Articles Tagged with miami will lawyer

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:

Within the past 10 years, the Living Trust has replaced the Will as the best way to care for you and your loved ones because it can avoid the fees, cost, and stress of court intervention in the event of mental incapacity or death.  Properly funded, a living trust can help you keep legal control in your family or with persons you trust and avoid having a judge – an unknown third person –  make decisions about your personal affairs.

A living trust is simply detailed, legally binding instructions to care for you and your family.  There are three key players in a trust.  First, the Trustmaker or grantor; this is the person who makes the trust.  Second, the Trustee, whose job is to follow the instructions of the trust exactly and to the spirit of the trust.  The third role are the Beneficiaries.  The Trustee’s fiduciary duties run like a laser beam to the beneficiaries:  every penny of the Trust must be used in the best interests of the beneficiaries.

Initially, you can act in all three roles in your living trust:  You can be the trustmaker, trustee and beneficiary.  Your spouse, children, or other loved ones can also be beneficiaries.

By: Phillip B. Rarick, Miami Probate Attorney

Executive Summary

Failure to obtain court approval under Florida guardianship law of a pre-suit structured settlement exceeding $15,000 on behalf of a Florida minor child could result in the settlement being disaffirmed by the minor on reaching majority or within a reasonable time thereafter. See F.S. 744.387(3)(a)

By Phillip B. Rarick Esq., Miami Probate Attorney

The following documents are usually needed to open a testate Florida ancillary probate:

Court-authenticated copy of:

By Phillip B. Rarick, Miami Probate Attorney

Executive Summary:

The following is a memorandum our firm gives to the person named as Personal Representative (in other states this role is referred to as the “Executor”) in the decedent’s will, or who is entitled to be Personal Representative  under Florida law.   This memo summarizes:

By Phillip B. Rarick, Miami Probate Attorney 

Note:   This is a short list of  initial tasks for a person who may be appointed the Personal Representative (or Executor) of an estate under a Florida will, or if there is no will, in an intestate estate.  This is not a complete list of the Personal Representative’s tasks.     For questions call an attorney at Rarick & Bowden Gold, P.A. at  (305) 556-5209 or email to


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

A common question we receive for persons who have prepared revocable living trusts is what do I do about title or registration for my cars.  Unless your car is a Maserati or you have a collection of valuable old cars, here are three rules to follow if you live in Florida:

1.       Do not title or register the car in your trust.  A car is more likely to be a “lawsuit on wheels” than a valuable asset.  There is no advantage to putting your car in the trust as cars do not need to be probated in Florida unless you have more than two cars in your name.  If you have a collection of cars, then contact our office for further advice. 

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


Parents of children with autism have many daunting tasks.  One task that is often put off until it is too late is making sure you have a back-up plan if you can no longer care for your child.  You are the primary care giver for your child.  If you become disabled or die, do you have a plan?  Do you have instructions to care for your child?  Have you designated persons whom you trust and who could care for your child if you cannot not provide such care?

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