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Category: Wills

Probate court, often shrouded in mystery and misconception, plays a crucial role in the legal landscape when it comes to settling the affairs of a deceased individual.
Estate planning includes decisions related to healthcare. In Florida, living wills and healthcare surrogates are essential tools for ensuring that your medical wishes are honored when you cannot express them yourself. In this blog post, we will explore the purpose and significance of living wills and healthcare surrogates, highlighting their benefits and key considerations when creating these documents.
A will is a legal document that outlines how a person's assets will be distributed after their death. It is a crucial document for anyone who wants to ensure that their wishes are followed and their assets are distributed as they intended. However, the validity of a will can be called into question if it is not an original document. This is because there is a legal presumption that when an original will cannot be found (and was last in the possession of the testator) that it was intentionally destroyed. This presumption can have significant implications for the distribution of assets and may lead to a legal dispute, resulting in additional costs, delays, and stress for loved ones.
The holidays are here.  A time for family, for friends, and for gathering around the table to feast.  But what would a gathering be without certain taboo topics?  No, not politics.  I’m talking about inheritance and estate planning.  Who is in the Will, who has been omitted, and who has work to do if they want to stay off the naughty list? 
When it comes to estate planning, the primary goal of most clients is to eliminate the need for probate.  Although a jack of all trades, probate is primarily a court proceeding designed to lawfully transfer certain assets previously owned by a deceased person.  Probate is by no means a terrible undertaking, but it can be costly and time consuming.  The good news is that not all assets need pass through probate.
Under Florida law, a personal representative (sometimes referred to as an “executor”) has a duty to pursue a wrongful death action on behalf of the decedent’s estate and the decedent’s survivors. There are two key takeaways from this edict.
It is not uncommon for me to come across clients who claim that family members wrongfully received property from a loved one prior to their passing. This “gift” often contravenes provisions founds within a decedent’s Last Will and Testament. An example would be a son finding his way onto mom’s bank account despite mom’s Will leaving everything to daughter. Does brother have a right to keep the claimed gift?
Family members can become vulnerable. This can be hard to accept, but oftentimes those we love fall ill or otherwise reach an advanced age where their mental capacities are diminished. They do not recognize that they may be a target for someone who is pretending to love them or care for them with the ulterior motive of gaining a quick inheritance.
Florida law requires that a person be of “sound mind” in order to make a Will. This is also known as having “testamentary capacity.”
The personal representative, sometimes referred to as executor, is the person appointed by the court to be in charge of the administration of a deceased person’s probate estate.