Category Archives: Trusts & Estates

Florida’s Slayer Statute

One of the most bone-chilling and eerie probate laws in Florida is the “Slayer Statute”. Essentially, slayer statutes prevent murderers from inheriting from their victims. The majority of the states in the U.S. have enacted statutes preventing someone from inheriting from an individual whose death they have caused, but specific rules and provisions vary from state to state on how the Slayer statute is applied. 

For example, some states vary on whether an insanity defense is taken into account on the topic of inheritance and probate. Other distinctions include whether the “slayer” committed an intentional homicide and not a manslaughter, whether a criminal conviction is required for the Slayer statute to be applied in the probate context, and whether the heirs of the “Slayer” are also disinherited. 



Do Non-Married Partners Have Inheritance Rights In Florida?

Long-term relationships and domestic partnerships are becoming more common in today’s society, which brings with it a host of legal issues, especially when it comes to estate planning and death. Unlike in a traditional marital relationship, when one of the partners becomes deceased, there are no marriage laws to protect the surviving partner when claiming the assets of their now deceased partner’s estate.



Batalla del conservador de la princesa pop

Desde que se convirtió en un icono del pop adolescente a principios de la década del 2000, Britney Spears no ha sido ajena a la controversia y a los titulares de las revistas. Después de un colapso público en 2007, con la cabeza afeitada y atacando a los paparazzi, Britney comenzó una serie de estancias en centros de rehabilitación. Mientras Britney se centraba en su salud mental, su padre, Jamie Spears, fue nombrado por un tribunal para que examinara a Britney y sus finanzas, también conocido como tutela. Desde entonces, Britney ha mantenido un perfil bastante bajo. Sin embargo, recientes publicaciones en medios sociales y una serie de peticiones judiciales han vuelto a poner a Britney en los titulares. Específicamente, Britney ha solicitado a la corte que retire su tutela y los fans están llamando a “#freebritney” para que deje de estar bajo el control de su padre.



Pop Princess Conservator Battle

From the time she became a teenage pop icon in the early 2000s, Britney Spears has been no stranger to controversy and magazine headlines. After a very public breakdown in 2007, complete with head shaving and attacking the paparazzi, Britney began a series of stints in rehab facilities. While Britney was focusing on her mental health, her father, Jamie Spears, was appointed by a court to look over Britney and her finances, also known as a conservatorship. Since then Britney has maintained a fairly low profile. However, recent social media posts and a series of court petitions have put Britney back in the headlines. Specifically, Britney has petitioned the court to remove her conservatorship and fans are calling to “#freebritney” from the control of her father.



What is a Letter of Testamentary? Florida vs. New York

Upon a person’s passing, their estate is to be divided appropriately. When the late person has a valid will, the personal representative or executor of the estate will then come in to distribute the assets in accordance with the wishes stipulated in the will. Nevertheless, Florida courts specifically, will not allow the personal representative to distribute assets until he or she has been given a letter of testamentary by the court.



Why Everyone Should Have a Trust?

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.



Grounds for Contesting a Will in Florida

At EPGD, we strive to communicate the importance of succession planning and are eager to spread knowledge on every aspect of having a valid will. More times than not, a will may potentially open itself up to an opportunity to be contested. This is known as a will contest, and Florida, among many other states, recognizes a number of grounds for contesting a will.



What is a “No Contest” Clause and is it Enforceable?

The term “In Terrorem” is a legal Latin term that translates to “in terror”. Today, most lawyers prefer to use the term “no contest”. A “No Contest” clause in a will may be added by the Testator of the will.



Do I Need Approval from HOA to Transfer Property into my Trust?

When drafting trusts, many chose to transfer their real estate property into the trust. Transferring property into a trust usually safeguards it from probate after the owner’s passing and sometimes can provide tax benefits.



Can You Give Away Your Rights to Real Estate Before They Vest?

A right in property vests when an interest in property is transferred to someone and the right begins to belong to that individual. A right vests when it is not subject to a condition precedent.



What is a Surcharge Action in Florida?

A surcharge action in Florida is a legal action that may be brought against a personal representative when there are allegations that the personal representative has breached his fiduciary duty in order to impose personal liability on a personal representative.



Beneficiary’s Rights in a Florida Trust

In the United States, the rights of trust beneficiaries are typically governed by state law. Florida has adopted the Uniform Trust Code (U.T.C.), which governs the administration of trusts in Florida as well as duties and rights of trustees and beneficiaries.



What is a Living Will?

A living will is a legally binding document that explains an individual’s personal choices about end-of-life medical care in cases where they become incapacitated and can no longer make decisions for themselves. For example, the living will would state whether an individual would want to be kept alive through life support or whether they would not like to receive any life support, including artificial nutrition and hydration.



Difference Between a Revocable and an Irrevocable Trust in Florida

A trust is an agreement between a settlor and a trustee, which directs the trustee to hold the settlor’s assets for the benefit of the settlor’s beneficiaries. In simple terms, an individual will establish a trust to hold their assets for their beneficiaries. The person establishing the trust, or the settlor, can create a trust agreement where he is both the settlor and the trustee and place all of his assets in the trust.



What is Tortious Interference with an Expected Inheritance in Florida?

Tortious Interference with an Expected Inheritance occurs when someone succeeds at manipulating the assets of the decedent. In such a case, those beneficiaries of the inheritance who suffer an injury as a result of the tortious interference can bring a suit against the person who has manipulated the assets. Such conduct could include transferring money between different accounts, converting bank accounts to cash or affecting the distribution of the assets in any other way.



How do I Donate my Organs as part of my Estate Plan?

When preparing your estate plan, not only can you provide directives as to the administration of your estate, but you can also give instructions as to what will happen to your body after you pass away. Providing such instructions yourself would save your family from conflict over what should be done with your body and how you would have wanted to be buried. 



Adult Protective Services in Florida

The Adult Protective Services in Florida are part of the Florida Department of Children and Families. You can report adult exploitation online at https://reportabuse.dcf.state.fl.us/ or by calling their hotline at 1-800-962-2873.



What if I’m a Small Business Owner and I’m Looking to Protect my Life-long Legacy?

While it can be emotional to imagine the state of a business after your passing, it can prove crucial in the protection of your legacy. The reality is that your sudden passing can lead to thousands or millions of dollars in losses for your business, and even starker consequences for your family.



What Are Fiduciary Duties and Responsibilities of a Trustee?

Naming a trustee to administer your trust is an important decision that should be afforded thoughtful consideration. One should consider the proposed individual’s qualifications, ability, professionalism, and ethics. Equally important is the decision to accept appointment as trustee of another’s trust.  Oftentimes, a trusteeship is accepted without prior knowledge of the duties and responsibilities involved. 



How Do I Become Legal Guardian of My Parent?

What is Considered a Legal Guardian? A legal guardian is an individual who has been appointed by a court to represent and make decisions on behalf of another other person. A legal guardian is appointed in accordance with state guardianship laws. The person over whom the guardianship extends is called a “Ward.” Guardianships can be…   + Read More…



HBO®’s “Succession” The Importance of Succession Planning as Part of Your Estate Plan

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. 



What is a Miller Trust?

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.



How Can I Cancel a Power of Attorney?

Powers of attorney vary in the extent of powers granted. A special power of attorney may specify certain powers that would be granted to the agent.



Can you Revoke or Amend a Trust?

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. 



What is a Trust Amendment?

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.



Signing Your Will Under Seal

Generally speaking, signing under seal makes the contract more formal. “The formality of a promise under seal is an efficient, trustworthy method of channeling a person’s deliberate intent to be legally obligated”



Preserving a Tenancy by the Entirety in your Florida Estate Plan

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.



What are the Consequences of not Having a Will?

What happens if you do not have a will or your will is not valid? In these cases, the state declares the individual to have died “intestate,” and your property follows a chain of succession to determine the owner.



What is a Prenup?

A prenuptial agreement (or a prenup) is an agreement signed before marriage that outlines what happens to each spouse’s financial assets in the event of divorce or death. This protects each spouse’s personal assets that they have inherited from family members, assets they have obtained before marriage, or income they have generated before marriage.



Are You Ready to Retire?

Are you on the right path to retirement? A retirement plan is not something to take lightly or put off to a later date.



Life Insurance Trust… in Layman’s Terms!

A trust is a fiduciary arrangement that allows a third party, or trustee, to hold assets or income for the benefit of beneficiaries. Similar to a life insurance there are three parties to a trust. The settlor, the person or entity who creates the trust and usually transfer the property into the trust; the trustee, the person who holds and manages that property for the benefit of the beneficiary; and the beneficiary, the person who receives the benefit of such property.