Florida Law Protects a Spouse from Being Cut out of a Will

Decedents of a will have rightsFlorida law protects the decedent’s surviving spouse and certain surviving children from total disinheritance. The decedent’s surviving family may be entitled to receive probate assets from the decedent’s probate estate, even if the decedent’s will gives them nothing.

For example, a surviving spouse may have rights in the decedent’s homestead real property. A surviving spouse may also have the right to come forward to claim an “elective share” from the decedent’s probate estate. The elective share is, generally speaking, 30% of all of the decedent’s assets, including any assets that are non-probate assets.

Inheritance

A surviving spouse and/or the decedent’s children may also have the right to a family allowance to provide them with funds prior to final distribution of the estate assets, and rights in exempt property that will be paid to them instead of to creditors in satisfaction of claims against the probate estate. It is important to note that a spouse may waive his or her rights to an elective share, family allowance, and/or exempt property in a valid pre-marital or post-marital agreement.

Spouse entitled to property in willsIn addition, if the decedent married, or had children, after the date of the decedent’s last will, and if the decedent neglected to provide for the new spouse or children, an omitted family member may nevertheless be entitled to a share of the decedent’s probate estate.

The existence and enforcement of these statutory rights require knowledge about the applicable laws and procedures and are best handled by an attorney. 

For help or answers to wills and estate-related questions, you can contact BaskinFleece at 727.572.4545.

This blog is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Some of the content of this information is courtesy of The Florida Bar and represents general legal advice. Because the law is continually changing, some provisions in this blog may be out of date. It is always best to consult an attorney about your legal rights and responsibilities in your particular case.

 

The Benefits of Legal Representation for Your Next Real Estate Transaction

Randall D. Baskin

Randall D. Baskin

By Attorney Randall D. Baskin

Before you sign the purchase and sale agreement: Whether you are the Buyer or the Seller, the need for attorney representation in a real estate transaction begins before you sign the purchase and sale agreement. While many real estate professionals claim to work with “standard contracts,”Contract-Doc there is no such thing as a standard contract. The boxes you fill in on those “standard contracts” can have a large impact on how costs associated with your real estate transaction are allocated between Buyer and Seller. For example, the contract will dictate which party will be obligated to pay any special assessments imposed upon the property that are due after closing. An attorney representing your best interests can provide advice on your contractual rights and obligations under a purchase and sale agreement before and after you sign on the dotted line.

real estate lawyerDuring the escrow period: Once the purchase and sale agreement is signed, an attorney can help to ensure that your transaction goes smoothly by examining the title commitment to the property and by working to clear any clouds on the title that will affect your future use and enjoyment of the property.

Additionally, an attorney can advise on key issues affecting property ownership, such as choosing the right form of legal ownership and navigating the Florida Homestead Laws.

How ownership of property is taken can have vast legal consequences. When purchasing real estate, there are several ways to take legal title, such as jointly, individually, in a trust, or in a business entity. An attorney can analyze the facts of your particular situation and advise on which form of ownership is best for you.

The State of Florida affords unique legal protection to an individual’s real property through its Homestead Laws. An attorney can advise on Florida Homestead Laws and how to use these laws to protect your real property from liability, as well as how to maximize the tax benefits afforded to homestead property.

real estate attorneyAt closing: After all contingencies of the contract have been met, the closing can occur. At the closing table and after closing, an attorney will ensure that the transaction and all related documents are properly researched, executed, and recorded. If the property is in probate at the time of the sale, an attorney can help to ensure that the property is conveyed legally and all beneficiary interests in the property are extinguished.

For more information about real estate in St. Petersburg, Tampa, and Clearwater, call BaskinFleece at 727.572.4545.

This blog is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Because the law is continually changing, some provisions in this blog may be out of date. It is always best to consult an attorney about your legal rights and responsibilities in your particular case.

 

 

A Personal Representative Must Be Appointed by a Judge Before He or She Can Serve

Probate-Judge

If the decedent’s will designated a personal representative, the judge will decide if that person is qualified to serve. A circuit court judge supervises or presides over probate administration and also rules on the validity of the decedent’s will. If the decedent Personal Representativedied without a will, the judge will consider evidence to confirm the identities of the decedent’s heirs as those who will receive the decedent’s probate estate.

If the designated personal representative meets the statutory qualifications, the judge will issue “Letters of Administration,” also referred to simply as “letters.” These “letters” are important evidence of the personal representative’s authority to administer the decedent’s probate estate.

The judge will hold a hearing, as necessary, to answer any questions or to resolve disputes that arise during the course of administering the decedent’s probate estate. The judge’s decision will be set forth in a written direction called an “order.”

For information about Probate Administration in St. Petersburg, Tampa and Clearwater, call BaskinFleece at 727.572.4545.

This blog is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Some of the content of this information is courtesy of The Florida Bar and represents general legal advice. Because the law is continually changing, some provisions in this blog may be out of date. It is always best to consult an attorney about your legal rights and responsibilities in your particular case.

BaskinFleece is proud to announce that attorney Jeffrey A. Eisel has been made a partner, effective January 1, 2016.

BaskinFleece is proud to announce that attorney Jeffrey A. Eisel has been made a partner, effective January 1, 2016. Since November of 2012, Mr. Eisel has been practicing at BaskinFleece in the areas of guardianship, probate, and trust administration; guardianship, probate, and trust litigation; fiduciary litigation; estate planning; commercial and civil litigation; and business law. Mr. Eisel is also admitted to practice in the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida.

Mr. Eisel serves on the Executive Committee for the St. Petersburg Bar Foundation’s charity event Holidays in July, and holds memberships in the Clearwater Bar Association, the St. Petersburg Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section, the Thomas E. Penick, Jr. Elder Law American Inn of Court, and the Barney Masterson American Inn of Court.

To set up a consultation, call BaskinFleece at 727.572.4545. For more information about BaskinFleece, visit BaskinFleece.com.

The New Year Marks a New Beginning.

baskinFleece - happy New Year!The New Year marks a time for reflecting on the past year and contemplating what we learned from the last 365 days to make the coming year even better. Yes, it’s a time to celebrate past success, but it’s also a time for bold moves and fresh starts. It’s a time for dreams and friendships both old and new. It’s an opportune time to raise a toast to those who share your business success and those who cherish your personal happiness and hopes for the future.

The New Year marks a new beginning. New people to meet, new adventures to enjoy, and new memories to create. Here’s wishing you the gift of peace and prosperity throughout 2016, and wishing you a Happy New Year!

 

Take Time to Give Today and Plan for Tomorrow

Community foundationIt’s that time of year when joy and thoughts of giving are upon us. Whether it’s shopping for Christmas presents, observing Hanukkah, celebrating Kwanzaa or the day of Enlightenment, take time to not only think about your family and loved ones, but those in your community who are not as fortunate as you. There are many families and organizations right here in Pinellas County that could use your help. If you have the time, volunteering can warm your heart, but if you are too busy to volunteer, a donation to your favorite charity or organization would be appreciated more than you can imagine.

Community FoundationFor example, the Pinellas Community Foundation is committed to making the Pinellas County community a better place to live. Through the generosity and dedication of their donors, advisors, and community leaders, they serve the community in the following roles:

1. Support non-profit organizations in Pinellas County so they may continue to provide effective and productive programs that benefit the community.

2. Serve donors who seek knowledge of community needs and of effective charitable giving vehicles. There are so many ways to give, the Pinellas Community Foundation can help you with the options.

3. Connect to the local community and know their needs. The Pinellas Community Foundation manages programs to deliver grants and scholarships, support educational endeavors, and address priority community needs.

Pinellas Community FoundationIt’s also a time to think about yourself and the loved ones around you. Planning what happens to your assets, estate, other valuables, and pets is something to consider as one of your New Year’s resolutions. BaskinFleece can help you with your estate planning, so call us today at 727.572.4545 to plan for your future, and call the Pinellas Community Foundation at 727.531.0058 to help those in need today.

Compensation of a Personal Representative When Administering an Estate

Estates and Trusts: The 2015 Florida Statutes – Compensation of a Personal Representative

Personal representative compensationA personal representative shall be entitled to a commission payable from the estate assets without court order as compensation for ordinary services. The commission shall be based on the compensable value of the estate, which is the inventory value of the probate estate assets and the income earned by the estate during administration.

A commission computed on the compensable value of the estate is presumed to be reasonable compensation for a personal representative in formal administration as follows:

(a) At the rate of 3 percent for the first $1 million.
(b) At the rate of 2.5 percent for all above $1 million and not exceeding $5 million.
(c) At the rate of 2 percent for all above $5 million and not exceeding $10 million.
(d) At the rate of 1.5 percent for all above $10 million.

personal representativeIn addition to the previously described commission, a personal representative shall be allowed further compensation as is reasonable for any extraordinary services including, but not limited to:

(a) The sale of real or personal property.
(b) The conduct of litigation on behalf of or against the estate.
(c) Involvement in proceedings for the adjustment or payment of any taxes.
(d) The carrying on of the decedent’s business.
(e) Dealing with protected homestead.
(f) Any other special services which may be necessary for the personal representative to perform.”
  
The above text is an excerpt from 2015 Florida Statute 733.617. For more information about the role and compensation of a Personal Representative in St. Petersburg, Tampa and Clearwater, call BaskinFleece at 727.572.4545.
This blog is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.