Estate Tax

Should You Worry about the Estate Tax?

The estate tax currently affects only a tiny fraction of people in Florida. But even if you’re in its bullseye, there are ways to limit its effect

People who hate it call it the death tax. People who want to see it increase label it the Paris Hilton tax. But despite the intense passions, the estate tax actually plays a role in only a very tiny sliver of Florida probates.

Also called an inheritance tax, the estate tax is a levy on the transfer of a taxable estate from a deceased person to their heirs. It was created by federal law. Read more

Toxic Mold

The Home You’re Buying or Selling Developed Toxic Mold. Now What?

Your South Florida home is on the market and the contract is signed. Or perhaps you’ve found your dream house and can’t wait to close. Then mold is discovered to have invaded the home.

Probably nothing creates terror in a home on the real estate market as the sight of mold.

 While this living fungus can indeed contaminate a home and make its residents feel sick, discovering mold does not have to kill your deal—or your dream home. On the flip side, buyers can protect themselves from being stuck with a house that is severely infested with mold by taking one easy step. Read more

Clouds on Title

What Does It Mean to Have a Cloud on Your Home’s Title?

You’re excited to be selling your home. Or you found a fabulous house you want to buy. Then the closing attorney tells you there will be a delay, because a “cloud” was found on the title.

You inevitably ask yourself, what is a cloud on title?

A cloud on title is the term for a defect in the chain of ownership on a property. If there is a cloud, until it is fixed title underwriters will refuse to insure the new title. This typically means the seller can’t legally pass that title to the new buyer, and the buyer can’t own their new home. Read more

How Will Your Heirs Find Your Assets?

As recently as a few years ago, a probate attorney’s best advice after someone passed away was for the heirs to start checking the deceased person’s mail (after we offered our condolences, of course.) Over the course of a month, statements from all the accounts where the person kept their assets would flow in, so we would know how much the person had and where it was deposited.

Today, most banks, stock brokers, insurance policies, and other places where you keep your money send statements by email. It has therefore become much more challenging to corral a deceased person’s assets. Read more