Don't keep your Will in a Safe Deposit Box! Never! Please! This may seem like a good idea to keep the Will safe, but let me assure you, it is not. In an estate where the family was never informed of the Will’s location, we recently had to get into one to retrieve the ORIGINAL Will, which the state of Florida requires be filed. A copy of the Will is not sufficient. We did not have a key, so we had to get the court to order our entrance and then drill, yes DRILL, into it to get it opened. This caused several weeks of delay and thousands of dollars of additional costs to the family because of this blunder. Go to the bank now and remove yours... and more importantly, tell the person you’ve appointed to be your Personal Representative exactly where you are keeping it!
In Florida, any adult can file a petition in state court to determine if another person is incapacitated. If a person is determined to be incapacitated, a guardian will be appointed by the court. People often ask us how the court determines that a person is incapacitated. The process is explained in Florida Statute Section 744.331. 744.331(3)(a) states the following, in pertinent part:
The short answer is no. A surviving spouse is entitled to a portion of a deceased spouse’s estate even if the deceased has a valid will or trust leaving nothing to the spouse (Florida Statute 732.201). A surviving spouse is entitled to what is known as an “elective share” of the deceased’s estate. A surviving spouse may choose to inherit the “elective share” of the estate. The “elective share” is equal to 30% of the “elective estate.”
Like many legal questions, the answer is: it depends. However, in Florida, there is a guide to what attorney’s fees may be in a probate case. It is a sliding scale based on the size of the probate estate and can be found in Florida Statutes Section 733.6171, which states the following:
If you were to die without a Will or Trust in Florida, you will be considered to have died “intestate.” Your “intestate estate” – i.e. any asset you own that has not been effectively disposed of or transferred to a beneficiary – will be distributed according to Florida intestate succession law.