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Articles Posted in Probate

By: Jacqueline R. Bowden Gold

Our office handles probate estates for many out of state residents through our Florida Counsel services. In handling the estates there are three common problems we see with Non-Florida Wills that can easily be avoided by consulting with a Miami Estate Planning attorney. If you have a non-Florida resident who owns Florida real estate an ancillary administration may be required upon their passing.  You should consider these problems when drafting their Will:

  • Naming an out of State Attorney as Personal Representative or Executor.

By Phillip B. Rarick, Esq., Miami Probate Attorney

Florida’s 30% elective share law was completely rewritten in 2001 because the old law could be easily circumvented by placing assets in a revocable trust or using non-probate transfers (e.g. life insurance, IRAs etc.)  In an effort to curtail such tactics, the legislature overhauled the statute and broadened the share.  The result is an expansive elective share that sweeps into the decedent’s “elective estate” many non-probate assets.  See F.S. §732.201 —§732.2155.

What Is Included?  Florida’s  elective share statute retains the 30% share under prior law, but introduces the concept of the “elective estate” (sometimes referred to as “augmented estate”)  that consists of the following property interests under F.S. §732.2035:

By Phillip B. Rarick, Miami Trust Attorney

Although the main focus of our Florida Counsel Services is probate, trust,  and corporate law,  we can assist your office if you need deeds to a trust or other entity.

If you wish to use our deed services, click FLORIDA DEED INTAKE FORM.  Please complete this form with all relevant information and email it to cmedina@raricklaw.com.

By Phillip B. Rarick, J.D, Miami Probate Attorney

Note: Special thanks to Illinois attorney John E. Fish for the following question, which is one of the most frequent questions we receive.

Executive Summary:

By: Jacqueline R. Bowden, Miramar Wills Attorney

Do it yourself (or “DIY”) projects are becoming common in today’s highly technological age, especially when considering websites like Pinterest and Houzz. In most cases, including home projects, an individual may have several chances to complete a task correctly. Unfortunately, when it comes to drafting a Will, the mistakes are usually not found until it’s too late.

The following is a list of 5 Common Mistakes found when people try the DIY method for drafting Florida Wills. These mistakes can often be avoided by having an experienced Miramar Wills Attorney draft a Will for you:

By Phillip B. Rarick, Miami Probate Attorney

You are named the personal representative (or executor in other states) and a loved one or family member has just died.   No doubt these are difficult times, but thankfully there are many resources for help.  The following is a checklist of initial important tasks to help guide you after the funeral or memorial service.

Note:   You are not required to accept the Personal Representative duties.  Before you can legally act on behalf of the estate you will likely need to secure Letters of Administration issued by a Florida probate court that officially designate you as the legal authority in charge of the estate.    Therefore, you should not take action as Personal Representative before you know your duties and what potential claims you may face from estate beneficiaries and creditors.  Consult a Miami probate attorney and see our 10 Basic Legal Rights for Beneficiaries Under a Florida Will.

____    1.         Minimum of 10 death certificates (these can usually be obtained through the funeral home)

____    2.         Original Will and all codicils (or amendments to the Will)

Note:   If you have the original, either personally deliver to the attorney’s office or send via Federal Express or certified mail.

By: Phil Rarick, Miramar Probate Attorney

In our office we have numerous checklists, but one of the most important is the following checklist of nine critical deadlines for Florida probate actions:

  1. Deposit Original Will with court: Within 10 days of notice of death by whomever has custody of the Will. F.S. 732.901.

If you are a beneficiary or interested person of a Florida Will, you have numerous legal rights protected by Florida law.  These laws are designed to keep you informed about the probate administration and make sure the decedent’s wishes as described in the Will are fulfilled.

The person in charge of making sure the property distributions in the Will are satisfied according to the instructions of the decedent is called a “Personal Representative” (referred to in other states as an “Executor”). The Personal Representative (or “PR”) has numerous fiduciary duties that run like a laser beam to the beneficiary.  Here are some of the most important:

  1. You have a right to secure a true copy of the Will.   The original will must be deposited with the court within 10 days of notice of death by whomever has custody of it.  F.S. 732.901

By: Phillip B. Rarick, Esq.

Most divorce judgments call for one of the parties to obtain a life insurance policy to secure the payment of child support, alimony or some other financial obligation.  Let’s assume the obligation is solely child support:  a potential mistake is failure to secure payment of the policy premiums by use of an irrevocable Children’s Safe Harbor Trust structured as a spendthrift trust.

For securing the payment of child support, the settlement agreement should have specific language that may read as follows:

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