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.
Most complications that arise in estate administration are the result of unanticipated events. Divorce is one of the least planned for events in any estate plan; it can also cause some of the most devastating complications. The recent case of Carroll v. Israelson illustrates this point.
In order for a will to be probated after someone’s death, a Personal Representative must be appointed by the court. In order for a trust to be administered, a Trustee must be appointed pursuant to the terms of the trust. The PR or Trustee then distributes the estate among the intended beneficiaries through a process known as estate administration. Typically, the PR or Trustee will hire a lawyer to assist with the estate administration. During the estate administration, this “estate” lawyer will need to be in contact with the beneficiaries. It is not uncommon for the beneficiaries to believe that the estate lawyer represents them and their interest in receiving their share of the estate.
This fascinating documentary details the struggle for control of Dr. Albert C. Barnes’ private collection of modern and post-impressionist art, valued at 40-50 billion dollars. Even if you haven’t heard of Dr. Barnes or his phenomenal art collection, this film is a must-see.
This newsletter begins a series discussing the impact of marriage on the legal rights of spouses to share in each other’s assets. We begin by talking about the “elective share” and the “pretermitted spouse.”
It's that time of year again: The holiday season is in full swing. Hopefully you are planning to spend some time with those you hold most dear. As you prepare your home or pack your bags, we encourage you to consider not only what and who you are most thankful for, but whether you have expressed your gratitude in a meaningful and lasting way.
Unfortunately, we deal with death on a fairly regular basis as part of our practice, so it usually does not take us by surprise. However, we recently have had a couple of shocking deaths which illustrate why it is never too soon to plan.
We recently have written about how adopting an adult can allow an unrelated person to share in an inheritance (unless it is done with improper motives). But how, and from whom, do adopted persons (whether they are adults or children) inherit under Florida law?
Wording in a will or trust which allows a named person to decide where your property and money should go after your death (instead of you making that decision ahead of time) is called “precatory” language. An example is the recent Florida case of Cody v. Cody, where Earler Martin’s will left his home, and the rest of his estate, to one of his three stepsons, “to divide between [himself and his brothers], as he sees fit and proper.” Earler’s wish was probably that the inheriting stepson, Buford, divide up the home and other property equally between himself and his brothers. However, the words he chose to express that desire defeated that intent.
When people think about adoption, images of a young child in need often come to mind. Yet, Florida law contemplates a broader vision. Under Florida Statute § 63.042(1) “[a]ny person, a minor or an adult, may be adopted.” The recent Florida case Dennis v. Kline demonstrates the complications that may arise when an estate plan allows adopted children to become beneficiaries, but fails to address whether “adopted children” includes adopted adults.