Boyes, Farina & Matwiczyk



The probate court cannot prematurely discharge a personal representative, but must allow for the statutory time for objections to be filed with the court

Florida Probate Rule 5.400, entitled “Distribution and Discharge”, requires a personal representative to file a final accounting and a petition for discharge, together with a plan of distribution.  This is filed once the personal representative has completed their administration process and are about to distribute the last remaining assets.  One of the items which is also part of the petition for discharge is listing the compensation paid or proposed to be paid. …

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Relation Back Doctrine

The recent case of Estate of McKenzie through McIntosch v. High Rise Crane, Inc., 326 So. 3d 1161 (Fla. 1st DCA 2021) emphasized that a personal representative’s powers relate back and have the same effect as those occurring after a personal representative’s appointment. 

Specifically, the First District looked at the “relation back doctrine” as set forth in Fla….

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Removal of a Personal Representative in a Florida Estate

Generally speaking, a personal representative is charged with a fiduciary duty to administer the estate for the interest of its beneficiaries, and is required to observe the same standards of care as trustees.  Fla. Stat. 733.602(1).

A personal representative’s duties are set forth in the Florida Probate Code (Fla.

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What to do with a Decedent’s original last will?

When someone dies in Florida, their original last will is to be deposited – or filed – in the probate court, in the county where that person resided.  The parameters for this are set forth in Florida Statute 732.901 (which states, in relevant part):

732.901 Production of wills.—…

The custodian of a will must deposit the will with the clerk of the court having venue of the estate of the decedent within 10 days after receiving information that the testator is dead.

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Subsequent Estate Administration

One may wonder what happens when additional property is discovered after an estate is closed and distributions are made to the beneficiaries.  For example, a life insurance policy, an unknown bank account, or perhaps some stocks may be discovered after the estate is closed.

In Florida, the method for dealing with this later-discovered additional property is governed by Florida Statute 733.903 and Florida Probate Rule 5.460 for “Subsequent Administration”. …

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Pet Trusts – Considering the What Ifs

Pets become members of your family.  You love them dearly, care for them and want to be sure they are also loved and cared for if they survive you after you die.  You may wish to consider including provisions for them in your estate plan. If do not have provisions for your pet in your estate planning documents, then you may wonder how your pet will be cared for after your death….

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Amendments to Florida’s Slayer Statutes

Effective on July 1, 2021, the Florida legislature expanded its slayer statutes, to now include provisions to disinherit those persons who “abuse, neglect, exploit, or commit aggravated manslaughter” against an elderly or disabled person. See Fla. Stat. 733.303, 732.8031, and 736.1104. 

If the person in question has been convicted by a court of abuse, neglect, exploitation, or aggravated manslaughter against the decedent, this creates a “rebuttable presumption” in favor of disinheritance. …

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Forged Wills

Florida Statute 732.502 requires the following for a will to be valid:

Execution of wills.—Every will must be in writing and executed as follows:

(1)(a) Testator’s signature.—

1. The testator must sign the will at the end; or

2. The testator’s name must be subscribed at the end of the will by some other person in the testator’s presence and by the testator’s direction….

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Electronic Wills

Electronic wills were authorized when the Florida Senate voted unanimously on HB 409, and the bill was subsequently signed into law.  This new legislation can be found in Fla. Stat. 732.521 through 732.525.

This is a big change in Florida law, because in addition to having the requisite testamentary capacity, Florida traditionally required strict compliance with the will execution rules, particularly Fla….

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Holographic Wills

If a Will clearly explains your wishes upon your death, does it matter if it is typed or if it is in your own handwriting? What if a Will is in a decedent’s own handwriting?  These nuances are very important, and these nuances affect the admissibility of the Will in Florida.

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