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Orlando Probate & Estate Administration Law Blog

Top tips for probate avoidance

When planning your estate, you may be wondering what goals should be your top priority. When researching online, you will likely come across conflicting or confusing information, and as a result, you may not know how best to move forward.

However, you have likely heard that doing your best to avoid probate is a good place to start when planning your estate. Probate is a process that assets held within an estate typically go through after a person passes away. It is a court-ordered process, and the reason why it can be beneficial to ignore it is because it can be costly and lengthy. Therefore, it limits the time it will take for your beneficiaries to gain their inheritance and the amount of inheritance that they will be able to gain. The following are some top tips for successfully avoiding probate.

Splitting high-value assets in a Florida divorce is complex


Let’s say you’ve acquired stocks, investment property, costly artwork, jewelry and other high-value property throughout the life of your marriage. You also have a vested pension plan and built up significant retirement funds. However, for whatever reason, your marriage has simply run its course and the time has come to separate from your spouse.

Protecting your wishes with a no-contest clause

Creating a will and estate plan is an important part of establishing your wishes for your legacy after you pass away. However, simply using these tools is not always enough to make sure that your beneficiaries do not challenge your will when the time comes. In many instances, family members and other potential beneficiaries challenge a will instead of accepting its terms, dragging out the process of distributing your property and potentially draining the value of your estate.

If you suspect that one or more individuals may take issue with the terms in your will and estate plan, it is important to understand the tools you have available to enforce your wishes. One of the tools that may strengthen your will is a well-crafted no-contest clause.

Can my estate plan include unborn beneficiaries?

We can't predict the future nor can we rewrite our estate plans every time anything happens at all in our lives that could affect a decision in our plan. It is important that estate plans prepare for the unknown through careful drafting and alternative terms.

Here is a case-in-point.

Protecting yourself while dissolving your business

Over time, every business reaches the end of its life cycle, and the owners of the business must take the proper steps to dissolve it. Unfortunately, dissolving a business poorly can create lingering complications for the owners and for others involved in the business's activities.

If you believe it is time to close your business down, it is important to protect yourself and others during the dissolution process. With a strong legal strategy and a clear understanding of the steps you must take to comply with the law, you can cleanly close your business and keep your rights secure throughout the process.

Estate planning in 2020: Tips and considerations

The coronavirus pandemic has triggered an increased interest in estate planning. From medical professionals that are on the front line fighting the virus to others that have used the change in regular scheduling to prioritize the matter, this push to get a will in place is something that will benefit those who follow through long after stay at home and shelter in place orders come to an end.

How are mortgages handled in estate administration?

The family home is a major asset for most Americans. Yet it’s becoming increasingly uncommon for aging Americans to own their home outright. Generations ago, a mortgage-free retirement was the norm. Now, it’s a rarity.

As a result, estates frequently include mortgaged real property. Executors are responsible for handling the disposition of the property and any debts that go along with it.

Clarity on a disinheritance can limit disputes

You are free to disinherit your children in your estate plan if you would like to do so. You can do it for any reason or for no reason at all.

One thing to remember, however, is that a lack of clarity can lead to estate disputes. It's best to be open and honest with your children about what your intentions. If they're not sure, they can make assumptions that lead to disputes you could otherwise have avoided.

Navigating ancillary probate in Florida


After losing a loved one, the prospect of navigating probate can be daunting – all the more so when they owned property in multiple states. It’s a common scenario in Florida, where many people own vacation properties. Frequently, their primary residence is in another state. Their will, family members and personal representative (sometimes called “executor” in other states) aren’t in Florida. Nonetheless, separate probate proceedings – called “ancillary probate” – may be necessary to deal with the Florida property.

Seeking guardianship over a disabled sibling or declining parent

Guardianship can have several different meanings. One of the most common forms of guardianship involves a non-parental adult stepping in to care for a child after the death of their parents or the state's revocation of their parents' authority. However, guardianship can also benefit adults with health or cognitive issues.

It is possible for individuals to seek guardianships over those with severe cognitive impairment, dementia or other extreme physical and mental health issues. When someone is no longer capable of providing care for themselves, the courts in Florida may decide that a guardian would be better able to manage their finances and make legal and medical decisions on their behalf.

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