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Articles Posted in Will Law

by: Phillip B. Rarick, Esq.

Here is the good news/bad news I received from my bank today regarding my Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Application:  The good news:  your application has been approved; the bad: the SBA is out of money and you must wait for Congress to refund the program!

Although I have heard of a few small businesses that have received funding I am guessing that most persons reading this letter have encountered similar frustrations. Note: if you have received funding, please so reply.

By: Jacqueline R. Bowden Gold, Miami Lakes and Weston Estate Planning Attorney

Don’t make the mistake of drafting your own Will and estate plan to save money. With general forms available and online companies that claim to walk you through the “easy” drafting process, it is common to fall prey to their low-priced services. As a Florida Probate and Medicaid Planning attorney, I see the harmful after- effects of “do it yourself” wills:  high legal fees to clean up ambiguities and sometimes open warfare among the family because of lack of clarity regarding the decedent’s true wishes.

For other common mistakes not discussed in this article read:  5 Common Mistakes with Do It Yourself Florida Wills.

Does A Trust Need to Be Recorded, Filed or Registered in Florida?

One of the most common questions I get as a Weston estate planning attorney is, do I need to record my living trust? Some persons believe that a trust needs to be publicly recorded like a corporation or a deed. This is generally wrong; not only is recording not required or needed for most trusts, in most cases recording would negate one of the chief benefits of a trust: confidentiality. Let’s look at more specific questions.

Does a Living Revocable Trust Need To Be Recorded During the Life of the Trustmaker?

By:  Phil Rarick, Estate Planning Attorney

Many persons are tempted to have a “Simple Will” in which they want everything they own at death to go outright first to their spouse,  and if the spouse does not survive then to their children in equal shares.    Rather than take the time to consult with a Weston estate planning attorney, many persons are tempted to write the Will themselves, using will forms they see advertised on TV.  Read more:   5 Common Mistakes With Florida Do-It-Yourself Wills

In our practice we have seen many so-called “Simple Wills”.    Most have big problems that end up costing the family much more fees and causing more stress than if the person had the Will drafted by an experienced Weston estate planning attorney.  Here are just four big problems, but there are many more:

389465Big Mistake: Naming A Minor the Beneficiary – Of Anything

By Phil Rarick, Miami Trust Attorney

Naming a minor child the outright beneficiary of a will, life insurance policy, IRA, 401K, UGMA (Uniform Gift to Minor Account) or any other source of funds is almost always a mistake for four reasons:

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.

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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