Lowndes Lawyers Successfully Obtain and Defend Probate Court Order Denying Request for Accounting and Settle Estate

By: Jennifer Dixon

Lowndes attorneys obtained a favorable ruling from a probate court in Lee County, Florida, on behalf of a decedent’s estate; and thereafter, secured an affirmance of the ruling from Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal.  The decedent had provided in her will for certain distributions of personal property to a beneficiary.  With assistance from Lowndes probate attorney, Julie Frey, the personal representative inventoried and distributed the personal property accordingly. The beneficiary acknowledged receipt of her distribution, and filed no objections to the inventory filed by the personal representatives.  Several months later, however, the beneficiary filed a petition requesting an inventory and accounting. read more

FIRPTA Withholding Tax Increases

By:  Amanda Wilson

The Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA) subjects foreign sellers to U.S. tax when they sell their interest in real property located in the U.S., including interests in companies that predominately hold real estate.  To accomplish this, the purchasers generally are required to withhold 10% of the gross sales price when the seller is foreign.  Legislation that was passed at the end of last year (the PATH Act) increases this withholding rate from 10% to 15% effective as of February 16, 2016.  If you are purchasing a U.S. real estate interest from a foreign seller, make sure you are aware of this change and adequately withhold.  If you fail to do so, you may find yourself liable for the extra withholding. read more

You moved to Florida, do you need a new Will?

By: Linda Hankins, Esquire 

Not always, but there are several important reasons you should consult with an estate planning attorney to be sure.  Most states will give effect to a Will executed properly in the state where the Will was created.  However, if the testator is a Florida resident when he or she signs a Will in another state, even if the Will is properly executed in the other state, it will not be valid in Florida unless the execution also meets Florida’s requirements for the execution of testamentary documents.  In other words, if a Will is signed in Minnesota at the time the individual is a Minnesota resident, and later the individual moves to Florida, the Will will be valid in Florida.  On the other hand, if a Florida resident executes a Will in Minnesota which satisfies the execution requirements in Minnesota, but not in Florida, the Will is not valid in Florida.  For a valid Will to be admissible to probate in Florida, it must have a self-proving affidavit executed at the same time as the Wills or the person admitting the Will must offer the testimony or a notarized Oath of one of the witnesses to the Will. read more