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How might a condominium affect my estate plan?

Florida is a unique state in many ways, often leading to peculiar legal issues that residents in other states do not often encounter. Among other things, Florida has a much higher percentage of residents who choose to live in condominiums than many other states. Condominiums present interesting legal challenges because they often do not operate in the same way that more traditional homes might. Also, many condominiums operate with a super-localized form of informal government in their board. A condominium's board makes many decisions about day-to-day operations in the community, and how various fees will be assessed and used.

Here is where things can get tricky. Depending on the bylaws of a particular board, it is possible that only individuals who are named on the deed to a condominium will be eligible to serve on a board, even if an individual is a permanent resident of the complex. This can create estate planning problems if not handled correctly.

If a couple purchases a condominium, but it is only held in one of their names, the unnamed party may have a limited ability to participate in important decisions about the community. Of course, each board's bylaws are different, and must be examined on a case-by-case basis. If a complex that only accepts board members who are named owners, then a resident who wishes to participate in the board may have to seek a legal transfer of the unit's title into his or her name.

Estate planning is a fascinating field with many implications that may not be foreseeable. If you have an estate planning issue that needs to be resolved, or simply want to review an existing estate plan to make sure that all of your interests are accounted for, consider enlisting the help of an experienced estate planning attorney. With proper legal guidance, you will be able to create a strong plan for your future, no matter what that might look like.

Source: Naples Daily News, "South Florida appeals court turns down request from undocumented children," Steven J. Adamczyk, Jan. 07, 2017

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