Blog

What Happens if You Don’t Get Around to Making a Will?

A lot of people think that “the State” gets a portion of your assets if you die without a will, which is not the case. Florida has very detailed “default” rules outlining who inherits in probate estates where there is no Will. In most cases, the spouse inherits first, with some exceptions if there are… read more

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There’s Always a Plan, Just Not Always a Good Plan

If you do not plan your estate, the State will plan it for you. Whether they know it or not, everyone in this country has an estate plan. It’s either one they did themselves or one done for them by the state where they live. For some folks, the state’s plan for those who don’t… read more

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Wills Do Not Avoid Probate. They Steer the Probate

A very common misconception is that if Mom or Dad has a Will, no probate will be needed when they pass away. That is wrong. There are some steps people can take to avoid a probate administration when they die, but signing a Will is not one. That is because the Will is a “roadmap”… read more

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Hazard Insurance: Can’t Live With It, Can’t Live Without It

Where real property is being managed by the Personal Representative of a Florida estate, that person is often faced with asking themselves: what do I do about hazard insurance? When is it due for renewal? Will they renew the coverage? Homestead property- the deceased person’s permanent residence- is not necessarily the responsibility of the Personal… read more

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Is Summary Administration Always the Better Way, When Available?

Sometimes it is not practical to use a summary administration even if it is an option. Examples: The Will leaves the property to a large number of beneficiaries, each of whom would have to sign the contract to sell as well as the deed and other closing papers. If some of the beneficiaries are minors,… read more

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Death of a Seller Versus Death of a Buyer

In most cases, there is some lapse of time between the signing of a real estate transaction contract and the actual sale (the “closing”). What happens if, during this period, one of the parties to the contract dies? Surprisingly, the results depend on who dies. If a seller dies, usually the buyer has the right… read more

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Condo Assessments Can Grab Heirs in Cases of Homestead

It may not be safe for the heirs to just “walk away” from a homestead condo due to the law on condo association assessments. Inheriting a condominium is no longer safe to walk away from. The condo associations in Florida obviously have great lobbyists, because the Florida statute on fees and assessments owed by condo… read more

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No One HAS To Serve as Personal Representative

Sometimes the best advice is “Don’t Do It.” Sometimes the best advice we can give to prospective executors (in Florida called Personal Representatives) is, “Don’t do it.” Just because a Last Will names you as executor, that does not bind you. In some estates, the Will (usually not drafted by a lawyer) is so hard… read more

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Uncovering What Your Relative Left, and To Whom

When a loved one dies, what can you conclude from their bank or financial account statements? Not much. With increasing frequency, people are setting up bank accounts and investment accounts with a “designation of beneficiary” to transfer on death (TOD). Those stocks or funds do not go through probate. So if the next-of-kin or designated… read more

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Taking Care of a Florida Home During Probate

Many estates involve the decedent’s home, which passes to their children or other relatives who live in different states. This often poses a challenge for the beneficiaries to now have an additional house to take care of. For this reason, we want to share some useful tips for the new owners. First, be sure the… read more

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