Wills

Grandchildren inherit in probate unless otherwise stated

A common myth in Florida: in order to inherit from a parent, a child must survive the parent. In Florida that is not true. A pre-deceased child does inherit when the parent dies, but does so through their own children (in other words, through the grandchildren of the person who just died). Let’s say John,… 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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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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Why Trustees Open a Florida Probate Administration

One of the big reasons one would consider setting up a Living Trust (technically called “inter vivos trust,” meaning a trust created while you are alive) is to avoid a probate administration after your death. By correctly titling all of your assets (except for personal effects, cash and other assets which are not “titled”) in… read more

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Another change for the Florida chameleon: Homestead

No tears were shed this year when the Florida Legislature finally – after far too many years – revised that portion of the homestead law that competed for the “worst idea” among all Florida laws. That would be sec. 732.401, F.S.., which stated that if the homestead were owned only by the married person who… read more

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Top Five Mistakes in Florida Wills

#5 Unqualified Executor – This is a common mistake because most states have no residency requirement for executors. A Personal Representative (“PR”) in Florida must be either a Florida resident or related to the decedent, within the prescribed range, by blood or marriage. Many retirees and snowbirds get caught on this problem when they name… read more

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Important Change to Florida law

Who inherits, and how much, when there is no Last Will Starting October 1, 2011, step-parents in Florida have even more incentive to have a Last Will. Without a will, the surviving spouse inherits much less of the estate if either of the parents has children by any other relationship. Thankfully, the results below can… read more

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Finally, a book to recommend

People often ask us if we can recommend estate administration or estate planning services, software or books, and we’ve been looking, honestly. Sadly, the answer is usually “no.” Florida law has just enough oddities that anything written for a national audience almost always fails to spot all the places where Florida law differs. But we’re… read more

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“What Is Probate, Anyway?”

A primer on Florida probate – what it is and how it works. Probate is the name of a court process for transferring ownership of property after the owner’s death to the persons who have inherited that property. Probate happens whether or not the person now deceased left a Last Will. A Last Will never… read more

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Original Wills

You have a family member who has passed away. You have diligently searched and located the original Will. Now what do you do with it? Take good care of that original Will until you can get it into court! First, confirm it is the original Will, not just a good copy. There is a world… read more

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