has reached majority age (18 years old), the parent or caregiver may have already found interacting with hospitals, schools, medical professionals, governmental…

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  • 01 Jun, 2020

Serving Our Community

FIRM INITIATIVES The Collins Brown Barkett attorneys and staff actively participate in the Florida Dept. of Transportation “Adopt-A-Highway” program by maintaining a two-mile stretch of A-1-A to keep it free of debris. We also periodically spend workdays building homes with the Indian River Habitat for Humanity to help hard working neighbors achieve safe, affordable housing…

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  • 08 Jun, 2020


You want to sell your home and, like many others, downsize a little. You need to select a Realtor® to list your home for sale. You get recommendations from your friends and call Helen Brown an agent of Breezy Palms Realty. Helen comes to your home, talks about the current market, perhaps recommends a price…

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  • 15 Jun, 2020

2020 Alimony Reform is all but dead

In what has become an annual tradition here in Florida, any attempts at Alimony Reform have once again died in the latestlegislative session. Both the House and the Senate provided Alimony Reform Bills, (of which the Senate bill never even made it out of chambers) and both are all but dead with there being considerable…

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  • 22 Jun, 2020


Financial exploitation of the elderly has become one of the most widespread forms of elderly abuse in our country. Exploitation can take place in various forms – which include lottery schemes, online romance scams, investments, insurance and also by simply relying on individuals who are caretakers, family members, etc. Unfortunately, many senior citizens or relatives…

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  • 01 Feb, 2021


You have made the decision to build your dream home instead of buying someone else’s dream home or choosing from models in a new community. Building your custom home demands your time, effort and money but the process can be fun and exciting. Prior to construction you fashion ideas and elements you envision for your…

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  • 22 Feb, 2021


Land use law generally refers to local zoning and other laws which regulate the use of land. For example, certain zoning districts limit land use in those districts to residential use. Other districts might be limited to commercial use, or industrial use, or agricultural use. Laws like this help to preserve the value of properties,…

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  • 01 Jun, 2021


On May 5, 2021, DC District Court Judge Friedrich ruled that the CDC’s moratorium on evictions impermissibly exceeded their Federal authority. The same day, the Department of Justice appealed that Order, and on May 14, 2021, Judge Friedrich stayed his Order pending review. Irrespective of this Order, if you are a landlord (or a tenant)…

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  • 08 Jun, 2021

New Condo & HOA Laws

THE 2021 FLORIDA LEGISLATURE ENACTED SEVERAL LAWS THAT IMPACT COMMUNITY AND CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATIONS. Senate Bill 72, now Chapter Law 2021-1, limits the liability of business entities, which includes not-for-profit condominium and community associations, from civil court actions based upon COVID-19-related claims. Senate Bill 56, now Chapter Law 2021-2, amends the Condominium Act to extend the…

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  • 15 Jun, 2021


Since the passage of the COVID-19 relief bill, attention has shifted to plans for investments in infrastructure and the potential tax reform to assist in paying for such investment. While there has yet to be a definitive timeframe announced for this tax reform, it is important to be mindful of potential tax reform as it…

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  • 21 Jun, 2021

Is Owner’s Title Insurance Necessary?

Prospective purchasers of real property are often initially skeptical as to whether they really need an owner’s title insurance policy. However, once the protection afforded under the insurance policy is explained to the purchaser, they quickly realize that is an essential element of any real estate transaction. Owner’s title insurance policies protect buyers from considerable…

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  • 01 Oct, 2021


Portability is the provision in Federal Estate tax law that allows a surviving spouse to use any unused estate and gift tax exemption after the deceased spouse’s death. In January 2013, the American Tax Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) was signed into law to extend the opportunity for spouses to benefit from “portability” of a…

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  • 08 Oct, 2021

Megan Root Joins

Megan N. Root is a Vero Beach native and a 2009 graduate of Vero Beach High School. She attended the University of South Carolina for her undergraduate studies and received her J.D. and Certificate in Public Interest Law from The University of Alabama School of Law in 2016 where she received multiple accolades for her…

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  • 15 Oct, 2021

Extraordinary Community Organization Supports Legal Needs of Low-Income Clients

As the only legal aid organization in the 19th Judicial Circuit, Florida Rural Legal Services, Inc., or “FRLS”, has been providing free legal services to vulnerable and low-income clients in Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin, and Okeechobee counties since 1966. FRLS provides pro bono civil legal assistance to anyone who falls within 200% of the…

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  • 22 Oct, 2021

Guardianship for Incapacitated Individuals

Guardianship proceedings involve the necessity to appoint a guardian to provide legal care of an incapacitated individual (the “ward”). Typically, a guardianship can be avoided if a ward has created life planning documents prior to incapacity. A guardianship addresses the ward’s rights of the person and/or the rights to or concerning property. A guardianship of…

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