Get Answers to Your Estate Planning Questions on Our FAQ Page

Need a quick answer to help your estate plans along? We have compiled a list of the most common questions people have on wills, asset distribution, tax laws, and other estate planning topics and provided the answers on our FAQ page. Browse or search for your topic today!

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Can An Agent Sign Estate Planning Documents For Someone Using A Power Of Attorney?

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An agent appointed under a durable power of attorney may not sign or revoke Wills using the power of attorney.  However, a power of attorney may specifically authorize the agent to create, amend or revoke a living revocable trust on the person's behalf.  (A living trust is an increasingly popular alternative to a Will as an estate planing vehicle.)  However, the power of attorney must specifically address this particular power.  Here's some of the language I include in my powers of attorney if the client wants to include this power:

"Create, Amend or Revoke Revocable Trust.  I grant to my agent the power to create for me (and with my wife as to any property we own jointly) one or more revocable trusts (referred to as a "grantor trust") of which I am an income beneficiary and with such person or persons as my agent shall select as the trustee or co‑trustees, without bond or other security, and with such other terms and provisions as my agent shall deem appropriate…"

Without this specific authorization, the agent named in the power of attorney is out of luck on signing any estate planning documents for their parents. 

Category: Estate Planning

Are Out Of State Wills Valid In Florida?

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Out of state Wills (Wills executed by out of state residents in their homestate) are deemed valid in Florida if they were valid in the state they were executed (exception:  holographic Wills, handwritten Wills not witnessed).  However, it's always a good idea to have a Florida attorney review your non-Florida Will because there will likely be some provisions in your Will that will not be honored in Florida.  For example, non-Florida residents may not serve as personal representative or executor of a Florida estate unless they are a family member of the decedent (non-resident friends do not qualify).

Do You Work With Clients Who Live Out Of Town/State?

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It depends. We meet personally with most of our estate planning, special needs, and guardianship clients. It is very common for us to work with out of town clients on probate matters, however. Email works great!

Category: General

It Appears Your Work With Mostly Women. Will You Still Work With Men Too?

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Of course! If you’re “man enough” to work with someone who calls herself ‘My Pink Lawyer,” I’m “woman enough” to work with you too! We do actually work with quite a few men.

Category: General

How Do You Communicate With Clients? How Responsive Is Your Office When I Have Questions About My Matter?

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We find email to be the most effective and quickest method of communicating with our clients. However, phone calls work too. Our office is very responsive to client communication even after your matter is complete. We do give first priority in responding to My Pink Lawyer® members but everyone who contacts us is important.

Because we do communicate with clients so much by email, if you have a probate matter and you live out of town/state, we may need to charge extra if you do not use email. You can also expect your matter to take longer if we need to rely on “snail mail” to get documents to you to sign. It is much easier (and faster) to email you documents that you can print on your end, sign and mail back to our office.

Category: General

How Did You Come Up With The Name “My Pink Lawyer”?

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Well, I do work with mostly women and couples in case your couldn’t tell.J But I’ll give you another hint as well…I used to drive a Pink Cadillac in a former life!

Category: General

Will Your Office Continue To Handle Our Guardian Advocate Proceeding Once It Is Set Up?

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Absolutely. We charge a reasonable annual maintenance fee for the filing of the required annual reports for such matters.

Category: Guardianship

How Is A Guardian Advocate Proceeding Different From A Traditional Guardianship?

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A traditional guardianship in Florida (i.e. grandma now has dementia) is only established is the Court makes a finding that the person is incapacitated. This involves medical professionals appointed by the court to examine the person and make written findings to the court. This process, even if uncontested, is expensive and can cost anywhere from $5,000-$10,000 or more! We do not currently handle such incapacity guardianships because they do not lend themselves easily to flat fees.

On the other hand, a Florida guardian advocate proceeding is a special guardianship designed for developmentally disabled adults. Developmental disabilities include autism, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, Prader-Willi syndrome, Down’s Syndrome and other intellectual disabilities that manifested prior to age 18 which constitute a substantial handicap that can reasonably be expected to continue indefinitely.

As with other matters we handle at My Pink Lawyer®, we handle uncontested guardian advocate proceedings on a flat fee basis.

Category: Guardianship

How Much Do You Charge For Probate Matters And How Long Does It Take In Florida?

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We handle all uncontested probate matters on a flat fee basis so there are no surprises. Because each case is unique, the fee will be quoted to you at your probate consultation (which we can typically even do by phone) once we have a better handle of the issues that will be involved in your Florida probate matter. Our typical flat fees for both kinds of Florida probates range between $2,000-$10,000, depending upon the complexity of the matter and the type of probate. 

Some Florida probate attorneys choose to bill hourly for themselves and their staff, while other attorneys charge a percentage fee based on estate assets. We have found that our clients prefer flat fixed fees for Florida probate matters so there are no surprises.

If the probate matter will be contested, then we will refer you a to a trusted colleague who specializes in such matters.

Where a person has been deceased longer than two years or has no debts (note that very few estates qualify for a summary administration if the loved one has been deceased less than two years), then you may qualify for a Florida summary administration. Depending on the county and the particular circumstances of the estate, a Florida summary administration will take anywhere from 1-4 months. Florida summary administrations are paperwork-driven and the appointment of a personal representative or executor is unnecessary.

Florida formal administations are probate matters that do not qualify for a summary administration. Formal administrations are what most people typically think of when they hear the word "probate." A personal representative (called an executor in other states) is appointed by the probate judge to handle the administration of the estate. The role of the personal representative, guided by your probate attorney, is to locate and marshall all of the decedent's assets, notify potential creditors and beneficiaries of the estate, pay all valid debts, finalize all tax filings, and then distribute estate assets to those persons who are entitled to inherit.

Because of mandatory waiting periods, Florida formal administrations take between 7-24 months to complete.

My Loved One’s Will “Gives” Their House To Me. Why Do I Need To Probate Their Estate?

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A written Will is a person’s written instructions to the probate court about how they want their estate settled after they die. The Will still needs to be probated and receive the probate court’s “stamp of approval,” however before the house can be retitled into your name. You will not be able to sell the home until the home is legally titled into your name which is done through the probate process.

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