Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Florida

My father passed away last week and did not have a will. While my father was alive he built an experimental airplane (Starduster II). My father had a girlfriend that helped him buy the motor of the airplane, yet my uncles helped my father as well with buying the airplane and other things. My father lived at my grandmothers house with his girlfriend. After he passed away she has continued to stay at my grandmothers home and it is now demanding to give her the money for the motor and for other amounts of money that she gave him.....

I am my fathers daughter. I do not want anything but yet I am the one having to deal with the situation. I have one brother 23 yrs old and while he was a minor my father never sent him any money, he was never put in child support either. He also wants some $$$ out of this.

What to do? I wouldnt like to sell the airplane, he spent the last 5yrs of his life working on it,even when he was sick the last few weeks before his death he still worked on it. He has personalized it and it means a lot to the family. Another thing to consider is that my father never divorced my mother, they were separated however for over 15 yrs.

help please...

Asked on 7/13/10, 10:53 am

3 Answers from Attorneys

David Slater David P. Slater, Esq.

You need to speak with local counsel. His estate should go to probate.

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Answered on 7/13/10, 2:06 pm

Florida does not recognize separation, so your mother actually has priority over everyone. The probate estate would be divided with your mother getting an upfront share, and the rest divided 50% to her, and 25% each to you and your brother. Your mother is entitled to be the personal representative, but if she doesn't want it, then you and your brother would be next in line. The personal representative is entitled to be paid to serve.

The plane, among other probatable assets, need to be probated. The girlfriend, and anyone else that fees they are entitled to something would need to file a claim against the estate. This may include your brother for child support that went upaid. There may be some litigation to decide on ownership or amounts owed. There is no telling right now.

If there was an asset that was jointly owned, or in trust for at a bank, then that would go outside of probate, not subject to creditors, but your mother may be able to place a claim on it.

The next step is to see a probate lawyer.

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Answered on 7/13/10, 3:33 pm
Lucreita Becude Lucreita D. Becude, P.A.

Mr. Kaplan's answer is right on target. Get going and get yourself a probate lawyer and get your mom there as well. She has the right! NOT the girlfriend - she you can have leave the property and if she will not leave peacefully, call the police.

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Answered on 7/14/10, 8:41 am

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