Can a Personal Representative of an Estate Administer Property Before Receiving Letters of Administration in Florida?
Part of administering an estate upon a person’s passing involves the distribution of their assets
In Florida, it is not uncommon for spouses to hold title to property separately, especially if that property was acquired outside or prior to the marriage. However, it becomes particularly problematic when that spouse passes away, because many times the surviving spouse is not included on the title, which then requires a probate proceeding to transfer legal title to them.
A topic that comes up often in estate planning is how to divide up estate assets among beneficiaries. “Should I divide up my inheritance?” “Should one child get more than the other?” As estate planning attorneys, our role is not just to prepare documents and make sure things are in place for our client’s wishes and intentions to be carried out, but to also counsel and advise our clients on the best strategies given their unique situations.
Estate planning attorneys often times run into situations where clients undermine the importance of having an estate plan. After the Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts (“TCJA”) was passed, the estate tax exemption nearly doubled to $11.18 million for single individuals and $22.36 million for those that are married. Due to the immense increase in the exemption, the market for secession planning has encountered a short decline. However, planning is necessary so that your best interests are adhered to in the event you’re unable to adhere to them yourself.
A trust is a legal agreement between the person who created the trust “settlor” and the trustee (the settlor as well), which is designed to hold assets for the beneficiary/ies of the trust. A trust can be a useful legal and financial mechanism to hold and distribute one’s assets after the death of the settlor, regardless of the amount of assets the settlor has. Below are a few of the reasons why trusts are a good idea for everyone.
Having a written Last Will and Testament is an essential part of an estate plan. It reflects all of your wishes upon your death, including who the beneficiaries of your estate are and how they are to inherit from you upon your death. Without one, you can potentially face the risk of your assets being distributed contrary to your intentions under the default laws of the state of Florida.
A Last Will and Testament is a legal document that allows you to decide how to distribute your assets after your passing. A Will contains the definition of assets, the names of beneficiaries, and sometimes includes guardianship designations and burial instructions. A Will also appoints an executor, or personal representative, of the will. A personal representative is someone who will pay remaining taxes after your passing and make sure the Will is being executed correctly and in accordance with your wishes.
A holographic will is a will that has been written by hand by the person that is establishing the will, legally known as a testator. A holographic will is different from a standard will because it is typically neither notarized nor signed by two witnesses and handwritten.
While the show is fictional, the reality is that succession planning is an important aspect of estate planning that should be fully integrated into your plan, especially for business owners. A solid estate plan not only provides for the disposition of your assets upon your passing but also plans for someone to take your place (a successor) when you are no longer able to perform your responsibilities due to incapacity or death.
Miller Trust is a special kind of trust that adjusts the income of a person downward, usually in an effort to maintain the individual’s eligibility for some forms of government benefit programs. This type of trust is often used to establish eligibility for the Medicaid program.
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Trusts allow a third party, or trustee, of your choosing, to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary or beneficiaries. One of the great factors of a trust, is that trusts tend to avoid probate. Probate is the process after a person passes or becomes disabled; their assets are put on hold until the will is validated, any remaining debt is paid off, and the beneficiaries of the will are identified. Probate can be a long and stressful process for your loved ones.
A trust amendment is a legal document that revises specific provisions of a revocable living trust or an “inter vivos” trust. It is only intended for making changes to specific provisions, while leaving the rest of the document in its original form and other provisions unchanged.
The primary probate proceeding is usually held in the decedent’s state of residence or home state. However, a state probate court only has authority over property in its own jurisdiction; it does not have the power to issue orders for property that is located in another state. Therefore, an additional probate proceeding becomes necessary.
Unfortunately, the passing of a young and healthy individual like Bryant occurs more often than one would like to acknowledge and does not make headline news. When these ill-fated events take place, families are often left to mourn the death of a loved one while also navigating the complexities of administering an estate that was not properly planned.
Traditionally, estate planners have split tenancies by the entirety in order to fund separate trusts for both spouses, with the aim of maximizing estate tax exemptions.
Car ownership should always be considered when thinking of estate planning. There are different options to how a person should approach dealing with their vehicle and an estate plan.
The list of digital assets you may have online are endless, thus it is important that you either (1) set up a password manager kit, (2) include your digital assets in your estate plan, or (3) check if the website you are using allows you to add a recipient to your account once you pass away.
Often times, payments still need to be made and the payments become the responsibility of the deceased car lessee’s estate. Sometimes car dealerships will negotiate with the personal representative of the deceased’s estate and may be able to transfer the remaining lease to another person.
The personal representative you appoint will be the person in charge of handling your estate once you pass. This individual has vast responsibilities and powers; therefore, your personal representative should be someone that you trust.
In Florida, for a will to be valid it must be in writing, signed by the party seeking to create the will (the testator), the testator must have the mental competence to sign the will, and it must be signed by two witnesses to the execution of the will.