Florida Legal Blog

Revisiting your estate plan is critical to its function

Once you have finished writing your estate plan and you feel good about having addressed all of the details that are most important to you, it is time to sit back and breathe a sigh of relief. However, this only lasts for a time before it is necessary to revisit your plan and assess whether or not it needs to be modified in any way. At Fradley Law Firm, P.A., we have helped many people through the process of building their estate plan in Florida.

One of the most common errors that people make when they create an estate plan, is that they forget to update it when important changes in their life occur. If you fail to address important changes and reflect them in the content of your estate plan, you may find that it does not go the way you had hoped. Part of having a well-written plan requires you to keep it updated, and experts recommend that you review its content frequently to make sure everything is still correct to your current situation. 

Do you need to remove a fiduciary executor from an estate?

It is possible to remove an irresponsible or unfit executor of an estate. However, you will need to proceed carefully around the laws that protect executors and beneficiaries from one another.

If your loved one placed their trust in the wrong person, they could rob the estate and its beneficiaries of its assets. You might be the last line of defense for your loved one’s legacy.

WHY HAVE A WILL?

By having a will you get to decide who gets your property. You can create a Trust whereby the estate will be kept intact with income distributed to of the members of the family to or accumulated for the benefit of members of the family or others. Minors can be cared for without the expense of guardianship of the property. Real estate and other assets may be sold without court proceedings, if your will adequately authorizes it. A guardian may be named for minor children.

Can you solve neighbor disputes before they worsen?

When people of different backgrounds move in next door to each other and have varying ways of doing things, different beliefs and strong opinions, a bit of disagreement are inevitable. However, when left unaddressed, neighbors in Florida may find that getting along civilly is no longer and they are now facing a civil lawsuit in the eye. Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to prevent that kind of disagreement from happening to you. 

When you are confronted with an issue between yourself and a neighbor and are frustrated about the way the issue is being handled, the best thing you can do is to address it immediately with your neighbor. When approaching the topic, be friendly and understanding. Do your best to approach the discussion with a willingness to converse rather than lay down a lengthy list of what they have done to bother you. 

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A RESIDENTIAL CONTRACT FOR SALE AND PURCHASE AND AN "AS-IS" RESIDENTIAL CONTRACT FOR SALE AND PURCHASE?

First, regardless of whether the contract is As-Is or not, the seller has a duty to disclose to the buyer any facts that materially affect the value of the real property which are not readily observable.

Intestate succession in Florida

Many people put a lot of effort into accumulating assets throughout their lives, but fail to plan who might get those assets once they are gone. A common question fielded by many estate planning experts is what happens if one dies without a will. This question may be less of an inquiry as it is an attempt to secure justification for avoiding estate planning. Yet the choice of who gets what from one's estate is taken from them (and their presumed heirs) if they fail to leave a will. 

Florida's state statutes detail how one's estate will be distributed if they die intestate (without a will). One's surviving spouse will receive all of the descendant's assets if they have no living descendants, or if any descendants that they do leave behind are also the descendants of the spouse. If a decedant dies intestate and has descendants who are not related to his or her spouse, then those descendants will share half of the estate, while the remaining half goes to the spouse. If one's spouse's preceded the decedant in death, then the intestate estate would pass as follows: 

  • To their descendants
  • If there are no descendants, to their parents 
  • If there are no surviving parents, to their siblings 
  • If there are no siblings, to their grandparents (split equally between both paternal and maternal)
  • If there are no grandparents, to their grandparents' descendants (again, split equally between paternal and maternal)

Recognize the signs of undue influence

Undue influence refers to the use of a person's position of power to persuade or pressure a person to do something he or she would otherwise not have done had the influence not occurred. Typically, the action the influencer convinces the other person to take goes against the victim's best interests and benefits the influencer in some way. When undue influence occurs in relation to a will in Florida, it is typically to take money or property that should go to another beneficiary.

Elder Protection Center provides 12 signs of undue influence for which individuals can watch out. This post details just a few of them.  

What effects do major life events have on wills in Florida?

Events such as the birth or adoption of a child, marriage or divorce have major impacts on a person's life. They can also majorly change one's estate planning goals and needs.

Given this, it is important to remember that, if person formed a will prior to a major life event, the event will generally not automatically alter the will much on its own.

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