Many estates involve the decedent’s home, which passes to their children or other relatives who live in different states. It often poses a challenge to the beneficiaries to now have an additional house to take care of, and we want to share some useful tips for the new owners.
E-filing will one day be as smooth and uniform among Florida’s state courts as it is in the federal court system. However, in the meantime, we ask our clients to be patient, because patience is greatly needed.
With increasing frequency, people are setting up bank accounts and investment accounts with a “designation of beneficiary” to transfer on death (TOD). Those stocks or funds do not go through probate.
Sometimes the executor of an Estate can ignore an old debt, because the Florida limitations period (usually four or five years, but not always) has expired. But that works both ways- an estate cannot collect on a promissory note made out to the deceased person if too many years have passed.
A common myth in Florida: in order to inherit from a parent, a child must survive the parent. In Florida that is not true.
People often ask us if we can recommend estate administration or estate planning services, software or books, and we’ve been looking, honestly. Meanwhile, we did find a good book on organizing all the information and records that many modern Americans come to possess. It’s called Get It Together – Organize Your Records So Your Family Won’t Have To, by Nolo Press.
Recently, a further complication has arisen in the form of Medicare set asides under federal law, and the obligations the law places on attorneys for both wrongful death claimants and the defendants and their insurers. The law is relatively new and still evolving.
There is a “glitch” in Florida law which creates legal exposure to a Trustee for two years following the settlor’s death if no probate is done.
It is important that the Personal Representative of a Florida estate, or those who inherited the house, contact an insurance agent immediately to discuss their options, and if necessary, obtain coverage for the house in Florida.
Our firm recommends buying title insurance whenever you acquire real estate in Florida, by purchase or from a trust, and you may even need it when you inherit the property, so that you have the peace of mind knowing you have insurance to cure title problems that may surface many years from now.