Estate planning, probate, trust, guardianship, litigation and associates tax consequences FAQs.

If you have questions regarding a trust or if you are trying to deal with the Florida probate process, visit this page of our website to find the answers to frequently asked questions.  Contact a Fort Myers probate lawyer today at the Cody & Linde, PLLC to get your questions answered.

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  • If I am inheriting assets do I need a probate attorney when someone else is nominated as personal representative?

    The answer to this question is maybe.  For example, assume your mother just died after a long-term marriage to your father.  Assume this was the first marriage for both parents and you have one sibling who is nominated in the will as the personal representative and you trust her completely.  Further she has fully disclosed all the assets.  Then I don’t think you need an attorney.

    However, now assume that your step-father just died one year after your mother died and you have three step-siblings.  Further, your step-father just changed his will two weeks before he died and suddenly only one step-sibling is the personal representative.  Now assume that step-sibling is suddenly driving a new car and you do not think that she had the money to buy it.   You receive a Notice of Administration in the mail.  Further, the attorney for the personal representative sends you a legal document that is hard to understand.  The attorney tells you it is routine and you should sign it.  In this scenario you probably should see an attorney.  There are important deadlines in probate and important rights that you can lose by taking no action.   For more information contact Linde Law Group today.

  • My father died with a large estate, what is a Form 706?

    A Form 706 is a form published by the IRS.  It is called a United States Estate (and Generation –Skipping Transfer) Tax Return.  The purpose of the form according to the IRS is “[t]he executor of a decedent's estate uses Form 706 to figure the estate tax imposed by Chapter 11 of the Internal Revenue Code. This tax is levied on the entire taxable estate and not just on the share received by a particular beneficiary. Form 706 is also used to figure the generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax imposed by Chapter 13 on direct skips (transfers to skip persons of interests in property included in the decedent's gross estate).”  For 2013, the exemption from the estate tax is equal to $5,250,000.00 for each spouse.

    Issues related to this form are complicated, and if you are a trustee of personal representative of large estate, you need someone who is aware of the issues.  For more information, contact Linde Law Group today!

  • What is probate administration? Do we need a lawyer?

    Under Florida statute §731.301 (31) “probate of will” means all steps necessary to establish the validity of a will and to admit a will to probate.  Probate administration involved admitting a will, if the decedent had a will, to probate, noticing creditors, paying creditors and transferring property to the rightful beneficiaries.  If a person died in Florida with property in his or her name (with no payable on death provision), then generally you will need some form of probate procedure to transfer the property.  We recommend a lawyer even if you are the only beneficiary because the process can be complex.  Even with simple estates creditor issues can become complex very quickly.  For more information contact Florida Bar Board Certified expert in wills, trusts and estates attorney Matthew A. Linde at 239.939.7100 today.

  • What are the trust income tax rates for 2016?

    Remember these taxes are on "net" income:

     

    Estate and Trust Income Tax Rates

    $ 0 - $ 2,550 15% of the amount over 0

    $ 2,551 - $ 5,950 $ 383 + 25% of the amount over $ 2,550

    $ 5,951 - $ 9,050 $ 1,233 + 28% of the amount over $ 5,950

    $ 9,051 - $ 12,400 $ 2,101 + 33% of the amount over $9,051 and

    $ 12,401 - $ 3,206 + 39.6% of the amount over $ 12,400

  • Who supervises the administration of probate in Cape Coral or Fort Myers?

    The administration of probate in Florida is generally supervised by a circuit court judge in the probate division of the county where the deceased person died. If you are worried about how your estate will be carried out, you should discuss your concerns now with an estate attorney in Fort Myers, Florida. With the guidance of an experienced attorney, you may be able to help your beneficiaries avoid mass confusion upon your death. 

    The judge who will supervise the administration of probate in Florida will rule on whether your will is valid or, if you died without a will (intestate), whether there is sufficient evidence to confirm that those claiming to be your heirs are truly your heirs and entitled to your probate estate.

    If the deceased nominated a personal representative in their will, the judge will decide whether that individual or institution is, in fact, qualified for the task at hand. If the nominee for personal representative meets all qualifications according to Florida law, then the judge will issue Letters of Administration. They are evidence that the personal representative has the authority to administer the deceased's probate estate.

    In the event that disputes or questions arise concerning the administration of the estate, a hearing will likely be held by the judge to seek a resolution. The decision made by the judge will be presented in a written direction, which is an order.

    The sooner you meet with an estate attorney in Fort Myers, Florida, the sooner you can have the peace of mind that your probate estate will be handled properly.

    Help from an Attorney in Fort Myers, Florida, is Just a Phone Call Away

    Fort Myers estate attorney Matthew A. Linde understands firsthand the importance of careful estate planning and the complexities of financial legal matters, such as probate, tax litigation and guardianship. For help with probate in Florida, contact our Fort Myers office to schedule a one-on-one meeting with a professional who can answer your questions – 239-939-7100 or 844-357-0572.

  • Why does a personal representative in a Florida probate case need an attorney?

    If you have been appointed the personal representative of a Florida probate, you will need an attorney for several reasons. To protect yourself, you should schedule a consultation with an experienced probate attorney who will help you understand the probate process and any laws that apply to your case.  Further, if you are not the only beneficary then being represented by an attorney is required by law under Florida Probate Rule 5.030(a) for personal representatives and guardians.

    If you don't handle probate cases on a day-to-day basis, you may run into some complexities that you may not be prepared to deal with. When you have good legal counsel by your side, you can have peace of mind that you will be provided guidance to carry out your responsibilities accurately.  In nearly all Florida probate cases, it's crucial that the personal representative have legal representation. Even in the simplest probate case, legal issues are likely to arise. As a personal representative, you can count on your attorney to advise you on your rights and duties according to Florida law and to represent you in all estate proceedings. 

    You should also know that your attorney will represent only you, not the beneficiaries. Furthermore, be advised that if there is a provision in the last will and testament that mandates a certain law firm or attorney be hired as your attorney, it will not be binding on you as the personal representative.

    You will have many responsibilities as a personal representative. That last thing you want to do is make a serious error that could affect any heirs or beneficiaries.  Your best bet is to seek the services of Fort Myers probate attorney for guidance.

    When You Need Help with a Florida Probate Case

    Florida Bar Board certified wills, trusts and estates attorney expert Matthew A. Linde understands firsthand the importance of careful estate planning and the complexities of financial legal matters, such as probate, tax litigation and guardianship. For help with your probate concerns, contact our Fort Myers office to schedule a one-on-one meeting with a professional who can answer your questions – 1-239-939-7100 or 1-844-357-0572.

  • In regards to a Florida probate case, who can be a personal representative?

    There are several entities and individuals who could be named a personal representative in a Florida probate case. If you have been named a representative or if you need help determining who your personal representative should be, you should meet with a probate lawyer in Fort Myers.

    Naming a personal representative is not something that should be taken lightly. You want a person or entity you can trust to handle your affairs appropriately. On the other hand, if you have been named a representative, you will need to focus on administering the estate according to Florida law.

    Who can be a personal representative?

    A personal representative in a Florida probate case could be designated to any of the following: 

    • an individual, trust company or bank, but certain restrictions will apply;
    • an individual who resides in Florida or is a close relative, such as a spouse, parent, sibling or child; or
    • a trust company that is incorporated under Florida laws, or a savings
      and loan that is qualified and authorized to carry out fiduciary powers in the state. 

    The personal representative will be tasked with many responsibilities upon the decedent's death, and therefore should speak with a lawyer who is familiar with these types of legal matters.

    A probate lawyer can discuss any concerns you may have, such as liability issues, which could arise in just about any probate case. You will need an attorney who has vast experience handling probate and estate planning in the state of Florida. 

    Help from a Probate Lawyer in Fort Myers is Just a Phone Call Away

    Fort Myers estate planning attorney Matthew A. Linde understands firsthand the importance of careful estate planning and the complexities of financial legal matters, such as probate, tax litigation and guardianship. For help with your probate concerns, contact our Fort Myers office to schedule a one-on-one meeting with a professional who can answer your questions – 1-239-939-7100 or 1-844-357-0572.

  • My dad just died in Naples, when a summary proceeding not a good probate option?

    There are several instances in which summary administration, which is a faster and less costly form of probate administration, may not be preferable in a Florida probate case. To find out whether summary administration would be a good fit for your case, you should speak with Fort Myers probate lawyers.

    When Summary Administration Would Not Be Practical

    Even though summary administration may be an option in your Florida probate case, it may not be practical under the following circumstances:

    • If the will leaves the property to many beneficiaries, each would have to sign the contract to sell, the closing documents and the deed.
    • If there are minor beneficiaries, guardianships will probably need to be set up, and someone will have to maintain them until the minors become adults. However, with a formal estate, this may be avoidable if the personal representative takes advantage of the Florida Uniform Transfers to Minors Act.
    • If a beneficiary's whereabouts are unknown, summary administration would not be able to accommodate a missing heir as formal probate administration could.
    • If a beneficiary refuses to cooperate with other owners, the solution may be formal administration, which could be necessary to sell the property. An alternative is a costly "partition" lawsuit.

    After the second anniversary of the decedent's death, if formal administration is necessary, the requirements related to creditors will have changed, but costs and fees shouldn't be much more than those for summary administration. It's best that you meet with a lawyer before you make any decisions about summary administration.

    Help from Fort Myers Probate Lawyers is Just a Phone Call Away

    Florida Bar Board certified wills, trusts and estates expert Matthew A. Linde understands firsthand the importance of careful estate planning and the complexities of financial legal matters, such as probate, tax litigation and guardianship. For help with your probate concerns, contact our Fort Myers office to schedule a one-on-one meeting with a professional who can answer your questions – 1-239-939-7100 or 1-844-357-0572.

  • What are the types of probate in Florida?

    The 2 different types of probate in Florida are Formal Administration and Summary Administration. To discuss the pros and cons of each, you should schedule a consultation with Florida Bar Board Certified wills, trusts and estates expert Matthew A. Linde.

    Formal Administration vs. Summary Administration

    The differences in Formal Administration and Summary Administration are:

    • Formal Administration: This is the long version of probate in Florida in which Letters of Administration are generally administered, which can take up to a year or longer.
    • Summary Administration: This is a short version of probate in which Letters of Administration are not necessary. Eligibility requirements include non-exempt assets valued at $75,000 or less or when the deceased died more than 2 years ago. 

    If you have been named a personal representative in a will, you generally will not be able to take significant action unless you have a court order. However, this is no reason to assume that you must have Letters of Administration to perform your duties as personal representative. 

    Your best bet is to meet with an expert in wills, trusts and estates to discuss your options. While Summary Administration is less costly and quicker than Formal Administration, you may not meet the requirements. For example, if you need authority to collect estate assets you will need Letters of Administration and consequently, a formal administration. Your attorney will be able to review your case and help you decide on the best course of action.

    Help from Estate Planning Attorneys in Fort Myers is Just a Phone Call Away

    Fort Myers estate planning attorney Matthew A. Linde understands firsthand the importance of careful estate planning and the complexities of financial legal matters, such as probate, tax litigation and guardianship. For help with your probate concerns, contact our Fort Myers office to schedule a one-on-one meeting with a professional who can answer your questions – 1-239-939-7100 or 1-844-357-0572.

  • My dad just died, why hire a Florida probate lawyer?

    There are various reason why you may need to hire a Florida probate lawyer. For instance, if your loved one died without a will, Florida statutes will determine how assets will be distributed. To protect your rights throughout the probate process, which can last months or years, you should hire Florida Bar Board Certified wills, trusts and estates expert Matthew A. Linde. 

    When you are in the midst of probate, your stress level will likely be increased due to the fact that you just lost a loved one. If you don't handle probate cases on a daily basis, you may find the process of settling an estate too complex and frustrating.

    How a Florida Probate Lawyer Can Help

    An experienced lawyer can minimize the frustration by answering your probate questions, helping you understand the process and providing guidance.

    In cases in which there is a will and an executor has been named to settle the estate, a lawyer can help protect the executor from financial or legal liability in the event that mistakes are made. Otherwise, the executor could face severe repercussions. 

    It's best to hire a lawyer early, especially if the decedent died without a will or if you are the executor of an estate. A do-it-yourself-kit is a bad idea when it comes to settling an estate because of the potential for legal, financial and emotional problems.

    Before you hire a lawyer it would be a good idea to write down all of your probate questions and ask them during your consultation. If you are comfortable with your Florida probate lawyer's answers, he or she may be a good fit your case.

    Help from a Florida Probate Lawyer is Just a Phone Call Away

    Florida probate lawyer Matthew A. Linde understands firsthand the importance of careful estate planning and the complexities of financial legal matters, such as probate, tax litigation and guardianship. For help with your probate concerns, contact our Fort Myers office to schedule a one-on-one meeting with a professional who can answer your questions – 239-939-7100 or 844-357-0572.