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What are General Powers of Attorney?

Power of Attorney

December 13, 2022

A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that allows you to appoint a person or organization (your proxy) to manage your affairs if you are unable to do so. With that said, there are many different types of power of attorney that each grant your proxy different powers.

Notarize your Florida General Powers of Attorney Call or Text 954-866-5056

General Power of Attorney

A general power of attorney grants broad powers to a proxy to act on your behalf. Those powers typically include financial and business transactions, settling claims, making gifts, and purchasing life insurance.

Typically, people will grant a general power of attorney if they are out of the country and need someone to handle their affairs, or if they are physically or mentally incapable of managing their affairs.

Special Power of Attorney

A special power of attorney is granted when you want to give a proxy a very specific power. For example, you can grant a special power of attorney to a trusted business partner to handle business transactions while reserving other powers for your family.

Health Care Power of Attorney

A health care power of attorney grants your agent or proxy the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unconscious, mentally incompetent, or unable to make decisions on your own.

This individual will make decisions regarding what type of facilities you’re kept in and what type of treatment you will receive. Many states also allow you to include your preference about being kept on life support within the health care power of attorney.

This information provided by the Florida Bar

What is Prenuptial Agreements?

Prenuptial Agreements

Generally, prenups protect assets that may otherwise be subject to marital property laws. Specifically, these documents may be used to:

  • Protect one party from taking on the debts of the other
  • Protect specified assets of one party
  • Determine the manner in which property is passed on after death
  • Simplify property division in the event of divorce
  • Clarify financial responsibilities of the parties

For a prenup to be valid in many states, it must satisfy the following conditions:

  • Prenup must be written and signed by both parties and properly executed.
  • Prenup must have been read prior to signing.
  • Prenup must not have been signed under duress.
  • Prenup must not have false information or be unconscionable.
  • Both spouses must have had independent counsel.

Schedule your Prenuptial Agreement Notary Signing Call or Text 954-866-5056

Link to Prenuptial Agreements

This information provided by The Florida Bar

How Long Does Probate Take?

How Long Does Probate Take?

It depends on the facts of each situation. For example, the personal representative may need to sell real estate before settling the probate estate or resolve a disputed claim filed by a creditor or a lawsuit filed to challenge the validity of the Will. Any of these circumstances would tend to lengthen the process of administration. Even the simplest of probate estates must be open for at least the three-month creditor claim period; it is reasonable to expect that a simple probate estate will take about five or six months to properly handle.

If the estate does not have to file a federal estate tax return, the final accounting and other documents necessary to close the probate estate are first due within 12 months after the Court issues Letters of Administration to the personal representative. This period can be extended if necessary.

If the estate is required to file a federal estate tax return, the return is initially due nine months after the date of the decedent’s death; however, the time for filing the return can be extended for another six months. If a federal estate tax return is required, the final accounting and other documents to close the probate administration are due within 12 months from the date the estate tax return, as extended, is due. This date can also be extended if necessary.

HOW ARE THE PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE’S COMPENSATION AND PROFESSIONAL FEES DETERMINED?

The personal representative, the attorney, and other professionals (such as appraisers and accountants) are entitled to receive reasonable compensation. The personal representative’s compensation is usually determined in one of five ways:

  • As set forth in the Will.
  • As set forth in a contract between the personal representative and the decedent.
  • As agreed among the personal representative and those who will bear the impact of the personal representative’s compensation.
  • The amount is presumed to be reasonable as calculated under Florida law if the amount is not objected to by any of the beneficiaries.
  • As determined by the judge.

The fee for the attorney for the personal representative is usually determined in one of three ways:

  • As agreed among the attorney, the personal representative, and those who bear the impact of the fee.
  • The amount presumed to be reasonable calculated under Florida law if the amount is not objected to by any of the beneficiaries.
  • As determined by the judge.

WHAT ARE ALTERNATIVES TO FORMAL ADMINISTRATION AVAILABLE?

Florida law provides for several alternates, abbreviated probate procedures other than the formal administration process.

“Summary Administration” is generally available only if the value of the estate subject to probate in Florida (less property, which is exempt from the claims of creditors; for example, homestead real property in many circumstances) is not more than $75,000, and if the decedent’s debts are paid, or the creditors do not object. Those who receive the estate assets in a summary administration may remain liable for claims against the decedent for two years after the date of death. Summary administration is also available if the decedent has been dead for more than two years and there has been no prior administration.

Another alternative to the formal administration process is “Disposition Without Administration.” This is available only if probate estate assets consist solely of property classified as exempt from the claims of the decedent’s creditors by applicable law and non-exempt personal property, the value of which does not exceed the total of (1) the cost of preferred funeral expenses; and (2) the amount of all reasonable and necessary medical and hospital expenses incurred in the last 60 days of the decedent’s final illness, if any.

Link to What is a Will?

This information provided by The Florida Bar

What are the Rights of the Decedent’s Surviving Family?

What are the Rights of the Decedent’s Surviving Family?

The decedent’s surviving spouse and children may be entitled to receive probate assets from the decedent’s probate estate, even if the decedent’s Will gives them nothing. Florida law protects the decedent’s surviving spouse and certain surviving children from total disinheritance.

For example, a surviving spouse may have rights in the decedent’s homestead real property. A surviving spouse also may have the right to come forward to claim an “elective share” from the decedent’s probate estate. The elective share is, generally speaking, 30 percent of the decedent’s assets, including any assets that are non-probate assets. A surviving spouse and/or the decedent’s children also may have the right to a family allowance to provide them with funds before the final distribution of the estate assets and rights in exempt property that will be paid to them instead of to creditors in satisfaction of claims against the probate estate. It is important to note that a spouse may waive rights to an elective share, family allowance, and/or exempt property in a valid pre-marital or post-marital agreement.

In addition, if the decedent married or had children after the date of the decedent’s last Will, and if the decedent neglected to provide for the new spouse or children, an omitted family member may nevertheless be entitled to a share of the decedent’s probate estate.

The existence and enforcement of these statutory rights require knowledge about the applicable laws and procedures and are best handled by an attorney.

WHAT RIGHTS DO OTHER POTENTIAL BENEFICIARIES HAVE IN THE DECEDENT’S PROBATE ESTATE?

Except as provided in the immediately preceding section, a Florida resident has the right to entirely disinherit anyone. It is not necessary to give the disinherited beneficiary a nominal gift of, for example, $1.00.

Link to What is a Will?

Link to What is Probate?

This information provided by The Florida Bar

What is Probate?

What is Probate?

Probate is a court-supervised process for identifying and gathering the assets of a deceased person (decedent), paying the decedent’s debts, and distributing the decedent’s assets to his or her beneficiaries. In general, the decedent’s assets pay the probate proceeding’s cost, the decedent’s funeral expenses, then the decedent’s outstanding debts. The remainder of the assets is distributed to the decedent’s beneficiaries. You can find the Florida Probate Code in Chapters 731 through 735 of the Florida Statutes. You can find the rules governing Florida probate proceedings in the Florida Probate Rules, Part I and Part II (Rules 5.010-5.530).

There are two types of probate administration under Florida law: formal administration and summary administration. This pamphlet will primarily discuss formal administration.

There is also a non-court-supervised administration proceeding called “Disposition of Personal Property Without Administration.” This type of administration applies only in limited circumstances.

Link to What is a Will?

This information is provided by the Florida Bar

last will and testament of

What is a Will?

What is a Will?

A Will is a writing, signed by the decedent and witnesses, that meets Florida law requirements. In a Will, the decedent can name the beneficiaries whom the decedent wants to receive the decedent’s probate assets. The decedent also can designate a personal representative (Florida’s term for an executor) to administer the probate estate.

Schedule an appointment today to complete your Last Will & Testament

Call or Text 954-866-5056

WHAT HAPPENS IF THERE IS NO WILL?

Someone who dies without a valid Will dies “intestate.” Even if the decedent dies intestate, the probate assets are rarely turned over to the state of Florida. The state would take the decedent’s assets only if the decedent had no heirs.

If the decedent died intestate, a couple of examples of how the decedent’s probate assets will be distributed to the decedent’s heirs are as follows: (found in Part I, Chapter 732 of Florida Statutes):

  • Suppose the decedent was survived by a spouse but left no living descendants. In that case, the surviving spouse receives all of the decedent’s probate estate. A “descendant” is a person in any generational level down the descending line from the decedent and includes children, grandchildren, parents, and more remote descendants.
  • Suppose the decedent was survived by a spouse and left one or more living descendants (all of whom are the descendants of both the decedent and the spouse). The surviving spouse has no additional living descendants (who are not a descendant of the decedent). In that case, the surviving spouse receives all of the decedent’s probate estate.
  • Suppose the decedent was not married at the time of death but was survived by one or more descendants. In that case, those descendants will receive all of the decedent’s probate estate. If there is more than one descendant, the decedent’s probate estate will be divided among them in the manner prescribed by Florida law. The division will occur at the generational level of the decedent’s children. So, for example, if one of the decedent’s children did not survive the decedent, and if that child has surviving descendants, the share of the decedent’s estate that would have been distributed to the deceased child will instead be distributed among the descendants of the deceased child.
  • Suppose the decedent was not married at the time of death and had no living descendants. In that case, the decedent’s probate estate will pass to the decedent’s surviving parents, if they are living, otherwise to the decedent’s brothers and sisters.
  • Florida’s intestate laws will pass the decedent’s probate estate to other, more remote heirs if the decedent is not survived by any of the close relatives described above.

There are certain exceptions for homestead property, some personal property, among other exceptions to the distribution of the decedent’s probate estate under Florida’s intestate laws, as discussed above. Assets subject to these exceptions will pass in a manner different from that described in the intestate laws.

For example, if the decedent’s homestead property was titled in the decedent’s name alone, and if a spouse and descendants survived the decedent, the surviving spouse takes a life estate in the property.  The descendants receive the decedent’s homestead property only after the surviving spouse dies. The surviving spouse also, however, has the right to make a special election within six months of the decedent’s death to receive an undivided one-half interest in the homestead property instead of the life estate provided specific procedures are timely followed.

Link to What is Probate?

This information provided by the Florida Bar 

How to designate a helthcare surrogate

healthcare surrogate

Broward Notary
954-866-5056

The Florida Legislature has recognized that every competent adult has the fundamental right of self determination regarding decisions pertaining to his or her own health, including the right to choose or refuse medical treatment or procedures which would only prolong life when a terminal condition exists. This right, however, is subject to certain interests of society, such as the protection of human life and the preservation of ethical standards in the medical profession.  To ensure that this right is not lost or diminished by virtue of later physical or mental incapacity, the Legislature has established a procedure within Florida Statutes Chapter 765 allowing a person to plan for incapacity, and if desired, to designate another person to act on his or her behalf and make necessary medical decisions upon such incapacity.

read more here

What is an Apostille or Certificate of Notarial Authority?

An apostille is an International certification attached to documents that have already been signed and notarized by a notary.  In Florida, the Division of Corporations issues these certifications.

The Florida Secretary of State is the ONLY competent authority authorized to issue apostille and notarial certifications in the State of Florida.

 

How to file:

  1. Complete the Department of State’s Apostille and Notarial Certificate Request Form (PDF).
  2. Make sure to include the documents to be authenticated or certified.
  3. Don’t forget to insert a self-addressed stamped envelope with the requestor’s name and address listed as both sender and recipient; OR
  4. A pre-paid, pre-addressed air bill with requestor’s name and address listed as both sender and recipient.
  5. Include payment.

Mail application, documentation, and payment to the Division of Corporations’ Apostille Section.

Get more information from The Florida Department of State here

-or- learn more at the Florida Divisions of Corporations

Protect Your Assets!

Recently featured on South Florida’s Channel 7 News stations Help me Howard; was a story of a woman who recently lost her husband and went to the bank to try to get the money from his checking account, but was denied. (watch full story here)

If you do not have a Last Will & Testament prepared, this could happen to your loved ones too.

The woman said, “I had his information, his death certificate, his I.D., his bank information. but Wells Fargo told me that, ‘You are not on this account. There is nothing we can do.”

Don’t let this happen to you! We prepare your last wishes in your Last Will & Testament.  Call/txt 954-866-5056 today! -or- schedule your Will signing here

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