Florida Legal Blog

Estate planning is not only for families

When people hear the term, "estate planning," many have thoughts about elderly people who are preparing for their final years or families who are coordinating an end-of-life plan for an aging relative. However, there are many single parents in Florida who can also benefit from planning their estate even though they may not have a traditional marital relationship. 

While estate planning may be a topic that is not of critical importance to people unless they see an immediate need, their efforts to begin planning far in advance can make a considerable difference in how comfortable they feel about what will happen to the people they love and the things they cherish when they become incapacitated. For single parents, this task can be significantly more daunting in that they do not have a spouse to rely on for helping to raise or care for dependents if something happens to them. Because they are the sole provider, they will need to ask someone they trust to resume the responsibility of caring for their children should an unforeseen circumstance result in their debilitating injury or death. 

Understanding title insurance and title reports

Residents in Florida who are interested in buying a new home should understand the various steps involved in the buying process. Some of these steps are designed to protect home buyers and their lenders. Title reports and title insurance policies both fall into this category.

As explained by Zillow, there are two types of title insurance policies. One policy is for the new owner and buyer and the other policy is for the bank that will be issuing the mortgage on the property. The purpose of these policies is to protect buyers and lenders from potential errors on title reports. If an eventual issue arises and it is found that the buyer was not able to legally purchase the property due to a title report mistake, the title insurance company that insured the policy can financially compensate owners and lenders for their loss.

I need to evict my tenant. What are my rights?

Owning residential real estate is smart. It can be a solid investment with a good rate of return. If you have quality tenants, your relationship with them can be mutually beneficial. But sometimes, that relationship deteriorates and you need to act.

In Florida, like many other states, both you and your tenants have rights. To terminate the landlord-tenant relationship and seek eviction, a number of steps must first happen.

Why estate planning is a must for blended families

If you are one of the many people in Florida who have found happiness with a new love after a prior marriage ended in divorce, you have many reasons to celebrate indeed. However, before you rush blindly into a new marriage, it is wise to take time to step back and make sure you protect yourself, your children and your assets. Even if your second marriage lasts until you or your new partner dies, there will likely be issues at some point about who should inherit what assets. This is almost always more complicated in a blended family than in a non-blended family.

As explained by Fidelity Investments, leaving everything to a surviving spouse leaves the door open to your biological children ending up with nothing. You may intend that your children will inherit what remains after your spouse dies but the fact is that there may be nothing left by that time. This can happen for a variety of reasons. One situation that may arise is that your spouse may make a new will that leaves everything to his or her biological children.

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)

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