What happens if a disabled or physically incapacitated person wants to have a Will, Trust or other estate document but is incapable of signing the instrument for his or herself? Does that mean that they're out of luck?
Quite commonly, after their loved one has died clients come to us as estate attorneys and they tell us that a bank or other financial institution is asking for "Letters of Administration." When that happens, the client will ask us how do they get such Letters.
As an estate lawyer, it is not uncommon to have clients ask that their Will or Trust be prepared directing that their primary residence (i.e. their homestead) be sold upon their death. Often their motivation will be to avoid disputes among their children over the home. Sometimes, it is because they believe none of their children want the home, so why not just sell it? From an estate planners point of view, the question becomes whether this is a good idea.
In Florida, it is not uncommon for persons to own real property or other assets in the state while not being residents of the state. Each Winter, residents of northern states travel to their Florida properties to spend the cold months in Florida's warm weather. Many of these persons own homes in both their home state and in Florida. So what happens if these residents of other states die and still own Florida real property? Often the result is that two probate administration proceedings will need to be opened. The probate of the resident state is commonly referred to as the "domiciliary probate" and the probate in Florida would then be the "ancillary probate."
The laws in Florida governing homestead real property can be complex and confusing. This is particularly true when the homestead is titled in the name of only one spouse who dies and does not leave a Will or Trust devising the homestead to the surviving spouse. This is not a scenario which most spouses would want.
Unmarried and same-sex couples face unique challenges under the law--especially when it comes to matters involving estate planning.
In recent years, Florida has "beefed up" Chapter 709, which sets forth the statutes governing Powers of Attorney. Among the directives contained in that chapter are certain duties which govern an agent authorized to act under a Power of Attorney. These duties apply notwithstanding provisions in the Power of Attorney to the contrary.
Estate planning clients sometimes ask whether the person (or "agent) named in their Durable Power of Attorney ("DPOA") has the power or authority to do certain acts regarding the principal's estate or assets. For example, can the agent named use the power of the DPOA to make a gift to another person? Or can the agent use the DPOA to make a change of beneficiary designation-for example on a pay-on-death account or on life insurance?
As an estate planning attorney, I am often asked what needs to be done to terminate a Durable Power of Attorney ("DPOA"). In Florida, there are two ways to accomplish such a termination.
As an estate planning attorney, I often have clients ask wheter their estate will be subject to taxation at the time of death. Answering this question is something that invlvoves numerous considerations and therefore a person should seek specific legal and financial advice based on their circumstances. However, there are some basic principles of which you should be aware that will help on this subject.