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In July 2019, House Bill 207 became an effective state law in Florida, and it now provides important protections to property owners and developers, with regard to impact fees. The law is designed to create state-wide consistency for determining and exacting impact fees from property owners and developers who are seeking to start new residential construction projects. The law’s two main provisions will facilitate new home construction and remove potential barriers that local government bodies were, in some cases, placing.

No More Pre-Payment Of Impact Fees

Local jurisdictions are no longer allowed to require payment of impact fees before issuing building permits, platting developments, or prior to the approval of development or subdivision plans. This means that developers and property owners no longer have to front and carry the cost of impact fees. The fees will be payable as part of the initial sale (or when the occupancy permit is issued for private construction of new homes).

Dual Rational Nexus Test

Impact fees are intended to help local governments fund the infrastructure projects made necessary by population growth due to new home construction. Given that both federal and state funding for new infrastructure projects have been reduced, and are not likely to increase significantly in the foreseeable future, there has been a trend in some municipalities toward using impact fees that are no longer allowed, like normal operational, personnel, or maintenance costs, or to cover shortfalls on other infrastructure projects. The new law requires that there be a reasonable connection, called a rational nexus, between impact fees and the actual expenditures required as a result of the new home construction, and that the residents of those new homes receive some benefit from the impact fees they pay.

Further, the impact fees are now required to be a fair and proportionate share of the costs of improvements made necessary by building a new development, and the fees are not allowed to exceed the cost of any improvements, and if outside funds, like local tax, state or federal money, pay for part of the improvements, those contributions now have to be credited and the impact fees reduced accordingly. If a planned improvement project paid for with impact fees is canceled, refunds must now be issued.

Finally, impact fee funds must be spent within a reasonable timeframe or encumbered for future use; they cannot be rolled into a general fund or used to address other infrastructure deficiencies unrelated to the development they were paid in relation to.

Qualified Legal Counsel For Impact Fee Issues

New regulations tend to bring new issues, and changes to impact fee regulations in Florida are no exception. If you need help making sure you’re not paying more than your fair share, or have questions about how this new law is being applied to your specific situation, the experienced real estate attorneys at Overstreet, Miles, Cumbie Finkenbinder & Bondy can help. Give us a call or contact us online to schedule a consultation.

Whether you are named as a Personal Representative in a Will or a beneficiary of an intestate estate, you may find yourself in the Florida probate process after the death of a loved one. Families often wonder what steps are involved in the probate process and how long it will take. There are many factors that determine how long the process. In many cases, it takes six months or longer. In some cases, where there are no disputes among the beneficiaries and no creditors, the process may move more quickly. Your Florida probate attorney can give you a timeline based on the simplicity or complexity of your loved one’s estate.

The following table gives an overview of the Florida probate administration process:

Stage Personal Representative Probate Attorney
1. Initial Conference Gather documents like the will and death certificate; statements for bank accounts and insurance policies; and other pertinent information like outstanding bills; and names and addresses of beneficiaries.

 

Meet with Personal Representative; review documents and answer questions regarding probate process.

Prepare client engagement letter and schedule follow up time to sign initial filings.

 

2. Initial Filing Execute initial documents to be filed with the Probate Court. Wait for letters of Administration to be issued by the Court. Generally, it takes 4 to 6 weeks after filing. File initial documents with Probate Court. Send Notice of Administration to interested parties and/or obtain consents and waivers of beneficiaries.

 

3. Letters of Administration Once the Letters of Administration are received, open estate bank account. Contact banks and life insurance companies to issue checks to the Estate. List real estate for sale, if appropriate.

 

Receive Letters of Administration from Court, and distribute certified copies to the Personal Representative.

 

4. Inventory Provide a list of estate assets; sign inventory to be filed with the Probate Court. Notify beneficiaries who will be receiving non-probate assets, like joint accounts or insurance policies with beneficiary designation.

 

File Inventory of estate assets with 60 days of issuance of the Letters of Administration.

Prepare Notice to Creditors for publication.

4. Creditor Period Sign Notice to Creditors to be published in local newspaper. Provide a list of known creditors to your probate attorney. Wait for 3 month creditor period to end. Pay valid creditor claims & dispute claims that may not be valid (within 30 days). Sign Proof of Claim.

 

Publish notice to creditors in county where the estate is administered; creditors have 3 months after first publication to file claims against the estate. Serve known creditors with Notice and file releases for paid claims.
5. Final Accounting Prepare and sign final accounting of estate assets.

 

 

File final accounting and obtain any necessary waivers.
6. Distribute Assets Distribute assets to beneficiaries and close estate bank account. Prepare Distribution Agreement, if necessary, and obtain receipts & waivers.

 

7. Discharge of Estate Sign Petition for Discharge to close the estate with the Probate Court. Wait for Order of Discharge. File Petition for discharge and distribute Order of discharge to Personal Representative.

 

Hurry Up And Wait 

For nearly every filing or notice you’re required to send as part of the Florida probate administration process, there’s an associated waiting time (called a notice period) required, so that another involved party has time to respond. So, while you may find your deadlines weighing heavily on you, you may also find that the notice periods seem endless, and feel like the process is at a standstill. Focus on the tasks at hand (you’ll never lack for those!), and trust that your Florida probate attorney will help you stay on top of everything that needs to be done.

Experienced Florida Probate Attorneys Ease The Tension

The formal Florida probate administration process is complicated and makes most people feel overwhelmed and stressed out. The probate attorneys at Overstreet, Miles, Cumbie & Finkenbinder are here to help families like yours through these confusing proceedings, keeping things moving as quickly as possible and communicating with you every step of the way. Call or contact us online for a confidential consultation, and we’ll work with you to develop a plan to move forward through the Florida probate process as efficiently as possible.