I recently broke my crown. I'd worn the crown for a few years and it served me well. However, people noticed when I broke my crown because I was unhappy and had a pained look on my face. No, I'm not talking about the kind of crown that rests on your head---I wish I had one of those but it wasn't in the genes! The crown that I broke is of the 'dental" kind. When it broke, I learned a valuable lesson which can be applied to my estate planning law practice. Don't put things off!
In Florida probate, certain types of disputes are considered adversary proceedings. This designation has several implications, including that fact that the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure apply. In effect, an adversary proceeding proceeds as if it were a civil lawsuit within the probate. In particular, the parties can conduct discovery, including Requests for Production of Documents, Interrogatories, and taking depositions.
Many times clients who have a Living Trust ask whether they also should also have a Last Will & Testament. After all, doesn't the Trust do essentially everything without needing the Will? Most experienced estate planning lawyers would agree that the answer is a resounding "yes." Even though you have a Trust, you should still have a Will--a special kind of Will often referred to as a "Pour-Over Will."
One of the most common misconceptions I run into as an estate planning lawyer is that many people think that if they have a Last Will and Testament in Florida, probate will not be necessary. The reality is that a Will sets forth the deceased person's wishes--such as designating the beneficiaries and the Personal Representative to oversee the estate. In essence, the Will acts as the "roadmap" for the probate court to follow. But the important thing to understand is that the Will is not self-implementing--it is the power given by the probate court that implements the wishes set forth in the Will.
What happens when an item gifted under a Will or Trust is no longer owned at the time of death?
As an estate planning lawyer, I'm often asked by clients where they should keep their original estate planning documents. Do they need to keep them in a bank safe-deposit box? Generally speaking, my advice is to keep them somewhere safe and accessible but a safe-deposit box may not be the best answer and in many instances, is actually not recommended.
Many times, the term "residue" will be used in a person's Will or Trust. So what is the residue of an estate and what is covered by the term?
As an estate planning lawyer, one of my principal objectives in drafting a client's Will or Trust is to name the beneficiaries which the client wants to receive their estate. Often this will be a spouse or children and in some cases, other family members. What happens if the person named dies before the person who established the Will or Trust? Does the intended devise (gift) go to the deceased beneficiary's children or to someone else? The answer is, "it depends."
If you are the parent of a minor child, there are two crucial decisions which you should make and incorporate into your estate plan in order to protect your child. The first involves who will raise your child if you die and the second is who will be in charge of the assets or money you leave to provide for your child after your death.
As an estate planning attorney, it is common to see new clients come in to our office that have some old estate documents in place. It is equally common that those documents are often grossly out of date and would cause problems if there were a death or other crisis.