I am helping an elderly disabled friend who fears his wife who disappeared more than 30 years ago may reappear after he dies and cause problems. He wants to will his home to a friend. To his knowledge, she knows nothing of the property where he had lived since shortly after she left.
ANSWER BY DAVID M. BELIVEAU:
If his wife is living, she will have spousal rights to his probate estate. Also, under Florida law, he would be unable to transfer homestead property to anyone other than a spouse under his will. The first thing he should do is ascertain whether or not she is alive. He can hire companies that track down heirs. If she is still alive, she would have to be notified upon filing for probate, so it is best to address the issue now.
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Legal Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on since each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. A lawyer experienced in the subject area and licensed to practice in the jurisdiction should be consulted for legal advice.
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The estate administration attorneys at the Beliveau Law Group provide legal services for probate, estate administration, and trust administration. The law firm has offices and attorneys in Naples, Florida; Waltham, Massachusetts; and Salem, New Hampshire.