Pilka & Associates, P.A.
Full Service Law Firm for Tampa,
Brandon and Polk County
863-236-9321 |813-502-1097

South Central Florida Legal Blog

Fighting the homeowner's association? Dispute resolution helps

It's never a good time when you have to fight with the homeowners association (HOA) about something you want to do to your property. Nevertheless, there are rules in place in HOAs that residents have to live by.

Sometimes, those rules or regulations are unfair or disputes arise over factors that aren't specifically discussed in the HOA's terms. In those cases, a dispute-resolution meeting is important.

Establish beneficiaries and a solid estate plan

When a loved one passes away, one question that may arise is how you know you're getting the correct inheritance. If your parent has life insurance, then you may be established as a beneficiary and might want to make sure you're receiving a payout in accordance with what they expected, for example.

One good way to make sure you know what's going to happen when a parent passes is to speak with them before it happens. If they don't have a will and expect their life insurance to pay you directly, point out the importance of an estate plan, too.

Don't let stress stop you from estate planning

Even with help, there is a possibility that estate planning can be stressful. It's important to know ways to reduce that stress, though, so you can move forward with the estate-planning process.

At first, you may feel like you're not even sure where to start. It's normal to feel that way. When you start to draw up an estate plan, the first step is to get in touch with your attorney. You can have a consultation and discuss the type of documents and information you need to begin planning as well as what to expect. Additionally, you may want to work with a financial advisor who can help you create arrangements such as trusts.

Keep down the costs of divorce with negotiation

Financially, you will notice the difference before and after a divorce. In some cases, you might be better off, but in the majority of cases, people find they're spending more to support themselves since they don't have their spouses to help with household costs and other expenses.

Even when a divorce is amicable, the reality is that it can be costly. Both people may agree on the majority of the property division details and still struggle to make this an inexpensive process. Why? Florida's laws have been designed to safeguard marriages and preserve them when possible. The court will want proof that the marriage is irretrievably broken or that at least one person in the couple is mentally incapacitated for the three-year period before filing for divorce.

Resigning from a guardianship: Your options

One thing that some people may need to handle is restoring a ward's capacity after a period of time where they had to have a guardian. As a guardian, you'll need to pass off the guardianship responsibilities correctly. Failing to do so can result in legal trouble.

To complete your duties as a guardian, you will need to first ask the court to reestablish the ward's capacity, which was previously removed by the court. Once asked, the court will have a physician examine the ward. If they recommend it, the judge will restore, either partially or fully, the ward's rights.

Here's what to bring when you meet with a probate attorney

If you have to go through probate, you will likely want to work with an attorney. When you choose your attorney, you'll have to set up an initial appointment to discuss the case.

To get everything ready for this meeting, you should first educate yourself on what you need to bring. To meet with the attorney and work on the estate, you will need to be the person who was named as the executor or representative for the estate.

Understand your right to spousal support in Florida

Spousal support is an important protection for those who earned less throughout a marriage or who have fewer opportunities for work immediately after divorce. The support is designed to help people boost their income following a divorce and to support them as they go back to school or find work.

Most types of spousal support are rehabilitative, meaning that they are temporary and intended to work as a support for a short time. For people who have been married for decades and who are older, permanent alimony is still possible but less common than it used to be.

Postnuptial agreements are beneficial for married couples

As someone who is already married, you may not think that there is anything you can do to protect yourself or your assets. You already live with your spouse, and what you earn together you use together.

However, it is a good idea to consider a postnuptial agreement if your spouse will agree to one. These agreements can help you in similar ways to a prenuptial agreement. It protects your individual assets and protects you against debts that your spouse may accrue over the course of your marriage. In fact, the prenuptial agreement can also help you both protect yourselves against retaliation or anger if a divorce ever does take place since you'll establish your separation agreement ahead of time.

High-asset divorce: Protect what's yours

High-asset divorces often involve multiple properties as well as assets such as stocks, bonds and retirement accounts. For people involved in these divorces, making sure they split their assets equitably, not just equally, is essential.

When you bring items into a marriage, those items, unless commingled, remain separate property. If you purchase items during your marriage, the majority of those items will be considered to be marital property. Anything, even interest on property you owned in the past, could be marital property in the right circumstances.

Learn about the facets of estate planning and plan early

Estate planning is talked about as if it's something for older adults to consider, but the reality is that anyone of any age can start planning their estate. Estate plans have several important purposes. Some include:

  • Naming an executor of the estate
  • Creating and updating beneficiaries to the estate and on plans like an IRA, 401(k) or life insurance policy
  • Creating a durable power of attorney
  • Establishing guardianship for minors and living dependents
  • Limiting estate taxes
  • Setting up trusts for beneficiaries

As you can see, there are many facets to estate planning that have to be taken care of. The first is to write a will, which is something you'll want to sit down and discuss with your attorney.

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