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Category: Probate Information

Estate Claims in Florida — how to deal with them

FAQs Dec 2, 2021
post about Estate Claims in Florida — how to deal with them

Many times, you have to make a claim in a Florida probate or estate to get your money. That’s if you are considered a “creditor.” On the other hand… Often, if you are beneficiary or an executor, you have to deal with those creditors and estate claims. Should you pay them? Are they valid? You can OBJECT to those claims if appropriate. This Florida Probate Commentary will deal with estate claims. To read more about making a claim, you can click HERE. Now, let’s find out quickly and concisely what you need to know. Estate Claims — what are they and how do I get paid? Estate claims are claims made against a deceased Florida resident. They are sometimes referred to as creditors claims. Why? If you are owed something from a dead person, you are her creditor. A creditor’s rights and status are different than those of a BENEFICIARY. Since the Florida resident (who owes you something ) is now dead, you have to make your claim against her estate. What is an estate claim? Think of a claim as an assertion of a right. It may be a right to get re-paid, like from a loan you made to the dead person. Or it may be a right to buy certain property. Think real estate or an interest in a Florida LLC when a member dies. How do I do make my claim? File Your Claim ! If you are owed any money from someone who died, you […]


Estate Objections in Florida

In the News Dec 1, 2021
post about Estate Objections in Florida

Sometimes, to exercise your rights in a Florida probate, you have to file estate objections. This is particularly true with a surviving spouse . Why? Because a spouse has a lot of legal rights and options in a probate. Elections to make–or not make. What about compensation and attorneys fees? Yup, someone might object to them. A November 24, 2021 case discusses when one has standing in a Florida estate or probate to object. Estate Objections What’s to object to? Things like: compensation of the Personal Representative, fees, costs and how the estate is being administered or how property is being managed. You have to object to an estate inventory before the estate is closed. But for other matters, you may have to object much sooner. Compensation of the executor (personal representative) Attorneys fees Determination of beneficiaries Costs incurred or estate money spent Elective share elections Family allowance Estate property inventory Probate accounting Statements of claim Creditors claims and more……………….. ! How Can I Learn More (What Do I Need to Read Right Now) ? The Florida Probate Code is the set of statutes or laws which govern estates. Estates are those legal proceedings or entities which are created when a Florida resident dies. The person in charge of a Florida estate is the “Personal Representative.” What does she do? A personal representative of a Florida probate does a lot ! They: gather assets, pay creditors, pay estate administration expenses, deal with any issues like litigation or payment of final […]


Statute of NonClaim — creditors claims in Florida Estates

In the News Nov 30, 2021
post about Statute of NonClaim — creditors claims in Florida Estates

If you are owed anything from a dead person in Florida, file a statement of claim absolutely no later than 2 years after the date of death. Wow, that’s an earful. A November 24, 2021 Florida Appellate Opinion on estate claims reminds us about Florida’s Statute of Nonclaim. And why you need to file a statement of claim ASAP in a Florida probate. To read more about creditors claims in Florida estates or probates, you can click HERE. Claims in a Florida Probate If you are owed anything from someone who dies, you need to open a probate. And make your claim ! If a probate is opened, that saves you a step! Now, you need to file a timely statement of claim. (If you don’t want to open a probate, consider filing a CAVEAT. But be careful of the 2 years time frame.) If you lent money to a person who is now deceased, break out the loan agreement. It probably has a provision on what to do if the borrower dies. But money lent or loans are just one example of a claim that must be filed in a probate in Florida. If you have rights under a prenup, a contract, or an operating agreement, like a Florida LLC, you need to file a statement of claim. And the law limits how much time you have to do that. If you don’t file your claim properly and timely, you are out of luck. For a free Florida probate […]


What is a Revocable Trust Florida?

FAQs Nov 7, 2021
post about What is a Revocable Trust Florida?

Millions and billions of dollars pass through revocable trusts in Florida to beneficiaries, family members, in-laws and even outlaws. But many people mis-understand what a revocable trust is. This is your easy-2-understand guide. We have previously written about these estate planning documents, or entities (click HERE to read more). Now, let’s go a bit deeper. What is a Revocable Trust Florida? Background — why do I care? You need to know about revocable trusts for 2 main reasons. First, everyone in Florida has them ! (Mostly everyone !!). They work just like a will….sort of ! They are part of a Florida resident’s estate plan. They can work with a pourover will and also a power of attorney. Most of the time, someone has a will that leaves most everything to their revocable trust. Then, the revocable trust gathers assets and administers those assets according to the trust document. The trust document may, for example, distribute everything right then and there. Or, keep money in trust for years and years to come. (Some beneficiaries may never get a dime. And some may not see any money for decades unless you modify the trust. Want to modify a trust? Start by reading this law. ) What else do I need to know about what is a revocable trust Florida? What is a revocable trust ? Second, that’s how a lot of inheritances are left or created. Through one of these trusts. While most of the time a lawyer writes a trust. […]


Florida Trust Fraud

Probate Information Oct 22, 2021
post about Florida Trust Fraud

Disinherited from a trust? Bad trustee? If you are a financial victim and lost an inheritance, you don’t have a lot of time to act. Depending upon what your trustee, or her trust lawyer, may have sent to you, you may only have 6 months. To do what? To file a trust contest or object to the validity of the trust. Or to object to trust money decisions. We have previously discussed Florida Probate Fraud. Now, let’s talk about Florida Trust Fraud. (To see a free Florida Trust Video on a trust challenge, click HERE.) Kinds of Fraud — bad trustees Under Florida law, there are actually many types of fraud. Constructive fraud is when a person who is required to disclose information does not. Sounds like a bad trustee, right? You got it. The Florida Trust Code sets forth a LOT of trust beneficiary rights. And, there are also a lot of DUTIES owed by a trustee to her beneficiaries. So much more than just an annual accounting. A trustee has to give “qualified beneficiaries” notice of the trust with her contact information, the name of the trustee. And the trustee has to give you a copy of the trust. No hiding the ball ! (That’s fraud !) And, a trustee is REQUIRED to provide relevant data when you, a beneficiary, asks questions. So, if the trustee lies, that’s fraud. Intentionally withholds information? Fraud! And if the trustee steals, we KNOW that’s fraud, right? That’s what Florida Probate Litigators […]


What Is Undue Influence?

Probate Information Oct 20, 2021
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What is undue influence? In Florida, people often “unduly influence” others to change a will or trust. That’s not proper. And not allowed. it’s actually fraud. A will or trust or bank account that is caused by this is not valid. Dis-inherited beneficiaries and loved ones can win back their inheritance if they prove the presence of undue influence. This concept is something that many beneficiaries and heirs want to know more about when it comes to a last minute will signing or inheritance. This Florida probate legal commentary will discuss what it is and the warning signs. To see an introductory, Free Probate Video on this topic, click HERE. What is Undue Influence in a Nutshell? Undue influence is a species of fraud. It has been described as over-pursuasion, force, coercion or duress. When someone does this, they, in essence, destroy the free will or free “mind” of the victim. And replace it with their own financial desires and motives. It is often said that a will or a trust document created by this force or coercion is NOT the product of the person signing the will or trust. But by the perpetrator. The fraudster. The “undue-influencer.” What is the effect of a will or a trust that is caused by undue influence? It is void. You can read Section 732.5165 of the Florida Probate Code. What are some situations that MAY be undue influence? Possible Examples “Sign the will or I’ll leave you!“ “Change the trust or you’ll […]


Undue Influence Florida

In the News Oct 20, 2021
post about Undue Influence Florida

There are dozens if not hundreds of claims each year of undue influence Florida. Learning about this concept will assist you in understanding how you lost your inheritance in a trust or estate. If you have been sued for this, a recent, October 13, 2021 opinion will help you get your arms around what you have been accused of. Who Stole My Inheritance? A claim of undue influence Florida is serious business. After all, if you make that claim, you are calling out some probate fraud. Undue influence is when someone causes another to sign a document or do something that really isn’t there idea. It’s the idea of the “undue influencer.” If someone is “undue-influencing” another, the person who does that is trying to take financial advantage of another. The person who is doing it may be referred to as the financial predator. The recipient of the undue influence may be called the victim. Think of it in the context of will signing or changing a bank account beneficiary. “Put my name on the bank account or I’ll put you in a home and you’ll never see the grandkids.” Did someone use force, or coercion to have you sign that will? Even over-pursuasion counts. Does Your Case Have the Warning Signs? Here are some warning signs to look for to help determine if there was undue influence in a will signing, beneficiary change, bank account change or trust document: WHO came up with the idea to do this — […]


Who Inherits in Florida?

Probate Information Oct 11, 2021
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This is your 1-stop-shop for learning who inherits in Florida. If you are wondering about an inheritance. Or are involved in a Florida probate. If there is a will challenge or fight over a joint account. Here are the 5 secrets to inheriting in Florida. The Rule of 2 There are 2 quick & simple rules for who inherits in Florida. This is your jumping off point for finding out if you get an inheritance. It all starts with whether or not there is a will. And not just any will, but a valid last will. Here’s your #1 secret. A valid last will governs all property that was owned by the decedent individually. A decedent is a Florida resident who is dead. If she owned property in her own, individual, name, it will pass under her last valid will. I’m not talking about assets owned in a revocable trust or in a joint account or a POD (“pay on death”). [ Those assets “go” according to the beneficiaries who are designated.] Since one can have multiple wills, only the last valid will rules. (Most wills revoke all prior wills.) And it has to be valid. No undue influence or duress or mistake or insane delusion. Want to read about wills in the Florida Probate Code? Click this FREE LINK which will take you to the Florida Probate Statutes section on wills. Now, the #2 secret? Intestacy. Dying Without a Will in Florida — heirs take it all ! Intestacy […]


Mediated Settlement Agreement

Probate Information Oct 11, 2021
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A mediated settlement agreement is often used to “ink” a deal in a Florida probate or trust dispute. IF the parties settle. They are contracts. But how do you enforce your deal if the other side is not doing what they promised to do? We have previously written about mediation agreements. Now, let’s focus on how Florida law does not let people get out of signed deals. Why Mediation? If you are involved in a Florida estate or trust dispute, you are going to be ordered to attend a mediation before trial. It’s a serious settlement conference. So, take the mediation seriously. Be prepared and try to win. Who’s at the mediation? Typically you and your lawyers. The other side or sides, and their lawyers. And a mediator. Who is the mediator? The mediator is a neutral, objective third party who is there to try to broker peace. To discuss settlement. To foster compromise. Many retired judges mediate. Many experienced probate litigators are also asked to mediate disputes because of their vast experience and expertise. What is perhaps the #1 rule to a successful mediation? The parties have to want to settle. And any deal is typically reduced to a written contract. And everyone signs on the dotted line. Sometimes, there is a prevailing party attorneys fees provision. If you have to go back to court, the prevailing party can get reimbursed, from the other side, your attorneys fees and costs. Sometimes, mediated settlement agreements are subject to court approval. […]


What is Aiding and Abetting a Breach of Fiduciary Duty?

In the News Oct 11, 2021
post about What is Aiding and Abetting a Breach of Fiduciary Duty?

Lots of trust beneficiaries know that you can sue your Florida trustee for breach of trust. But can you sue the trustee’s lawyers too? How about those that assist a trustee in doing bad things? A recent appellate opinion discusses what is aiding and abetting a breach of fiduciary duty. We have written about this topic before. To learn more, click HERE, and keep reading. Getting the Background: what it’s like to be trustee in the State of Florida Lots of family members and trust beneficiaries take issue with their trustee. Whether or not trustee criticism is justified depends on your case. And your trust. And your attitude. Candidly, not every trustee is necessarily bad. And a lot of beneficiaries don’t like the idea of asking a trustee for money. Let’s face it: most people want their inheritance “outright“….and not in a trust. But being a trustee is serious business. A Florida trustee is managing property of another for beneficiaries. She is a fiduciary who is supposed to place the interests of her beneficiaries above everyone else’s–including her own. And, in fairness to trust beneficiaries, the Florida trustee has a lot of duties they owe to beneficiaries. It’s all in the Florida Trust Code. Trustees are actually not required to serve as trustee. You can decline. Just because you are named in a trust document does not mean you have to be the trustee. Now, let’s get back to those duties a trustee owes its beneficiaries. If you breach, or […]