This space has discussed several times the way wills can be used as a part of a comprehensive estate plan. We have touched on the reasons the will document should be specific in its bequests and some of the language that can be used to give voice to a clear intent of the testator. We have also pointed out some of the reasons an heir or other interested party may challenge the validity of all or part of a will in probate court. So, is there any way to write a will to attempt to avoid the possibility of litigation after one's death?
Powers of attorney can be very useful tools in creating a comprehensive estate plan. As this blog has previously touched on, a durable power of attorney can help ensure that someone you trust has authority to act on your behalf if you cannot. Generally speaking, a power of attorney is effective at the time the document granting the power is executed. Prior to a change in Florida law in 2011, however, there was another type of power of attorney that was often used, sometimes called a "springing" power of attorney.
When most people think about trusts, they may picture young people sipping drinks on a yacht discussing the amounts their parents allow them to take from their trust funds. While it is possible that some trust beneficiaries fit this image, trusts can be used for a multitude of purposes in Florida.
This blog has previously reported on the attempts to reform the professional guardianship process for adults in the state of Florida. Recently, at least some part of that goal has come closer to fruition. In late April the Florida Senate passed, by unanimous vote, a bill that purports to improve the adult guardianship process and make exploitation of wards more difficult. The bill is now in the hands of the governor, who is expected to sign it into law.
This blog has extensively discussed various forms of estate planning including trusts, wills and other documents designed to make decisions easier and cut red tape faster in case of a loved one's passing or incapacity. But what happens when there is a will and it needs to be administered through the probate process? You may be vaguely aware that many people hire attorneys to handle this procedure. But what exactly do lawyers do during probate?