Deathbed Marriages Become More Risky and Less Profitable

Being the spouse of a decedent comes with some significant rights.  A surviving spouse can claim thirty percent (30%) of a significant portion of the spouse’s estate as an “elective share.”  The surviving spouse may also be entitled to an $18,000.00 family allowance, exempt property, a life estate in the deceased spouse’s homestead, and other benefits and rights.

Unfortunately, this means that it is not uncommon for unscrupulous individuals to marry people late in life to gain these rights.  Fortunately, the Florida legislature recently passed a law that makes it possible to deny the rights and benefits of a surviving spouse to a spouse who procured the marriage by fraud, duress, or undue influence.  See, Fla. Stat. sec. 732.805 Previously, heirs and beneficiaries could do little to challenge a deathbed marriage.


Using Your Blackberry In Illinois (or Florida) Could Send You To Prison

This TechCrunch article talks about two people facing jail time in Illinois for recording conversations:  Using Your Blackberry In Illinois Could Send You To Prison.  Florida is one of the 12 states where recording a conversation without permission is a felony although not for a first offense for non-commercial purposes. Fla. Stat. sec. 934.03

Clients will sometimes try to bolster a case by recording an opposing party.  This not only exposes them to potential criminal liability, but is generally useless.  An unlawfully recorded conversation is not admissible in court.

Here is a much more detailed blog post by a criminal defense attorney:  Recording Telephone Conversations and Communications in Florida