January 31, 2023
Sometimes testators include no contest clauses in their estate planning documents, thinking that these will help ensure their wishes will be honored after their death. No contest clauses, or “in terrorem clauses”, basically serve as a deterrent to a beneficiary of a will or trust, who might otherwise seek to challenge the terms of the will or trust, including bringing litigation regarding the will or trust. …
January 25, 2023
A question often asked by potential clients is whether a probate case or probate court records can be somehow shielded from being publicly found in court records. The short answer to this question is no.
A probate court record consists of the court-filed documents, which includes, among other things, a copy of the will, the petition for administration (seeking to admit that will to probate), the order which appoints the personal representative (Florida’s term for “executor”) and the Letters of Administration providing that personal representative to act on behalf of the estate, the probate inventory, and the estate’s accounting….
December 6, 2022
Ancillary probate administration matters are secondary to domiciliary probate. Ancillary probate comes into play when a non-Florida resident dies owning real estate or other tangible property in another state, but owned property also in Florida. Chapter 734 of the Florida Statutes is the ancillary probate section of Florida’s Probate Code.
December 6, 2022
Tortious interference claims occur when one commits tortious conduct in an attempt to deprive or interfere with the inheritance of another, such as by way of fraud or duress, which interferes with the inheritance or gift going to whom the decedent had intended.
In such an instance, if the third party was successful in not allowing that inheritance or gift go through, a claim for tortious interference with an expectancy may be sought….
November 23, 2022
What To Do With Old Wills
Updating your estate plan every few years, and particularly after a big life event (such as death, divorce, having a child, etc.), is most often an estate planner’s recommendation. That being said, people do not always follow those recommendations. Sometimes wills which are 10 or more years old are brought in by a client seeking to open up a probate. …
October 26, 2022
In an intestate estate – i.e., an estate in which the Decedent died without having a will – the state of Florida’s Probate Code statutes dictate how the Decedent’s assets will be distributed.
Assuming the Decedent was married, the surviving spouse typically is the one appointed as the personal representative. …
October 7, 2022
There are a handful of reasons why a Florida trust might be terminated. Often a trustee no longer wants to serve as a trustee or the beneficiaries no longer want a trust, but the trust may indeed terminate by its very terms. In other words, the trust may have an expiration date. …
October 3, 2022
Unclaimed or abandoned property refers to financial assets which have not had contact with its owner, are unknown or lost, or have been left inactive or not generated any activity by its owner, or are otherwise somehow unclaimed or abandoned by its owner. Some common types of unclaimed property include bank accounts (both checking and savings accounts), stocks, annuities, certificates of deposit from financial institutions, uncashed dividends, payroll checks, traveler’s checks, trust distributions, unredeemed money orders, insurance payments or refunds, life insurance policy payments, utility security deposits, and even contents of safe deposit boxes….
September 26, 2022
A trustee is charged with protecting and investing trust assets and administering those assets per the terms of the trust agreement for the benefit of the trust’s beneficiaries. See Fla. Stat. 736.0801 et seq.
While this sounds like a basic premise, there are some important functions which a trustee must do in their fiduciary role. …
September 15, 2022
In Florida, one cannot completely disinherit their spouse. The right to a surviving spouse’s estate is called the elective share, which is thirty percent (30%) of the decedent-spouse’s estate. Fla. Stat. 732.2065. Indeed, a decedent’s surviving spouse is entitled to four different rights which come into play in the absence of a valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. …