Neighbor Gets Payable On Death

In a case from our own backyard, Keul vs Hodges Boulevard Presbyterian Church, Mrs. Lampp and her late husband executed wills in 2009, several months before he died. Their estate plan provided that after Mrs. Lampp’s death, the entire estate would go to Hodges Boulevard Presbyterian Church. When she died, Mrs. Lampp had $333,000 in Navy Federal Credit Union accounts that she had jointly owned with her husband before he died. Her "friendly" neighbor provided a "payable on death" form from the credit union that gave her (the neighbor!) 75% of the credit union accounts, 10% each to her son and daughter and the remaining 5% to her former daughter-in-law. Nothing was left to the church.

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Guardianship Proceedings

The recent Zelman case involved all-too-familiar fighting between a second wife and first kids. The children of  85-year-old Martin Zelman instituted guardianship proceedings alleging that Martin’s wife was taking advantage of him and isolating him from his children, in part to take control of his substantial assets. The children alleged that Martin had “accidentally” deposited $3 million in the couple’s joint bank account, and that the money should be returned to Martin’s sole ownership.

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Family With Minor Children

The law governing Florida’s UTMA accounts has been amended. Effective July 1, 2015, persons creating a UTMA account for a minor theoretically can create a custodianship that does not terminate until the minor attains age 25. Previously, Florida law required that UTMA accounts terminate when the minor attains age 21.

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Legal Changes

Guardianship is a legal concept where, if a court determines that a person (called the “ward”) is not capable of handling his or her own affairs due to age or incapacity, the court appoints a “guardian” to handle these affairs for the ward. We've previously addressed some predatory practices that have put individuals at risk (see here). Recently, new laws have taken effect in Florida to help provide increased protections for wards (see here).

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New Cramer Law Center Branch Amelia Island

We're thrilled to announce the opening of a new branch office on Amelia Island in order to better meet the estate planning and related needs of Northeast Florida residents! The office is located at 5211 South Fletcher Avenue.

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Probate Litigation Bullying

If you’ve listened to me long enough, you’ve heard Cramer’s theory of what happens in contested probate proceedings: “The bully always wins.” Well, now that might change. Recent amendments to both the Florida Probate Code and Trust Code, which apply to all proceedings filed on or after July 1, 2015, provide ammunition for family members to fight back against the bully.

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