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Florida Probate, Trust and Estate Blog

Surviving Spouse Rights in Florida

Florida law grants surviving spouses a number of important rights and benefits.  It is imperative that a surviving spouse retain counsel with significant experience in the Florida probate process.

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Another Great Result for Attorneys of Clark Skatoff

The probate attorneys of Clark Skatoff once again achieved an outstanding result for client.  In this case, the decedent, in his 90's, was referred to a caregiver.  Right away, the caregiver and the decedent allegedly began a romantic relationship.

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Partially Incapacitated Ward Makes Valid Deed

When a person is found incapacitated and placed under a guardianship, the exercise of some or all of that person’s rights are exclusively delegated to the guardian.[1]  That is, those rights which the court finds the person (ward) unable to personally exercise can only be exercised by the guardian.  Thus, when a ward takes an action which he or she has lost the right to take, that act is typically void ab initio and treated by the courts as if it never happened. 

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Florida’s Homestead Protection Cannot Preclude A Partition Action By An Owner

A partition action is used to force the sale of jointly owned property.  Typically, a partition is sought when co-owners of a piece of real estate are unable to agree as to how to continue their joint ownership of the subject property.  Florida law provides an absolute right to any co-owner of property to seek a partition. See Ch. 64, Florida Statutes.  While this absolute right to partition seems at odds with provisions of the Florida Constitution that protect homestead property from forced sale, Florida courts have repeatedly held that homestead property is subject to a partition action from a co-owner. 

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Failed Tenancy By the Entireties Converts to Tenancy in Common

Most married couples elect to hold their real property as tenants by the entirety.  A tenancy by the entirety is similar to a joint tenancy, except that it is reserved for married couples.  One of the advantages to a tenancy by the entirety in Florida is that the property is protected against creditor claims that may be made against one of the spouses.  

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Florida Probate Court Has No Jurisdiction Over Out-Of-State Real Property

It is not uncommon for a resident of Florida to own real property in another state.  In Brown v. Brown, the Florida appellate court reminds us that a Florida probate court does not have jurisdiction over real property in another state, and thus cannot order the partition and sale of real property located outside of Florida.

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Partition Actions in Florida

Partition actions are often used to force the sale of jointly owned property when the owners cannot agree amongst themselves what to do with the property.  Florida law provides a general framework on how a partition action is to proceed, but the details are left to the discretion of the trial court.

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Survivorship Deeds in Florida - Proceed with Caution

An ambiguous deed with survivorship language creates confusion, requiring the court to interpret the ownership of real estate.

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Partition Action Solves Jointly Owned Property Disputes

In the wake of a loved one’s death, an individual often learns that he or she has inherited real property owned by the decedent.  In our practice, the client will often be one of multiple beneficiaries of the same parcel of property.  Seemingly without exception, the beneficiaries do not agree as to how the property should be held, used, or managed. 

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Homestead Rights Waived By Deed Boilerplate Language

In the most recent Florida homestead case, the appellate court rules that boilerplate language in a deed operates as a waiver of the spouse's homestead rights.

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