Will Creditor Claims on Property Upset My Estate Plans?

Dan D. owned several businesses, including some with high potential liability. For example, his roller skating rink had been sued several times. His boat tours of the coast were enjoyable, but there was always the possibility of property damage, injury or even death. Some of his other business concerns carried fairly high levels of debt. In fact, any time someone owns property or a business, there is the potential Read More

Techniques for Keeping Your Probate Estate Small

Probate – it seems like something most people want to avoid or minimize at the very least. However, a decedent’s property must pass through probate to heirs and beneficiaries, right? Not always. There are techniques for keeping your probate estate small that may help your heirs get their inheritance more quickly and pay less in expenses. An important goal, then, may be to keep Assets OUT of Your Estate. But Read More

Probate in Florida: Summary or Formal Administration

Probate is a procedure where assets owned by a deceased person (the decedent) are distributed to heirs. In addition, debts owed by the decedent are paid by the estate, if possible. Florida probate proceedings generally proceed in one of two forms: summary administration and formal administration. First, What Are Probate Assets? Property that the decedent owned at the time of death may be considered probate assets. Read More

Know the Facts Before You Say Yes: Agreeing to Serve as Trustee

When a friend or loved one asks us to do something, we often say yes without giving the request any deep thought. But some requests carry with them responsibility and even potential liability, like being named an agent in a durable power of attorney or the trustee to a trust. If you’re thinking of agreeing to serve as trustee, there are some important factors to consider. The trust document is a legal document Read More

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