Qualities to Look for in a Personal Representative

Choosing the right personal representative for your estate is an extremely important decision. Personal representatives take on responsibilities and duties that will affect loved ones. This is not a decision to be taken lightly, so you may want to consider some of the following qualities when looking for your ideal personal representative. Willing and Able Most of a personal representative’s duties begin as soon as Read More

How to Handle Unusual Estate Assets

Whether a deceased person leaves a valid Florida Will or not, their possessions must go somewhere, usually through probate. During a probate proceeding, a personal representative will be appointed to settle the decedent’s affairs and dispose of their estate assets. That sounds simple on paper, but the personal representative often has a huge job ahead of them. This is especially true when the estate includes unusual Read More

What’s an Annual Accounting?

Taking on responsibility for another person can be taxing. Florida law lays out duties and responsibilities of guardians. In addition, courts often supervise guardianships, along with requiring action from the people caring for the protected person (the ward). One such example is an annual accounting, which is also known as the guardian accounting. Guardianship Requirements When a person becomes incompetent, or no Read More

Florida Probate System

When people engage in estate planning discussions, the subject of probate is probably going to come up. Many people actively try to avoid probate. Yet, many people have poor estate plans that don’t protect them from probate or, even worse, don’t even have an estate plan. If you find yourself in the middle of a probate proceeding, it will help to understand the Florida probate system. The Purpose of Read More

Florida Ancillary Probate

Elizabeth, a 49-year old Washington resident, died leaving real property including a vacation home in Florida. Jack, an entrepreneur who lived in Massachusetts at the time of his death, left behind an estate that included credits due from Florida residents. And Dana passed away in Minnesota, but had liens on property located in Florida. What do these three people have in common? Their estates will all be subject to a Read More

What Are My Rights as the Surviving Spouse?

When a spouse passes away, the surviving spouse has many decisions to make. It’s important to know a surviving spouse’s rights as those decisions are made. Fortunately, Florida statutes contain provisions stating certain surviving spouse rights. Will vs. Intestate The first thing to learn is whether the deceased person (the decedent) executed a valid Will. If so, probate assets will pass in compliance with the Read More

Florida Probate with an Out-of-State Executor

Probate technically means the proving of a deceased person’s Will. It also means the time during which the executor or personal representative settles the deceased person’s estate. The whole probate process can be time consuming, and it’s even worse when the executor doesn’t live nearby. Proceedings in a Florida court with an out-of-state executor require a little extra attention. Probate Proceedings in Read More

The No-Beneficiary Estate

Estates come in all sizes, both in the value of the estate assets and the number of people involved. Some people write Wills that name an executor and several beneficiaries. Some don’t. In fact, only about 44% of Americans have written a Will. But whether a Will exists, estate assets not disposed of in any other way must still be transferred to someone through a process known as “probate.” A person is referred to as Read More

Managing Assets During Probate

One purpose of estate planning is to avoid probate, but sometimes probate is unavoidable.  It may take some time until the executor is legally able to distribute assets.  How will the executor go about managing assets during probate? Executor Duties During Probate An estate executor, also known as a personal representative, is charged with settling and distributing an estate according to the decedent’s Will and Read More

Characteristics of Properly Executed Will

Legal documents are sometimes invalidated because they were signed incorrectly, not dated, not notarized, or not signed at all. Meeting legal requirements is especially critical when it comes to your Last Will and Testament. After all, people may not learn a Will is deficient until it is too late to have the testator re-do the document. It’s important to know what constitutes a properly executed Will. How can we Read More