April 1st – This Day in History: BaskinFleece Became One!

Jay Fleece and Hamden Baskin

Attorneys Jay Fleece and Hamden Baskin

April 1, 2004 – Joseph W. “Jay” Fleece, III, and Hamden H. Baskin, III, decided to combine their extensive knowledge and experience to create a unique law firm that was focused mainly on contested estate, trust and guardianship matters. Their philosophy was simple: leverage trial skills with the knowledge of probate and trust law to provide consistent, efficient and effective representation for their clients – resulting in positive outcomes. Congratulations to Jay Fleece, Hamden Baskin and their team for serving the community and its clients since 2004.

In addition to the formation of BaskinFleece, here are other interesting and historical events that happened on April 1st:

Estate expenses: The personal representative’s compensation is usually determined in one of five ways...April 1, 1778 – Creating this icon made sense: New Orleans businessman Oliver Pollock creates the “$” symbol.
April 1, 1789  The US House of Representatives had it’s first full meeting in New York City, and F. Muhlenberg is the first Speaker of the House.
April firstApril 1, 1970  Cigarette advertising was banned and signed into law by President Richard Nixon. Here’s a classic ad featuring Ronald Reagan endorsing Chesterfield cigarettes.
April 1, 1985 – 47th NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship: Villanova beats Georgetown 84-75
April 1, 1970 AMC introduced the Gremlin, one of the first sub compact cars way back in 1970, before many realized gas prices would be a critical factor in future car buying. The car cost $1,879. Car imports were just starting to have an impact on the US market including the Volkswagen Beetle and the new generation of Japanese imports like the Datsun.

You can contact BaskinFleece on, before, or after April 1st at 727.572.4545.

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.



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!


BaskinFleece Partners All Included in 2015 Florida Super Lawyers List

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 4.47.39 PMBaskinFleece partners Hamden H. Baskin, III, Joseph W. “Jay” Fleece, III, and Colleen A. Carson were all included in Super Lawyers’ annual ranking of Florida attorneys. Mr. Baskin and Mr. Fleece were named in the 2015 Florida Super Lawyers list, while Ms. Carson was selected to the 2015 Florida Super Lawyers Rising Stars list, which includes attorneys who are either age 40 or younger or who are in practice for 10 years or less.

BaskinFleece partners Hamden H. Baskin, III, Joseph W. “Jay” Fleece, III, and Colleen A. Carson were all included in Super Lawyers’ annual ranking of Florida attorneys. The Super Lawyers lists feature attorneys who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Before selection, candidates go through a multi-stage process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates, and peer reviews by practice area.

No more than 5 percent of Florida lawyers are included in the state’s Super Lawyers list, and no more than 2.5 percent of Florida lawyers are included in the state’s Rising Stars list.

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

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

The New Year is the time of unfolding horizons and the realization of dreams. May you rediscover new strength and garner faith with you, and be able to rejoice in the simple pleasures that life has to offer and put a brave front for all the challenges that may come your way. Wishing you a prosperous New Year.

You might find these links helpful – our 3 most popular blogs published in 2014: 

1. Estate Obligations: What are Probate Assets?

2. When must the Trustee provide an accounting?

3. Living Wills in St. Petersburg, Tampa and Clearwater, Florida 

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.”  – Albert Einstein



6 Technicalities that Could Make Your Will Invalid

A Will is a written document controlling the disposition of estate assets and cash at death. The laws of each state set the formal requirements for a wIll to be a legal will. Here are the laws in Florida regarding an official and valid will:
proper will and estate legalities

Make sure your will is witnessed and notarized

1. The maker of the will (called the testator), must be at least 18 years old.

2. The testator must be of sound mind at the time they sign the will.

3. The will must be written to be an official document.

4. Important: The will must bewitnessed and notarized in the special manner provided by law for wills.

5. It is necessary to follow exactly the formalities required for the execution of a will.

6. To be effective, the will must be proved in, and allowed by, the probate court.

Click on the image below to watch a short 1 minute video.

The Signing of a WillNo will becomes final until the death of the testator, and it may be changed or added to by the testator by drawing a new will or by a “codicil,” which is simply an addition or amendment executed with the same formalities of a will. A will’s terms cannot be changed by writing something in or crossing something out after the will is executed. In fact, writing on the will after its execution may invalidate part of the will or all of it.


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.

Estate Planning: A Trust May Be Used in Addition to a Will

wills and trusts in estate planningWhen estate planning, realize that a trust can handle only the property that has been put into it. Any property of a person that is not placed in the trust either during life or at death in most instances escapes the control of the trust. It is the will that controls all property in a decedent’s name at the time of death if the will is drafted properly. Trusts canBaskinFleece prides itself on its unique ability to handle all aspects of wills and trusts, including estate planning. Estate planning and private wealth transfer may sometimes involve complex tax planning, requiring the assistance of skilled and knowledgeable legal counsel. be helpful to speed administration and save taxes if they are drafted properly in estate planning and funded during life with the property intended to be transferred by the trust. Often, however, improperly drafted or incorrectly funded or administered trusts can add to the cost of settling estates, not lower it. Furthermore, it is the probate of the will that can clear creditors’ claims, which is not possible with just a trust administration.

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

Most of the content of the information above 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.