Understanding Florida Simultaneous Death Law

During an accident or natural disaster, it may be difficult or impossible to determine which victim lived longer than the other. This type of situation can cause serious consequences for beneficiaries and contingent beneficiaries. Understanding the Florida Simultaneous Death Law may also make a difference in the estate planning choices you make. Simultaneous Death Law: What It Says Florida Statutes 732.601 Read More

The Team Approach to Probate

When Kevin passed away, he left an estate worth $3 million, property he owned separately, property owned jointly with his second wife, and both minor and adult children. He had not consulted with an estate planning attorney for many years, so his estate plan was not as current or up-to-date as it should have been. As his family and business associates squabbled over his estate, it became clear they needed to take a Read More

The Out-of-State Personal Representative

Probate can become complicated, especially when an out-of-state personal representative is involved. What is a personal representative? The person who takes on the responsibility of shepherding an estate through probate is a personal representative. This person is also sometimes referred to as the executor. Someone who wants to serve as a personal representative must: Be at least 18 years of age, Never Read More

How Can a Spendthrift Provision Protect Your Heirs?

The thought of leaving a nice inheritance for your loved ones may bring a smile to your face. However, for some, it may cause a few worry lines instead. When you take a realistic look at your heirs, do you see any who may not benefit from a lump sum inheritance? If so, can a spendthrift provision protect your heirs? What is a spendthrift provision? It’s part of a document, a trust for example, that protects money Read More

6 Steps to Take When Executing an Estate

The person who executes or administers (the preferred term) an estate during probate is usually called the personal representative. The jobs of getting an estate through probate may seem simple. However, estates vary greatly in value and complexity. Generally, though, there are at least 6 steps to take when administering an estate. #1 Obtain Multiple Copies of the Death Certificate The personal representative may Read More

Do a Husband and Wife Need Separate Wills?

Many couples do all their financial and estate planning together. It seems expedient and keeps both of them completely informed. But is this always a good idea? Are there times when a husband and wife need separate Wills? His and Hers Estate Planning A joint Will is a single legal document that typically says the surviving spouse receives the entire estate. One big disadvantage to using a joint Will is that both Read More

Important Elements of a Will

When you’re dealing with a legal document, it’s important to get it right. For example, a Will that is written incorrectly or leaves out important elements of a Will may spell big trouble for your heirs. Fortunately, Florida law lays out the elements needed to make a valid Will under Florida law. The Testator One of the most important elements of a Will is actually a person – the testator. This is the person who Read More

Florida Elective Share Fundamentals

Dividing estate assets can be a thorny problem. In addition to a deceased person’s Will – assuming they prepared one – personal representatives and heirs may tackle family allowance eligibility, homestead laws, unusual Wills, and beneficiary designations that have not been updated for years. Add the following to that list of issues: the Florida Elective Share. What Is the Florida Elective Share? The surviving Read More

Understanding Elective Share

When someone dies, they leave behind heirs and sometimes a surviving spouse. Sometimes surviving spouses may be dismayed to learn they have been disinherited by the decedent, left a smaller share than expected, or simply not mentioned. When this happens, the surviving spouse may be able to claim an elective share of their spouse’s estate. What is an elective share? The surviving spouse of a deceased person may Read More

Revocable vs. Irrevocable Trust: Which Is Right for You?

Choosing the right tool often requires specific knowledge. You have to know what you want to accomplish and what the tool can do. When preparing your estate plan, you have a number of tools from which to choose, including revocable and irrevocable trusts. Both offer advantages and disadvantages. However, in a direct, head-to-head face off – revocable vs. irrevocable trust – which better suits your needs? Let’s Read More