Nobody really looks forward to writing a will, considering that writing a will forces you to consider, in plain detail, the reality of your death and how life will continue when you are gone. It’s a difficult topic for anybody to approach, which explains why so many people neglect to write a will and end up passing away without any legal documentation to determine the direction of their estate and other belongings of value. “We see this happen all the time” says Brian Masoff of North Tampa Law Group, a Wesley Chapel estate planning attorney.
As the debacle with the late superstar Prince’s estate is currently proving to the world, dying in the possession of valuable things but no will can make matters extremely complicated. Here are just a few of the ways that chaos is likely to ensue if death occurs without a will in place.
Unmarried Couples Get Nothing
If a couple is living together but not legally recognized as married, and one person dies without a will, the other partner is not entitled to inherit any property. For example, if John and Stacy have been a loyal couple for 15 years and have lived together for 9 years, but never felt the need to formally get married, and Stacy dies of a sudden health problem without having first made a will, John is not allowed to legally gain any of Stacy’s property. Instead, it would go to Stacy’s relatives, regardless of her relationship with them.
Married Couples with Children From Former Relation
If a husband passes away and his wife survives him, and all of his children are also her biological children, then without a will in place the husband’s entire estate is passed to his wife. However, if that husband had any children from a previous spouse or partner, then his wife would receive no more than half of his estate, with the other portion going to his surviving children from his past relationship. Though it may not necessarily be a bad thing for his children to receive some of his assets, this can be devastating to the wife if she was relying upon or expecting certain financial benefits.
These two examples are just a small sample set to demonstrate the difficulty that is likely to occur when no will is in place. This is why it is so vital that all adults, regardless of their age or their current health, draw up a will with an attorney.
It is quite unfortunate that a lot of people don’t pay attention to probate law until the need arises. It is highly recommended that individuals familiarize themselves with the various aspects of probate as early as possible. This can go a long way in preventing potential problems whenever a person dies, and there are issues of estate planning.
So, what is a probate?
Probate is a court managed procedure for establishing and compiling a list of the assets of a deceased person. The process also involves settling the various debts he or she has left, and then distributing the remaining ones to his or her beneficiaries. Generally, the assets of the decedents are used to pay the charges incurred in the probate proceedings, before anything else. That is prior to payments of debts and distribution of the remaining assets to the beneficiaries.
Probate laws vary from one state to another. In Florida, the probate code is detailed in chapters 731 as well as 735 of the Florida statutes. On the other hand, the rules that govern probate proceedings are defined in the Florida Probate Rules- part I and II. You may want to consider finding the time to make yourself aware of the fundamental aspects of this considerably relevant law.
Florida law is administered in either of two ways- formal and summary administration. There is also another form of administration that happens outside the courtroom. It is known as the disposition of personal property without administration. The Noncourt administration of Florida law is uncommon and only used in limited circumstances.
A lot of people do not consider finding a probate attorney until someone has died. If this happens before a family has one, the process of finding one should be handled with urgency. Unfortunately, you might not have sufficient time to find a reputable attorney and this might work against you. In that case, it is advisable that you find a Tampa Bay probate lawyer as early as now. While this area of law can be pretty straightforward, it can also be confusing at times. It all melts down to the extent to which the decedent did his estate planning while alive.
Apart from finding the relevant information on your own, a probate lawyer can help you understand the entire process as well as its importance.
To be clear, bankruptcy is a process where an individual or business can repay or eliminate some or all of their debts while being under the protection of the federal bankruptcy court. There are two basic types of bankruptcy; liquidation and reorganization. Under the liquidation category, there is Chapter 7 bankruptcy. It is known as liquid bankruptcy because a trustee can take and sell some of what you own in order pay off some of your debt. In addition, with Chapter 7, you may keep property that is that is protected by state law such as your home. This type of bankruptcy usually lasts between three to six months. With a Chapter 7 bankruptcy you are able to keep your car, clothes and household furnishings.
It is important to note that bankruptcy doesn’t work with some debts such as child support, spousal support and tax debts. However, bankruptcy can eliminate many debts such as medical bills, credit card debt and unsecured loans. Keep in mind; not everyone is eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If a person’s disposable income is high enough to fund a Chapter 13 repayment plan, you won’t be able to choose Chapter 7.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is for those who have a reliable source of income because you will have to repay part of your debt. When filing for Chapter 13, you must present a repayment plan that shows how you will pay back your debts; often in a three to five year period. Depending on how much you earn, will decide the minimum amount you will repay. Besides Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 there are other bankruptcy types such as Chapter 11 and Chapter 12 bankruptcy.
The benefits of filing for bankruptcy are: getting a handle on what you owe, creditors leaving you alone, getting a fresh start, getting your dignity back and putting your life back in a more positive direction. Find out how filing for bankruptcy can put your life back on track! The Internet has many fine article on bankruptcy. Check them out today!
Walking away from your home is not the best method of handling a mortgage foreclosure. If you have fallen behind your mortgage payments and you face the risk of losing your property to foreclosure, it is important to hire the services of a professional foreclosure defense attorney. A foreclosure attorney will work with your lender to devise ways of stopping foreclosure.
Lenders don’t want people to lose their homes; however, when the said people fall behind on their loans, the lender remains with no other alternative than to start mortgage foreclosure proceedings. However, a foreclosure lawyer can help you explore your other feasible legal options. Some of these options include filing for personal bankruptcy, refinancing your mortgage, mortgage modification or even affecting a short sale.
Today many fraudsters look to steal from unsuspecting homeowners. For a regular Tom, Dick or Harry, telling legitimate organizations from those looking carrying out foreclosure frauds is very hard. However, for an attorney who is well versed in such scenarios, telling the difference would be easy. A reputable and experienced foreclosure attorney will help you maneuver through the murky legal waters of foreclosure and help you distinguish between legal companies and fraudsters helping you to keep your home.
Fighting a mortgage foreclosure process might end in a court of law. At such stage you need aggressive representation to ensure your case has a high chance of success. The lender or bank will come armed with their legal representation and unless you match them, you will end up losing the case.
An attorney can also help you buy extra time before the foreclosure is finalized. You can use this extra time to bring in more money without having to move out of your house. You can also use this time to try and work out an agreement with your lender.
Though their services come at a cost, the potential results of foreclosure attorneys outweigh the expense and thus you should consider one when you are faced with a similar case.
Short sale simply refers to a process in which the debtor resorts to selling his house for an amount which is slightly less than what is actually owed to the lender. In most cases, what normally happens is, a mortgage is taken against the property which is set for sale. As strange as it may sound, there are a few cases in which a person may have two mortgages in a short sale.
In situations where there are two mortgages in a short sale the opinion of a professional short sales attorney is very important. This is because all of the proceeds are used to settle off the first lender. The second lender on the other hand is usually required to exercise patience as his dues will be settled immediately after. It is very common that after paying the first lender, there is usually no cash to pay off the second mortgage. In fact, in case there is any left, it may not be enough to settle with the second lender.
Assuming the cash remaining is not enough to settle with the second lender, the next cause of action is either to ask the debtor to shell an agreed amount or better yet simply forgive the debt. In most cases however, the second lender is known to compel the debtor to let the house be foreclosed. This however, is not the only option; another equally viable option is having the second mortgage lender release the lien only by filing a deficiency claim.
If the second mortgage amount is not high then there are high chances that the borrower may easily be spared. In some cases however, the lender may realize that the chances of recovering the loan is very slim especially if the borrower is having trouble paying off after filing for bankruptcy or constantly tries negotiating for a certain percentage.
The above mentioned possibilities usually differ from one lender to the next. The value of the property in question also usually affects the outcome. Take note, in the event that the second lender does not budge and instead more focused on foreclosing the home, it is strongly advised that you engage a professional short sales attorney with a lot of experience to provide much needed guidance.