Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Florida

If my father (at the time of death was 84) had a stock with no name beneficiary (Florida), but added his wife (my stepmother who is 22 years his junior) to the stock to distribute after his death, is she entitled to the money and not follow his wishes? He only added my stepmother because he was entering the early stages of Alzheimers. My stepmother told me the Saturday before my father died that upon his death, she would distribute the stock earnings to myself since that was his instructions to her prior to his death. Since his death, she hasn't mentioned anything except that there was no beneficiary and she could do whatever she wanted with the money.

There is a will that states what each biological child will get (car, property, trust) and it states that our stepsister will get all the residuals left from the estate. Would that include the stock since there is no name beneficiary even if the stepmom was added to the stock?

Asked on 8/15/13, 2:38 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Barry Stein De Cardenas, Freixas, Stein & Zachary

The actual title to the stock certificate is needed. "Stepmom was added to the stock" does not really help to define how it was owned. Was it entireties or survivorship? If so, she owns it on death. If not, then may be tenants in common and there may be an Estate interest. Seek Legal guidance.

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Answered on 8/15/13, 2:59 pm
Dean Bress Bress Law Firm

Your question raises too many questions for me to answer; an attorney would need to see how the stock is registered and what the Will says. Take those documents to an probate attorney for an answer. And by the way, note that what people say about one intention or another isn't particularly relevant; what your father said to who or what your step mother said to you isn't going to count for much. The answers lie in what the documents state not in what people say. Its a good lesson for you to learn about your life and your intentions; set forth your unmistakable wishes in an enforceable writing. Period.

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Answered on 8/15/13, 3:01 pm

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