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PROBATE ADMINISTRATION

Preliminary Considerations. Residency. Original will vs. copy. Identification of assets, beneficiaries and personal representative.

Practice and Procedure. Notices, time frames and representation. Notice to creditors, inventory and accounting.

Personal Representatives and Attorneys. Duties. Powers. Declination and priorities of personal representatives. Liabilities and rights of fiduciary and beneficiaries. Attorney representation.

Initial Procedures. Testate and intestate estates. Petition for Administration; residency; bond; assets; creditors; proof of will; filing of caveats; lost wills; tax analysis.

Inventory and Appraisal. Taking control of assets. Liquidation of securities. Designated beneficiary option. Considerations of appraisal. Preparation, filing and service of inventory.

Elective Share of Surviving Spouse. Computation. Assets used in satisfaction. Consequences of making election. Procedure, priorities and bars to elective share.

Creditors Claims. Publication of notice. Search for reasonably ascertainable creditors. Deadline for claims and objections. Priorities of satisfaction. 

Management of Decedent’s Property. Maintaining, preserving and disposing of estate assets. Investment of estate funds. Possible carrying on of decedent’s business.

Sales and Transfers of Estate Assets. Distribution of tangible personal property. Distribution of real property or sale. Possible court authorization. Tax consequences on sale. Income on distribution of IRAs or annuities.

Determination of Beneficiaries and their Interests. Heirs of intestate estates. Lapse of predeceased beneficiary shares. Specific will provisions in testate estates. Disclaimer of interests. Agreements among beneficiaries.

Estate Accounting. Statutory requirements. Options in providing. Waivers of accounting by beneficiaries. Preparation and service. Principal and income allocations.

Partial Distributions. Reasons and timing. Specific devises. Income tax consequences to estate and beneficiaries. Tax releases for real estate. 

Final Distribution and Discharge. Procedures for closing estate. Calculation of final of distributive shares. Reserve for contingencies. Service of petition and accounting vs. waivers of accounting.

Compensation and Expenses of Administration. Employment of professionals and agents. Compensation of Personal Representative. Attorney fees. Other administrative expenses. Liability of Personal Representative for costs and expenses.  

Ancillary Administration. Nonresident decedents owning real estate in Florida. Florida residents owning real estate in other states. Procedures for issuance of ancillary letters and administration of ancillary estate. 

Small Estates and Summary Administration. Qualification and procedures for Summary Administration. Value of estate and payment of creditors. Disposition without administration. Motor vehicle transfer.

Homestead and Exempt Personal Property. Homestead requirements. Homestead as an asset subject to probate. Restrictions on descent and devise of homestead. Exemption from creditors claims. Rights of surviving spouse to principal residence. Homestead in trusts. Procedures to determine homestead and address creditors.

Probate Litigation. Will contest grounds. Undue influence. Testamentary capacity. Improper execution. Ambiguities and interpretation. Litigating claims against estate.

TRUST ADMINISTRATION

Powers, Duties and Liabilities of Trustees. Fiduciary duties, obligations and standards. Trust investments. Principal and income rules. Delegations of authority. Trustee powers and discretion. 

Successor Trustees. Declination, resignation or incapacity of trustee. Potential removal of trustee. Appointment of successors.

Trust Investments. Duties of trustees under Prudent Investment Act.

Trust Accountings. Statutory requirements to inform and account to beneficiaries. Preparation and service. Limitations of actions against trustee.

Creditors’ Rights to Assets in Trust. Analysis of debts and potential creditors. Liability of inherited assets for debts of decedent. Irrevocable, spendthrift and discretionary trusts.

Interests of Trust Beneficiaries. Determination of qualified beneficiaries. Lapse of inheritance of heirs. Vesting and descent of beneficial interests.  

Termination and Modification of Trusts. Termination of trusts and asset transfer. Judicial modification of irrevocable trusts as consistent with settlor’s purpose or in the best interests of beneficiaries. Non-judicial modification.

Trust Litigation. Preventing litigation in initial assessment. Considerations of standing, jurisdiction, venue and representation. Evidentiary issues. Pleadings, motion practice, discovery, settlement and/or trial. 

Funding and Asset Titling of Trusts. Determination of asset titling and beneficiary designations. Funding revocable trusts. Titling of real estate and securities accounts. Shareholder and member interests in closely-held corporations and limited liability companies. Trusts as beneficiaries of IRAs, including required minimum distributions, income distribution deduction and distribution elections of beneficiaries and related tax implications. Annuities and life insurance payable to trusts. Homestead (principal residence) title and devise issues.  

Trust Income Taxation. Income taxation of irrevocable trusts. Compliance and filing. Post-mortem income tax reduction. Issues regarding taxable income, deductions, distributable net income, distributions. Gift and state tax considerations.

Compensation Issues. Issues regarding trustee fees, attorneys fees and in trust litigation proceedings.

Title Issues. Investment, real estate and bank account ownership issues. Conveyance to and by the trust and trustee. Effect of spousal rights and homestead.

Charitable Trusts. Charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts and private foundations as trusts.

Florida Trust Code. Ensure compliance with Section 736 statutory requirements in trust administration, including creation, validity, modification and termination. Creditors’ claims, spendthrift and discretionary trusts. Requirements regarding revocable trusts, office of trustee, and duties, powers and liability of trustees.  

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Our Office

  • Sarasota Office

    Address

    2201 Ringling Boulevard
    Suite 104
    Sarasota, Florida 34237

    Secondary Phone 941-365-0118