The Law Office of Jason A. Jenkins, P.A.
Review Us
call today 954-256-9192

Fort Lauderdale Florida Elder Law Blog

Probate litigation underway involving Steely Dan band member

Though the passing of an individual can be a time of grief, it could also be a time of conflict. Many estates see numerous disputes and litigation due to misunderstandings, lack of information, unseemly acts or other issues. As a result of these problems, probate proceedings could come to a standstill until the issues are resolved.

Florida residents may be interested in a dispute currently underway regarding the estate of Steely Dan band member Walter Becker. Reports stated that the dispute involves Becker's surviving family and his former bandmate Donald Fagen. Apparently, Becker's widow wants to obtain 50 percent ownership of the band, but Fagen believes that she has no right to that ownership due to an agreement he and Becker entered into 45 years ago.

Estate plans help but could complicate estate administration

The death of a loved one can take a considerable toll on any Florida resident. When faced with this situation, it can be difficult to know how to handle the estate administration that comes soon after. In the best case, the deceased will have created an estate plan that could help surviving family go through this process more smoothly.

Many people may even think of this type of plan as a gift. Loved ones who have passed on can still provide information about how they want their affairs handled and potentially leave messages for their family. As a result, many individuals may feel more at ease when it comes to handling the probate process and other administration-related aspects. 

Estate planning mistakes may hinder Florida probate process

When a loved one passes away, a person typically is put in charge of handling the decedent's estate. If the individual created an estate plan before his or her death, the executor or personal representative may have an easier time going through the probate process. However, some Florida residents may not create the most comprehensive plans, and surviving loved ones could face issues.

Though a will is one of the most common estate planning tools, it may not be the only tool a person needs. Each estate has its own details that could result in the need for other planning documents. However, some parties may think that a will is the only document needed, and in some cases, more complex estates could suffer from a lack of extensive planning.

Prince heirs concerned over estate administration

Many people hold the possessions of their deceased loved ones very dear. Because these assets are often all Florida residents have left of family members or friends, it can be distressing when the property is mishandled. Unfortunately, the possibility for problems to arise during estate administration does exist, and some parties may find themselves looking for administrative changes.

Though musician Prince died more than a year ago, his surviving heirs are currently facing such a predicament. Reports stated that Comerica Bank and Trust was put in charge as administrators of the estate. Apparently, three of the six heirs to the estate feel that the bank has not handled the administrator responsibilities properly and has cost the estate millions of dollars in consulting and legal fees.

Justice In The Wake Of A Hurricane

As we have unfortunately seen this year, Florida’s hurricanes can put elderly individuals in nursing homes at significant risk of injury and death. After Hurricane Irma this past September, eight people died at Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills in Hollywood, Florida when air conditioning failed. The fatalities linked to that failure have now risen to fourteen.

This has happened before

Distributing assets early could complicate estate administration

After the death of a loved one, many important tasks need to be addressed. For Florida residents acting as executors of estates, numerous responsibilities may fall to them to complete. The actions carried out by executors can play a significant role during estate administration, and therefore, parties who have taken on this role may want to do their best to avoid mistakes.

A major error that could occur while working to settle a loved one's estate is to distribute assets too early. Though it may seem efficient to look over the decedent's wishes and hand out property in accordance with those wishes as soon as possible, other estate-related tasks often need attending to first. For instance, taxes and other debts must be addressed, and estate funds handle those liabilities. If an executor has already distributed assets, there may not be enough funds left to cover the taxes and debts.

Monthly income threshold for Social Security disability increases

Government benefits can often help struggling individuals receive much-needed assistance. When disabled parties need financial help, Social Security Disability income may allow qualifying individuals to face less burdensome circumstances. Because numerous Florida residents rely on this type of assistance, any changes that may come about with the program could be of particular interest.

Mid-October is the time of year when the Social Security Administration announces its yearly changes. For next year, individuals receiving disability income could see a slightly higher monthly income threshold. This means that parties could earn more while still meeting the qualifications to obtain their disability assistance. However, the increase is not a considerable amount. 

Pour-over will could cause estate administration confusion

After a loved one's passing, many Florida residents may not feel confident in their knowledge of how to handle the estate. In the best case scenario, the decedent will have left behind an estate plan that details how the estate administration should be handled. Of course, surviving loved ones may still have questions regarding probate and certain aspects of the estate plan.

For instance, individuals may wonder why some of their loved one's assets must go through probate and while others do not. If the deceased had a trust, those assets do not have to go through probate because they will be distributed by the terms of the trust. Many individuals hope to put the majority of their property into trusts in hopes of helping their surviving family avoid probate.

Florida courts don't grant guardianships lightly

Any number of injuries, illnesses or conditions can make it impossible for someone you love to care for themselves. Without any prearranged plans, you may need to seek the right to make decisions on his or her behalf. Considering the fact that courts here in Florida and elsewhere would be giving another person a great deal of control over the life of another, they do not take guardianships lightly.

Consider that a guardian makes health care, financial and lifestyle changes for the ward (the person needing a guardian). A Florida court has to balance the necessity of putting one person "in charge" of another with an individual's rights and freedoms. This makes the selection of a guardian crucial.

J.P. Morgan ordered to pay for mishandling estate administration

Many Florida residents choose to obtain outside help with complicated affairs. When it comes to estate administration, there are various professional entities that could step in to handle the necessary tasks associated with this responsibility. However, some entities may not uphold their end of the obligations, and surviving families could be left feeling frustrated and confused.

One family in another state have been experiencing such feelings over the last seven years since their loved one's death. The widow and stepchildren of a deceased man whose estate was worth approximately $19 million enlisted J.P. Morgan bank to act as administrators of the estate. Over the years, the bank failed to properly handle the responsibilities and reportedly committed fraud, broke agreements and breached fiduciary duty.