My wife of 60 years past away 2 weeks ago. She had a will leaving everthing to me, her husband. We had joint bank accounts and our condo was in both of our names,jointly. We have a mutual fund investment, less than $70,000. What legal steps do I have to take, to satisfy Florida Law? Whom do I have to formally advise of her passing?
3 Answers from Attorneys
For any asset in which your wife was a joint holder, you should notify asap the financial institution or other entity that your wife has passed, with details as to date.
Such notice is a provision of most accounts, Florida law, and common sense to minimize identity theft, account fraud, and unauthorized use.
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Under Florida law, you are supposed to file the Last Will and Testament with the probate court in the county/circuit in which you reside. Based on your zip code, you appear to live in the Pompano Beach area and the proper probate court is located in Fort Lauderdale, FL, at the main courthouse.
You should notify the institutions where your accounts are located of your wife's demise, and change the title of the accounts if you desire to include another family member. It may be wise to also have a Affidavit filed in the public records together with a copy of your wife's death certificate so that the title in your home will belong to you alone. If you wish to add another family member, you may do so by executing a Quit Claim Deed at the same time. If so, you should consult a local attorney who can help you by properly preparing the Quit Claim Deed and discuss your estate planning with you.
Scott R. Jay, Esq.
If all assets are jointly owned, then you need to present a death certificate to transfer it to your name. There are some documents you also may have to record. However, you may want to hold off on some of it for a bit. Unless something needs to be done immediately, I normally advise to take some time and let yourself grieve.
If you wish, I am in Coral Springs, and I do not have a initial consultation charge. You could meet with me to discuss everything to make sure things go right. Just give me a call, and I will give you some help. 954-752-1732.