August 2008 Archives

August 15, 2008

Florida Defective Wills: Invalid Personal Representative

Although the state of Florida accepts wills created in other states when they were valid in the state where created, not all of the will may be valid. Recently, I ran across a will that named an accountant of the decedent as their Personal Representative. Several months later the decedent moved to Florida and eventually died without updating the will.

The problem started with the fact that the accountant was not related or married to someone who was related to the decedent. This is a disqualification of a Personal Representative in Florida. The result was that the decedent did not get to choose their Personal Representative.

If you have a will that was prepared in another state and want a Florida lawyer to review it for compliance with Florida law so that your desires are carried out upon your death, Contact a Florida Estate Planning Lawyer to review your Estate Planning Documents.

August 14, 2008

Florida Estate Planning Lawyer Site Goes Live

The new Jacksonville Estate Planning Lawyer Web site for the Apple Law Firm PLLC has gone live. This site will act as a hub for the Florida Estate Planning Lawyer Blog and the NFA Gun Trust Lawyer Blog.

Its been a long month setting up the new website and more pages will be added as time permits. For now the Jacksonville, Florida based Apple Law Firm deals with:

Florida Asset Protection

Florida Estate Planning
Gun Trusts
Florida Guardianship
Florida Probate Litigation
Florida Trust Litigation and
Florida Trusts

August 14, 2008

Florida Defective Wills: Poor Drafting or Intentional?

The Florida Constitution protects one's Homestead from creditors. One provision that is often misunderstood is a devise of a homestead in a will when there are minor children in the family. In some cases two people are getting married and one has a home and a minor child. The spouse may draft a will that states that the home goes to the future husband, but what happens if the spouse dies before the child reaches the age of 18?

Under the Florida Homestead Protections, the house does not pass as the will states, but the homestead goes to the minor child with a life estate going to the surviving spouse. Sometimes this appears to be an intentional mistake in a will to appease a future spouse but the clause does little to provide a fee simple ownership the the decedent's homestead.

If you are getting married or your spouse had a home prior to your marriage that is now your Homestead, be careful that any attempted devise of the home when there are minor children will create a default condition establishing a life estate for the surviving spouse and remainder for the children even if one is a minor.

To have your will reviewed for invalid clauses or to update a Florida will Contact a Florida Estate Planning Lawyer

August 11, 2008

eLawyering: Are online estate planning services worth it?

LegalZoom and RocketLawyer are two of the many online services that allow individuals to create their own wills at low costs. Many times they are below the cost for a single hour of legal time from an attorney. The real question is whether they are a good value for individuals. Rebecca Kennedy with Everyday Simplicity Blog has a detailed analysis of the positives and negatives where she quotes a previous article on some of the problems with RocketLawyer that I previously wrote about.

Rebecca states that although the prices are low and may serve your needs, you are taking a risk by using these document services to create estate planning documents. She points to the following:
What if the will is not valid after you die?
What if the incorporation documents are not respected or as complete as necessary in a future civil suit.
What if your assets are not protected because of the choices that were made?
What if divorce documents are not valid?

With LegalZoom or RocketLawyer you have to hope that you get far more than you pay for.

Legal Zoom and RocketLawyer cannot and do not claim to be up to date with the ever changing state laws and do not offer any legal advice.

Often I see clients who have created perfectly valid legal documents with free or low cost providers but do not realize the problems they have created by executing them. Many families are unable to get Medicaid coverage for their loved ones because they executed a deed to transfer property. The use of an attorney offers far more than creating documents; the lawyer will examine your current and future circumstances to make sure the choice you are making will not cause problems down the road.

If you are looking to create a Florida Will or Florida Estate Planning document Contact a Florida Estate Planning Lawyer to discuss your circumstances and create documents that do what you want.

August 4, 2008

Xpress Seal Pro Caulk

Xpress Seal Pro from As-Seen-On-TV- Products is a product I purchased to seal the caulk in my bathroom. The caulk in my shower needed replacing and I decided to purchase this after reading many review about this easy to use Professional caulking kit. I saw it on a TV commercial on one of those As Seen On TV Product commercials and decided to give it a try.

I have tried to apply caulk in the past and it was a mess. I found the key to getting a good caulk line was using their caulk removal took to remove all of the previous caulk so that I was starting with a clean surface. Once I got this done, it was relatively easy to apply the silicone caulk and the use the took to make a nice looking caulk bead. It took a little practice before I got the technique down and I found that it was better when I make long consistent beads instead of little short lines. Some of the lines look as good a if a professional had done the work.

With the hurricanes that we have been having lately, it might be a good idea to re-seal windows or previous problem areas to preserve values. I normally do not talk about products on this website but since so many of my clients deal with maintaining property values for their families and loved ones I thought it appropriate. If you need to seal a leak you might try the Xpress Seal pro Caulking Kit as seen on TV.