DEADLINE for Florida Homestead Tax Exemption Is March 3rd

ExemptionEmailImageFlorida’s Constitution allows up to $50,000 to be deducted from the assessed value of a primary residence (however only $25,000 may be deducted for the purposes of calculating the assessed value for school taxes). To receive the Florida homestead tax exemption, you must submit a homestead application (Florida Department of Revenue Form DR-501) to the Property Appraiser in the county where your home is located on or before Monday, March 3, 2014, which can easily be completed online.

 Link to Miami-Dade County Homestead Exemption Application Online Filing.  Link to Broward County Homestead Exemption Application Online Filing.

To receive the homestead tax exemption, the taxpayer must meet the following requirements:

  • have legal or beneficial title to the property recorded in public records prior to January 1st of the year of application;
  • establish domicile in the county where the property is located;
  • reside on the subject property;
  • be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

Once homestead exemption is established it is automatically renewed each year, until there is a change of ownership. Florida law requires the property owner to inform the appropriate Property Appraiser’s office of any change in residency, use of the property or marital status that would affect the qualification of the homestead exemption.

“Save Our Homes” Amendment: The “Save Our Homes Amendment” to the Florida Constitution limits any annual assessment increases on Florida homestead properties to the lesser of 3% or the increase in the consumer price index.  In 2008, Florida voters approved Amendment 1, which now allows Florida residents to transfer the benefit of the “Save our Homes cap” to subsequently acquired Florida homestead property.  To qualify for portability benefits, the taxpayer must timely file an application on Florida Department of Revenue DR-501T, as provided in Florida Statute §193.155. The portability benefit allows the taxpayer to transfer their entire assessment savings, not to exceed $500,000 to their new residence if “upsizing” and a pro-rated portion of their assessment savings to a “downsized” new residence.

For help or questions related to homestead tax exemption, contact Patchen Law, P.A. to simplify your property issues.


“Moving Costs in Eminent Domain: A Mélange of Damages” Presented at the Florida Bar Winter Meeting

Moving Costs in Eminent DomainAt the recent Florida Bar Eminent Domain Committee meeting held in Orlando, Patchen Law, P.A., presented on the topic of “Moving Costs in Eminent Domain: A Mélange of Damages”.  The presentation provided a breakdown of leading cases related to moving costs in eminent domain, a summary of available remedies, and a discussion as to how the 2009 Florida Supreme Court decision in Systems Components Corporation v. Florida Department of Transportation attempts to change the playing field.

For a complete copy of the presentation, please click on the following link: Moving Costs in Eminent Domain.

Help Support Monica’s Fund!

Pyka familyPlease read about my great friend and sorority sister/Badger buddy Monica Pyka. For the last two years, she has been battling against Leukemia and fighting for her life with such amazing grace and poise.  She has been a constant source of inspiration to me and the many other people whose lives she has touched throughout the years.  She is a pillar of strength and somehow, despite her circumstances, she still finds a reason to smile.  She reminds me everyday to appreciate the little things in life and to appreciate the goodness each day brings with it…

Back in November, Team Monica Miami successfully raised $3,215.00 in support of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light The Night Walk event.  Today, my fundraising efforts are much closer to home…the battle to save Monica’s life has brought with it insane medical costs that are not covered by insurance. We have set up Monica’s Fund with to help cover some of the costs for her care.  Please help out if you can by clicking on the link below…any small amount will mean the world to Monica and her family!

Patchen Law’s Profile As Seen In 2014 South Florida Legal Guide; Of Counsel, Brian P. Patchen Named Top Lawyer

S.Fla.LeglGuideProfile_2014Patchen Law, P.A. proudly appears in the Professional Profiles section of the 2014 South Florida Legal Guide of Top Lawyers (on page 130). Of Counsel, Brian P. Patchen (Law Office of Brian P. Patchen, P.A.) was named to the South Florida Legal Guide’s 2014 list of Top Lawyers in two categories: Civil Litigation (page 91) and Real Estate – Eminent Domain (page 105). Mr. Patchen has been named a Top Lawyer in Real Estate – Eminent Domain in the South Florida Legal Guide consecutively since 2006. A complete electronic version of the 2014 South Florida Legal Guide can be found by clicking here.


Mr. Patchen has devoted his entire career to eminent domain, representing landowners and business owners throughout the State of Florida. He has handled hundreds of cases involving every aspect of eminent domain for over 30 years. He is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer by The Florida Bar and is rated AV by Martindale-Hubbell. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, admitted in New York and Michigan as well as Florida. He is past Chairman and Vice Chairman of The Florida Bar Eminent Domain Committee and has been a contributing author to to the Florida Bar’s Eminent Domain Practice and Procedure, currently the chapter on Compensation. Mr. Patchen has also lectured on eminent domain at various CLE conferences, including the conference of Florida Circuit Court Judges.

Today, Mr. Patchen continues to practice in eminent domain out of his Miami Lakes office, which he shares with his daughter Heather A. Patchen of Patchen Law, P.A. Following in her father’s footsteps, Heather focuses her practice in eminent domain and works tirelessly to ensure that her clients’ property investments are well protected. In addition to her work in eminent domain, Heather’s practice involves both litigation and transaction work in a wide array of property related matters including landlord/tenant claims, first party property claims, and serving as a Guardian Ad Litem in foreclosure proceedings, as well as conducting title closings and drafting various contracts related to property leases and purchase agreements.

Work vs. Retirement: Inaugural Florida Bar Senior Lawyers Committee Meeting

imagesThe inaugural meeting of the Senior Lawyers Committee took place last Thursday, January 23rd at The Florida Bar Winter Meeting at the Hilton Buena Vista in Orlando, Florida.  I am both honored and humbled to be a member of this passionate group of attorneys, and hope to serve as a bridge between the “new” and the “experienced” attorneys.

Over 40 committee members, many of whom with careers spanning over 40 years and still in practice, were in attendance, as well as a number of members who participated via conference call. Committee Chair Jake Schickel began the meeting by emphasizing that the Committee’s mission has nothing to do with determining or enforcing the “fitness” of a senior lawyer.  Instead, the mission of the Senior Lawyers Committee is focused on helping lawyers find a meaningful, dignified approach to transition from full time practice to the next phase in their career or possibly retirement.

Discussion opened up with a number of attorneys expressing a real concern over the lack of professionalism shown among many of today’s practitioners, and a desire of many to see the talk of professionalism put into action through a senior lawyer advisory council for existing and new lawyers, as well as judges in each circuit.  Many also expressed a strong desire to pass along their wealth of knowledge through a mentorship program with new attorneys. Others discussed openly their frustration over not yet being ready to retire, but also not wanting to keep up the same pace.

The overwhelming theme throughout the discussion among members was a strong desire to share their knowledge and experience, and give back to the legal community as well as the community at large.  As a professional who is relatively new to the practice of law, I am excited to be a part of what will surely be a ground breaking endeavor and look forward to being a part of the development of the Senior Lawyers Committee.

Patchen Law To Speak At the Florida Bar Eminent Domain Committee Meeting

header-eminentHeather A. Patchen will speak at the upcoming Eminent Domain Committee, Florida Bar Winter Meeting this Friday, January 24, 2014. The presentation entitled, “Moving Costs in Eminent Domain: A Mélange  of Damages” will provide insight into the various overlapping remedies for damages available as a result of a taking, and will discuss the implications of the 2009 Florida Supreme Court case Systems Components Corp. v. Fla. DOT, 14 So. 3d 967 (Fla. 2009).

While attending the Florida Bar Winter Meeting, Heather will also participate in the inaugural meeting for the Senior Lawyers Committee.  The Senior Lawyers Committee shall serve the interests and needs of the profession by fostering an interchange of ideas, sharing the accumulated knowledge and experience of its members and addressing issues that are of particular significance to senior lawyers.  Heather was appointed to the Senior Lawyers Committee in November of 2013 and will serve a term until 2015.

Patchen Law Invited to Join Secure Settlements, Inc.

SSI Registered Agent Official SealPatchen Law is pleased to announce that the firm is now an officially registered agent with Secure Settlements, Inc. (SSI). As a registered agent, Patchen Law has been included in a national pool of qualified and respected closing professionals who meet the risk management standards set by SSI’s mortgage lender clients. To be included in the pool of qualified closing professionals, the firm was required to undergo a rigorous vetting process to evaluate operational risks.

SSI is the first company to offer a standardized risk management process and information database of fully vetted mortgage closing professionals that protects both consumers and lenders – reducing fraud and ensuring that federal regulatory requirements are met.  The Secure Settlements process delivers the most advanced closing fraud risk analysis in the industry and meets all risk management requirements for third-party vetting of vendor relationships, as outlined by CFPB, OCC, HUD, FDIC, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Credit Union Administration.

International Pre-Construction Deal at Paraiso Bay Miami

Pariaso Bay Condo MiamiPatchen Law recently provided a Dubia client with contract review and interpretation for a multi-unit pre-construction real estate deal at Paraiso Bay Condominiums.

The latest vision from architects Arquitectonica and The Related Group, Paraiso Bay Miami, which is expected to be completed in 2018, will offer waterfront living in the heart of Miami with three towers rising 55 stories on a five acres bayfront site on 31st Street in the Miami Midtown neighborhood commonly referred to as Edgewater.  Owners will be able to choose from one, two and three bedroom flow-through apartments starting at around $525.00 per square foot.

From One Small Business To Another – Together We Can Grow

There’s that old saying “you’re only as good as the company you keep” and what usually follows is a discussion about surrounding yourself with positive people who will bring positive energy to your life.  But, it goes without saying the same holds true when you surround your business with other great business owners.

So when I decided to open up my own practice, I knew my success would be dependent upon building a strong network of support from the local community.  As a small business owner, I also felt it was important to reach out to other successful small business owners.  And, having spent the first 15 years of my professional career in business-to-business marketing and promotions before becoming an attorney, it just would not feel right if I didn’t help promote my fellow colleagues who have been such a great source of inspiration and support to me and my business.  It’s all about paying it forward and together we can grow.


Even though I have a background in marketing, I still needed to find a strong partner in marketing to oversee and help direct my firm’s marketing efforts.  I hired Amaniac Design Corp., which was founded by Amanda Koziar.  The company produces graphic design solutions for brand identity, business collateral, websites, internet marketing and other business tools.  The company’s tag line is “enthusiastic about your brand” and based on my experience of working with Amanda, the company tag line is not only true, it is the whole drive and focus of her efforts. She is an absolute delight to work with and her excitement for my projects has intern made me even more excited. More importantly, she was able to create a brand identity that took my vision and brought it to life.   I am pleased to say that Amaniac Design Corp. has created my logo, business card, note cards, website and what I hope to be many more marketing projects in the future. 

mopWhen you are in the business of selling a service versus a product, a professional photo becomes every bit as important to the brand identity as the company logo itself. I hired Miguel Ocque Photography and how I came to find my very special photographer is a real six degrees of Kevin Bacon story. I first met Miguel at my bank, where he helped me set up my trust account. It wasn’t until after working with him that I finally realized I already had his number stored in my phone.  Several months earlier, I had asked my friend for his number after seeing the amazing family portraits he took for her, and coincidentally, a month before our chance meeting at the bank, he took portraits of my brother’s family, which were absolutely fabulous.  I had been admiring his work for months and now cosmic forces had brought us together.  Miguel’s work in photography is a hobby that started when his daughter was born and now he’s made a successful business out of it.  I happen to love working with someone who has been able to take a hobby and make it a business—they inherently bring a level of passion, drive, and commitment to their work.  In keeping with my brand identity, Miguel went with a more editorialized look rather than a traditional portrait, the results of which were even better than I had expected.  I now have an amazing portfolio of several distinct images to use.  And, the cosmic forces worked their magic again, when a month later I handled Miguel’s title closing!

juliebIf you’re going to spend the money on professional photos then it goes without saying that you want to look your best.  You not only need to pick the right outfit, but you also need to put your best face forward.  Or, as I like to tell my nieces and nephews, Aunt Heado needs to put her mask on so she doesn’t scare people away.  Any good photographer will know a good make-up artist with that special touch to make you look and feel your best.  I hired Makeup by Julie B., a mompreneur who has the energy to balance her full-time work in a hospital with raising her three-year-old son and six-month-old daughter while successfully turning her hobby into a business.  Whatever the occasion, Julie will travel to you and bring along her magic paint brushes.  For my special day, I asked her to come to my home, where we made the living room base camp because it had the best natural light.  I showed her what I was going to wear and all I said was that I did not want to look like I had on a ton of makeup.  Julie took it from there. We had the most fun getting ready and when she was done I almost fell out of my chair—she had made me into a princess! I can’t wait for another big event so I can hire Julie B. again to help me rock the occasion.

It has been a privilege to work with each of these small business owners and I hope each of them will continue to thrive at what they do.  If I am lucky, I will get to work with them again too.

$3,215.00 Raised In Support Of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Team Monica Miami members: Diana Ide-Gonzalez, Heather A. Patchen and Aidez Severino

Team Monica Miami members: Diana Ide-Gonzalez, Heather A. Patchen and Aidez Severino

In just under a month, Team Monica Miami successfully raised $3,215.00 in support of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light The Night Walk event, which was held on Saturday, November 16th at Bayfront Park in Miami.  We were able to reach our goal thanks to the generous donations from several friends, family, Badger and Gamma Phi Beta alumni.

The Team walked in honor of Badger/Gamma Phi Sister Monica Pykawho was diagnosed almost two years ago with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) when she went in for routine testing upon learning that she was 2 months pregnant with her second child–a child she struggled to conceive.

For their efforts in raising over $1,000 each, Team Members Heather A. Patchen and Diana Ide-Gonzalez were recognized as Bright Lights Club Members and given medals to commemorate the achievement.

Funds raised in support of the Light The Night Walk help to provide patient support services, advocacy for lifesaving treatments and the most promising cancer research anywhere. Light The Night Walk events are evenings filled with inspiration. During a leisurely walk, Champions For Cures carry illuminated balloons – white for survivors, red for supporters and gold in memory of loved ones lost to cancer.  Over six thousand walkers at the Miami event came together to bring light to the dark world of cancer.

For more information about The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society or to find a Light the Night event near you, click here.