Personal Representative Compensation

Personal representative CompensationThe personal representative, the attorney, and other professionals whose services may be required in administering the probate estate (such as appraisers and accountants), are entitled by law to reasonable compensation.

 personal representativeEstate expenses: The personal representative’s compensation is usually determined in one of five ways: (1) as set forth in the will; (2) as set forth in a contract between the personal representative and the decedent; (3) as agreed among the personal representative and the persons who will bear the impact of the personal representative’s compensation; (4) the amount presumed to be reasonable as calculated under Florida law, if the amount is not objected to by any of the beneficiaries; or (5) as determined by the judge.

estate expenses and feesThe fee for the attorney for the personal representative is usually determined in one of three ways: (1) as agreed among the attorney, the personal representative, and the persons who bear the impact of the fee; (2) the amount presumed to be reasonable calculated under Florida law, if the amount is not objected to by any of the beneficiaries; or (3) as determined by the judge.

U.S. NewsBaskinFleece was named one of the Best Law Firms in US News & World Report’s 2017 rankings, receiving a tier two distinction for the Tampa metro area in the field of trusts and estates litigation. Firms included in the list are recognized for “professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers.” Selection is based on lawyer and client evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys, and review of additional information provided by the law firm. To be eligible, firms must also have at least one lawyer listed in the 19th edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

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

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 Because the law is continually changing, some provisions in this blog may be out of date.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.

Proper Execution of a Will and What Happens When a Will Is Lost?

Estate Planning will signing listA will cannot dispose of any of the decedent’s property until it is admitted to probate. In order for a will to be admitted to probate, it must be executed in accordance with the formalities required by Florida law. The testator must sign his will at the end in the presence of two attesting witnesses. The attesting witnesses must sign in the presence of each other and in the presence of the testator. If the testator attaches a self-proof of will, the will may be admitted to probate without further proof. Without a self-proof of will, an oath of one of the attesting witnesses may be required before the will is admitted to probate.

What Happens When a Will Is Lost? Upon the testator’s death, if a will, executed by the testator and kept in his possession, cannot be found, there is a presumption, absent other evidence, that he destroyed it with the intention of revoking it. However, this presumption may be overcome and the will may be admitted to probate if an interested person is able to establish the full and precise terms of the lost or destroyed will. The content of the lost or destroyed will may be proven with a correct copy of the will and the testimony of one disinterested witness. Without a correct copy, the content may be established through the testimony of two disinterested witnesses.

Related video: Estate Planning documents you must have…

Baskin Fleece handles all aspects of estate planning, probate administration, and litigation. To schedule an appointment with a BaskinFleece attorney, call (727) 572-4545. For more information about BaskinFleece, please visit www.BaskinFleece.com.

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.

 

 

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.

Baskin Fleece Named in U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Law Firms”

U.S. news best law firm 2016 recognitionBaskin Fleece was included in the 2016 “Best Law Firms” list by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers©. Baskin Fleece received a tier two distinction for the St. Petersburg metro area in the field of trusts and estates litigation. Those honored in the “Best Law Firms” list are recognized for “professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers.” Selection is based on lawyer and client evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys, and review of additional information provided by law firms. To be eligible, firms must also have a lawyer who is included in the 21st edition of The Best Lawyers in America, a list which honors the top four percent of practicing attorneys in the country.

To schedule an appointment with a Baskin Fleece attorney, call (727) 572-4545. For more information about Baskin Fleece, visit www.BaskinFleece.com.

Estate Planning for Your Pet: Pet Trusts in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater

A growing number of people who seek estate planning services also ask for advice on how to provide for the care of their pet in the event of their death or incapacity. This is a logical leap considering how many people now view their pet as a member of the family. Though an animal cannot inherit money, property, or an estate, there are now legally-enforceable documents that allow an individual to provide for their pet upon their death or incapacity.

Many are of the belief that a bequest in a Last Will and Testament is adequate to provide for their pet in the future. However, it is important to understand that a bequest in your Last Will and Testament is only effective upon your passing and makes no provision for your pet during your lifetime. This means if you become incapacitated during your lifetime, there is no enforceable document governing the care of your animal. Further, wills are generally used only for the disbursement of property upon your death, not for enforcing the demands contained within. Additionally, admitting a will to probate can be a time-consuming process and thus, will not provide for your pet immediately upon your passing.

Cat-TazAs detailed above, there are several issues that can arise when an individual provides for a pet through a Last Will and Testament. Those who wish to provide a more comprehensive estate plan regarding the care of their pet, during their lifetime and at death, may be better served though creation of a pet trust. While pet trusts have not been recognized in all 50 states, Florida allows pet trusts. Including a pet trust in your estate plan is beneficial for the following reasons:

  • Pet trusts are valid during your life and at your death;
  • Pet trusts allow you to establish how to control the disbursement of funds for your pet’s benefit;
  • Provisions can be made in the event of your incapacity;
  • You can ensure that the pet will receive care in accordance with your wishes;
  • You can establish a reasonable fee for your pet’s caregiver;
  • Pet trusts can provide for an alternate caregiver in the event the primary caregiver is unable or unwilling to act;
  • There is a trustee who is monitoring the caregiver’s actions to ensure your pet is receiving the proper level of care;
  • Randall Baskin

    Attorney Randall D. Baskin, Esq.

    You can set forth your desired wishes regarding end-of-life arrangements for your pet;

  • At your pet’s death, the remaining assets in the pet trust will pass to your choice of beneficiary, such as an animal shelter in Tampa, St. Petersburg, or Clearwater; and
  • You can establish a care plan for your pet.

For more information about setting up a pet trust in St. Petersburg, Clearwater, and the Tampa Bay area, call Baskin Fleece at (727) 572-4545.

 

This blog/video 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.