Estate tax and related planning
April 3, 2023
The estate tax affects only certain estates: in 2023 it applies to estates exceeding a taxable value of $12.92 million, which is taxed at a rate of 40%. While this does not give cause for concern to many, these figures can and do change. Estate tax is often debated in politics and it frequently changes. …
All Shook Up: Lisa Marie Presley’s Trust
March 22, 2023
In January 2023, Elvis Presley’s only daughter, Lisa Marie, died. Multiple online news sources subsequently reported that Lisa Marie’s mother, Priscilla Presley, filed documents in a California court alleging that Lisa Marie’s 2016 Trust Amendment is invalid. More specifically, online news sources reported that the trust amendment contains a misspelling of Priscilla’s name, there was a failure to notify Priscilla of the trust amendment, the signature of Lisa Marie looks atypical, and there is a lack of witnesses and notarization on the document….
Modifying or Reforming an Irrevocable Trust?
February 13, 2023
The question of whether an irrevocable trust can be changed, amended, reformed or modified is one with an almost-surprising answer. Can this happen? Yes, it can.
Pursuant to Florida’s Trust Code, Chapter 736 of the Florida Statutes, an irrevocable trust can be modified if the modification or change is consistent with the intent of the grantor (i.e., the creator of the trust itself). …
Florida Probate – Public Record
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.
Void or Lapsed Devises
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. …
No Will? Who is to be the Personal Representative?
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. …
Unclaimed Property and Florida Probate
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….
Appointing a Trustee? Consider a professional.
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. …
Florida’s Elective Share Overview
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. …