When A Beneficiary Dies Before Probate Ends
It happens sometimes. An heir at law or a beneficiary under a Last Will survives the decedent, and then dies before the probate administration is complete. What happens to that beneficiary’s share? The answer is clear, if you take it one step at a time. First, if there was a Last Will naming the beneficiary,… read moreRead More
A Deed Is Not Title
Probate deals with real property a lot – houses, condos, vacant lots, commercial buildings. Our clients often confuse the word “title” with “deed.” They will refer to a deed when they really mean title, as in “When does probate give me my deed?” One reason for the confusion is that, for motor vehicles, there is… read moreRead More
Death Does Not Stop a Corporation or LLC
Besides taxes and liabilities, there is another good reason to incorporate a sole proprietorship: what happens when you die. There are often several good reasons to incorporate a business that is a “sole proprietorship” (one man or woman doing business or offering professional services). In addition to shielding against some liabilities and saving taxes in… read moreRead More
Probate and Taxes (Oversimplified)
Taxes are confusing to most folks. We are often asked by executors and heirs, “Do I need to worry about taxes?” No offense to the IRS, but that’s like asking if you need to worry about snakes. The answer is: it depends on the snake. For taxes, it depends on whether you are talking about… read moreRead More
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 moreRead More
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 moreRead More
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 moreRead More
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 moreRead More
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 moreRead More
Are Life Insurance Proceeds Assets in Probate?
Normally life insurance proceeds go directly to the name beneficiaries and are not probate assets. Unless payable to your own estate, death benefits payable under your life insurance policies are NOT estate assets, which means they do not go according to your Will and which sometimes means they go to the “wrong people.” Money paid… read moreRead More