Attorney Jay Fleece Is Featured in the 24th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America©

BaskinFleece lawyer Jay FleeceBaskin Fleece partner Joseph W. “Jay” Fleece, III, was selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2018 in the field of Trusts and Estates Litigation. Best Lawyers® is based on an exhaustive peer-review evaluation. This year, 7.4 million votes were analyzed, resulting in the inclusion of more than 58,000 lawyers in the Best Lawyers Jay Fleece24th edition. Lawyers are not required nor allowed to pay a fee to be listed. Corporate Counsel magazine has called Best Lawyers “the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice.”

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

 

Trusts and Probate: Advantages and Disadvantages

What are the differences between probate and trusts? Probate is a court-supervised process for identifying and gathering the assets of a deceased person (decedent), paying the decedent’s debts, and distributing the decedent’s assets to his or her beneficiaries. In general, the decedent’s assets are used first to pay the cost of the probate proceeding, then are used to pay the decedent’s outstanding debts, and the remainder is distributed to the decedent’s beneficiaries.

Jay Fleece, of Baskin Fleece, points out the differences, advantages and disadvantages of Probate and Trusts.

Jay Fleece, of Baskin Fleece, points out the differences, advantages and disadvantages of Probate and Trusts.

Jay Fleece, of BaskinFleece, points out the differences, advantages and disadvantages of probate and trusts.
To start the video, please click the image to the left.

probate trusts advantages of eachBaskinFleece primarily deals with controversies involving estates, trusts, wills, probate trusts and guardianships. Issues dealing with the validity of wills and trusts, breach of fiduciary duty, lack of capacity, spousal rights, creditors’ rights and anything related to wills, trusts and guardianships are routinely dealt with. The vast experience in dealing with and resolving these specific issues has given the firm a wealth of knowledge – which other less-involved firms may not have. It is that knowledge base that sets BaskinFleece apart from the other firms and attorneys practicing in this area of the law.

BaskinFleece handles cases from the pre-suit stages, including mediation, all the way through trial, both jury and non-jury, and even at the appellate level, if necessary. The main focus of the firm in dealing with all controversies is the client. Cost, emotional impact and timeliness are all important to the client and the firm strives for an end result which leaves the client feeling that justice was accomplished. For help or answers to 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. 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.

Joint Account or Power of Attorney?

Colleen-VideoButtonThe moment a parent puts you on their bank account as a joint owner, your parent effectively made a gift to you of one-half of the value of the account. If the gift to you is more than $14,000 (meaning the account is more than $28,000), then your parent effectively just made a taxable gift to you, and the gift should be reported to the IRS. Also, one-half of this account is now part of your legal assets, and if for what ever reason there is a legal judgment or lien against your assets, or you are going through a divorce, your one-half share of the account is vulnerable to your creditors and divorce proceedings. Learn more about Joint Accounts and how a Power of Attorney can solve a lot of potential issues from attorney Colleen Carson’s three and a half minute video below called, “Joint Account or Power of Attorney?”

 

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.

Why Joint Accounts can Bypass Your Estate Planning

Estate planning caution: Upon the passing of one of the joint owners of an account, the account automatically passes to the other person. However that can have many unintended consequences – find how in this 2 minute video:

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

Fiduciary Duty of a Trustee

In this short, but informative video below, Jay Fleece of BaskinFleece, discusses the fiduciary duty of a Trustee and the pitfalls of being a Trustee if the inform and accounting duties are not properly reported. 

FYI – Trust administration is the process whereby assets and cash which were funded into a revocable or irrevocable trust during the decedent’s lifetime or “poured into the trust after his or her passing”, are marshaled/gathered and made ready for distribution to the beneficiaries named in the trust. Trust administration also requires the filing of a notice of trust with the probate court and is the process whereby creditors are paid, and after all state and federal tax returns are filed and all creditors and other administrative expenses are paid, the trustee makes a final distribution of the trust assets and cash.

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

Are You Considering Contesting a Will in Florida?

Estate planning, wills and probate

Attorney Raleigh W. (“Billy”) Greene, IV

Make sure you file a Caveat to protect yourself. Deciding whether or not to contest a loved one’s will is understandably a very difficult decision to make. Wills are most commonly contested either due to a testator’s (person executing the will) mental incapacity or because a third-party exerted undue influence over the testator near the time the will was executed.

Often potential clients suspect foul play when their parent or loved one changes their estate planning late in life, but they decide to hold off researching their options until they have had sufficient time to mourn their loss. The hard reality, however, is that any delay could put a client at a disadvantage should they ever pursue legal action.

The beneficiaries under a questionable will often begin advancing their claims immediately after the testator passes away. If this unscrupulous individual is also nominated as the personal representative under the new will, which is usually the case, then that individual has the ability to open a probate estate on behalf of the testator.

The method used to open a probate estate is to file a document called a Petition for Administration. If the Court has no reason to suspect that a will contest is being considered, then the Court will appoint a personal representative and that individual would then be empowered to act on behalf of the testator’s estate. One of the main concerns in allowing this appointment to happen is that once an individual is named personal representative of an estate, they have the ability to use estate funds to defend any legal action brought against the estate. This can put a potential will contestant at a serious financial disadvantage in a will contest.

probate estate and will litigation

File a Caveat with the Court

So what can you do to protect yourself? The Florida Probate Code allows any interested party, who is “apprehensive” about a testator’s estate, to file a Caveat with the Court. A Caveat basically puts the Court on notice that there are questions surrounding a testator’s Last Will and Testament. As long as the Caveator is not merely a creditor of the estate, a Caveat can be filed either before or after the testator’s death.

Once a Caveat is filed, the Court will not appoint a personal representative of an estate until the Caveator has been given formal notice of the proceedings. Upon receiving formal notice, the Caveator has twenty (20) days to file an objection or competing petition. By filing the Caveat, a Caveator ensures that their potential adversary will not have access to estate funds for purposes of litigation. As discussed above, precluding the opposing party from using estate funds ensures that the competing parties will begin a will contest on equal footing. .

It is also important to keep in mind that there are certain formal requirements when executing a Caveat, so please consult a probate attorney to ensure your Caveat is valid and effectual under the law. 

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

 

BaskinFleece Handles All Aspects of Trust Administration

Attorneys are best to handle assets from a trust

 

Trust administration is that process whereby assets and cash which were funded into a revocable or irrevocable trust during the decedent’s lifetime or “poured into the trust after his or her passing”, are marshaled/gathered and made ready for distribution to the beneficiaries named in the trust. Trust administration also requires the filing of a notice of trust with the probate court and is the process whereby creditors are paid, and after all Probate and trust administration is handled by BaskinFleecestate and federal tax returns are filed and all creditors and other administrative expenses are paid, the trustee makes a final distribution of the trust assets and cash. The process is similar to Florida probate administration, but there is no circuit judge supervising the administration, nor is a fiduciary bond usually posted, and many times it can be accomplished more efficiently, and thereby cheaper and faster, than a full probate administration.

For more information about Probate and Trusts, please contact BaskinFleece at 727.572.4545.