Frequently Asked Questions
In an effort to provide additional resources to our clients, potential clients and the Tampa Bay Area, we have posted some Frequently Asked Questions and responses below. If you have a question that isn’t addressed on our site, send us an email or give us a call and someone will be in touch with you soon.
Whats the difference between a note and a mortgage?Answer is: The Note: the note (commonly referred to as a promissory note) is simply a promise to pay a set sum of money over a pre-defined schedule under specific terms. For example it may require a borrower to agree to make payments for a set schedule over the course of 30 years to a lender.
The Mortgage: The mortgage is a specific contract that allows a party in possession of the note to retake the property if its terms or conditions are violated (for example failing to pay according to the terms of the note).
If I obtain a home loan modification will my lender reduce the principle of my loan?Answer is: Maybe, although unlikely. Typically home loan modification packages extend the life of the loan in order to reduce payments.
Can a filing a bankruptcy stop my foreclosure?
Answer is: Filing a Bankruptcy will only delay a foreclosure action. It will not be a solution to permanently defend your foreclosure. Once you file, your creditors will be put on notice of the bankruptcy and an “automatic stay” provision kicks in. This stops all collection activity for a set period of time. Depending on your situation, a bankruptcy may allow you the time and money you need to obtain alternate shelter.
How long does a foreclosure take?
Answer is: Unfortunately there is no easy answer to this question. A lot depends on your judge and the lender’s attorney. Some contested foreclosures can occur in as little as six months while others may take years to progress. Remember that one key factor in extending the process is responding to the lawsuit and not letting your lender obtain a default judgment.
Should I Just Walk Away ?Answer is: Almost never. Believe it or not, your bank doesn’t want your property. Instead they want to service a loan and rake in the money from continual payments. If you move out, you may become automatically ineligible for many programs designed to help people in foreclosure. You will also create a vacant house in the neighborhood which is bad for you and your neighbors if vandalism or squatting occurs. Finally, and most importantly, your lender will be more inclined to work with you if you remain in the property. Even if you have no intention of staying in your property, its rarely a good idea to just pack up and leave.
Do I need a Lawyer for a Florida Probate?Yes, Florida law requires the assistance of an attorney in almost all cases. If you haven’t already, then you will soon find out you will need a Florida Probate lawyer. There are exceptions to this rule. Such as: Disposition of Personal Property Without Administration also known as “Small Estate” Under statute §735.301(1) and Estates in which the Personal Representative is the sole beneficiary. Nonetheless, Even when you feel may not need a Probate Lawyer, Florida’s court system require probate documents too meet special specifications and contain proper wording that often leave the non-lawyer very frustrated and confused.
How much does Probate Cost?Normally, Probate can cost anywhere from 3% or more of the total Estate value. However, there are court costs, legal fees, executor’s fees, appraisal costs and accounting fees involved as well. In the scenario the decedent owns property in more than one state, then the Estate may have to face separate costs and probate hearings. Keep in mind every Probate is different therefore, costs can vary from case one to another.
What Are the Stages of Florida Probate?
STAGE 1- INFORMATION GATHERING
After someone passes, by law, the custodian of the last will and testament must provide that document to the clerk of court in the proper county within 10 days upon learning of the decedent’s death. Thereafter, any interested party (with a financial interest in the estate) has the ability to file a petition for administration. In order to get the process moving, the Personal Representative and the estate planning attorney will need to gather documentation to submit to the Court including:
- A Certified Copy of the Certificate of Death
- Petition for Administration
- Oath of Personal Representative
- Proposed Order Admitting will to probate (if a will exists)
- Proposed Order Appointing Personal Representative
- Proposed Letters of Administration
STAGE 2- NOTICE AND ADMINISTRATION
After you have obtained Letters of Administration you and your estate planning attorney can begin the process of providing all the required notices to beneficiaries and creditors. This stage will also require the liquidation or closing of accounts and potentially a determination of Homestead Property Exemption. Issues that you will deal with in this stage will include:
- Notice of Administration
- Determination of Homestead Property
- Notice of Trust
- Notice to Creditors
- Affidavits of Publication
- Proof of Service
- Satisfactions and Release of Claims
- SS-4 Forms
- DR-312 Forms
- Inventory of the estate
- Estate Tax Affidavit
STAGE 3- CLOSING A FORMAL ESTATE
After notice and satisfaction of claims against the estate by creditors a Personal Representative and/or Probate Attorney will prepare a final accounting of the estate and can begin to issue specific devises from the estate to various beneficiaries. During this stage, the following are typically used to wrap up a formal estate:
- Notice of Final Accounting and Petition for Discharge
- Petition for Discharge
- Receipt of Beneficiary (to the extent that assets have been distributed)
- Final Accounting
- Order of Discharge
What Documents Do I Need to Open A Probate?
- Original Copy of A Death Certificate
- Original Copy of A Will