Jennifer M. Neilson, Attorney at Law
Jennifer was born in Peoria, Illinois where she grew up and lived until her relocation to Florida in 2010. She attended Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois and Loyola University Rome Center graduating with her Bachelors of Science in 1996. She later attended DePaul University College of Law graduating in 2000. She is a member of the Florida Bar, 2008, IllinoisBar 2000, U.S. District Court for Central District, U.S. District Court for Northern District, U.S. District Court for Southern District, Lee County Bar Association, Peoria County Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association, American Bar Association, and National Association of Women Business Owners. She also is a former member of the Board of Directors for The Center for Prevention of Abuse. Jennifer has over 10 years experience in dealing with Estate, Probate, Trusts and Wills. She is dedicated and committed to providing client families with superior service and compassion. Jennifer stands ready to assist you with any needs you may have in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, and Sarasota Counties. The following information is provided by Jennifer to help give you a foundation to begin dealing with your estate planning. For any further legal questions or to schedule a consultation, please feel free to contact Jennifer at:
Neilson Law, P.A.
3501 Del Prado Blvd, Suite 306
Cape Coral, Florida 33904
Who has authority to make decisions?
PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE/NEXT OF KIN
Powers of Attorney terminate on the date of death of the principal with the some exceptions.
The Last Will and Testament sets forth the individual(s) with authority to settle the decedentís estate, however the named Personal Representative / Executor in a will must be appointed by a Judge in a Probate proceeding to obtain powers granted under Florida law.
In the event that a will does not exist or is not available, the next of kin (first the spouse then adult children) has authority to make burial or cremation decisions.
Contact funeral home for transport and services
Obtain ten (10) certified copies of the death certificate, 5 with cause of death, 5 without
Was Decedent in the armed forces?
SECURE DECEDENTíS PROPERTY
Secure real estate from invasion and damage.
If a family member is not staying in the property the vacant home may be
Verify home insurance.
Secure valuable personal property
Decedentís vehicle should not be driven
Cancel health insurance, possible premium reimbursement
Contact Social Security Administration if decedent received benefits
Contact pension administrator for notification of death
Locate life insurance policies
Gather bank records and other asset documentation
If Armed Services, contact Federal Government Office of Personnel Management regarding death benefits.
PAY EXPENSES NOT DEBTS
Personal Representative has authority to pay regular expenses of the Decedent and funeral / burial arrangements without court approval. Do not pay debts or large expenses without advice of counsel. Decedentís estate may not be liable for certain debts and the payee could be held responsible.
Probate is the court supervised administration of a decedentís estate; three types of probate in Florida:
three types of probate in Florida:
(1) Disposition of Personal Property Without Administration;
(2) Summary Administration
(3) Formal Administration
The appropriate procedure depends on the amount of assets held in the name of decedent at death.
RESIDENCE AS HOMESTEAD
Protected homestead passes to surviving spouse and minor children. Homestead is protected from the claims of estate creditors. A Petition to Establish Homestead transfers title to the residence to a surviving spouse or descendants outside probate.
PROBATE NOT REQUIRED
If all of Decedentís assets were titled in joint tenancy, Pay on Death or direct beneficiary, probate may not be necessary.
Assets properly transferred to a valid trust are not subject to probate. If Decedent was a Settlor, Trustee, or Beneficiary of a Trust, the Trust requires review by a qualified professional.
Exempt assets pass to surviving spouse or if none to the children of decedent outside of administration: (1) Household furnishings/appliances up to $20,000.00, (2) two motor vehicles
Filing the Original Will
Any person in possession of the Decedentís will must deposit the will with the clerk of the court of the county in which the Decedent resided within ten (10) days after notice of death.
Opening a Safe Deposit Box
The spouse, parent, adult child and named PR have authority to open the box upon presenting proof of the death to the bank. Only the following may be removed: (1) will, (2) burial plot/instructions, (3) life insurance policy.
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