What Is a Probate Estate Asset?

Gary served as executor of his dad’s estate. Molly prepared a complete estate plan, which she updated every year. James was concerned that the executor of his mother’s estate was not doing a good job. All three of these people at some point probably asked themselves, “What is a probate estate asset?” Frankly, it is not as cut and dried as it may seem. Probate Estate Asset or Not? When someone dies, they leave Read More

What Is Probate?

You have probably heard of probate. In fact, you may have read about celebrity estates gone bad or tips for avoiding probate altogether. Still, it is a good idea to understand exactly what it entails. Someday, you may be involved in probate for a loved one. Your loved ones may be involved in probating your estate also. Probate Defined Florida law defines probate of Will to mean “all steps necessary to establish the Read More

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

Estate Planning for the Single Adult

Esther shrugged as she read the headline, 4 Common Estate Planning Errors and How to Avoid Them. She didn’t bother to read the article. Esther thinks because she is young, single with no kids and a modest bank balance that she does not need an estate plan. Esther is wrong. Even single adults – young or not-so-young – need to do their estate planning. A Simple Will. Most adults own something – a car, furniture and 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

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

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

Estate Planning Lessons from George Washington and Abraham Lincoln

The President of the United States is one of the most powerful individuals in the world. The power held by this office (and the corresponding pressure) is mindboggling to the average person. Attention to detail, given the number of issues presidents consider, is critical. However, some presidents managed to ignore something as important as executing an effective Will. As George Washington and Abraham Lincoln found 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