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Questions Answered by Lauren Nagel Richardson
2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Florida on
Q: Does the Successor Trustee have to provide an accounting once per year to a beneficiary of a voluntary trust?

The trust in question was set up by my wife who was found to be incompetent by two physicians and replaced by the Successor Trustee. I am a beneficiary of the Trust. The successor Trustee says that she need not provide an accounting unless my wife predeceases me. Is she correct?

Lauren Nagel Richardson
Lauren Nagel Richardson
answered on Mar 3, 2021

I think that it would depend on if you could make a credible argument that the trust has become irrevocable due to the incapacity of the grantor and thus you are now a qualified beneficiary who has a right to an annual accounting even though the grantor is still living. I would recommend that you... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Florida on
Q: Is it normal for probate attorneys to request to hold onto the checkbook from the estate account
Lauren Nagel Richardson
Lauren Nagel Richardson
answered on Feb 19, 2021

It is likely that this attorney is just acting out of an abundance of caution and wants to make sure that you only write checks for estate expenses or make distributions to the beneficiaries only at the appropriate time. I have done this in some cases, but not in all cases.

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Florida on
Q: Was told the Will did not need to be probated since there are no tangible assets, only money with a co-owner.

My mother (FL resident) recently passed away. She did not own a home or motor vehicle; she only had financial accounts (checking, savings, IRA , Annuity). She had a Will prepared about 15 years ago naming myself and brother (50%) and step-children (50%). However, all her accounts were held in her... Read more »

Lauren Nagel Richardson
Lauren Nagel Richardson
answered on Feb 4, 2021

Unless it can be shown by certain evidence that a joint ownership of an account was intended by the your mother was for convenience only, then each account passes to the co-owner without probate administration. The will only dictates how probate assets are distributed. Probate assets are limited to... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Florida on
Q: My home is paid off .the person I bought from will not sing off on deed or give me a quick claim deed is there anything
Lauren Nagel Richardson
Lauren Nagel Richardson
answered on Jan 11, 2021

This is a contested real estate matter. You will need to speak with a real estate attorney.

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Florida on
Q: Hi, Can a partial cash distribution be done from a trust with both cash and a home in Florida?

The trust has 4 beneficiaries and I am trying to figure out if I have the right to a portion of the cash before the home sells or if I have to wait for the home to sell to receive any payment.

Lauren Nagel Richardson
Lauren Nagel Richardson
answered on Jan 5, 2021

If you are a trustee in Florida, I would recommend that you consult with a probate and trust attorney before you make any distributions. If the trust is in another state but with real estate in Florida, you may need to consult with an attorney in the state in which the trust is being administered.... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Florida on
Q: Where can I find help for a friend who is on limited income, medicaid, etc and wants to update his will?

This person owns a house which has no mortgage, but hasn't updated his will for over 20 years. He asked me for recommendations, so I am trying to research his least costly options.

Lauren Nagel Richardson
Lauren Nagel Richardson
answered on Dec 14, 2020

Please let me know what county your friend resides in, and I can help you locate the appropriate pro bono legal services organization.

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for Florida on
Q: i am interested in learning if I have a right to make a claim to my fathers estate.

My father passed away October 29. He was never married to my mother and his name is not on my birth certificate. He did not tell me he was my father until I was in my 20's. We did not have any kind of relationship. He never provided for me in any way while I was growing up (on and off... Read more »

Lauren Nagel Richardson
Lauren Nagel Richardson
answered on Nov 9, 2020

The Florida Probate Code states that you would need to have some proof that you were his child. This could be in the form of a written statement by him acknowledging that he is your father or an adjudication of paternity by a court (either in a paternity case or in a child support case). One of... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Banking and Estate Planning for Florida on
Q: An individual becomes incompetent can the executor of the estate perform financial matters?

Can the health poa also perform financial matters if someone is incompetent ?

Lauren Nagel Richardson
Lauren Nagel Richardson
answered on Nov 4, 2020

You would need the person to have signed a durable power of attorney giving you financial decision making powers before they became incapacitated. A health care surrogate cannot make financial decisions. If you do not have a durable power of attorney and someone needs to make financial decisions... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate for Florida on
Q: In Florida, is there any requirement for a successor Trustee of a Living Trust to file with probate or other agency

The original Trustee has just passed away. All Wills and Trust documents are complete according to State law

Lauren Nagel Richardson
Lauren Nagel Richardson
answered on Nov 3, 2020

The successor trustee should file a Notice of Trust in the county of residence of the deceased Grantor. This filing involves a filing fee of $41.00. There are also quite a few other administrative responsibilities of a successor trustee for which the guidance of an attorney is highly recommended,... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Florida on
Q: I have my deceased fathers car and cannot find the title. How do I transfer the title that is missing to my name?

I never met my father and only occasionally spoke with him. He lived and registered the car in North Carolina but was down in Florida when he passed. The detective who found him contacted me, his only living kin, and told me to come get his things. I insured the car, flew down to Florida to pick it... Read more »

Lauren Nagel Richardson
Lauren Nagel Richardson
answered on Oct 28, 2020

There will be a process in either NC or GA to get a copy of lost title and transfer title to you as the heir. This is not a Florida matter.

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for Florida on
Q: Father died will prob. step mom had lifetime estate died recently how do I take possession of home i was left in will?

I need to take possession of the home in montgomery. There is no mortgage. Taxes and insurance are current. What steps do I take first?

Lauren Nagel Richardson
Lauren Nagel Richardson
answered on Oct 13, 2020

If the property is located in Montgomery, Alabama, then you will to post this question in the Alabama probate Justia forum. If the property is located in Florida, and there was previously an estate administration for your father which provided a life estate to your stepmom with remainder to you on... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Elder Law for Florida on
Q: I was recently made sole beneficiary and POA from my elder friend of 28 years. Will I need to file anything now?

He is alive but has 2 people renting rooms in his home he owns. I want to protect myself but also not sure if I need to do anything now? What happens if he becomes incapacitated? Should I meet with any attorney now? Thanks

Lauren Nagel Richardson
Lauren Nagel Richardson
answered on Jun 15, 2020

As agent, you can meet specifically with an elder law attorney who can review your friend's financial picture to determine if there is anything you could be doing (or shouldn't do) as POA to help him qualify for Medicaid and other long term care benefits if he were to need nursing care in... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Florida on
Q: What are my options for my adult son who refues to talk to me about my house that he lives in in a different state?

I left ny in Feb 2016 was threatened if I went back to retrieve my personal belongings. My adult son still lives in the home and refuses to talk to me since I left. His dad passed away last saterday. Everything is in my name. What are my legal rights and options?

Lauren Nagel Richardson
Lauren Nagel Richardson
answered on Jun 9, 2020

You will need to hire a NY attorney to file an eviction action.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Florida on
Q: My parents had my name added to the deed of their condo about 6 years ago after their death will it have to go to probat
Lauren Nagel Richardson
Lauren Nagel Richardson
answered on Jun 9, 2020

If your parents are still living, you do not need a probate attorney. A real estate attorney could look at the deed to help you determine if the property would pass to the survivor under the deed or if probate would be required someday.

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6 Answers | Asked in Elder Law and Estate Planning for Florida on
Q: I have been taking care of my elder parents, my father passed, my mom is in long term, i live in their home

I am paying their mortgage payment and wonder what happens when and if my mother passes. Please advise.

Thank you

Lauren Nagel Richardson
Lauren Nagel Richardson
answered on May 29, 2020

At the time of your mother's passing, if her home is titled solely to her in fee simple, then there will need to be a probate administration to transferred to her heirs at law (if no will) or devisees (if there is a will). The probate process is necessary to give clear title to the... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law, Estate Planning and Probate for Florida on
Q: My husband passed without a will and he owned a property that was not our homestead but we used it for rental income.

I, as the surviving spouse want to sell this property (FL) and need to probate it because I am not on the deed, only my husband. He and I had 2 children together who are minors and he had one adult child from a previous relationship as do I. I was advised that upon the sale I am entitled to 50% of... Read more »

Lauren Nagel Richardson
Lauren Nagel Richardson
answered on Apr 22, 2020

I am very sorry for your loss. Those attorney answering this question before me are correct. The children's 50% goes to all three children. Because your children are minors, if you were appointed the personal representative (spouse has preference of appointment when there is no will) and you... Read more »

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5 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for Florida on
Q: My aunt just passed away recently. In her Will she's left me her condominium, her vehicle, life insurance policy,..

.. And bank accounts. I've lived with her for almost 6 years. I just received her urn and death certificates. My first question is: When I received the death certificates, there was no cause of death listed. (She passed away from lymphoma) Is that normal in the state of Florida not to list... Read more »

Lauren Nagel Richardson
Lauren Nagel Richardson
answered on Mar 9, 2020

Hi Travis: I am so sorry for your loss. You will need to work with a Florida probate attorney to open your aunt's estate and get the court orders admitting the will to probate transferring her assets. Depending on the size of the estate, you may qualify for summary administration, which is a... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for Florida on
Q: How can I put my deceased parents house in my name if the executor and other beneficiaries have no interest ?

My parents passed away 11 years ago and left the house to me an my other two siblings. The last time I seen the executor of my parents estate was back in 2011 when the house went into foreclosure. She signed papers to allow me to pay an save my parents home afterwards I tried contacting her in... Read more »

Lauren Nagel Richardson
Lauren Nagel Richardson
answered on Mar 3, 2020

Even if you are not the executor named in your parents' wills, you can still file a petition to open the estate. You should work with a probate attorney to review all the facts and determine what type of estate to open. In the meantime, keep paying the property taxes.

3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for Florida on
Q: Help Im lost on how to proceed with grandma's home left to her 4 kids in 1989, they never finalized the title; now I'm

trying to get legal ownership of the property. 2 Uncles are deceased, 1 Uncle still alive, and now I'm legally owner of the last 1/4 because my mother deeded it over to me. Both deceased Uncles have been gone for over 10 years without a probate process processed on their estates. I've... Read more »

Lauren Nagel Richardson
Lauren Nagel Richardson
answered on Feb 25, 2020

It looks like you will need to hire an attorney to open your grandmother's estate (if the property appraiser still lists the property in your grandmother's name with "heirs" after her name and then you will also have to open the estates of both of your uncles. Then after that,... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Florida on
Q: How long does it take to be appointed personal representative (executor) in Florida (Cape Canaveral)?

The will specifies one heir and same person to be personal representative (executor). Assets include a condo, bank accts and investment accts.

When can estate bank accts be created from the deceased's money to pay bills like utility bills, property taxes, condo fees etc?

When... Read more »

Lauren Nagel Richardson
Lauren Nagel Richardson
answered on Jan 2, 2020

I'm sorry for your loss. Each county varies how long it takes the court to review the initial pleadings and appoint a personal representative. With the personal representative and the beneficiary being one and the same person, there will not be anyone else to give notice to, so once you have... Read more »

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