Which Daughter Gets Mom’s Diamond Earrings?

The law firm answer…..it depends.   Did mom leave written signed instructions? If she did, her personal property will be distributed according to her wishes.  But if she did not let her wishes be known in a comprehensive estate plan, there could be dissention among the heirs.

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Understanding the Probate Process: Why Probate is Not a Four-Letter Word

Probate is often thought of as a process that is best avoided.  There certainly are situations in which probate is not necessary, but it is surprising for some to learn there are benefits which can only be gained by engaging in the probate process.  In most cases, probate is an easy and straightforward process. Unfortunately, […]

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How Your Ex-Spouse Can Become Your Beneficiary

The scenario:  Hank and Janice were married, had a daughter together, Elsie, and then got divorced.  Hank died intestate, without a will, so pursuant to Florida law, Elsie was the beneficiary of his estate.   Elsie was not married and had no children.  She died before receiving her distribution from Hank’s estate.  What happens to her […]

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Still Married? Cannot Disinherit the Spouse

Michael and David are a same sex couple who live in the same house, owned by Michael.  Michael prepares a will leaving everything he owns to David.  Michael is still married to Evelyn who lives in Iowa with their minor child.  For various reasons, they never divorced and don’t necessarily intend to do so.  Michael […]

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Is Your Personal Representative Qualified?

When someone dies the Last Will & Testament becomes the controlling instrument.  Typically, your Last Will & Testament will nominate a personal representative responsible for the administration of your estate including accounting for all of your assets, paying your creditors and distributing your estate to your named beneficiaries. Many times a spouse or adult child […]

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Is it good to be “Traditional?”

Let’s say there is a “traditional” scenario where the husband, Jim, works outside of the home and his wife, Annie, takes care of the children and the home.  In this “traditional” scenario, Jim feels it is his responsibility to provide for his family and, as part of that, to take care of all the finances.  […]

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A Good Deed Gone Wrong

Bob and Suzy get divorced.  Suzy has an adult child, Annie, from a prior relationship. As part of the marital settlement agreement, Bob is supposed to sign a deed conveying his interest in their homestead to Suzy. Suzy is supposed to get a new home loan in her individual name.

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