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Author Archives: Jay Butchko


How Does Owning a Second Home Outside Florida Affect My Estate Plan?

By Gary Carnal |

Many people relocate to Florida from other states. They may continue to own property in one state while owning a second home in Florida, or vice versa. This can pose challenges when it comes to estate planning, since multiple states can mean multiple probates. Understanding How Probate Works Probate is the process of administering… Read More »


Does a Deed Incorporate All Terms of a Sales Contract?

By Gary Carnal |

When closing a Florida real estate sale, both parties need to be aware of the legal doctrine of “merger by deed.” This doctrine basically holds that once a property is transferred by deed, any prior contracts or agreements related to the sale are no longer enforceable. In other words, all prior agreements disappear and… Read More »

Does a Real Estate Contract Need a Specific Property Description?

By Gary Carnal |

Real estate is one area where you always want to be as clear as possible. In Florida, a contract for the sale of real property must contain a “sufficient” description of the land being conveyed from the seller to the buyer. Ideally, the most recent deed to the property will contain a sufficient description… Read More »

Understanding How Revocable Living Trusts Work

By Gary Carnal |

A revocable living trust is a useful estate planning tool that allows you to keep control of your assets during your lifetime–and avoid probate after you die. In a living trust you transfer your assets to a trustee, but you can serve as your own trustee. If you do choose to name someone else… Read More »

How Do I Take Title to Real Estate With My Spouse?

By Gary Carnal |

If you are thinking about purchasing real estate in the St. Petersburg area—for example, you and your spouse want to buy your first home—it is important to understand the different forms that land ownership may take. This is not a minor technical detail; how real property is titled affects your legal rights as owners…. Read More »

Understanding Special Needs Trusts

By Gary Carnal |

There are some estate planning situations where it is not advisable to simply leave a family member or other loved one a large inheritance. For example, if that person is receiving certain government benefits, such as Medicaid, suddenly receiving even a small amount of cash might jeopardize their eligibility. To avoid such a scenario,… Read More »

How Can I Transfer My House to a Family Member?

By Gary Carnal |

If you own your home or other Florida real estate, you should give some thought to how you wish to dispose of such properties upon your death. Many Florida residents use an estate planning device called a revocable living trust to avoid probate. But a trust is only one method for dealing with succession… Read More »

Can an Illegitimate Child Inherit From My Estate?

By Gary Carnal |

Although Florida law establishes an order of inheritance for “intestate” estates—the legal term when someone dies without a will—that does not mean you should avoid estate planning altogether. Indeed, dying without leaving a last will and testament can lead to some complicated legal questions for your family and the courts. A will allows you… Read More »

What Does It Mean to Die Without a Will in Florida?

By Gary Carnal |

Many Florida residents choose not to make a last will and testament. So what happens when a person dies without a will? Florida state law steps in to fill the void through a process known as “intestate succession.” How Intestate Succession Provides for Spouses & Children Florida’s intestate succession law specifies how to distribute… Read More »

Do I Need a Written Sales Contract to Buy or Sell a Florida Home?

By Gary Carnal |

Buying or selling a home in the St. Petersburg area is a major undertaking. You should never treat a real estate transaction casually. That is to say, you should never rely on a “handshake agreement” as a substitute for a written sales contract specifying all relevant terms and conditions of the parties’ agreement. What… Read More »

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Carnal & Mansfield, P.A. is located in Saint Petersburg, FL and serves clients in and around Saint Petersburg, Seminole, Tarpon Springs, Indian Rocks Beach, Largo, Belleair Beach, Clearwater Beach, Terra Ceia, Clearwater, Anna Maria, Sun City Center, Ruskin, Holmes Beach, Safety Harbor, Tampa, Bradenton Beach, Sydney, Cortez, Ellenton, Oldsmar, Ozona, Crystal Beach, Brandon, Hillsborough County and Pinellas County.

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