Articles Tagged with miami probate attorney

____    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.

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

Know your rights.  If you are a qualified beneficiary of a Florida trust you have important legal rights protected by Florida law.

The trustee of an irrevocable trust in Florida is a fiduciary with numerous responsibilities that run like a laser beam to the qualified beneficiaries.  See our 12 Point Summary of Florida Trustee Duties. “Qualified beneficiaries” are generally all beneficiaries who are current beneficiaries, intermediate beneficiaries, and first-line remainder beneficiaries, whether vested or contingent.  See F.S. 736.0103(16)

The Trustee has a core duty to keep the “qualified beneficiaries” of an irrevocable trust reasonably informed of the trust and its administration.  If you are a qualified beneficiary” of an irrevocable Florida trust you have the following “information” rights under F.S. 736.0813:

By: Phillip B. Rarick, Esq.

Most divorce judgments call for one of the parties to obtain a life insurance policy for securing 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:

By Phillip B. Rarick, Esq. and Jacqueline R. Bowden, Esq.

In Florida, when you die, your debts remain in your estate – and are not transferred to a surviving spouse or family member.  However, this simple legal concept does not stop some creditors from harassing the surviving spouse or a family member into payment of a debt for which they have no legal obligation.

Creditors may strike immediately after death, showing empathy and false kindness, and then try to convince the surviving spouse they have a legal or moral obligation to pay.  Beware and do not pay until you have consulted an attorney.


Florida same-sex partners and same gender couples who were legally married in a state outside of Florida and have now moved to Florida should consider using a TBE (Tenants by Entireties) Delaware LLC to own Florida real estate or intangible property. Here is why.


By Cristina M. Fernandez, Esq.

A.        The Question

A common question we encounter is how to transfer the title of a motor vehicle upon the death of its owner.

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

A.  Domicile  vs. Residence

“Domicile” and Residence are two different legal terms, but often confused.  A person can have only one domicile, but any number of residences in different states. Domicile is your actual residence in the state joined with your intention to make that state your permanent home.  In order to establish a new domicile, you must first abandon your old “domicile”, but not necessarily your old “residence.”   The Florida test is both  a subjective and objective test.   The following checklist is a list of important objective criteria.

By Phillip B. Rarick, Miami Trust Attorney

Who is the first to greet you when you come home?  For me, it used to be my young daughters or son.  But now that my youngest daughter is a teenager (and too cool for such shows of affection) those days are past.  So now the first to greet me is Toby, our loyal Yorkie.

If you have a loyal pet like this, of course you do not want to forget him or her if you can no longer care for your pet.  You have detailed instructions in your trust or will to take care of your loved ones – but have you forgotten your pets?

 By Phillip B. Rarick, Miami Asset Protection Attorney

The saddest and most tragic call I have ever received as a lawyer came when a parent called and said her teenage son, while operating a jet ski, had run over a young girl who happened to be about the age of my daughter.  I declined the case.   The young girl later died, and of course there was a large law suit.

These are the nightmare scenarios you never want to encounter.  Of course, the most obvious, common sense step to avoid such tragedies is to make sure that whoever is operating your boat or jet ski is well trained on operation of the vessel and in fact follows safe, recommended operating procedures. With the excellent and free Coast Guard training programs in south Florida there is no excuse not to take advantage of these programs.

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