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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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....
Most of us want to leave as much of our property to our families as possible. But in many cases after someone passes away, they leave behind debts that must be paid, too. Many states, including Florida, have enacted laws to protect certain property. While developing your estate plan, take time to find out if you...
When someone dies without leaving a valid Last Will and Testament, they are referred to as being “intestate.” But dying without a Will doesn’t mean there’s no estate to distribute to appropriate parties. It just means there’s no document stating how to do it. If there’s no Will, Florida law still provides a way to settle...
The most commonly held notion about probate is that it is a negative and difficult process that should always be avoided if possible. This misconception is an oversimplification of the truth that does not account for certain aspects of probate that may be desirable under certain circumstances. THE PROS AND CONS OF PROBATE Probate is the...