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Notice of Trust Florida

FAQs Aug 23, 2022
post about Notice of Trust Florida

What is a notice of trust? Learn the two types, who is entitled to this, and what you should look out for if you are a beneficiary. To see a short video on this topic, CLICK HERE. What’s the big deal? A trustee is required to tell her beneficiaries that she is a trustee. A trustee should send a writing to a Florida trust beneficiary within 60 days. This is the first notice of trust which we will discuss. You can also read the Florida Trust Code Statute 736.0813(1). What’s the purpose of this document? It tells the beneficiaries: The existence of the trust. That there is a trust which you are a beneficiary of. It identifies the trustee with an address. That way you know who is in charge of your money and who to contact. Why would you contact your trustee? To ask for money, accountings and other relevant information about YOUR trust. Annual accountings. It also tells you that you are entitled to a complete copy of your trust agreement. Just ask the trustee. What other relevant information might a trust beneficiary want? How about… Financial statements. Copies of sale documents for real estate that is sold. A list of all trust assets How much compensation the trustee is taking from your trust. Beneficiaries have a lot of RIGHTS. Trustees owe you a lot of DUTIES. Notice of Trust in Probate Court When the creator, or “grantor”, of a trust dies and the trust becomes irrevocable, there […]


Inheritance Lawyer in Florida — do you really need one?

FAQs Aug 22, 2022
post about Inheritance Lawyer in Florida — do you really need one?

When do you really need an inheritance lawyer in Florida? Well, let’s first understand what one is. Then, we can discuss the most common times that people hire one. Finally, we’ll close by considering 6 factors to consider when you are interviewing one. What is an inheritance lawyer? An inheritance lawyer in Florida is one who can assist, counsel, guide or litigate legal matters for you. About what? Well, not everything. Involving inheritances. Property, property rights or money which you may get when someone passes away. Or… when a prior property interest ends. Like if you inherit a trust. OK…so…when? Under what circumstances? The most common are two areas of Florida law. Estates and probates. And Trusts. One may be a counselor. Informing and educating you about, for example, the probate process. Or how trusts work in Florida. Advising you on fiduciary fees, administration of an estate or trust. Giving you straight-talk and easy-to-understand explanations about what you are supposed to inherit and when. One may be an advocate. This advocate role of an inheritance lawyer will take a stand for you. Argue in court. File papers for you. And, also explain what court-filed documents are, what they mean, and how they affect you. An advocate is biased ! For you ! Most people want someone on their side. Or, one can be a probate litigator. You know, the type that isn’t afraid to “get dirty”. Who actually tries cases and handles appeals. They typically limit their practice to disputes […]


Marital Trusts in Florida — full time employment

FAQs Aug 22, 2022
post about Marital Trusts in Florida — full time employment

Marital Trusts were once set up to provide for a spouse and their children. But times have changed. Find out why these trusts are often the subject of serious, and expensive, litigation. The full time employment act for probate litigators? We have previously written about trust lawsuits among a widow, or surviving spouse, and adult children. Now, let’s re-examine this Florida Legal Concept and consider why there is so much litigation — and what you can do. How Did We Get Here? OK, here’s the scenario which we are talking about. Mom or Dad have a few bucks and die. Their estate plan leaves money and property in a trust. For her or his surviving spouse for lifetime. If there’s anything left in the trust when spouse dies, it goes to Mom or Dad’s adult children. Back in the 80’s and 90’s, you could only leave about $600,000 free of the estate tax. Everything over that was taxed. The tax act of 1986 changed all that with the marital trust. If done properly, this type of trust would benefit your spouse and then go to the kids. You got a marital deduction and paid the tax when the 2nd spouse died. Sounded good , right? Fast forward to the 2000’s and 2020’s in Florida. Lots of people get divorced Many re-marry. Many 2nd spouses, or 3rd spouses, don’t like their new spouse’s children. And vice versa. So, why is everyone still creating a marital trust for people who don’t get […]


Settlement Agreement Florida

In the News Aug 19, 2022
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Can you be bound by a settlement agreement Florida that you don’t sign? Generally, hell no. Here’s “all” you need to know about this trust legal topic in 3 minutes. We have previously written about deals that were struck at mediation. How to read them. And to enforce them. Now, let’s get to this new legal opinion. Mediation and Settlements Most people settle their cases. One reason is that probate judges in Florida require mediation before trial. Some judges require multiple mediations. Many times, those mediations end in a settlement agreement. Many times, the parties ask the court to approve a settlement agreement. And compel everyone to be bound by the terms of the settlement agreement. Everyone? Well, not really. A recent opinion from the Palm Beach Appeals Court, Florida’s 4th District Court of Appeal tells us more. Florida Settlement Agreement What if you did not sign the settlement agreement? But the agreement affects your rights? Let’s face it: settlement agreements are very common for estate beneficiary, will contests, and trust lawsuits. Or takes away some property or trust interests from you? You got a trust lawsuit ! But the good news is that a settlement agreement only binds the parties. If you did not sign, you are not bound. Now, there are exceptions. You could be bound indirectly. Such as if you are a share holder, a member in a Florida LLC, or a beneficiary of a Florida trust (where the trustee signs the settlement). But this is a […]


Guardian Fees in Florida

In the News Aug 18, 2022
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Where do you pay guardian fees from? What if there’s not enough money ?? An August 17, 2022 opinion reveals that an emergency temporary guardian may not use the Ward’s IRA to pay her fees and compensation. We have previously written about Florida Guardian Compensation before. Now, let’s consider the legal “tension” between two statutes. Guardian Compensation First of all, if you want to read about Florida guardianships, read the Florida Guardianship Code. Chapter 744 Florida Statutes. You can also read the Florida Probate Rules, which has rules for guardianships. They start at Part III, with Fla. Prob. R. 5.540. There are a number of cases about compensation and fees for THE LAWYER of a Florida Guardian. And there are different cases and opinions for Guardians (e.g. limited or plenary) vs. Emergency Temporary Guardians. For the statute of guardian fees, check out 744.108. But, what if the ward dies ? How does the guardian get paid? ETG Can’t Get to Ward’s IRAs if Family Fights The 1st District Court of Appeal issued an opinion on August 17, 2022. This opinion dealt with guardian fees. Specifically, whether the guardian could get paid from the Ward’s IRAs. No! (Absent family members permitting that. Or, I should say, absent the IRA beneficiary agreeing to that). You can read this Florida Emergency Temporary Guardian case. The name is Araguel v. Bryan. Family members wanted to get a guardianship over mom. The court did not appoint a family member. The probate court appointed a professional […]


Forum Non Conveniens

In the News Aug 16, 2022
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Two recent Florida appeals court opinions provide guidance on transferring a lawsuit to another court. Maybe another state. When that other court would be more convenient. These opinions also examine the evidentiary obligation of the person making the motion. And, they consider the discretion of the court to transfer a case based upon the “interests of justice.” “Everything” you need to know about forum non conveniens in 3 minutes and 12 seconds. What is forum non conveniens? If the lawsuit was filed in a court that may be proper, BUT another court may be more “appropriate.” A defendant can file a motion that asks the court to move the case to a more convenient forum. That could be in another county or state. There is “tension” in the law . Between the preference of the party filing the lawsuit to select an appropriate forum. Yes, the plaintiff generally gets to select her venue among multiple proper ones. See Rule 1.060 (b). So, where’s the legal tension? Well, the defendant can ask for a more appropriate court room. In many instances, defendants can be sued in multiple counties in Florida. If the plaintiff files in a permitted courthouse, the defendant can still ask the court to move the case. And, the court has certain discretion in the interests of justice. That’s the legal tension. Note that this type of motion is different than a motion to dismiss for failure to state a cause of action. See Florida Statutes Chapter 47 on […]


What is a probate engagement letter?

Probate Information Aug 14, 2022
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What do you have to sign to start probating an estate or will? Or, simply to have an experienced probate lawyer in your corner? Well, I guess that depends. Let’s discuss what a probate engagement letter in Florida is, what it looks like, and why you may need one. Or not ! Whether you are a beneficiary of a multi-million estate ,or a Personal Representative of a small estate, read on. Starting the Probate Process Why do you even need a probate? Can’t you just get your inheritance automatically? Well, in Florida, when a person dies, there are tricky and unique laws. About how money or property “goes,” or “passes,” to loved ones, family members and beneficiaries. How the decedent’s debts get paid —- or don’t get paid. There’s a special order to how all creditors get paid. Creditors have to jump through certain legal “hoops.” And not all creditors are created equally! (Don’t blame me, that’s the way the legislature wanted it in their Florida Probate Creditor Laws). You see, loved ones and beneficiaries don’t automatically inherit an estate. There are rules. And procedures to follow. To the shock of many estate beneficiaries and family members……………beneficiaries get paid last! After the probate lawyers, after creditors and after the Florida Executor. Many times, to follow the rules (the law) and to get it right, you need a Formal Administration. OK……………so what’s that got to do with a probate engagement letter? Why Probate Engagement Letters Matter Whether or not you are […]


Florida Personal Representative

Probate Information Aug 14, 2022
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Where did running the estate all go wrong? A Florida personal representative is the executor of an estate. When one dies, there are special rules for dealing with property and money. And “who gets what.” Why? ‘Cause that’s what the law says! Running probate is serious business. Think of it like a little business but with a lot more duties on the part of the executor. Here’s what you need to know about being one. (To read about estate beneficiary rights in Florida, CLICK HERE.) How do I run a probate? Handling a probate requires a number of things. Here’s a quick list. A personal representative in Florida is called an “executor” or “estate executor” elsewhere. Your job is that of a fiduciary. Like a trustee. You need to help your beneficiaries and acknowledge proper creditors of the estate. Generally, you gather assets of the deceased Florida resident. You pay off her just debts. File proper court documents, pay the final income taxes, disclose relevant information. Pay your service providers and expenses of administration. Distribute the money to your beneficiaries (that’s right! While beneficiaries of Florida estates have lots of rights, they get paid last.) Close the estate. Sounds easy, right? (To read more about estate administration, you can read the Florida Statutes). It can be with the right team in place like good appraisers, lawyers and accountants. Click here to read the FLORIDA PROBATE RULES Transparency + Disclosure — no hiding the ball or running the estate in secret […]


Florida Executor

Probate Information Aug 13, 2022
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A Florida executor has a lot of duties to her beneficiaries. And, let’s face it, estate beneficiaries should expect a lot from someone serving in that position. Here is the skinny and truth revealed about what being one is all about. Who would want this job? What does a Florida executor do? Here’s a list: Think of one as a trustee Because she has a lot of duties Identify all of the decedent’s assets and just debts Marshall, or gather, all of the decedent’s assets and pay off only the just debts That’s right, you gotta deal with creditors! Pay the decedent’s US Federal Income Taxes That’s right: you gotta hire a CPA In Florida, a personal representative must be represented by an attorney Pay all the estate expenses and administration costs Distribute what’s left to the beneficiaries and Close the estate! Who can be the Florida executor? Felons cannot be an executor! There are other restrictions on who can, and can’t, be, the executor Oh, by the way, in Florida, we call the executor the Personal Representative. To learn more about what the job entails, consider reading the Probate Code and the Probate Rules. Oh yea: try not get sued. Where personal reps can get into trouble is when they run the estate in secret and keep their beneficiaries in the dark. I mean, never mind probate fraud and too much compensation and taking years to run the estate. Hire the best. After all, the executor is not paying […]