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Board Certified in Real Estate Law by The Florida Bar

Pinellas County Florida Probate Lawyer Blog

Surveys: Who Needs Them, Anyway?
James W. Martin

Everyone who deals with real estate in Florida needs a survey. Whether buying, selling, leasing, constructing, lending, or just plain owning real estate, you need a survey. Here’s why: Buyer: You’re buying real estate in Florida and the broker says you don’t need a survey unless the lender requires it. Is that true? Probably not.…

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Does the Florida Real Estate Seller Need a Lawyer?
James W. Martin

Whether selling a home or an office building, the seller of Florida real estate needs a lawyer. Why? Because the seller has two goals: get paid and avoid litigation. The lawyer’s job is to help the seller get paid by preparing and negotiating the listing and sale contracts, helping the seller through the due diligence…

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Does the Florida Real Estate Buyer Need a Lawyer?
James W. Martin

When buying real estate in Florida, the buyer needs a lawyer. Why? Because real estate is complicated. There are many pitfalls. And there is usually no one else to watch out for the buyer’s legal interest. Brokers and closing agents usually aren’t lawyers. They are usually transaction agents who don’t represent either side. Only lawyers represent one side…

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Florida Probate Court Says No Fee To North Carolina Lawyer
James W. Martin

Everyone knows you need a license to practice law. Everyone knows it’s a crime to practice law without a license. But what most people don’t know is that services performed by an unlicensed person don’t incur a fee. So even if you agreed to pay a fee for services, you don’t have to pay the…

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Sad Stories Make Good Lessons
James W. Martin

Sad stories make good lessons. Don’t text and drive. Don’t share your passwords. And don’t spit in the wind. To those I’ll add this one: don’t buy real estate without title insurance. A story in today’s paper tells the sad story: man buys beachfront condo at foreclosure sale; condo has two mortgages, not one; foreclosure…

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Florida Changes Intestacy Law for Certain Spouses
James W. Martin

When a Florida resident dies without a will, the decedent is said to have died intestate, and the Florida Probate Code states who will inherit the estate. If there is a surviving spouse and no descendants, then all goes to the surviving spouse. If there are descendants and no surviving spouse, then all goes to…

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All Original Wills Must Be Filed When Someone Dies
James W. Martin

Everyone knows that it’s the “last” will that someone makes before they die that counts. But it’s really the last “valid” will that counts. So who’s to say what’s the last valid will? The probate court gets to decide that. And for the probate court to decide, it needs to have all the wills that…

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Legal Ways To Preserve Wealth In Florida
James W. Martin

Legal Ways To Preserve Wealth In Florida The word is out on Tampa Bay: sunny skies, white sandy beaches, water all around, and the world’s best airport; the arts, culture and music; state-wide cell phone coverage; high speed cable modem Internet access. What a great place for the High Tech to live! What is not…

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Don’t Ignore Formal Notice Of A Florida Probate Proceeding
James W. Martin

Formal notice of a Florida probate proceeding must be served by a means of delivery requiring proof of delivery. Formal notices are sent along with copies of various probate documents in order to legally bind the person being served. The formal notice in a probate proceeding is similar to a summons in a civil proceeding.…

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An Alternative To Percentage Probate Fees: Hourly Fees
James W. Martin

One of the reasons people try to avoid probate, besides the obvious one, is to avoid percentage probate fees. Florida, like many states, expressly allows attorneys to charge attorneys fees based on a percentage of the value of the probate estate. But there is an alternative: hourly fees. An hourly fee more directly compensates the…

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