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News/Blog

4th DCA: What’s a “qualified beneficiary” and why should trustees care?

February 20, 2019

Under Florida’s Trust Code there are two classes of beneficiaries, and which class you fall in is a big deal.

As defined in F.S. 736.0103(4), the term “beneficiary” refers to the entire universe of persons who have a beneficial interest in a trust, as well as to any person who has a power of appointment over trust property in a capacity other than as trustee. For purposes of this definition it’s immaterial whether the beneficial interest is present or future, vested or contingent, or whether the person having the interest is ascertainable or even living….

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Judy Daily Achieves Paralegal Certification National Association of Legal Assistants Certified Paralegal, Celebrates 20 Years with Firm

February 13, 2019

Judy Daily has recently achieved her national paralegal certification from The National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). Recognized by the American Bar Association as a designation of a high level of professional achievement, the Certified Paralegal (CP) credential signifies that a paralegal is capable of providing superior services to law firms, corporations and their clients.

“I pursued my paralegal certification to deepen my knowledge in the field of law,” Daily said. “The rigorous program required copious amounts of self-discipline and an intensive study regimen that has made me more confident and effective in my position.”

A paralegal and assistant to Partner John Farina, Daily has over 26 years of experience in the legal field, 20 of them with Boyes, Farina &…

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Rizk v. Rizk, 2018 WL 631228 (Fla. 3d DCA Dec. 4, 2018)

February 7, 2019

Issues surrounding wills executed outside of the state of Florida, or even outside of the country, may present an interesting analysis on whether the will can be determined valid in Florida.

In this recent opinion from the Fourth District Court of Appeal, the Decedent’s brother was a Haitian native, and just a few months before his death, he prepared a will pursuant to the dictates of Haitian law. Per the court’s opinion, this requires the testator to dictate the will to a Haitian notary, who transcribes it and reads it back to the testator, after which the will is signed by the testator, a notary, and 4 witnesses, and the original will is registered by the notary with the Haitian Tax Office and the notary keeps the original….

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Cook v. Cook, 2018 WL 4520379 (Fla. 4th DCA Sept. 20, 2018, rehearing granted Nov. 28, 2018)

January 31, 2019

The ward in this guardianship case was found to be completely incapacitated, and the trial court imposed a plenary guardianship on him. However, the Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed, finding that the three-person examining committee made their determinations for purposes of their required reports, reporting that a plenary guardianship should be imposed, and without conducting comprehensive examinations of the prospective ward. What does this mean? As a matter of public policy, individual rights and freedoms should not be restricted unless necessary for the safety and protection of your loved one….

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Senopoulos v. Senopoulos, 253 So. 3d 1228 (Fla. 3d DCA 2018)

January 24, 2019

A probate court has the authority to appoint someone to serve as personal representative other than the statutorily entitled person to serve, if, on evaluating a person’s fitness to serve, it makes appropriate findings.

In this recent Third District Court of Appeal opinion, the trial court’s decision was reversed because it failed to make such requisite findings. Here, the decedent and his wife were married for just four days before the Decedent died. The Decedent’s father filed a petition for Administration, seeking appointment as the estate’s Personal Representative….

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2019 Estate Planning

January 16, 2019

As the new year begins, and rather than wait for a life event to happen when you wish you had looked at your estate plan, now is a great time to review your current financial and estate plans. Even your plan that is just a few years old may be outdated, and so it may be time for an update.

For example, you may start planning for any gifts you wish to make in 2019. An individual now can give up to $15,000 to each recipient, without any limit on number of gifts;…

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New Year’s Resolution – Review Your Finances and Estate Plan

December 30, 2018

While the holiday season may be the busiest time of year, it’s a great time to take a look at your financial and estate planning.

As the year comes to an end, consider making gifts to lower your tax liability, and start planning for any gifts you might want to make during the next calendar year. In 2018, individuals can give up to $15,000 to each recipient, with no limit on the number of gifts. Married couples can combine their gifts, allowing them to give up to $30,000 to each individual….

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Timing Matters with Community Property Claims

November 19, 2018

Several states and foreign jurisdictions recognize the concept of “community property.” Community property generally consists of any property purchased during a marriage, as well as any income received or debts incurred. However, it generally does not include assets or debts acquired before the marriage, or inheritances or gifts received by one spouse during the marriage. When a spouse dies, the survivor is entitled to half of any assets falling within the community property guidelines.

Florida is not a community property state, but state law provides that assets qualifying as community property in other jurisdictions be recognized as such when a spouse passes away….

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Taking Stock of Artwork & Collectibles

October 15, 2018

When constructing an estate plan, it is important to consider any art and collectibles. As anyone who’s watched an episode of Antiques Roadshow has seen, these items don’t have to be original Picassos to be monetarily valuable. Many people are unaware of the true worth of their pieces, over- or undervaluing them based on sentiment, family lore, or just plain lack of information.

The IRS defines collectibles as works of art, rugs, antiques, metals, gems, stamps coins, alcoholic beverages, or “other tangible personal property the IRS determines is a collectible.” In other words, a collectible could be anything from a sculpture to a comic book to a bottle of wine….

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