Revocable v. Irrevocable Trusts: What is the difference?

What is a Trust? Trusts are among the many tools that can be used in planning the management of your estate.  The two main categories of trusts that are used are revocable and irrevocable trusts. This article will explain some of the differences between those two types of trusts.   Requirements for Creating a Trust Before getting into the differences, it is useful to understand why a trust may be used in an estate Read More

Surviving Spouse’s Right to Elective Share

When a spouse passes away, the surviving spouse is entitled to make an election for a spousal share.  This overview of a surviving spouse’s right to an elective share applies Florida law.   What Is An Elective Share? An elective share, also called a forced share or spousal share, is an option that may be exercised by a surviving spouse related to the decedent’s estate.  By making the election, the surviving spouse is Read More

What is a Health Care Surrogate and Why Should You Have One?

What happens if you need medical care, but you are unable to make decisions about the kind of care you would like or how that care should be administered? You can plan ahead in case you are ever incapacitated at the time that a decision needs to be made about your medical care.  Advanced medical directives are a method for you to express your wishes for your own medical care. They are advanced because you are making Read More

What is a Florida Living Will and Why Should You Have One?

What happens if you need medical care but you are unable to make decisions about the kind of care you would like or how that care should be administered? It is common for people to want to make decisions regarding their medical care.  When someone is incapacitated, those decisions often fall to spouses or close relatives.  Sometimes the individual will have designated a health care surrogate. For people who are Read More

Does My Divorce Affect My Estate Plan?

In short, most likely yes. When you were married, you likely created an estate plan and will with your spouse in mind. You probably listed your spouse’s name for a number of important roles like health surrogate, and primary beneficiary, among others. But your marriage has changed and so should your estate plan. This article outlines common estate planning mistakes people make during the divorce process, how to avoid Read More

Florida Homestead Property and the Probate Process

Florida laws on homestead property are complex but can also provide homeowners with benefits.  The laws provide for exemptions on taxes and specific distribution of the homestead property when the owner passes away.  It is important to consider the impact of homestead property in your estate planning process as it is different than other property you may own.  The Florida state Constitution, Article X, section 4 Read More

Will The State of Florida Get My Money After I Die?

What Happens to My Money After I Die? After someone passes away, their money and property is distributed according to whether or not they had a Will.  If they had a Will, the assets are distributed to the beneficiaries indicated in the Will. However, if someone passes away without a Will, their property is distributed through intestate succession.  This means that the property passes to the decedent’s heirs according Read More

“Lady Bird Deeds”: How An Enhanced Life Estate Deed Could Save You Money!

When individuals are planning out their estate, they are often considering what to do with property that they are still using.  For example, parents may want to make sure their children will inherit their home. However, the parents still want to live in the home for the rest of their lives.  An Enhanced Life Estate Deed allows the owner to retain their present rights in the property while ensuring that the property Read More

Affidavit of Heirs: Speed Up The Probate Process by Locating Heirs

Clients often want to speed up the probate process.  One way that clients can help their attorney speed up the process is to provide the attorney with information about the heirs in the case.  An Affidavit of Heirs, completed by someone who is familiar with the relatives of the decedent but who is not him or herself an heir provides important information to the court in the probate case.  By identifying the heirs, Read More

What Happens if an Heir Cannot be Located?

Ordinarily, when someone passes away, their assets pass on to their heirs. Assets pass on to heirs via a Personal Representative, the person, bank, or entity in charge of distributing the deceased person’s assets. Usually, the Personal Representative is named in the deceased person’s will. For example, if someone with six adult children passes away, they may leave a will designating part of their assets to each of Read More