Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Living in Florida, it is very hard to find someone who was actually born here.  Per the results of the last census the percentage change in population for Florida between 2000 and 2010 increased 17.6% as opposed to 9.7% for the rest of the country.  About 1,000 more people move to Florida everyday than leave, per a recent report from the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Florida.  Florida has a reputation for being the preferred destination for many retired individuals.  A move is a major life change and it usually means the sale of one major asset and the purchase of another.  It also means moving away from close friends and family that may have served an important role in your Will or other estate planning documents.

The question then becomes “When should you review you estate planning documents?”  I encourage my clients to review their Wills and other estate planning documents after a major life event.  A move to another state is an example of a major life event.  A move does not necessarily require a whole new Will to be drafted.  In most cases, for small changes to a Will, a codicil can be drafted and executed.  A codicil is a separate document that can be added to an existing Will to change certain aspects of that Will.  A codicil can be used to change property owned, name new beneficiaries or add a new Personal Representative.

The changing of a Will is a relatively simple process and will be considered a valid change so long as the Codicil to the Will is executed according to Florida guidelines.  You should review your Will and other Estate Planning documents whenever you experience a major life change.  If you have questions about the process or are not sure whether you need a new Will or just a Codicil, you should consult an attorney.  Most attorneys offer free initial consultations so getting answers to your questions should not cost you anything.  

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


       The new Duval County Courthouse is set to open its doors in the next few weeks.  After a ten year building process and a recent City Council argument regarding furniture, the new Courthouse is scheduled to open on Tuesday May 29th.  The new building is a long time coming and desperately needed.

       The current Duval County Courthouse was originally dedicated in 1958, making the building a little over a half century old.  At that time, the population of Jacksonville was around 450,000.  The old Courthouse has served the community well, but as the population grows, the need for a larger facility has become increasingly evident.  After the 2000 census, the City of Jacksonville decided to begin the process of building a new County Courthouse.  Finally, a project ten years in development will become a reality on May 29th, 2012.

       The transition from the old Courthouse to the new one will take a little over ten days to complete.  This means a temporary interruption in day-to-day court procedures until the new Courthouse opens.  The old Courthouse at 330 East Bay Street will close for good on Friday May 18th at 5:00 p.m.  New cases MUST be filed by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday May 16th; only emergency cases will be permitted to be filed between May 17th and May 29th.   

UPDATE 5/29/12

The new Courthouse will now open on Monday June 4th.  The delay was caused by failures in the fire control system of the new building.  You can bet that a weeks worth of rescheduled hearings will be a logistical nightmare when the building does open.

UPDATE 6/5/12

So you think you're getting a new Courthouse -- not so fast Duval County.  Officials say the new Courthouse has continued to fail in tests of the fire control system.  The new plan is to move back into the old Courthouse on East Bay Street until the new building is ready for occupancy.  Court officials plan on being back in the old Courthouse by next Monday, 6/11.  More information regarding the Courthouse fiasco can be found by following the link below.