Boyes, Farina & Matwiczyk

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Notables

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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Annual Guardianship Accountings

One requirement in serving as a guardian for a ward, particularly a guardian of the property, is the annual filing of an accounting.  Annual guardianship accountings are required pursuant to Fla. Stat. 744.3678 and Fla. Prob. R. 5.695.  The Rules also set forth the requirements for the contents of the guardianship accounting and provide a form for same as part of the Rules. …

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Florida Ancillary Probate Administration

Ancillary probate occurs in a situation when a decedent dies leaving real estate and or other personal property in a state other than their state of residence.

The primary, main, or domiciliary probate will take place in the state in which the decedent resided at the time of his or her death.

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What if a beneficiary dies before the probate concludes?

What happens to a beneficiary’s share under a Will if he or she dies before the probate administration is concluded?

If the Will named that beneficiary, there may be provisions for his or her succession, including whether there was a required survival period.  If so, then the beneficiary’s share may well be given to someone else pursuant to the Will….

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