Boyes, Farina & Matwiczyk

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Tagged: wills

Florida Probate – Public Record

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….

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Ancillary Probate

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. 

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Void or Lapsed Devises

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. …

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No Will? Who is to be the Personal Representative?

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. …

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Unclaimed Property and Florida Probate

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….

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Appointing a Trustee? Consider a professional.

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. …

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Florida’s Elective Share Overview

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. …

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Interested Person Properly Challenges Estate Administration Expenses

Duff-Esformes v. Mukamal, 332 So. 3d 17 (Fla. 3d DCA 2021)

The appellant in this case, Elizabeth Ann Duff-Esformes, was the Decedent’s surviving spouse, one of two beneficiaries of the Decedent’s estate.  The other beneficiary was the residual beneficiary, the Nathan J. Esformes Living Trust, to which the appellant was the sole beneficiary as well. …

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Common Questions About Guardianships For Minors

…For Florida parents with children under the age of 18, the naming of a guardian for minor children is an important part of an estate plan. Generally it is relatively simple to nominate a guardian and even though it may be difficult to talk about, a guardianship plan should not be put off.

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When It’s Time To Handle Estate Planning

…While it is a good idea for all adults to have a will, there are certain times in people’s life when having a will becomes essential. If a person in Florida dies without a will, they are considered intestate, and not only will their assets be divided based upon state laws, if a person has children, the state will also determine who will raise them.

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