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Dana Laganella Gerling
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Dana Gerling’s Answers

115 total


  • In the state of Florida, can someone change the executor of a will with a notary or should an attorney be present?

    No other questions

    Dana’s Answer

    In order to change a Will in Florida, you need to execute the documents with all the formalities required for creation of the Will. You should have two witnesses that are not related to you or mentioned in the Will that are present at all times during the signing. You should also have a Notary present to allow for a self proving affidavit attached to the Will. You should consult an Attorney to ensure the Will is properly executed as it is not as simple as just all signing the same.

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  • Florida probate estate question

    Would anyone want to give me a second opinion on escrow accounts used with probate estates. My attorney told me that a Florida probate estate can be closed even if an escrow account remains open for possible taxes owed. Can that be done in Flori...

    Dana’s Answer

    A Probate Estate can be closed with additional monies remaining to be used towards expenses. You should ask your Attorney for more explanation of specifically what is being kept in escrow and why so you have a full understanding before you are discharged as Personal Representative. In order to properly advise, any Attorney would need to do a full review of the file and reason for holding any funds.

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  • What happens to an estate in Texas if the hiers cannot pay all the fees to have the estate probated?

    Mother passed away leaving property in Texas. There was no will. My brothers and I do not have the fees that the lawyers are asking for. They all want a lot of money upfront, and we just don't have it. Will we have everything taken by the state?

    Dana’s Answer

    I agree with my colleagues, you will need to post this to the County in Texas where the Probate Administration will take place, as you may be able to find an attorney who will take the case based on a contingent fee. Also you may want to contact the Texas Bar Association, as sometimes they will have an Attorney referral service for the area of law that you are looking for, as Florida Bar does.

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  • Do I have to go through probate to sell my father in laws car. It is in his name and my husband is the executor of the will.

    Will says everything goes to the surviving children.

    Dana’s Answer

    You may not need to go through probate, however the car would need to be transferred at the DMV to all of the beneficiaries and then could be sold. If you don't go through probate, then you do not have a personal representative to transfer title. You should consult with your local DMV first and then discuss with all beneficiaries assuming there is no outstanding lien on the vehicle.

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  • How do I set up a small estate in Florida?

    My father passed away in 2004. He had no assets at all. In 2013, he was left $30,000.00, but we need to set up a small estate to be able to collect the monies. It will be split 4 ways(4 children). Is there an easy way in Florida to set up a smal...

    Dana’s Answer

    I am very sorry for your loss. A small estate in Florida that you are referencing would be called a Summary Administration. Assuming your Father was a Florida resident, you would be able to file for Summary Administration in the county her was domiciled in at the time of his death and the Court order would provide for distribution of the assets in accordance with the Will or Florida Statutes related to intestacy. If there was not a Will and no surviving spouse and all children were his natural born children, then the law of intestacy would split the asset equally between the four children.

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  • Does a non relative have to be a Florida resident to be an executor of a Florida will? How do I find a firm then that can write

    The will and be my executor?

    Dana’s Answer

    Typically someone needs to be related by blood if they are located out of the state of Florida, however there are some exceptions that would allow certain non-blood relatives to serve. If your intention is to have a law firm serve as your Personal Representative, we would be happy to discuss what would be involved. Remember you can always change your Will and change who you have serving as Personal Representative.

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  • WHY won't anyone answer me? Why does the Attorney need me to sign an INFORMAL accounting, the FORMAL will come later.

    Nobody is answering. No Attorney willing to take my case! The Exec. says the house is mine, but I can't do anything without the money, I live on SSDI currently. He said he had the lights turned off as well as the yard service 9/9/13! Yet, why two ...

    Dana’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    It would appear from your Question that the Attorney is trying to substitute an informal accounting for a formal accounting. A formal accounting can take more time to prepare, however you are entitled to the same as a beneficiary and should hire an Attorney of your own if you feel your rights are not being represented. It should not delay an estate to prepare the accountant. You can also try to contact the Attorney for the Estate directly and see if they can help clarify what is happening in the Estate.

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  • All my assets have beneficiaries. What is my personal rep. obligated to do for the Probate Court upon my death?

    I will leave no Will and want to avoid probate.

    Dana’s Answer

    If you do not leave a Will, there would not be a personal representative or anything required. However if one of the beneficiary designations is not made or for some reason there remains any assets without proper beneficiaries, an intestate Estate would have be opened and a Personal Representative would be appointed by the Court.

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  • If a deceased person added persons name to checking and savings and they are executor of the will can they say the will is void

    will was made, not sure order, niece added to checking and savings account. Person died, niece states will is voided due to once Aunt died everything becomes hers and she does not have to honor the will. No probate it all became hers. Lawyer that ...

    Dana’s Answer

    Assets that were jointly held with another person upon death would become the property of the surviving person. The will is not invalid related to any other assets that were not jointly held. You should consult an Attorney if you feel there are other assets that were not jointly held or if you believe some type of undue influence was involved related to the transfer of any of the decedents assets prior to their death.

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  • How do you find out an executor of a will in Massachusetts?

    I went thru a divorce in 2004. My ex partner agreed to a contract on the house we shared for 9yrs. I have a copy of the contracted signed by both parties and lawyers involved. Now my Lawyer isn't responding to my calls. I paid him an additiona...

    Dana’s Answer

    You probably would be best to consult with an Attorney in Massachusetts in the County where you husband was living or make a post to Avvo in Massachusetts. Many times the local bar organization can publish something in their newsletter to all members to attempt to find an Attorney who drafted a certain Will but you would be more successful if you narrowed it down by County.

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