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What happens when someone dies without a will?

When an individual passes away without a valid last will and testament, they are said to be "intestate." This means that property will be divided based on the intestacy laws of the state in which they are located. For out of state property, the laws of the state in which the property is located will take precedence.

Property does not consist of only real estate. Property of an estate consists of real estate, vehicles, personal property, bank accounts, retirement accounts, life insurance proceeds and a multitude of other assets an individual may own at his or her time of death. The value of an estate is determined by the total sum of all of these, with a valuation based on present day markets.

Keep these things in mind when seeking full custody of your child

Divorce can be a stressful experience. If you and your spouse disagree about which of you should have custody of your child, things can get extremely messy. You no doubt want to avoid contentious, drawn-out courtroom battles. However, you know your ex is not going to cooperate or compromise when it comes to child custody issues.  

You may feel strongly that your child is better off living with you. What matters most is that you're able to convince the court to agree. If you have a friend or relative who has successfully sough full custody of a child, you may be able to glean some useful tips about how to win a custody case. You shouldn't be surprised if those who were successful credit their victories to strong support systems.  

Modifying a child custody agreement in Florida

Modification of a child custody agreement is not a matter taken lightly by any court. A party must be able to prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that changes have taken place which directly affect the well-being and safety of a child. The child's best interests will always remain the heart of any custody agreement. While the state of Florida has made it easy to file a modification petition, that does not mean that a Judge will easily grant one.

According to Florida law, a modification to a parenting plan or time-sharing schedule will only be considered when a substantial, and unanticipated change has occurred. This means that the change which has facilitated the need for a modification must not have been pre-planned, or even anticipated in any way when the original agreement was entered. This can include location changes, mental or physical health status, and living conditions, just to name a few. Further, the change must be substantial in nature, meaning that the best interests of the child are affected.

The responsibility of being the executor of a will

When a family member or friend asks someone if he or she would be willing to act as the executor of a will, most people will say yes, without hesitation. However, few are truly aware of the responsibilities that role entails. When agreeing to act as an executor, you are agreeing to do much more than simply clean out a house or disburse money.

An article published by Morgan Stanley wealth advisors in January, 2017 describes in detail the multiple responsibilities taken on by a named executor. Further, it highlights the fact that this is both an emotional as well as an administrative task. Many people who have been tasked with acting in this role one time will often make the statement that they would never agree to do it again. This is the result of a lack of understanding of the probate process prior to an agreement to act. Some of the responsibilities of an executor include locating and providing the probate court with an original will, securing and maintaining estate property throughout the entire process, locating and notifying heirs, notifying and paying creditors, paying taxes, and distributing assets. This is not an exhaustive list. Each step must be carefully documented and proof of every transaction filed with the probate court.

What should you put in a prenup?

Prenuptial agreements have gained popularity over the years. The misconception that this agreement means you expect to divorce is becoming a thing of the past. Soon-to-be spouses in all 50 states are hopping on the prenup train. You may be interested in completing your own, but you’re not sure where to start. What should you put in a prenup?

Don't think you need to handle divorce alone

No enters a marriage with plans to eventually divorce. Unfortunately, many couples do end their marriage for one reason or another. These situations can be tremendously stressful, especially when children are involved. It's important, however, to keep a level head and have the guidance of experienced attorneys.

When a marriage ends, much more needs to be addressed than just the emotional toll. Property division, financial assets, and the many different aspects of dealing with children all need to be carefully considered and dealt with. Trying to juggle all of these elements on your own can be overwhelming at best and can lead to less-than-optimal results at worse. Instead of trying to head down that path alone, it's important to remember that you have professionals on your side.

What does 'equitable' mean in a Florida divorce?

If you are getting divorced in Florida, you may be especially concerned about how you will divide your assets. Will you walk away with nothing? Will your ex get all your investments and retirement accounts as the person who contributed to these the most? Will you be able to keep your house?

Before you jump to any conclusions, you should understand that in Florida, courts comply with equitable distribution laws when it comes to property division during divorce. This means that courts will divide property equitably, or fairly. 

Mediation could help you reach a child custody agreement

Despite your feelings about your husband or wife, you love your children. If your future former spouse feels the same way, you may decide to put aside your feelings for each other in order to reach a custody agreement that benefits the children and with which you are both satisfied.

Perhaps you attempted to work such an agreement out by yourselves but it didn't go well. Your negotiations broke down into an argument. Now, you wonder whether you can continue to work together and fear that you could end up in court relinquishing the control over the future of your family to a well-meaning judge who knows nothing about your family. Fortunately, there is another way.

Inheritance funds may spark conflict during a divorce proceeding

Divorce can understandably be tough emotionally. However, it can be just as difficult financially, particularly if you and your future ex-spouse cannot find common ground in areas such as the division of property. This property may range from real estate and cars to the money in your shared bank account and even your retirement plan funds. 

When it comes to the division of property, a question that commonly arises is whether one of the spouses has the right to receive a portion of the other party's inheritance if the inheritance came during the course of the marriage. Here is a look at how the state of Florida handles inheritance funds during divorce.

Does everyone really need a will?

Some Florida readers may think that, since they do not have an extensive estate or a lot of wealth, they do not really need a will. A will is not something that only the rich and famous need, but rather something that benefits everyone, including you. If you do not have a will, you would be prudent to consider the benefits of taking this step.

A will is not something that you do only for yourself, but also for your loved ones. It can provide peace of mind regarding the future and allow you to decide what will happen to your estate after you pass. You worked hard to earn your money and build your estate, and you have the right to decide what will happen to it, regardless of its size or value.

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