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Florida Estate Planning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Florida on
Q: I am the executor of my deceased mother’s estate and just settled a lawsuit. I was also at fault in a car accident.

Can the other party go after Money paid to the estate?

Terrence H Thorgaard
Terrence H Thorgaard answered on Jan 6, 2022

No, the assets of the estate do not belong to you. Ask your probate attorney.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Elder Law for Florida on
Q: I am a low income senior and can't find anyone to notarize the will I created on-line. Who can help me?

I was told there is a new law in Florida stating citizens must use an attorney for notarizing wills. Is this true?

Ellen S Deutsch Taylor
Ellen S Deutsch Taylor answered on Dec 27, 2021

Wills must be witnessed by two people and notarized if you are using a self proving clause. You should have your will reviewed by an attorney to make sure it complies with Florida law.

Ellen Deutsch Taylor

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Florida on
Q: How long does my son’s estate have to be held by a lawyer?
Phillip William Gunthert
Phillip William Gunthert answered on Dec 24, 2021

You will need to provide additional information and details, is this related to a Will and Probate or is it related to a Trust, also, unless the attorney is also the Personal Representative of the probate estate or the Trustee of the Trust, the attorney should not be holding anything for any... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Florida on
Q: My husband had just set up his trust. He hadn’t done his will yet. He passed away suddenly.

His trust lawyer said I needed to hire an estate lawyer for my 11 year old son (at the time). How long does that lawyer control my son’s money? He is now 15.

Phillip William Gunthert
Phillip William Gunthert answered on Dec 24, 2021

It is not even sure that the attorney controls anything, the Trustee of the Trust controls what happens based on the terms of the Trust document, if the attorney is the Trustee, then he will serve in that role, but he must act in accordance with the terms of the Trust. You will need to get a copy... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Florida on
Q: Check made out to a person dated before their death, but not cashed before their death.

Florida - My mother had a check made out to her on 12/15/2021. The check was a lump sum payout from a pension benefit plan. She passed away on 12/22/21, prior to getting the check cashed. The back of the check says, "This benefit is payable only to the payee named on the reverse side of... Read more »

Terrence H Thorgaard
Terrence H Thorgaard answered on Dec 23, 2021

No. Contact the pension plan and ask that it be re-issued to your mother's estate.

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Florida on
Q: My father passed a few months ago and only listed my little sister on the policy. I am his first born son. Any help

Can I get help with recovering any of the policy payout.

Phillip William Gunthert
Phillip William Gunthert answered on Dec 17, 2021

I am very sorry for your loss on the passing of your father, please accept my condolences. The only assets that will go through probate are the ones in your father's name alone. If a probate has not been done and there are any assets of this type, they will be handled at that time via the... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Florida on
Q: My father passed a few months ago and only listed my little sister on the policy. I am his first born son. Any help

Can I get help with recovering any of the policy payout.

Barry W. Kaufman
Barry W. Kaufman answered on Dec 17, 2021

Insurance proceeds pass directly to the beneficiary on the policy; these do not pass through the probate system. There is no ability for the Court to change the terms of the insurance policy.

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2 Answers | Asked in Contracts, Estate Planning, Family Law and Banking for Florida on
Q: Hello, My mother who passed away 2 years ago and I opened a bank account in Montreal, Canada 8 years ago.

It is joint with rights of survivorship, we specifically wanted to have access to it regardless if one of us died. Now the bank has frozen the accounts after I innocently mentioned to them of her passing since i thought i was in my right. They are saying that there is no rights of survivorship in... Read more »

Ellen S Deutsch Taylor
Ellen S Deutsch Taylor answered on Dec 15, 2021

You will need to contact a Canadian lawyer but I would definitely not rely on information from a bank employee.

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Florida on
Q: I became a resident of Florida. Will the irrevocable trust, which i had done in NY, be binding in the state of Fl?
Phillip William Gunthert
Phillip William Gunthert answered on Dec 11, 2021

While the answer to your question is generally yes. You will likely want to review the Trust and have it updated for the State of Florida if this is now your state of residence and domicile. Unless there is a particular reason or the majority of your assets in NY, you likely need to update it. If... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Estate Planning and Probate for Florida on
Q: Can someone claim adverse possession of a property owned by a deceased person?

My father passed in 2012, one of his daughters has been paying the taxes for his home in vacation home in Florida for the past 7 or so years, but has never asserted any actual ownership (while quietly paying the property taxes). On the revenue departments website the account shows "estate of... Read more »

Jane Kim
Jane Kim answered on Dec 9, 2021

Sounds like she could have a viable claim for adverse possession. A lawyer would have to review the facts in detail. And statute of limitations to probate an estate has passed, which is 2 years. I'd still ask a probate lawyer...

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Banking and Probate for Florida on
Q: What can I doto prove to banks that POA can close CD'S in trust and transfer to trust acc. grantor, bank,trust is in FL

Grantor is in assisted living and can't leave. She has CD'S at many banks held in a grantor trust. She wants POAs to close them and deposit to 1 trust account.

Some of banks are wanting proof of incapacitated from DR. Poa specifically says they can do trust accounts and is not... Read more »

Bruce Alexander Minnick
Bruce Alexander Minnick answered on Dec 1, 2021

1. There is no law or "article" that you can use to "prove them wrong."

2. The banks do NOT have to honor any third-party POA--and especially one being offered under these circumstances.

3. If you will turn this around and look at it from THEIR position you...
Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Florida on
Q: What does it mean to remove from an estate by petition? Ex: if the homestead is removed from the estate by petition?

Setting up attorney agreement for estate management/settlement in Florida. The house is left directly to someone in the Will, but the attorney agreement states, "If the homestead is removed from the estate by petition, it will still be included in the value of the state for fee... Read more »

Phillip William Gunthert
Phillip William Gunthert answered on Nov 23, 2021

You should speak with other estate planning attorney's as they bill by the hour or flat-fee for both estate planning and or probate if it is needed. This is a garbage fee if I am understanding it correctly. Florida Law specifically states that the Homestead Property shall not be included in... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Florida on
Q: My mother is 88 years old and wants to do a power of attorney to allow me to take care of her financial and medical

Do I need to be present? I live in Hawaii and she is in Florida

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Nov 15, 2021

You do not need to be present when your mother signs financial and medical powers of attorney appointing you as her agent. However, you and your mother both should consider whether it is practical for you to serve in those capacities given the large geographic distance. It is not impossible for... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Tax Law for Florida on
Q: Mother put house in trust. She died. Do taxes stay the same in trust and in her name or can city tax reg rates? Rule?

The county wants to charge regular rates with no exemptions the year after she died. The house is still in her name. Is there a law that states when the rates change. The house is still in her name and in the trust just as if she were alive. What rules apply here for Volusia County, New Smyrna... Read more »

Bruce Alexander Minnick
Bruce Alexander Minnick answered on Nov 15, 2021

Florida's Homestead Tax Deduction only applies to people, not Trusts.

Most if not all countys send notices reminding citizens to register for the deduction on or before March 1 of each year.

If the property had the deduction the year before it will continue--unless changed...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Estate Planning, Family Law and Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: Does a successor agent of a durable POA have rights to serve me with unlawful detainer, original agent is still serving?

My aunt who is successor agent only is trying to steal my home I've lived in since 1993 that my grandmother owns against my grandmother's wishes but unfortunately she has Alzheimer's and my aunt is doing this out of greed with malicious reasons as well as she's very envious of... Read more »

Terrence H Thorgaard
Terrence H Thorgaard answered on Nov 15, 2021

If "the judge said [that your aunt] has power of attorney [and that the judge will] probably rule for [you] to move out ...", you should point that out to the judge, obviously.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: Can TBE ownership be utilized for all real estate owned by a married couple or just the marital residence?

NEW JERSEY AND FLORIDA

Jane Kim
Jane Kim answered on Nov 14, 2021

TBE is a method by which married couples can hold the title to a property, any property. It simply provides for rights of survivorship.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Florida on
Q: My wife's father died in Ft Myers FL, 3 yrs ago. His attorney was William Meeham who passed away last yr.

What attorney took over Mr Meeham's files as we have an estate question about a CD in my father-in-law's that the bank won't transfer to his surviving spouse?

Phillip William Gunthert
Phillip William Gunthert answered on Nov 5, 2021

You will likely need to speak with a new Florida Probate Attorney and they can answer or re-open the probate estate if needed and if the issue cannot be resolved without re-opening the estate. If this is a newly discovered asset, will need to be addressed by the probate court, if the asset was... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Civil Rights, Estate Planning, Construction Law and Municipal Law for Florida on
Q: In Eatonville FL, we need to know if there are exceptions for Code of Ordinances, sec. 60.77, such as noise or privacy.

We live in a corner lot, and we would like to build a 6 foot fence on the property perimeter. We'd like to know how far can we take the fence to the line property, and if we can consider one of the "fronts" of a corner property as a "side". Only the "main"... Read more »

Terrence H Thorgaard
Terrence H Thorgaard answered on Oct 26, 2021

The Eatonville Code of Ordinances is here:

http://eatonville-fl.elaws.us/code/coor

A brief review of it doesn't reveal any problem with what you want to do, but of course you should contact the Planning Department and get a permit. They should be able to guide you.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Constitutional Law and Probate for Florida on
Q: Is there any possible scenario that would allow for second cousins to inherit under intestate succession?

If a Decedent died intestate and was never married, had no kids, no surviving parents or grandparents and no surviving aunts/uncles, or issue thereof, is there any possible scenario that would allow for the next of kin collateral heirs (being descendants of great-grandparents, ie. second cousins)... Read more »

Phillip William Gunthert
Phillip William Gunthert answered on Oct 26, 2021

Yes, it is possible. The State rarely gets assets to an estate. One thing that would be done in a probate with only distant and remote heirs would be the affidavit of heirs. If an intestate decedent has no living spouse, children, parents, or siblings, intestacy laws provide mechanisms to determine... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: In Florida, can POA sign for the principal on a quitclaim deed to the agent on the POA—grantor/grantee same person?

Can the POA in a durable power of attorney sign a quitclaim deed where the grantor is transferring to the grantee who is also the POA —legally if there is no stipulation in the POA against that? My mother and I have a property in Florida as joint tenants with survivorship to me but the property... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Oct 23, 2021

I know this is probably not the answer you want, but you really need to have the POA reviewed by an attorney. The answer depends on the exact wording.

Please also get personalized advice from an attorney on the effect such a trasactio

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