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Shortly after Detroit filed for bankruptcy in July 2013, Judge Rhodes made it clear that its lawyers shouldn’t be charging the struggling city for first-class flights, alcoholic beverages or movies in hotel rooms. His instructions are the most detailed legal-fee instructions given to a city or county in a modern municipal bankruptcy case.

In Detroit’s case, some firms said they refrained from making unnecessary or overly aggressive moves that would have run up the bill for the 680,000-resident city. Lawyers at Dentons U.S. LLP who spoke for the city’s 23,500 retirees said that they also cut their bill by $3.4 million. The firm charged $14.6 million for helping explain the claims and voting process to retirees who were unfamiliar and “largely hostile” to the bankruptcy, firm officials said in court papers.

The 204 ABA-approved law schools reported total J.D. enrollment (full-time and part-time students) of 119,775. This is a decrease of 8,935 students (6.9 percent) from 2013 and a 17.5 percent decrease from the historic high total J.D. enrollment in 2010. The 2014 total enrollment is the lowest since 1982, when there were 169 ABA-approved law schools.

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The importance of contract review for Real Estate in Mexico

Real estate developers have many different details to consider when writing a contract. How much will the property cost? What will you need to do to make a profit in this venture? Do you have the protections you need if something goes wrong? The answer to many of these questions comes in contract review. Why is contract review so important for developers?

Contract review allows you to negotiate with greater confidence.

While there are some clauses that work in most contracts, no pre-formatted contract will be a perfect fit for every real estate transaction. As a result, you should negotiate with the seller to create a contract that meets your needs, and that negotiation depends on careful review. Is the price fair? Who will pay the closing costs? Are the existing fixtures, heating equipment, windows or appliances included in the purchase? A detailed review of the contract allows you to negotiate these points. But most importantly, does the development have water rights from the municipality and is there enough supply from that zone?, has the CFE Federal Electric Commission approved supply and wiring? Have all environmental laws been covered? If yes, then the municipal issues the developer a PERMIT TO SELL, otherwise they are not legally allowed to sell land of construction on that specific development. Contract review helps you protect yourself from risk.


Contract review does not only give you a stronger position as a buyer. It can also protect you from liability in the future. Examine the contract carefully to determine your responsibilities as well as the responsibilities of the seller. This allows you to fully understand the costs and repairs that fall to you and which the seller must fulfill. Review can help you negotiate how you will resolve disputes.


Because of the risks involved with real estate purchases, disputes can arise in a wide variety of different ways. Did the seller fail to disclose necessary information during the purchase process? Did they fail to meet their responsibilities before closing?

When something goes wrong, it is essential to know how you will resolve these disputes. For example, contract review could help you determine whether an arbitration clause—which will prevent you from suing the seller—is actually a good fit for this sale. Your attorney can help you negotiate a satisfactory method for resolving disputes. But a more important clause is that any rescission or penalty should be “executed without judicial intervention” this means that should either party invoke a rescission clause and is entitled to a refund or a monetary penalty, should be able to recover without having to file a court claim. Now, should the failing party fail to adhere to this clause, they the claimant can claim additional penalties, legal fees and damages.


If you want to ensure that your real estate contract benefits you and helps you achieve your goals, speak to an experienced attorney. They can review your contract and help you negotiate the details to protect yourself and your new venture.


As you can see, Contracts are an undeniably important part of protecting both yourself as the developer or seller and the buyer. They set clear expectations for both parties, keeping everyone on the same page, while creating a legally binding document that ensures the basics like payment.


Contracts can be meaningless, however, if they don’t contain the clauses that you need to actually offer clarity to both parties and protection for you. This is something that many people overlook, happily relying on a generic template that is handed to you by the developer or the real estate agent.

While contracts will vary depending on your specific, your preferences and the scope of what you buy, there are a few clauses that should be included in every single real estate contract that you sign: payment clauses, confidentiality clauses, liability clauses and termination clauses.


Promesa de Compra-Venta vs Contracto de Compra-Venta

Whether your contract is one that a lawyer writes up for you or it’s one that a client sends over and asks you to sign, always make sure that it doesn’t hurt you or put you at risk in any way. Read it over carefully and ensure that you understand it. Ask a third party (ideally a qualified one, like a business lawyer) to explain any concerns you have. One thing to note here: a Promesa is NOT a Purchase-Sell Contract, it is merely a promise, to celebrate a Purchase Contract at an SPECIFIC date in the future which must be explicit in the promesa. What ever monies you agree to give the seller/ developer, is just a guarantee that you will be present or your legal representative at the time and place specified in the promesa. This means that you are entitled to reviver the 100% of the monies given then if the seller does not comply. If you are the one that does not comply, the seller is entitled to keep the money and 100% of that amount additional. This may to be spelled out in the Promesa, but that is what the laws establishes.


Liability Clauses

Liability is a big factor that all buyers should be considering. In any contract you need to know who is liable.

Ideally, you have knowledgeable counsel. Unfortunately, we don’t always live in an ideal world, and some sellers will try to shrug off the blame. Map this out ahead of time so you’ll know what’s involved, what you’re liable for and what next steps you may need to take to protect yourself further. Know that if you have signed a purchase Promesa, and fail to fulfill you part, the seller can keep your money (all of it) and demand additional compensation AND damages, even if it is not stated in the contract.

Next Chapter we will discuss further Liability, Payment Clauses, Taxes and Termination.

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WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO HAVE A WILL?

When should you make a new will? As you move through life your circumstances change, as do the potential risks and complications when you pass away. You should consider making a new will: when you have an unmarried partner who should inherit from your estate. When you have a child so that you can appoint a guardian. When you buy a property or receive a large windfall. If you get divorced, as your previous will won't automatically be invalidated. When you want to make provisions for step-children, foster children or dependents. If your spouse passes away, and your previous will left the estate to them. What happens if you die without a will?


If you die without a will, your estate will be divided up in line with the rules of intestacy. This means you will have little control over who receives your estate. Why parents need a will It might be the last thing on your mind as you adapt to your busy new life as a parent, but making a will is really  important when you have children. By writing a will, you can appoint guardians for your children if they're under 18 when you die. You can find out more in our guide to will writing for parents. Make sure your will is official A will that is not properly signed and witnessed is invalid.


Make provision for your funeral arrangements

Some people may have particular wishes as to their funeral and making a Will provides a good opportunity to record these. USA or Mexican will? Most importantly, there is not inheritance tax in Mexico, even if your assets are in the United estates, as long as the will if executed in Mexico. You can have both or to make things simpler, you can have just one will that shall be valid in both countries in order to avoid conflicts between heirs, assets or rules of laws. It is recommender to have only one will that will cover both countries, or even more if you happen to have assets elsewhere. Make sure that attorney that drafts your will in knowledgable in  Internacional law and covers the requirements all all countries and States involved.

Top reasons to make a will.

Here, we look at some of the top reasons for making a will, and how dying without one could affect your loved ones.

1. Make a will to name your children's guardian. When writing a will, you don't just decide how your estate is divided up. You also have a say as to who should look after your dependents. If they're under 18, you can also appoint their legal guardians. If you don't, the decision could be left to the family courts, who may choose a person you wouldn't agree with. You may have named friends or family members to be your children's godparents, but this isn't legally-binding. Find out more: will writing for new parents

2. Ensure your children are provided for financially As well as saying who will raise your children, you can make plans to provide for their future  financially. This might include putting aside money for their education, making sure they receive a set amount each year for clothing or hobbies, or establishing a nest egg to buy a home. You may wish to consider setting up a trust to provide for your children, as this gives you an element of control over when your children receive the money, and what it gets used for. There are two ways to set up a trust: you can either establish it while you are still alive, or leave instructions for it to be established when you pass away. See our guide to will trusts to learn more about your options, and how different types of trust work and what they might cost.

3. Provide for your dependents, including step-children Your step-children may be a big part of your life, or even be your only children, but the law  states that only spouses or blood relatives can automatically inherit if there is no will. If you want to provide for your step-children, you'll need to write a will that includes them. The same goes for foster children, or any other dependents who may rely on you for support.

4. Protect your partner if you're unmarried. Unmarried partners aren't entitled to anything from your estate unless specifically stated in your will - no matter how long you've been together. Writing a will ensures your partner will receive their fair share of your estate.

5. Safeguard your family home If the family home is in your name, your unmarried partner and step-children aren't automatically in line to inherit it if you die without a will - meaning they may lose their home. You can leave them a share of the property in your will, or a right to reside in the property.

6. Head off family disputes. Dividing up an estate can sadly sometimes lead to squabbles and arguments among your survivors if there is no will or your  wishes aren't made clear. Contested wills can be damaging to relationships among your family, and can also be expensive if decisions about your estate are legally contested. A well-prepared will can help avoid these arguments, and avoid making your passing even more stressful for your survivors.

7. Avoid paying more inheritance tax than you need to. In the United States the amount of inheritance tax that will be charged from your estate depends on how much you have, and also who you leave it to. Anything left to your spouse or civil partner will be automatically exempt from inheritance tax. Leaving property to your children and grandchildren is also likely to generate a lower inheritance tax bill than leaving it to others. However, in  Mexico, there is NO inheritance tax regardless of whom inherits your estate or part of it.

8. Create a legal will if you're recently married. When you marry, your existing will automatically become obsoete nd your spouse will have the right of 50% of your estate unless you stipulate otherwise. According to the rules of intestacy, this means your estate could end up split between your new spouse and children from a previous marriage, potentially causing arguments. Getting divorced doesn't override your will, meaning your ex-partner may still be in line to inherit from your estate under the old will. As such, it makes sense to regularly review your will so it still reflects your situation, particularly after a marriage or separation.

9. Decide who you would like to settle your affairs. Within your will, you can name an executor, or multiple executors, who will be in charge of carrying out your final wishes. Choosing your executor in advance allows you to select the best person for the task. It also gives the executor prior warning so they can prepare themselves. To learn more about the responsibilities of being an executor, have a look at our guide to probate.

10. Say who you want to look after your pets If you have dogs, cats, or any other pets, they may also need to be looked after if you pass away. It’s  common to choose someone to look after them, and put some money aside to feed them and look after their health.

11. Support a charity. If you support a charity, you may wish to leave something for it when you pass away. As well as supporting a good cause, you  could potentially reduce the amount of inheritance tax paid by your family if you leave more than 10% of your assets to a good cause.

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DOING BUSINESS IN MEXICO

I’ve written extensively about laws in Mexico and since many of you have asked me about setting up a business here, I decided to write up a guideline to doing so.

The good news is that despite the constant state of uncertainty due to COVID19 and the political instability, there is a good healthy environment for start/ups. 

So what is it like doing business in Mexico today? well, it is actually easy, since Mexico is making changes that are going to impact startups and businesses, attract more investors, and restore consumer confidence. 

If you’re reading this, you’re probably one of the many of aspiring entrepreneurs who wants to understand how to build a business in Mexico. Check out our comprehensive guide that will get you one step closer to your dream of starting a business in Mexico.

1. Idea and Planning:

Passion: Before you can take your first steps into the business world, you need to understand what you’re passionate about. If you can convert your interests into a functional business, then you’re going to enjoy running it.

Value to Customer: The more value you offer, the greater are the chances of a customer purchasing from you and hopefully converting into a recurring and loyal customer

Research: Research plays an integral role in your journey to start your business. You need to thoroughly research the market and your competitors to understand how your business is different. The information that you gather from your research will help you evaluate and lay down a solid business plan.

Make a business plan: No successful business has ever begun without a good business plan. If you’re planning to start your business in the next one week, make sure you prepare a business plan for the next one year. Your business plan should be able to answer the following questions,

1. What problem are you addressing?

2. What makes your business unique?

3. Who is your audience?

4. How is your business going to generate revenue?

5. How will you market your business?

6. What resources will you need to get started?

Your business plan should be so detailed that anyone who looks at it should be convinced that you have a business worth investing in.

2. Build your business website: Once you’ve identified the business that you would like to establish, the very next step would be to build your website. A website is the first and extremely important step in creating a successful online presence for your business.. Many believe that a website is only needed for an e-commerce website but honestly, that’s just a misconception. Today, majority shoppers look out for a website or an online review before entrusting their money to the business. Your website will be an excellent source of information to your potential customers and can help convert them. To get your website, you will first need to register a domain name like www.yourcompanyname.com. While .com, .net, in and .co are some very popular domain extensions, you can choose from a plethora of other domain extensions as well. You then need to host your website on a web server. There are many hosting solutions available for different kinds of website. If you need assistance in understanding which hosting plan works best for your website, you can chat with us now.

3. Register you business. Request to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The first step in creating a company is to submit a request to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where five possible business structures are listed in order of preference for the company. This is done to ensure that there is no company already established in the country with the same corporate name. 

4. Drafting the Constitutive Act. This next crucial step is to register your business with the government. You would have to go to a Notary to  have a the Company Deed written up, Certified and properly Registered and recorded at the Registrar of Deeds “Registro Public de la Propiedad y del Comercio. There are many types of company types, so talk to your attorney about which one is the righting for you. 

5. Tax Registration: Once your company is registered, the next step is to do the Tax registration at S.A.T. *Servicio de Administracion Tributaria. There are a bunch of registrations that you will need to do to get everything in place, so do get a Certified Accountant.

6. Registration with the Mexican Institute of Social Security. If you plan to be sole propiertor, you don’t necessarily need to do so, *as you would be paying yourself pention but, if you plan to hire employees in the future, you will have to register each one of them.

7. Yearly Mandatory Compliances:  There are a few things which a business needs to do every year. These activities are essential to smoothly run your business and avoid any penalties from the authorities. We’ve made a quick list for your reference.

Income Tax Returns: The first and most important task is to file your Income Tax returns at the end of each year. It is essential that you don’t delay this procedure as it will lead to hefty penalties from the government.

Accounting: The next thing you need to really focus on is the accounting. You need to maintain a balance sheet where all the details about your company’s profit and loss, money received and money spent are added. You can either hire an accountant to help you or else if you are a small company then you can use some online tools like QuickBooks do it by yourself.

The above procedures may overwhelm you a bit but there are so many solutions and consultants online that can help you manage all these registrations and compliances at a nominal fee. I hope this information is useful for all the readers and good luck with your new endeavors. 

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Blog

Mexico is gradually recovering from the pandemic-induced recession. The economy is expected to grow by 2.3% this year and by 2.6% in 2023. Exports will continue to benefit from strong growth in the United States. With an increasing share of the population vaccinated and the gradual improvement in the labour market, consumption will also be a key growth driver. However, a key pending challenge for Mexico is to revive investment.


The new Economic Survey of Mexico argues that there is room to create better conditions for both public and private investment. Mexico has been fiscally prudent over the years, broadly meeting its fiscal targets and ensuring fiscal sustainability despite having the lowest tax-to-GDP ratio in the OECD, at only 16% of GDP. But this has been largely achieved by cutting spending, particularly public investment. The pandemic has exacerbated public investment needs, as the health and education systems are strained.  A gradual increase in tax revenues would help to respond to public investment needs and strengthen the recovery while maintaining the commitment to fiscal sustainability. Conducting rigorous and transparent cost-benefit analysis would ensure sound project selection and help to respond to public investment needs in a cost-effective manner. 


The potential for investment to restart vigorously is high, spurred by the updated trade agreement and the strong recovery in the United States. Nearshoring trends, by which companies are likely to seek reducing supply chain disruptions risks by locating closer to their final markets, also provide Mexico with historic opportunities. Turning these opportunities into realities would require providing investors, both domestic and foreign, with certainty about existing contracts and regulatory stability. Improving business regulations at state and municipal, which in some instances remain costly and complex, would also help by facilitating firms’ creation and growth. 


With the largest fintech ecosystem in LATAM (Latin America), Mexico is capable of building multiple start-up hubs in cities such as Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey, and Tijuana. Since 2010, Mexico's count of tech start-ups has tripled. Economic growth and investment in the region have also fueled innovation activities. Growth of VC Investment is higher than the regional average - Again Mexico's score in the US Chamber of Commerce's International IP Index is above the regional average, this is mainly driven by government efforts to increase the importance of IP rights - a critical factor in attracting and retaining start-ups.


In terms of the Human Development Index, which measures key dimensions of human development such as living a long and healthy life, education, and having an acceptable standard of living, Mexico rates relatively well. This index was created to highlight the fact that people and their abilities play a key role in assessing a country’s development, and that economic growth is not the only factor to consider.


The real estate market remains strong, whether you're interested in purchasing Mexico property on the beach or in-land. 

In the Real Estate area, and as a result of the pandemic, many cities are offering tax incentives, high-end real estate for lower prices as well as implementing novel measures to prevent fraud. Increasing buyer’s bargaining power and better deals especially in cities like Queretaro, Guadalajara and Tijuana as well as coastal cities such as La Paz, Todos Santos, Nuevo Vallarta, and Chetumal.  Therefore, the real estate market in 2022 is forecast to be strong. The real estate sector has worked hard to make this crisis an opportunity to strengthen the collaboration between the Mexican government, banks, corporations, and private companies to build consumer trust and invest in future successes in this year and beyond.


In summary, Mexico’s economic recovery won’t lose its momentum in the absence of a stimulus plan large enough to jump-start economic growth. In light of the recent discussions around the possible reorientation of the economy, a near-shoring opportunity has emerged for Mexico….. real estate, which, if grabbed in time, has the potential to help the country reverse years of slow growth in investment and in fact propel it to higher growth in the coming years.

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Help For Landlords And Tenants – Frequently Asked Questions When Renting

Every day, landlord and tenants have questions that need answering. The  Mexican Civil Code and law that apply can be a bit tricky to navigate.

We receive many questions every day and do our very best to provide landlord/tenant advice. But we thought, surely if one person is asking this question, there’s someone else out there also looking for the answer? In this blog, we’ve included some recent questions and shared our landlord advice to help you – and anyone else – looking for answers.


End of tenancy cleaning

Q: If a tenant leaves the property in a different condition to what it was originally, can a landlord ask for money from the deposit to cover the cleaning and what is the best way to obtain a quote?

Tenants are expected to return the rental property back to the landlord in the condition it was initially let.

So, if the property is in a worse state of cleanliness than it was at the time of move in, aside from general ‘wear and tear’, the landlord may be able to deduct cleaning costs from the tenant’s deposit.

This being said, landlords cannot charge tenants for end of tenancy cleaning outright. Under the Civil Code, landlords cannot request that tenants organize and pay for professional cleaning at the end of a tenancy.

Deposit disputes regarding cleaning or damage can be easily resolved if an Inventory and Check-Out Inspection are carried out. Recording the condition of the property before and after the tenant moves in will clearly show any damage or deterioration. Without these documents, tenant damages can be extremely difficult to prove, and also difficult the recover the deposit.


Q: Are utilities inspection a legal requirement?

Electrical and gas leak inspections are not a legal requirement for landlords, but is highly recommended that tenants request one before moving in.


Advice on right to access

Q: My landlord states she/he has the right to visit the property surrounding the house I have rented, anytime she chooses, without notification, because she is not visiting the dwelling itself. Is this true?

If the surrounding area is part of the rent, she/he  need a good reason and let you know at least 24hrs prior or less if it is an emergency. Tenants have the right to “quiet enjoyment". This simply means they have the right to live in their property without unexpected visits.

If a landlord intends to visit their rental property or arrange a contractor to stop by, they must give their tenant a minimum of 24 hours’ notice in writing.

In this circumstance, if the “surrounding area” was included in the initial property advertisement and is being let to the tenant along with the dwelling, then the landlord should give the tenant notice before visiting, as stated above.

‘Accessing’ a property is not limited to the building itself. It includes all the gardens and any other grounds or areas included in the tenancy agreement.


Landlord advice on property inventories

Q: Do I need a property inventory even if my property is unfurnished? Are there any benefits or would I be wasting money?

A common misconception amongst landlords is that an inventory is only required if you have furniture in your property.

We recommend a professional inventory and schedule of condition be carried out at all rental properties – furnished or unfurnished.

The inventory is a record of your whole property’s condition – not just the furniture. This includes:

▪ Light switches and plug sockets

▪ Kitchen and bathroom fittings

▪ Light fittings and shades

▪ Curtains and windows

▪ Carpets and floors

▪ Walls and doors

▪ Garden furniture, fencing and ornaments

Every last detail should be recorded and both you and the tenant should sign to say you agree on the final inventory. We would also recommend making a note of the utility meter readings and their locations.

The idea behind an inventory is to protect both the landlord and the tenant and prevent possible disputes when the tenancy comes to an end.

An inventory is extremely beneficial should any damage-related deposit disputes arise. If the tenant leaves your property in a bad way and the landlord wants to claim the costs from their deposit, the inventory (along with mid-term or check-out reports) will support your case.


Guarantors

Q: My Realtor has told me that I need a guarantor to rent a property I would like. Please could someone tell me what a guarantor is?

A guarantor or “rent guarantor/co-signee" is someone who will pay the rent on your behalf if you are unable to pay it.

This can be anyone – perhaps a friend or relative – who lives inn same city. They don’t need to be a home-owner, but they do need to give their consent before you put them forward as your guarantor.

Whether you need a guarantor or not is usually determined during the tenant referencing process. This involves a credit check, an employment and income check and a reference from your previous landlord. (There are some professional agencies that will act as guarantors for a flat fee.)

Of course, some tenants will be unable to meet the credit requirement, but instead of being declined they will have the option to put down a guarantor. Their guarantor must meet the income requirements and will be liable for the rent or any damage costs should the tenant be unable to pay.


Landlord ID Checks

Q: I want to lease out my property but the real estate agency has asked me to show ID proving I own the property? I feel like they don’t trust me. Is this normal procedure?

Yes it is. When advertising a property, RE agents will ask the landlord for proof of ownership. This is to protect landlords and tenants from fraud and illegal subletting. This verification is an extra level of security, not just for the agent, but for every landlord out there. Without asking people to prove who they are, a landlord’s property could be listed without them knowing.

Before renting directly from an owner/landlord, ask for:

▪ Photo ID – such as a driving license or passport

▪ Proof of ownership – such as a mortgage statement, title deed, or land registry certificate.


Some landlords are surprised when asked for this. It’s important to remember that this is a normal process with your best interests in mind – not a personal doubt of your integrity!


Tenancy Deposits

Q: Hi, I am a new landlord and would like some help. Where should I store my tenant’s deposit?

It is not a legal requirement to put your tenancy deposit in an Escrow account, but it is recommended. There are a couple of certified Escrow institution in Mexico that will act as Escrow.

At the end of the tenancy agreement, you must return the deposit back within 10 days. If there is a dispute, the deposit will be protected by the  Escrow account until it’s resolved.

We recommend you have an attorney look at the Lease Agreement before anyone signs it, to avoid any unnecessary complications.