Probate, Estate and Trust Litigation: Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg

As Florida trust administration is not court supervised, it is up to the beneficiaries, rather than the probate judge, to make sure the trustee is discharging his duties in accordance with the trust terms and with the law.Probate litigation encompasses all forms of contested matters arising in a probate matter. Some of the contested issues in Florida probate law include the validity of the decedent’s last will and testament; construing the terms of an ambiguous will; spousal share election under the elective share statute; pretermitted spouse and child issues; excessive fiduciary or attorneys’ fees; creditor claims; breach of fiduciary duty by the personal representative; improper accountings; recovery of estate assets and a plethora of other potential issues involving wills and trusts.

Trust Litigation: Many of the same contested issues in a probate estate also exist in trust matters. The main difference is that an independent civil action needs to be filed in order to invoke the jurisdiction of the court and have summonses issued to the Defendants. As Florida trust administration is not court supervised, it is up to the beneficiaries, rather than the probate judge, to make sure the trustee is discharging his duties in accordance with the trust terms and with the law. For the most part the only way a beneficiary can review what the trustee has done is through the annual accounting which the trustee must provide each qualified beneficiary every year. If the accounting is not provided, the trustee has breached his fiduciary duty to keep beneficiaries informed. There are many other fiduciary duties imposed upon a trustee which, if violated, subject the trustee to removal, surcharge or other remedies imposed by the courts. Our lawyers have handled a variety of wills and trust litigation in the courts of Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater and throughout Florida.

Many of the same contested issues in a probate estate also exist in trust matters.

Trust Litigation: Many of the same contested issues in a probate estate also exist in trust matters. The main difference is that an independent civil action needs to be filed in order to invoke the jurisdiction of the court and have summonses issued to the Defendants. As Florida trust administration is not court supervised, it is up to the beneficiaries, rather than the probate judge, to make sure the trustee is discharging his duties in accordance with the trust terms and with the law. For the most part the only way a beneficiary can review what the trustee has done is through the annual accounting which the trustee must provide each qualified beneficiary every year. If the accounting is not provided, the trustee has breached his fiduciary duty to keep beneficiaries informed. There are many other fiduciary duties imposed upon a trustee which, if violated, subject the trustee to removal, surcharge or other remedies imposed by the courts. Our lawyers have handled a variety of wills and trust litigation in the courts of Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater and throughout Florida.

For more information about Probate and Trusts, please contact BaskinFleece at 727.572.4545.

Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning in Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Tampa and Throughout Florida

 

BaskinFleece has the expertise to assist in estate planning for high-wealth individuals as well as for modest estates requiring only simple wills. - See more at: http://www.baskinfleece.com/practice-areas/estate-planning/#sthash.GP9ZMsOn.dpuf

The estate planning process should always include a thorough examination of not only the tax implications, but also the non-tax ramifications, which might include asset protection, and provisions for long-term healthcare needs.

BaskinFleece prides itself on its unique ability to handle all aspects of wills and trusts, includingestate planning. Estate planning and private wealth transfer may sometimes involve complex tax planning, requiring the assistance of skilled and knowledgeable legal counsel. Wills, trusts and estate planning for most individuals, Wills, trusts and estate planning for most individuals, however, involves making decisions about who is to receive their property after death. BaskinFleece has the expertise to assist in estate planning for high-wealth individuals as well as for modest estates requiring only simple wills - See more at: http://www.baskinfleece.com/practice-areas/estate-planning/#sthash.frBql2HN.dpufhowever, involves making decisions about who is to receive their property after death. BaskinFleece has the expertise to assist in estate planning for high-wealth individuals as well as for modest estates requiring only simple wills. The estate planning process should always include a thorough examination of not only the tax implications, but also the non-tax ramifications, which might include asset protection, and provisions for long-term healthcare needs. The typical “will conference” includes a discussion of Florida’s new power of attorney laws, which are now very comprehensive and complex, as well as the advance directives for living wills, selection of a pre need guardian, and very importantly, a healthcare surrogate.

Our lawyers have handled a variety of cases involving will and trust litigation in the courts of Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater and throughout Florida. BaskinFleece handles all aspects of probate and trust administration. For more information click BaskinFleeceor call us at 727.572.4545.

Guardianships in Tampa, Clearwater and St. Petersburg Florida

 

BaskinFleece handles all aspects of guardianships, including uncontested guardianships and guardianship administration. 

Guardianship in general involves the appointment of a Court-supervised guardian, who is sometimes a professional guardian and sometimes a family guardian. In Clearwater, Tampa, St. Petersburg and throughout Florida, a professional guardian must pass a rigorous testing process to become a registered guardian, and all guardians are bonded for 100% of the value of the ward’s liquid assets.

To become a registered guardian, you must pass a rigorous testing process because all guardians need to be bonded for the value of the ward’s liquid assets.A family guardian must pass an eight-hour course.

The guardian is a true fiduciary who is delegated the rights over an individual. This delegation may be subsequent to entry of the Order Determining Incapacity and issuance of Letters of Guardianship. A guardianship may be a plenary guardianship, where the court removes all of the enumerated statutory rights of an individual, or a limited guardianship, where only some of the rights are removed.

BaskinFleece handles all aspects of guardianships, including uncontested guardianships and guardianship administration. For more information click here, or call us at 727.572.4545.

Can the Personal Representative of a Will Be Compensated?

Estate expenses: Compensation for a personal representative in Florida is determined in one of five ways...

The personal representative, the attorney, and other professionals whose services may be required in administering the probate estate (such as appraisers and accountants), are entitled by law to reasonable compensation.

Estate expenses: The personal representative’s compensation is usually determined in one of five ways:

The personal representative and the attorney administering the probate estate are entitled by law to reasonable compensation.1. As set forth in the will; 

2. As set forth in a contract between the personal representative and the decedent;

3. As agreed among the personal representative and the persons who will bear the impact of the personal representative’s compensation;

4. The amount presumed to be reasonable as calculated under Florida law, if the amount is not objected to by any of the beneficiaries; or 

5. As determined by the judge.

The personal representative’s compensation is determined in a variety of ways.The fee for the attorney for the personal representative is usually determined in one of three ways: 

1. as agreed among the attorney, the personal representative, and the persons who bear the impact of the fee; 

The expenses of an estate usually include compensation for the personal representative.2. the amount presumed to be reasonable calculated under Florida law, if the amount is not objected to by any of the beneficiaries; or

3. as determined by the judge.

For help with a will, estate planning and personal representative related questions, you can contact BaskinFleece at 727.572.4545.

Some of the content of this information is courtesy of The Florida Bar and represents general legal advice. Because the law is continually changing, some provisions in this blog may be out of date. It is always best to consult an attorney about your legal rights and responsibilities in your particular case.

Colleen A. Carson Appointed to Florida Probate Rules Committee

 

Colleen Carson

Colleen Carson

Baskin Fleece partner Colleen A. Carson has been appointed to serve on the Florida Probate Rules Committee. Committee members are selected by The Florida Bar to review proposed amendments and proposals of new rules of procedure to the rules of Court, and must have “extensive experience and training in the area of practice of the committee.” Ms. Carson’s three year term begins on July 1, 2014.

To schedule an appointment with a Baskin Fleece attorney, call (727) 572-4545. For more information about Baskin Fleece, visit www.BaskinFleece.com.

Estate Planning: A Trust May Be Used in Addition to a Will

wills and trusts in estate planningWhen estate planning, realize that a trust can handle only the property that has been put into it. Any property of a person that is not placed in the trust either during life or at death in most instances escapes the control of the trust. It is the will that controls all property in a decedent’s name at the time of death if the will is drafted properly. Trusts canBaskinFleece prides itself on its unique ability to handle all aspects of wills and trusts, including estate planning. Estate planning and private wealth transfer may sometimes involve complex tax planning, requiring the assistance of skilled and knowledgeable legal counsel. be helpful to speed administration and save taxes if they are drafted properly in estate planning and funded during life with the property intended to be transferred by the trust. Often, however, improperly drafted or incorrectly funded or administered trusts can add to the cost of settling estates, not lower it. Furthermore, it is the probate of the will that can clear creditors’ claims, which is not possible with just a trust administration.

For help or answers to will and estate related questions, you can contact BaskinFleece at 727.572.4545.

Most of the content of the information above is courtesy of The Florida Bar and represents general legal advice. Because the law is continually changing, some provisions in this blog may be out of date. It is always best to consult an attorney about your legal rights and responsibilities in your particular case.

Contested Guardianships

BaskinFleece handles all aspects of contested guardianship litigation in Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Tampa, Pinellas County and throughout the state of Florida.BaskinFleece handles all aspects of contested guardianship litigation in Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Tampa, Pinellas County and throughout the state of Florida.

Contested guardianships are those which involve either the establishment of a guardianship or situations where the alleged incapacitated person may not in fact be incapacitated, or reasonable alternatives to a guardianship exist. Many cases are filed to prevent the exploitation or further exploitation of an individual, often a loved one, by someone who has taken over the financial, medical and social affairs of an individual who is incapacitated and unable to resist the undue influence of others. The Order Determining Incapacity may result in the loss of substantial Civil Rights, including the BaskinFleece handles all aspects of contested guardianship litigation.right to vote; to determine one’s own medical treatment; to handle one’s own financial affairs; to make a will, change a will, gift or disposition of property; to determine one’s own residence; and to travel unsupervised, to name but a few. The filing of a guardianship, while unfortunate, is often the only means to stop the financial exploitation and wrest control away from the exploiter, who can be a stranger, but may also be a neighbor, caregiver, friend, or even a family member.