I don’t like rules very much. From balking at the “right” of the government to tell me how I need to take care of myself in a car or how I need to take care of my family’s medical bills to the “inane” rules about graded material in my children’s school or my ability to question said determinations as a parent, I find myself anxious to fight those that want to put themselves in authority over me. It is a difficult thing to allow someone else’s will to take priority over mine. What this says about me as a person is another discussion, but what it says about me as a someone who chose to work with laws is this discussion.
I have been known to say, Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly. Some people think of this as career admission for attorneys. I think, however, that the it would be more accurate to say, we need to know what the rules are, so that we can take maximum advantage of their repercussions. For example, there is a law in Florida that states, a driver must have “safety belt which is properly fastened at all times when a motor vehicle is in motion.” If someone were desirous to put themselves in a position of less safety, that person could possibly find a way to fasten the belt and yet not abide by the obvious spirit of such a rule.
Moving on to issues in which I like to practice, there are nuances to every real estate contact. Knowing the precision of these laws allows someone to take maximum advantage of options. This is what we attempt to do in our practice. We like to know as much as is possible about the real estate contract, that we know when different ownership interests are most advisable, when a deed is needed, when documentary stamps must be purchased, when to time the sale for different circumstances, when a contract actually exists, and a myriad of other things that may come. When we do, we can advise you with certainty and knowledge.
We have learned many nuances and permutations about laws for all forms of real estate transactions, creating and managing land trusts, writing and reviewing contracts, prioritizing and preparing wills, estate planning and management, elder law issues, and many other related issues. We advise and instruct in all of these issues. We also seek to maintain integrity, our moral compass, and Christian ethics in every thing we do. So, then, why do we need to study the rules so well, if we are attempting to stay within that which is morally correct. The short answer is that what is morally right is not synonymous with legally acceptable.
Every decision, to be sure, should be made with that which you believe is ethically acceptable, but one’s individual moral compass is not the standard the Florida legislature uses when writing laws. If there were no questions, you would not be coming to see attorneys at all. Any decision you make upon seeing an attorney is yours, they are merely the conduits who let you know the rules that exist. Many laws are value-neutral, nevertheless knowing those laws is an important step to making an informed decision.
Informed decision is the way to go. You may dislike rules as I do, but ignoring them does not make them go away. And merely doing that which you think is right is usually a recipe for inviting trouble. Ignorance may be an excuse for some things, and you may be able to be square with God for certain actions, but Florida, or any other state in the union, doesn’t allow you to use that as an excuse. Therefore, when rules come into our lives, we are required to be aware of them when we act, or we suffer the consequences. And, in certain areas, we might be the best people to talk to before making those decisions.