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Category: Probate Information

Florida Probate Code — secrets & essentials for family members, beneficiaries and even trustees

Probate Information Apr 19, 2021
post about Florida Probate Code — secrets & essentials for family members, beneficiaries and even trustees

Billions and billions of dollars flow through and around Florida probates. Many times the Florida resident uses a last will to leave inheritances. Sometimes, the will pours over into a revocable trust. Which is now irrevocable. To understand your rights, you need to understand the Florida Probate Code. Whether you are a trustee or a beneficiary who got cut out. Think of the probate code as two big volumes of laws. One tells you who inherits if there is no will. The other tells you all about probating a Florida will. For an easy-2-understand, Plain-English look at the Florida Probate Code, read below. For a free VIDEO library of insightful, free Florida Estate and Trust Topics, click HERE. The Basics The Florida Probate Code is made up of statutes. Florida laws. They are different than the Florida Probate Rules. And the rules of civil procedure. The probate code has a lot of definitions. It also tells you about starting a probate. Starting the administration process. Why is that important? Because that’s what the law says. When we die, there are all these special rules for dealing with the dead person’s money. And her creditors. And expenses of administration. Beneficiaries get paid last. When there is not enough money to give out, the probate code has laws for that, too. There are many, many rules for gifts or inheritances. Like, what if a piece of land is left to you in the will. But the land was sold 5 years ago. […]

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Florida Trust Code — what you need to know

FAQs Apr 19, 2021

The Florida Trust Code is a set of statutes. It sets the groundwork for all Florida trust matters. Everything from the trustee-beneficiary relationship. Creating and ending trusts. And, of course, judicial proceedings like lawsuits and removal actions. To get a plain-English background of this body of Florida law, keep reading. We will point you to the most important parts of the trust code. Whether you are a beneficiary, trustee, or adult child of a beneficiary or trust creator. And, yes, if you got cut out of a trust, there’s information for you, as well. If you would like to see a number of focused, informative Florida Trust & Probate Videos for free. Click HERE for an outstanding video library on important Florida estate and trust legal topics. Now, let’s show you what to read in the trust code, and we’ll name specific statutes for your to read. This is “user-friendly”. There is a link to more information on the part we are writing about, so you can read or learn more on a particular topic if you want. The Background First, you should know the background. The Florida Trust Code is a set of statutes. These statutes are found at Florida Statutes Chapter 736. The trust code is similar to the Florida Probate Code and the Florida Guardianship Code. How? They set forth what our legislature wants you to know about those particular topics. Why mention them? Because they can all interconnect. If you have a guardianship of a wealth […]

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Lost or Destroyed Will Florida

Probate Information Apr 13, 2021
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Lost wills are gone forever, right? Not so fast. How in the world can you probate a will if it is lost or destroyed? Well, believe it or not, there is a mechanism for Florida probates to do just that. But the rules are tricky and you need to jump through all the hoops. We have previously provided steps, tips and rules for probating a Lost Will Florida. Now, let’s go one step further. Here’s what you need to know in plain-English about a Lost or Destroyed Will Florida. Step by Step Most people don’t believe that you can have a will that was lost or destroyed admitted to probate. But you can. You have to first understand the rules and procedure. Next, you have to get in touch with disinterested witnesses about the will. Finally, you have to “prove it up” so to speak. What does that mean? It means that you have to reveal the terms of the trust. With precision. It today’s world with emails, .pdf’s, electronic copies and scanners, that is not as hard as it may sound. After all, doesn’t everybody scan and save documents? Truth be told, proving up a lost or destroyed will Florida is a lot more challenging than, for example, a contract. But that’s what great probate lawyers in Florida are for, right? Oh yes, don’t forget about the presumption. In Florida Probate Law, there is a presumption that the will was destroyed. If the will was last in the possession […]

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Florida Statutes Contesting a Will

Probate Information Apr 12, 2021

There are a handful of Florida Statutes that family members and heirs should read before you contest a will. And if you are non-family member, but were cut out of a will, you need to understanding the Florida Probate Process. You can read these laws for free and relatively quickly. Below is a plain-English, easy-2-understand guide to Florida Statutes Contesting a Will. To see a FREE LEGAL VIDEO about a will contest, CLICK HERE. Florida Probate Code vs. The Rules Start by reading the Florida Probate Code. That begins with Florida Statutes 731 and goes forward. It provides some excellent background like a definitions section. That will help you determine “who’s who.” One of the first things you need to do is determine standing. Do you have the legal ability to contest a will? If you are a beneficiary or personal representative under a prior will, you have standing. But not everyone has standing, including some close family members. To read about heirship + standing and a recent decision, click HERE. There are more probate statutes about judicial proceedings and trying to revoke probate. Getting Ready to Contest Contesting a will in Florida can be done before probate is opened, or after. But, it has to be done after someone’s death, not before. If a probate has not been opened, then open one by filing a petition for administration. If a probate is already open, then file a response to the Petition for Administration. Then file a Petition to Revoke […]

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Probate Contingency Fee– how does it work in Florida?

Probate Information Apr 10, 2021
post about Probate Contingency Fee– how does it work in Florida?

A probate contingency fee may be appropriate for certain, limited heirs, family members and beneficiaries. But before you hire a lawyer for your Florida probate matter, consider the pro’s and con’s. Make sure you get your contract in writing and understand your rights and obligations. We have written about CONTINGENCY FEES in Florida before. Now, let’s focus on them in a probate case. Whether they make sense or not. For a FREE CONTINGENCY FEE VIDEO, click here. Such a compensation arrangement may be appropriate to help you get the legal representation you need to be heard in court. These type of fee arrangements may make sense for trust cases, inheritance lawsuits and probates. And I’m not talking just about a will contest. Every day, it seems that beneficiaries need legal representation to deal with their trustee or executor. And the Personal Representative. Does it make sense? When is a probate contingency fee appropriate and does it make sense? Well, many times family members want to OBJECT TO A WILL in Florida. But, they can’t afford a probate lawyer to handle their trial. After all, a will contest, for example, is a trial. And there’s lots of work that goes into preparing your case for trial. Witnesses to depose, hearings, research, discovery and gathering EVIDENCE. Many times, a family member or heir does not have thousands of dollars to pay for a probate trial. Or even to pay a retainer. Important Points That’s where a contingency fee may make sense. Here […]

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Florida Heirship

Probate Information Apr 10, 2021
post about Florida Heirship

Who inherits from a Florida estate if you are not sure if the deceased person is your parent? Well, Florida law permits you to ask a Probate Judge to determine if you are a child. Many times, after someone dies, adult children come to the estate and suggest that they are a child. They want to inherit or have LEGAL STANDING to Contest The Will. A child might inherit under a POUR OVER WILL, from an intestate estate, or even from a Florida Trust. We have written about a Petition to Determine Heirs before. Now, you can read an April 1, 2021 opinion from Florida’s 5th District Court of Appeal on Florida Heirship. And what it takes to establish paternity. (Hint: it takes more than having a person’s name on your birth certificate.) How to Inherit If There Is No Florida Will If there is no Florida will, we say that the Florida Probate is an INTESTATE ESTATE. You can read the Florida Probate Code laws on an Intestate Estate by clicking HERE. Heirs inherit when there is no will in Florida. We previously posted free Florida probate commentary on Heirs . That link includes a consideration of who is a Florida Heir? Florida Heirship Appeal: April 1, 2021 In this April 1, 2021 Florida Heirship appeal, a Personal Representative/ Appellant, won. His appeal victory caused a reversal of a summary judgment (probate court) ruling. The Probate Judge found an adult claiming to be a child was an “heir” and […]

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Florida Life Insurance Trusts

Probate Information Apr 5, 2021
post about Florida Life Insurance Trusts

Florida Life Insurance Trusts hold billions and billions of dollars. And with good reason. Most Floridians have some type of life insurance. And if you place the insurance into an irrevocable trust the correct way, it can be income and estate tax free. But, admittedly, there can be a lot of probate litigation of life insurance and trusts when the insured life dies. A March 31, 2021 opinion from the 4th District Court of Appeal tells us how to interpret, or read, insurance contracts when there is a disagreement. We have previously provided commentary on DIVORCE and LIFE INSURANCE. Now, let’s discuss policy construction or interpretation. For a free legal video of how to make a claim for life insurance money, CLICK HERE. Life Insurance’s Role Life insurance shifts the risk of loss to another — the insurance company. It is used by family law or divorce attorneys in Florida a lot. Many times, a divorcing couple have minor children. When they get divorced, often someone is getting life insurance for the minors. In the corporate or business context, Estate Planning Lawyers often see companies purchase life insurance. They want money if a key employee or executive dies. For family businesses, life insurance can create liquidity to pay estate taxes or expenses when a wealthy individual dies. But many times parties have a disagreement about a CHANGE OF BENEFICIARY to a policy. Many times former spouses or ex spouses fight over ENTITLEMENT to a life insurance contract after the death […]

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Probate Foreclosure Case

Probate Information Apr 3, 2021
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A March 31, 2001 appeal sheds light on heirs at law dealing with a foreclosure case. In Florida, lots of wealthy people die. Sometimes, for whatever reason, there is a foreclosure case. That’s not the end of the world. Heirs can still inherit. Remember. Foreclosure cases are only the lender saying “hey, I want to get paid.” Sometimes, because the homeowner is dead, mortgage payments are missed. That can innocently cause the property to go into foreclosure. That does NOT necessarily mean that the heirs lose the house. And it does NOT mean that the family loses all that money. To the contrary, if you have a good probate litigator. Many times, EXPERIENCED, TOUGH FLORIDA PROBATE LAWYERS can negotiate for you and work through the foreclosure. The goal is to try to get an inheritance for beneficiaries and family members. Yes, HEIRS can inherit. Anyway, read this Florida Appeals Court opinion about a motion for a continuance and a probate foreclosure case. Foreclosure Appeal The owner of the Florida residence died. He had a reverse mortgage on the property. The lender sued. The heirs responded. They mediated their case. They settled. There was actually no probate opened to clear the title. They wanted to open a Florida Probate. But here’s where the interesting part of this Probate Foreclosure Case is. No one continued the trial. This 2021 2nd District Court of Appeal opinion sheds light on seeking a continuance from a trial. You have to file a motion for a […]

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Florida Power of Appointment Trust Case

Probate Information Mar 29, 2021
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A January 11, 2021 1st District Court of Appeal appellate opinion sheds light on Florida Power of Appointment Law. A power of appointment is a great power to give, or not give, money and property to others. But remember, an attorney reminds us that they can also be a power of dis-appointment. Many family members want to know what went wrong when they are not left trust money. This can cause trust lawsuits. The power has to be exercised properly, or they don’t work. Recent Caselaw from 1st DCA The 1st District Court of Appeal issued its opinion on January 11, 2021. The case is Ammeen v. Sjogren. This recent case dealt with two important Florida legal issues for probate and trusts. First, can someone who has a power of appointment bind others, even potential trust beneficiaries? This is an issue of REPRESENTATION. Second, who has standing to bring a trust lawsuit when there is a power of appointment? Florida Statutes The Florida Legislature has specific statutes on Florida Power of Appointment law. Fla. Stat. 709.02- 709.07 can be read for free by CLICKING THIS LINK. Chapter 709 of the Florida Statutes deals with Powers of Attorney and also Powers of Appointment. Don’t get them confused. Part I of Chapter 709 deals with Florida Power of Appointment Law. A Power of Appointment is a power given by someone typically called the “grantor” of the power. The one who can exercise the power is often called the “grantee” or “powerholder.” You […]

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Aiding and Abetting Breach of Fiduciary Duty in Florida

Probate Information Mar 25, 2021
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If someone helped a fiduciary breach their fiduciary duty, is that someone responsible, too? A March 24, 2021 appeal from Florida’s 3rd District Court of Appeal discusses aiding and abetting a breach of fiduciary duty in Florida. We have previously commented on Breach of Fiduciary Duty under Florida law. Now, let’s consider this new case. Miami Dade Appeals Court Decision The Miami Dade Appeals Court, the 3rd DCA, issued its opinion in Grape Leaf Capital, Inc. v. Lafontant. In that case, a Personal Representative of a Florida estate was alleged to have received a loan. The “executor” was alleged to have entered into a loan agreement in exchange for proceeds to be recovered from a wrongful death case. In Florida, a wrongful death case is brought on behalf of the estate. The court-appointed Personal Representative of the Florida Probate is the plaintiff. Miami Dade Probate In this recent appeal case, some lawyers were alleged to have “substantially assisted” the personal representative breaching her fiduciary duty. A breach of fiduciary duty exists when you have the following. A duty owed to someone, a breach of a duty that causes damage. So, what does aiding and abetting a breach of fiduciary duty mean? A cause of action, or lawsuit, for aiding and abetting a breach of fiduciary duty is comprised of 4 things or elements. First, you need to have a fiduciary duty. Second, a breach of that duty. Third, you need knowledge of the breach by the alleged aider and abettor. […]

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