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J. Warren
J. Warren, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 1004
Experience:  Experience in estate planning including wills, trusts and succession planning.
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Sister in FL executed Living Will (medical directive) 7 yrs

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Sister in FL executed Living Will (medical directive) 7 yrs ago. A separate line item was written on the medical directive that if she died she wills her house to live-in boyfriend of six months whom she met in a bar. In 2012, she dies. Her Will where family gets the house "disappears"; we think "boyfriend" destroyed it. Now is presently intestate, with father as closest living relative. She tried to kick out live-in boyfriend many times, whom we learned served 15 yr jail term for violent crime. We thought father would receive the house after debts paid. Estate assets under $60k. Criminal boyfriend produces executed Living Will saying he will fight to inherit the house, though she was the sole owner and he did not pay her rent or money towards the mortgage. He has likely learned every trick in the book from being in prison. Though she wrote in her handwriting to leave him the house on the "wrong" document as an addendum & it was properly witnessed and executed, can my father still be the heir as the closest living relative to her house anyway? Thank you in advance for your time.
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  J. Warren replied 6 months ago.
Hello! My name is XXXXX XXXXX X look forward to helping you today. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

My condolences on the loss of your sister and I am sorry you are dealing with this situation. First, a Living Will/Advance Directive does not have an estate distribution afftect on an estate and should not impact the estate and it should distribute according to intestate succession laws.

However, there are no guarantees but the boyfriend would have an uphill battle proving that such an addendum on the back of an Advance Directive was intended to be a last will and testament, that the witnesses could attest to your sister's signature and witnessed her sigining at the end of the document and as such would be a valid will.

If I am in your shoes I am not going to let the off chance that this character would actually prevail on a weak claim to real property of an estate to which your father should take by intestate succession.

All my best & encouragement.

Please note that you are asked to rate my courtesy and professionalism, and not whether the answer supports your legal position. If for any reason you feel that a 2 or 1 rating is appropriate, please first give me the opportunity to address your concerns.

All states have intricacies in their laws and any information given is simply information only and specifically is not intended to be, nor does it constitute, legal advice. This communication does not establish an attorney-client relationship with you.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX for the prompt and informative opinion. Though I am in agreement, the boyfriend maintains that even if she wrote the statement leaving her homestead to him between the lines of a recipe card then properly witnessed and executed, his claim to real property would likely hold up in a court of law. "She was just ignorant and embedded the statement in the wrong document, that's all". He intends to take the intestate succession of family to task. In addition, he also performs handyman labor to an attorney in exchange for legal advice in this matter. Though we can not or will not prove it, our family feels the boyfriend had this planned from the beginning due to many circumstances spanning over the course of several years. Thank you for the encouraging words pertaining to what you would do if you were in our shoes.

Expert:  J. Warren replied 6 months ago.
Wow that is quit the person you unfortunately are having to deal with. Here is a link to what is required for a will to be considered valid: www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0700-0799/0732/Sections/0732.502.html

The boyfriend would have to establish proof to all of these requirements to the probate judge. While it is never known how a judge would decide, based on these facts it is not as much of a slam dunk case as the boyfriend may think it is. It is possible that the judge would declare the embedded statement a valid last will and testament but if the resources are there to have a judge decide it the issue a valid claim that a valid will does not exist and the estate should be distributed according to the intestate succession laws.

All my best & encouragement.
J. Warren, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 1004
Experience: Experience in estate planning including wills, trusts and succession planning.
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