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This month we focus on how to handle a property after a parent passes away, the importance of team building, what's new at The Coye Law Firm, and answering some of the frequently asked questions about probate.
Alternatives to a Taking a Life Estate
What happens if your parent remarries, their new spouse moves into their house to live, and then your parent dies? Who gets the house? Is it the children, or your parent's new husband or wife?
There used to be a single answer to this dilemma: A Life Estate. According to Florida Statute 732.401(1), a surviving spouse may take a life estate in the property, which means they will be able to live in the homestead property as long as they live. Following their death, possession of the property will revert to the descendants of the first spouse.
However, last year, a new subdivision was added, which gives the surviving spouse more options. Florida Statute 732.401(2) states: "In lieu of a life estate under subsection (1). the surviving spouse may elect to take an undivided one-half interest in the homestead as a tenant in common, with the remaining undivided one-half interest vesting in the decedent's descendants in being at the time of the decedent's death." In simpler terms, this means that a spouse may elect to own one-half of the property, and the owner's descendants would own the other half. This gives the spouse the option to take partial ownership, something they can pass on in their own estate, allowing a spouse more options than they previously had.
In order for a spouse to do this, they must retain an attorney and file a petition with the court, within six months of their spouse's death. However, if they choose to forego this option to take a life estate in the property instead, they don't have to do anything.
Remember, this process only applies to a homestead property that the decedent solely owned. It does not apply to any properties the decedent owned in joint tenancy with rights of survivorship. For more information on this process, contact our attorneys today.
Kickball is "Barely Legal" at CLF!
This past weekend, some of the members of the CLF family, participated in a Kickball tournament. The team called, "Barely Legal," fought hard and had a wonderful time. Though the team was eliminated in the playoffs, the staff members that played, bonded while they playing a game that sends everyone back to their childhood. Take a look at some of our CLFers in action!
Around the Firm
The Coye Law Firm would like to extend a warm welcome to our new Case Manager, Natalie Walker. Natalie joined our team several weeks ago and will work within our Personal Injury department. She is looking forward to helping our clients with their cases!
Probate Frequently Asked Questions: Find out everything you want to know about Probate on our new Frequently Asked Questions page!
How to Calculate Child Support: Attorney, Amber Williams discusses the different methods you can use to accurately predict how much child support is owed.
Stay up to date with everything The Coye Law Firm has to offer!
What is Probate?
Probate is the process by which the court identifies and gathers a decedent's assets. Through the probate process, all taxes, claims, and expenses are paid, and assets are distributed among the beneficiaries. The probate code can be found in Title XLII of the Florida Statutes. There are two types of probate administration, Formal Administration and Summary Administration.
What are considered assets in Probate Administration?
Probate assets are those items of value that were owned solely by the decedent. These assets must not have a provision for automatic succession, other wise they will not be considered probate assets. For example, bank accounts, real estate (but not the homestead property), and a life insurance policy payable to the decedent's estate are all probate assets, but trust funds, joint bank accounts, life insurance policies payable to an individual, or real estate owned jointly would not be.
What is a will?
A will is a legal document written to ensure that a person's possessions or responsibilities are taken care of according to their wishes following their death. A will may include the appointment of a personal representative, otherwise known as an executor, along with the delineations of which beneficiaries will get what.
What happens to probate assets if there is no will?
To summarize, if there is no will, Florida Statute 732.102-732.103 regarding Intestate SUccession, delineates who gets what depending on whom the decedent left behind (i.e. souse, children, parents, siblings). Otherwise known as Intestate Succession, the rules function as a default plan to specify how assets are shared if it is not explicitly stated in the will, or if there is no will at all.
Is probate necessary if there is a surviving spouse?
Probate is necessary if the decedent owns ANY property solely in their name. If everything is part of a joint account or has a joint owner with the rights of survivorship, then probate would NOT be necessary.
These questions don't cover it all...for more answers check out our new Probate FAQ page!
|The Coye Law Firm continues to represent consumers and employees in their claims for personal injury, workers compensation, and Social Security disability benefits. This newsletter does not serve as legal advice and cannot substitute for consulting with an attorney. Call our offices today at 800-648-4941 to speak with someone who can evaluate your situation and determine if we can help you with your claim.
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