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!
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.
Change is underway at Cramer Law Center. First, we are moving in 2 weeks to new offices at 4655 Salisbury Road, Suite 100A. (The move will take place the week of June 25). If you enter from Salisbury, we will be in the third of 3 buildings in the “Quadrant at Southpoint” office complex. You also can enter from Belfort Road. If you turn in at the entrance to the Borland-Groover Clinic and keep going past the clinic, we will be the first of the Quadrant buildings. I believe the official designation is “Quadrant II.” This location near I-95 and JTB is more centrally located than our present offices. Although traffic during rush hour is bad everywhere in Jacksonville, at least there is more than one way in and out of the new offices—as contrasted to our present location. We will have a map up on our website as soon as we relocate.
There is a lot of talk currently going on in Washington about the estate tax. Remember; however, the estate tax currently affects a very small and very wealthy number of Americans, with only the estates of about 2 out of every 1,000 Americans who die facing the tax.
One of our first admonitions to clients seeking to become appointed personal representative of a decedent’s estate and is to secure all automobiles and not let anyone drive them. Under Florida’s Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine, the estate can be held vicariously liable if someone drives the car and injures others in an accident. Once a person has been appointed personal representative and the probate case opened, the personal representative has personal responsibilityfor those automobiles.