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Florida Estate Laws

Our Firm Apr 14, 2021
post about Florida Estate Laws

There are two things you need to read to grasp Florida Estate Laws. There are also some other rules and authority which you may want to read. But let’s focus on these two important bodies of law for now. Would you like to read more about Florida Probate, Pour Over Wills, or Guardianship? Then you can click those words. If really want to read more, here is a link for FREE FLORIDA LEGAL COMMENTARY. If you still want to read more about probate law in Florida, watch a host of excellent FREE FLORIDA ESTATE VIDEOS. Florida Probate Code To understand Florida Estate Laws, begin with the Florida Probate Code. The Florida Probate Code is contained in Florida Statutes. Chapters 731-735. Those laws will tell you who may participate in a probate, how to open a probate and what must be done. There are laws in there about inventories, and rights and duties. There is also a definition section that helps explain important terms. Like what an “interested person” is. And how a Personal Representative should be acting. Most family members, beneficiaries and heirs like this because their rights are explained. But what if you are trying to exercise your rights in a Florida Probate. Don’t you need to know the procedures? Florida Probate Rules While the probate code is important, don’t forget about the Florida Probate Rules. Those rules set forth procedures and guidelines for getting stuff done in a Florida estate proceeding. The rules talk about petitions and hearings […]


How to Fight Guardianship Florida

What We Do Apr 14, 2021
post about How to Fight Guardianship Florida

Regrettably, there are a lot of “contested” guardianships. Every day, it seems, Florida Probate Judges must make difficult decisions. Guardianships have a couple of purposes. First, they determine whether someone needs assistance and protection if they are incapacitated. An aging or afflicted Florida resident may seem fine on the outside. But they may not be able, in the eyes of a judge, to exercise all their rights. They, and their property, money, may need management + protection. Second, guardianships often confirm or appoint someone to take care of that person who is vulnerable. A guardian or a Power of Attorney, or maybe a trustee for just the property. Many times, family members “fight” over who will control mom or dad. And their money. We have previously provided commentary on FLORIDA GUARDIANSHIPS. Now, let’s focus on how to fight guardianship Florida. Understanding Guardianship Law There are 4 really important things that you can read for free to understand Florida guardianship law. And learn how to fight Florida Guardianship. First, read the Guardianship Code. Chapter 744 of the Florida Statutes sets forth the law of Florida Guardianship. It can explain the TYPES of guardianships. Many times, people will file a motion or petition for EMERGENCY TEMPORARY GUARDIAN. This often upsets family members who are not given “notice” of this until a judge enters an order. There are also “plenary” guardianships. Or guardianships over just the property. Or, just the person. One of the most important rules is to file an appearance in […]


Lost or Destroyed Will Florida

Probate Information Apr 13, 2021
post about Lost or Destroyed Will Florida

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 […]


Lost Will Florida — how do you get it probated?

What We Do Apr 13, 2021
post about Lost Will Florida — how do you get it probated?

What do you do if a Florida will is lost? Well, it’s possible to have that lost will probated. You need to know one statute, one rule and one case. We have previously written about Lost Wills before. Now, let’s re-visit this subject and talk about what steps you need to take. How do you probate a Lost Will Florida? The Rules for Lost Wills There is a statute on probating a lost will. The entire Florida Probate Code is online and may be read for free. Zero in on Fla. Stat. 733.207. First, you need to have STANDING to probate a lost will. That means that you need some connection to the probate or the will. If you are a beneficiary or a nominated personal representative under the lost will. That can create standing. Next, you need to reveal the terms of the lost will precisely. You have to “establish” the will in “full and precise” terms. This means that you need some certainty. If you have a copy, that is a great start. But, there’s a lot more to do. Grab your cellphone or start writing emails. You need to prove the contents by two disinterested witnesses. The exception is if you have a “correct copy”, then one witness is OK. Finally, read the Florida Probate Rules. There is a specific rule on lost wills. Read Rule 5.510. You need to file a proper Petition. Take These Steps for a Lost Will Florida There is a 2012 5th […]


Florida Statutes Contesting a Will

Probate Information Apr 12, 2021
post about Florida Statutes Contesting a Will

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 […]


What is a Florida Estate Contingency Fee?

Our Firm Apr 11, 2021
post about What  is a Florida Estate Contingency Fee?

Lots of heirs and family members want help with Florida probates. Maybe they want to file a will contest or object to the will. Maybe there is already pending an INHERITANCE LAWSUIT. Perhaps it’s more simple. They want an inventory, accounting and someone to explain their Probate Rights to them in plain English. Regardless. But good & experienced probate litigators are hard to come by. And when you do find one that you click with, she or he can be expensive. Is there some way for a client to hire good legal counsel without shelling out thousands in billable hours? Some refer to a Florida Estate Contingency Fee as the keys to the courthouse door. Let’s examine what that is and its pro’s and con’s for probate matters. We have previously written about Probate Contingency Fees. 5 Tips to Finding a Great Probate Litigator Here are 5 tips on trying to find a great Florida Probate Litigator on an Estate Contingency Fee. First, find someone with 20 years+ experience. Like doctors, good lawyers develop over time. The more years you practice, the more cases you try. Hopefully, they are getting a lot better along the way. And, after 20 years of an active probate litigation practice, hopefully they “have seen it all.” Or close to it. Second, find a litigator, not just some probate lawyer. Litigators are more apt to take your case on an Estate Contingency Fee. Most probate lawyers don’t actually litigate, although they will tell you that […]


How To Ask Your Trustee For Money or Trust Funds

What We Do Apr 11, 2021
post about How To Ask Your Trustee For Money or Trust Funds

How do you ask your trustee for money? Let’s say that mom or dad or grandma set up a trust for you with $10 Million. You want money, right? So, how do you ask your trustee for money or trust funds? We have previously written about a TRUSTEE’S DISCRETION, when your trustee refuses to give you money. We have also commented on how to appeal a trustee’s decision to NOT give you money. Let’s focus on how to ask for money from your trustee. 5 Tips On How To Ask Your Trustee for Money First, understand the playing field. Read your trust document ! It will tell you the standards or the rules of the game. Like, how money may be distributed to you. Or how often. And for what purposes. If the trust says that you can request money for a residence, consider this. If you don’t have a job, I doubt your trustee will buy you a beach house in Nantucket. Or a ski chalet in Aspen. But, hey, maybe they will. 2nd, put it in writing. Emails are fine. 3rd, cite or refer to the part of the trust that makes you believe you can get money. Your trustee should be reading the trust, so you better know it, too. 4th, give an explanation. Help your trustee understand why you want or need the money. If you want a new car, why do you want to purchase a Tesla versus renting a less expensive vehicle? 5th and […]


How Do I Appeal A Trustee’s Decision?

What We Do Apr 11, 2021
post about How Do I Appeal A Trustee’s Decision?

Trust beneficiaries know that many Florida trusts give lots of DISCRETION to a trustee. That discretion may include giving trust money to you. Or not. What does a trust beneficiary do when they want to appeal a trustee’s decision? How is this done? Let’s assume that you asked a trustee for money. And she said “no!” 2 Things Every Trust Beneficiary Must Read So, there are 2 things which every trust beneficiary should understand. The Trust Document itself and the Florida Trust Code. You can also watch a FREE FLORIDA TRUST VIDEO on trust administration + beneficiary rights. The Trust Document itself is the legal document which creates the trust. It’s like a will. It will tell the trustee, who runs your trust, what to do with the money at every step of the way. That document also tells you how long the trust will last. Perhaps most importantly for a trust beneficiary, it tells you how to get money. Or, put another way. It tells the trustee under what circumstances money from the trust may be distributed to a beneficiary. Trust funds may be used for your benefit. Such as making distributions to your spouse or children if permissible. Or directly to your service providers. This can include paying your health insurance, auto payment, mortgage, or credit card bills. So, what do you do if you asked your trustee for money and they said “no” ? Here’s 5 steps on how to appeal your trustee’s decision 5 Steps Every […]


What is Florida Trustee Surcharge?

What We Do Apr 10, 2021
post about What is Florida Trustee Surcharge?

Florida trust beneficiaries have rights ! And if your Florida trustee is bad, or not giving you information. You can ask a Probate Court to surcharge. What is Florida Trustee surcharge and why is it so important to experienced trust litigators? Florida Trust Code The Florida Trust Code is a set of laws or statutes. They tell beneficiaries about their rights and trustees about their duties. Duties? Yes, under the trust document and Florida Trust Law. These laws will tell you a lot about judicial proceedings and rights and obligations. The Florida Trust Code is probably the single most important document to read besides the trust document itself. And, perhaps most important to beneficiaries. These laws tell you what you get if a trustee commits a BREACH OF TRUST. A breach of trust is a breach of fiduciary duty. What remedies does a beneficiary get? There’s a whole list RIGHT HERE. That’s Florida Statute 736.1001. What about damages? If you want to know about trustee damages, CLICK HERE. That’s Florida Statue 736.1002. But what is this trustee surcharge? Trustee Surcharge Explained Think of trustee surcharge as a personal fine against the trustee. She can’t use trust funds to pay the fine. She has to pay it personally. Individual trustee liability. That’s why you have to sue a trustee in their fiduciary capacity and their individual capacity. A surcharge action can be filed by a trust beneficiary. File a trust complaint under Florida Trust Code Statute 736.0201. You have to plead, […]


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 […]