Skip to main content
Kristen Pollard Marks
Avvo
Pro

Kristen Marks’s Answers

28 total

  • Father died 15 years ago his land has been empty with no will how do i transfer deed into my name with me his only living son.

    is it probate or is there another way

    Kristen’s Answer

    In FL, this estate will qualify for a Summary Administration since your father died over 2 years ago. This is an abbreviated probate proceeding (no personal representative is even appointed & no notice needs to be given to potential creditors). The Court will issue an order retitling the property to the heirs who existed at the time your father passed away.

    See question 
  • When Should you create a will and what is the best way to get started?

    Just My husband and myself we have no children, we are both over 45 but under 50. We do not have a ton of possessions but we do both have a retirement plan and 401k savings. We have not written any type of Will. In our insurance policy we have ...

    Kristen’s Answer

    It really is never too early to sign a Will and your other estate planning documents like powers of attorney and health care directives once you become a legal adult (age 18 in FL). We each have a "window of opportunity" to do such planning and at some point, that window will close and we will no longer have that option, either due to a sudden death, illness, disability, etc. Unfortunately, I get calls every week from family members who want me to prepare powers of attorney for their loved ones but for a variety of reasons, it's too late (loved one now lacks sufficient mental capacity due to a stroke, accident, etc.). My rule of thumb for estate planning is Do It Early and Keep it Up to Date.

    See question 
  • My husband passed away in December 2013.

    They are telling me that i can not touch the money he has in his bank account because he did not have me listed as a beneficiary . They are also saying that I cant have SSI and my widows pension.I need someone to please help me with this because i...

    Kristen’s Answer

    If you are not joint on your husband's account nor the named beneficiary, the bank won't release the funds without a probate court order (either an Order of Summary Administration directing the bank to pay the funds to you or Letters of Administration appointing you as Personal Representative of your husband's estate). Unfortunately, the titling of assets and beneficiary designations sometimes slip through the cracks for clients in their planning, not realizing that it plays just as important a role as their Will or Living Trust.

    As regards the SSI and widows pension, I'd need more info. before advising you. I suggest you retain a probate attorney to assist you in this.

    See question 
  • Where do i go to be sworn in as executor of my moms estate

    the estate is in pa

    Kristen’s Answer

    In Escambia, Santa Rosa & Okaloosa Counties in Florida, you won't need to go anywhere to get "sworn in" as executor (we call it a personal representative in Florida) of an estate. Instead, the proposed personal representative will sign an Oath and submit it to the Court, along with the petition to open the estate. The Court may or may not appoint you depending on several factors such as whether you are entitled to priority in serving as personal representative over other parties, whether you are disqualified from serving (a convicted felon would be disqualified) and whether other parties object. Talk to your probate attorney for more details.

    See question 
  • Who has the right to inherit of a deceased parent if the inheritor passes away before estate is settled?

    My mother passed away three years ago. Her estate is not settle yet. Since my mothers passing one sister and one brother has passed. In the will it states each siblings name but not the spouses name or sibling and spouse. Are the spouse of my dece...

    Kristen’s Answer

    Since your mother's siblings survived your mom, they are still entitled to inherit their share even though they are now deceased. The deceased siblings' shares will be payable to their estates.

    Once your mom's estate is closed, then estates for the the deceased siblings who inherited will need to be opened and administered. The deceased sibling's shares will pass according to the deceased sibling's Will or if they died without a Will, then to their heirs under Florida law (or the laws of whatever State they were a resident). The deceased sibling's share may or may not pass to their surviving spouse.

    See question 
  • My Mom had a Trust but her attorney said we needed to go into probate because she did not have a will. I am concerned.

    My Mom had a Trust but her attorney said we needed to go into probate because she did not have a will. I am concerned.

    Kristen’s Answer

    A probate might be advisable/required for a number of different reasons even if your mom had a trust. For example, (a) to transfer assets out of your mom's individual name (those assets weren't retitled into her trust during her lifetime), or (b) give formal statutory notice to creditors to shorten the statute of limitations by which they could file claims against your mom's estate. I'd ask your attorney exactly why a probate is needed or advisable in your mom's situation. Simply because she didn't have a Will would not in and of itself necessitate a probate.

    See question 
  • Can My new husband just sign a waiver of his "elective share" in MY WILL? or should I do a POST-NUP?

    I want to make a WILL leaving everything I have, my homestead, rental property, my part of a business, etc... to my two children from a previous marriage. I recently remarried and have been told that even if leave everything to my children my ne...

    Kristen’s Answer

    I would recommend a Postnuptial Agreement which can be drafted to address post-death rights only (as opposed to divorce). You will each need to be represented by your own attorney.

    See question 
  • Want a simple will. What is the cost?

    I want to leave all my stuff to one person is that considered a simple will?

    Kristen’s Answer

    Technically, a "simple" Will means it does not include a trust within its terms. If you want to leave all of your property to one person "outright", then you would be talking about a simple Will. If you want to leave everything to one person "in trust", you have the flexibility to say how the funds are to be used by such person, who you want to manage the property and how long such property should stay in trust. This would be called a "complex" Will.

    However, just because your Will may be "simple" (no trusts therein), your situation itself may not be so simple. A qualified estate planning attorney will be able to point out potential pitfalls with your plan and make suggestions based on your desires. Plus, you'll want to make sure all titling of assets & beneficiary designations are coordinated with your Will (many folks forget that part of their estate plans).

    Your estate planning attorney should be able to quote you a flat fee after you meet with them. Many estate planners also offer free consultations.

    See question 
  • What do I need to take my nephew to the doctor, ER, etc.?

    I will have my nephew for a month at a time over the next year while his mother is in Ntl. Guard training and volunteering in a different state. She is his legal guardian. What do I need to have to show that I'm his temporary guardian while he is ...

    Kristen’s Answer

    A Power of Attorney for Care of Minor Child should suffice. Make sure it specifically addresses medical issues & includes a HIPPA Release which is required by Federal Law before the doctors are allowed to speak to you about your nephew's medical matters. The POA will be signed by the mom. It should address the fact that dad has no legal custody rights to the child.

    See question 
  • MOTHER DIED AND LEFT NO WILL WHAT HAPPENS WITH PROPERTIES THAT WERE SOLELY IN HER NAME?

    SHE WAS MARRIED OWNED 2 PROPERTIES WITH 2 HOUSES ON 1 AND 1 ON OTHER. SHE OWNED BOTH FREE AND CLEAR NO MORTGAGES. ALSO HAD BANK ACCOUNTS AND VEHICLES

    Kristen’s Answer

    Remember the general rule of thumb that titling of assets & beneficiary designations always trump a Will or general laws of intestacy (who inherits if someone dies without a Will and has assets in their name). A Will provides directions to the Probate Court about who you want to inherit your property and upon what terms (outright or in trust, etc.); it still requires a probate, however to retitle the assets to whomever is supposed to inherit them. Without a Will, the Court will simply look to the intestacy laws to determine who inherits the property.

    Another issue to review is whether either of the real properties is the decedent's homestead as defined under Florida law. If so, there are special rules about who may inherit such a property if the decedent is survived by a spouse and/or minor children.

    See question