Last Will and Testament

Steps for the Personal Representative

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It can be overwhelming when a loved one passes away. The following steps are written as a guide for the next of kin or personal representative of the decedent. Although they are ordered, many of these tasks can be undertaken at the same time. For example, the first steps in administrative tasks can be taken the same day as the first steps in funeral arrangements.

Immediate tasks

  1. Lock the decedent’s real estate premises to keep contents secure.
  2. Prepare a team to help you ...
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The Neighbor is Herding Your Cats

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What happens without a will or trust for your pets, or plans for them?

I was on vacation a little while ago when I received a call from Orange County Animal Services, notifying me that I had come into possession of four cats. I like cats. But I’m allergic to them. And after that thought, my next thought was, is this a new thing that shelters are trying out, their own version of Publisher’s Clearing House awards? How am I so ...

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Effect of Divorce on Your Will, Trust, and Beneficiary Forms

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Are you going through a divorce, or have gone through one recently?

If you’ve ever had the passing thought that your ex-spouse is still named in your will or trust, and cringed, thinking that you have to get that changed before you accidentally hand over your accounts to someone whom you don’t even want to be in the same room with…I have some good news for you. First, you’re not alone. There is a lot going on in any divorce, and ...

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If You Own Out of State Property, Establish a Trust

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If you own out of state property, it’s almost a certainty that you and your family will be better served by a trust instead of a will.

Why is that?

First, consider that probate is unavoidable with a will. Many of my clients arrive at my office assuming that probate is only for those that are intestate, or without a will. The decedent’s loved ones are often confused and frustrated with the hassles and paperwork involved in probate when they are already ...

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Stranger Things from Beyond the Courthouse

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Recent surveys from Caring.com show that only 42% of U.S. adults have estate planning documents. The following cases could have been easily avoided with those documents in place.

(All names in the following case examples have been changed.)

Elizabeth Always Had a Plan

Elizabeth’s son, Steve, came to us in when his mother was becoming forgetful. She had dementia. ...

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The Florida Electronic Wills Act

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It’s wonderful to live in the 21st century, where Amazon orders often arrive less than 24 hours after being placed, even on Sundays. Movies are on demand, and the internet allows us to manage banking and all else without ever needing to leave the house. And when I do leave the house, I wonder how I ever found my way to an appointment without my phone’s routing.

And now, with the Florida Electronic Wills Act, Senate Bill 206, (currently tabled and ...

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Who Will Inherit Prince’s $150 Million Estate?

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According to TMZ.com, Prince died without a Last Will and Testament.  If true, this means that Prince died “intestate.”Oh, U Got the Look  – stop judging.  The majority of Americans age 55 to 64 don’t have wills.  However, the majority of Americans aren’t worth Prince’s estimated $150 million.  Who will inherit Prince’s Raspberry Beret  and everything else?

Unfortunately, choosing not to act and failing to work with a lawyer to create an estate plan is essentially a choice to allow state law to ...

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Fighting Over an Estate After a Death

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You probably own some items of real or sentimental value (jewelry, antiques, art, heirlooms, furniture, clothing, etc.) that you want a certain child, grandchild, special friend, relative, or organization to have after you die.

Or perhaps you simply want to provide an orderly way for your belongings to be divided among your heirs after you’re gone. We’ve all heard stories about fighting over Grandma’s piano or fine china. The damage is sometimes so deep that siblings don’t speak to each other ...

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Poor Man’s Probate is Usually Poorly Planned

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People often ask what seems to be the usual recurring question, “Do I really need a will?” After I ask a few questions about their circumstances, I usually discover that they have already done something about their estate plan. Unfortunately, this generally means that a non-attorney gave them legal advice and misleading direction. They’ve engaged in a course of action in which some call a “Poor Man’s Probate”. The results, which they will probably never witness, are usually tragic and ...

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