Articles Posted in Will

What is the Florida Statute Of Limitations on a Will?
A common question Jacksonville estate planning lawyers are often asked is how long does a person have to Florida will contest a will or what is the statute of limitations to contest a will in Florida.  As with most legal answers it depends on the rest of the facts.  The statute of limitations to dispute or contest a will depends on what documents you have received and what type of notice were given.

The relevant statutes dealing with the Florida statute of limitations on a will can be found under Florida Statute Section 733.212.  If a person receives a copy of the Petition for Administration via Formal Notice before the Letter of Administration being issued, then he or she will have 20 days to file any objections to the will.  However, it is more likely that a person will be served a copy of the Notice of Administration after Letters of Administration are issued.
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As a Jacksonville Will Lawyer I have seen an alarming trend in Florida.  Most Americans live fast-paced lives with long work hours, bills to pay, and mouths to feed.  After a long day, the last thing on our minds is our mortality.  But studies show that Americans need to be more concerned.

According to a 2015 survey performed by Rocket Lawyer, 64 percent of Americans do not have a will.  Of those without an estate plan, only 27 percent thought there was not an urgent need to make a will.  The most alarming statistic of them all – 15 percent of those surveyed said they did not need a will at all.  As a Jacksonville Will Lawyer I have noticed  that do have wills have not had them updated in many years.
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Often we get clients who are interested in objecting to a will because of undue influence.  In Florida there is a split of authority over what happens to a previous will when the most recent will is invalidated by undue influence.  The results can be very different and may provide planning opportunities that could insulate from claim of undue influence.  As you can see in the case information below, the court determined that the previous will should be valid, while other courts in the states have found that intestacy is the proper method distributing assets after a successful  claim of undue influence.  If you are changing your will or would like to talk about how to protect from claims of undue influence in Florida, you might talk with a Jacksonville Estate Planning lawyer or Jacksonville Undue Influence Lawyer about your options.

The case of Rocke v. Am. Research Bureau (In re Estate of Murphy), 184 So. 3d 1221

This is a case where the probate court revoked a will due to undue influence.  The question then turned on whether or not the decedent’s estate should pass through intestate succession or by a previous will.

History of the case leading up to the claim of Undue Influence.

The testator was Virginia Murphy, a woman that passed away at the age of 107.  Her estate was worth 12 million dollars.  The decedent executed six wills throughout her lifetime.  Murphy’s parents and husband predeceased her, and she had no children or siblings.

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One question the top Jacksonville elder law and estate planning attorneys often receive is who can make burial arrangements in Florida. Does it have to be the next of kin, or can any family member or interested party make funeral arrangements? Another similar question we often receive is what happens if a family member refuses to sign for burial rights? This article should answer these issues by explaining the current Florida law.

Luckily, Florida law has tried to clear up any burial issues by codifying an extensive set of rules for burial rights. A person can find the relevant law under Florida Statute 497.005 (43). The first part of this statute defines some important terms under the law. For instance, the law defines “human remains” as the body of a deceased human person that requires a death certificate or fetal death certificate, and the body is in a stage of decomposition.

The primary section needed to solve these questions is found under number 43, which is the definition of “legally authorized person.” This definition is a priority list for what individual can make funeral arrangements. According to the statute, the decedent, or the dead person, has priority to make the choice. This means during the decedent lifetime he or she authorized a particular burial plan through an estate planning document. This type of authorization is likely found in a Living Will or another form of an advanced directive. For example, a common type of burial authorization will be a listed preference for burial or cremation.

Foreign Wills: Will a Florida Court recognize them?

The world is becoming a more global community and with that means the United States has seen an increase in the amount of foreign-born individuals living, visiting, and investing in the U.S. economy. For instance, 12 percent of residential home purchases in Florida were made by foreign buyers.  The question soon becomes how do foreign citizens pass their assets to loved ones in the U.S. and in other counties.  Is a will from another country valid in America?

Florida law allows a foreign will to be admitted to probate if the will is valid under the laws of the country where the will was executed.  This is great news for foreign Florida citizens because it means usually a will be valid even if it doesn’t comply with strict will formalities set by the state.  However, the Florida Probate Code has made two exceptions for a type of will that is never valid under Florida law.  These exceptions are when the will is a holographic will or a nuncupative will.
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The Florida District Court of Appeals recently applied a little known doctrine called the Doctrine of Dependent Relative Revocation in the case of In Re Estate of Murphy to save an estate from passing through intestacy.

The owner of the estate was Virginia Murphy.  Mrs. Murphy died in 2006 and was predeceased by her parents and husband.  She also died without any siblings or children.  In the years before she passed, Mrs. Murphy executed a number of wills that were prepared by her longtime attorney Jack S. Carney, including the last will she executed in 1994.  The 1994 will named Mr. Carey as personal representative of Mrs. Murphy’s estate; and it purported to leave the bulk of that estate to Mr. Carey, Gloria DuBois (Mr. Carey’s legal assistant), and George Tornwall (Mrs. Murphy’s accountant, who died the year before Mrs. Murphy passed away).
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What documents do young adults need?

It’s hard to believe that when your child turns 18 years old, he or she is legally an adult. When a child reaches this milestone, the mother and father’s parental rights have terminated. This means that if the child experiences a medical emergency, the parent may not be able to help or even receive information on the child’s well being without the property authority.

A parent loses parental rights over their children due to a number of privacy laws. One important law is FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which restricts the information a school can release about an adult student. The other is HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which limit those to whom health care providers can release data.

BB King’s heirs have alleged the blues legend’s business manager has misappropriated millions of dollars and unduly influenced his estate. A lawyer representing BB King’s heirs told the press the heirs would seek to challenge the will and the actions of the manager as undue influence.

The law allows the heirs of an estate to challenge wills in cases of undue influence, fraud, or mental incapacity. The heirs of BB King’s estate have long suspected King’s manager La Verne Toney had misappropriated millions of dollars and had undue influence over his estate planning decisions. The law requires the testator to pass away before his estate or will can be challenged. Therefore, the heirs of BB King’s estate were unable to challenge the alleged undue influence until now.

Undue influence is where a beneficiary, or other party with standing, alleges a third person has so influenced the testator’s mind by persuasion that the testator did not act voluntarily when executing his will.

In Florida, the person challenging a will under a theory of “undue influence” has the burden to establish the presumption of undue influence. This means that the person being accused is given the benefit of the doubt that he or she acted appropriately unless some evidence shows otherwise. The elements of showing undue influence are: Continue reading

Here at the Law Office of David Goldman, we wanted to list some of the more important clauses that might be used in a Florida will or Florida Living Trust. Every person who makes a will or trust has different circumstances and therefore every will or trust is designed with that person’s specific needs in mind. Many of these clauses might not be needed in your will or trust, but we like to include them anyway in case the unexpected happens to you or your family. We urge our clients to learn about these clauses, so they can decide if these clauses might help to meet their estate-planning needs or how they may want to make changes to deal with their specific family circumstances.

Disaster Clause

This clause deals with what happens if both spouses or a beneficiary die at the same time. This will or trust usually states that a spouse’s assets will only be transferred to the second spouse or beneficiary if the second spouse survives the first spouse by a certain time period. This period is usually 30 days. This clause can help to prevent the confusion of where assets should go based upon who died first.  The time limit can be increased to add additional protection, but this can delay distributions also.

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