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Lauren Nagel Richardson

Lauren Nagel Richardson

Lauren Richardson Law, PLLC
  • Estate Planning, Elder Law, Family Law...
  • Florida
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Lauren Richardson moved to Gainesville in 1993 to complete an LLM in Taxation at UF Law. Since then, she has focused her practice on protecting families and property through estate planning, guardianship, probate, special needs, and elder law. She also serves as co-counsel on wrongful death, personal injury and probate and trust litigation cases. Lauren's probate practice is Statewide. All other areas are throughout North Florida. Free phone consult. Reasonable fees.

Practice Areas
  • Estate Planning
  • Elder Law
  • Family Law
  • Probate
  • Nursing Home Abuse
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Personal Injury
  • Real Estate Law
  • Free Consultation
    Free office consultations in medical malpractice, personal injury, and wrongful death cases. Free phone consultation in all other areas of practice.
  • Credit Cards Accepted
  • Rates, Retainers and Additional Information
    Other forms of payment: Checks Cash Money Order
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
  • English: Spoken, Written
  • French: Written
Professional Experience
Founding Attorney
Lauren Richardson Law, PLLC
- Current
Serving North Florida in estate planning, probate, guardianship, elder law and some family law matters. Also probate administration Statewide. LLM in Taxation. 20 years experience. Welcoming and professional. I will meet you at your home, nursing home or hospital if you are unable to come to my office.
Knellinger, Jacobson & Associates
practicing probate administration Statewide and estate planning, probate, guardianship, wills, trusts, elder law, and some family law throughout North Florida.
University of Florida
LL.M. (1997) | Taxation
Tax Thesis: Private Inurement After the United Cancer Council Case
Florida State University College of Law
J.D. (1993) | Law
Honors: Graduated Magna Cum Laude; Book Awards: Constitutional Law, Intellectual Property
Activities: President: National Association of Public Interest Lawyers
Rollins College
B.A. (1990) | Philosophy
Honors: Bruce Wavell Philosophy Prize; NEH Younger Scholars Award
Pro Bono Service Award
Three Rivers Legal Services/Southern Legal Counsel
Pro Bono Service Award
Three Rivers Legal Services, Inc.
Book Awards: Constitutional Law, Intellectual Property
Florida State University College of Law
Bruce Wavell Philosophy Prize
Rollins College
NEH Younger Scholars Award
National Endowment for the Humanities
research, writing and publication of paper, Russian Avant Garde Art and Relevant Scientific Theory
Professional Associations
The Florida Bar # 0083119
Websites & Blogs
Florida Estate Planning Attorney | Wills | Lauren Richardson Law
Legal Answers
140 Questions Answered

Q. Hi, How do I file an objection to a "Consent to appointment of personal representative" in the state of Florida?
A: Dear Kim, If the rest of the siblings want to appoint someone else, one of you is going to have to retain an attorney to represent you to file a counter petition for administration which requests that sibling be appointed personal representative and then have the siblings who support that petitioner file their waivers and consents to appointment of the that sibling. All other things being equal, the person with the majority of consents to their appointment will be appointed. Your sister did not serve you with a waiver. She sent you a proposed waiver and asked you to sign it. If you don't sign it, then there will likely be a hearing on her appointment; however, if no one else has filed their counter petition, then it may be likely that she will be appointed. If your father was your mother's 100% heir, you also have the issue of opening your father's estate under which estate there would be a distribution ultimately to the children. If there is cash in the estate, then anyone who goes out of pocket to hire an attorney and is then appointed personal representative will be able to be reimbursed out of the estate funds. If there are no funds and only real estate, for example, then typically the heirs pitch in and share the cost of the estate administration. First step is hiring an attorney. You will need one if you are going serve as personal representative. And remember, if there is cash in the estate, then your out of pocket expense to retain the attorney will be reimbursed to you as an estate expense but only if you succeed in being appointed personal representative.
Q. We want to sell my Mom's home in Florida, but don't know where to legally place the funds afterwards. Help please?!?!
A: You need to contact an experienced elder law attorney who can explain your options to you. If your mom's home is her homestead, and she is now in need of skilled nursing and may qualify for Medicaid, please take the following into consideration: Homestead is not a countable asset; it is exempt. However, if you sell the homestead, then the cash from the homestead is a countable asset, and a single person (without a community spouse) can only have $2,000 in cash to be under the asset cap for Medicaid. The children who would be the heirs of the estate have the option of taking over the responsibility for payment of the expenses to maintain the home, pay mortgage or pay property taxes, as they will be the ones to benefit someday by inheriting the homestead, and when homestead is part of an estate, it is exempt from creditors even if one of the creditors is the State of Florida for the Medicaid that the elder used. Another issue is that if you were to rent her home to a third party, then you are going to lose the homestead exemption for property tax purposes and in her estate, and then the property is considered by Medicaid to be an income producing property and the net income after expenses would be added to her income to determine the income cap. Once someone qualifies for Medicaid for skilled nursing (ICP program), all of their income except $130 goes to the nursing home. $130 is the personal needs allowance, which you can see is not enough to pay for maintaining the homestead; thus, this is why family members usually pick up the expenses to preserve the homestead, so it passes through the elder's estate someday, gets a step up in basis based on FMV on date of death, and then the heirs sell the home after the elder dies. Another option if the family does not want to pay to maintain the homestead is to sell the home and enter into a personal services contract, which is based on the actuarial life expectancy of the elder and is a front loaded payment for future services to whichever child or children agree to serve as the elder's care manager. The payment for services is income to the care managers, but then after income taxes are paid, usually the family members set that money aside in case the elder has needs for which their $130 per month personal needs allowance does not cover. This agreement needs to be prepared by an attorney, as there are several steps that must be taken to make sure that the transfer of funds does not constitute a penalty transfer. Again, you can see that there is some good planning that can be done to preserve some assets, but this will involve hiring an experienced elder law attorney near you to make the full assessment and advise you regarding your options.
Q. I am successor trustee in my fathers trust. Am I able to sign the title of his car over to a buyer in the state of FL?
A: I agree with attorney Thorgaard that if the car is titled to the trust, and you are the successor trustee, then you will be able to transfer/sell the vehicle. You will need to take the death certificate and a copy of the trust agreement to the tag office. However, I always recommend that successor trustees have at least a consultation with an estate planning attorney to review all the steps they will need to take during what is called the "period of administration" which is after the death of the grantor and up until the trust is fully distributed and terminated. Sometimes accounts need to be updated with an EIN, basis step up, trustee acceptance, trust certification, before they are distributed to trust beneficiaries. If there is real estate in the trust, then you will definitely need an attorney to prepare and record a trust certification, trustee's deed, and also record the death certificate. There may also be issues related to trust income taxes. For these reasons, I think that it is prudent for every successor trustee to have a consultation with an attorney who is experienced in trust administration.
Q. Can someone tell me if the deed that I have is a ladybird deed ?
A: A real estate attorney or an estate planning attorney who prepared these types of deeds would have to review your deed to answer this question for you. There is specific language which must be included for it to be a "ladybird deed" or "enhanced life estate deed." You are welcome to call my office for a free phone consultation and we can discuss this and help determine what type of deed you have.
Q. My stepfather left me his home in his will, was told I will have to sell to pay off debt but I want to keep to live in.
A: The issue here is that you are not an heir at law, and the homestead exemption as the property passes through the estate does not pass to you as a non-heir. Typically, the court still signs a homestead order, but it states that the property is non-exempt homestead and subject to administration. Once a real property is deemed to be subject to administration, then it is subject to the creditors of the estate. If it was only subject to the reverse mortgage (i.e. if it had been left to a heir at law), then the homestead order would distribute the home to the heir at law, subject to the reverse mortgage, and the heir would have to refinance after the property was distributed to them via the homestead order. This is likely what would occur if you were to disclaim the property. If you do not disclaim the property, then it is correct that the property is subject to claims and would then need to be sold in the estate, and at the time of sale, the mortgage and the debts would be paid, and the balance remaining distributed to whomever are the named residuary beneficiaries under the will. This happens whenever someone who is not an heir at law is left a homestead property in a will; it just does not have these consequences of a sale inside the estate if there are no creditors.
Q. My brother has been on SSI and Medicaid. He received an inheritance but failed to report it right away.
A: Your brother can transfer the money to a 1st party special needs trust if he has been determined to be disabled by SSA or Medicaid and is under the age of 65. There is particular language which must be included in the special needs trust for it to meet the requirements for him to keep his benefits, for example, the State must be the designated beneficiary of the remainder upon his death up to the amount of the benefits that he received, with any balance thereafter going to his estate. You should work with an experienced elder law/special needs attorney in your area to make sure that the special needs trust is drafted correctly.
Q. Ward is confined to memory care at ALF. Son is guardian, can wards house hold bills be paid through the guardianship?
A: You will need an order from the court before the ward's expenses can be paid. There are quite a few options including petitioning the court for the ward's son to be determined to be the ward's dependent. Also with the guardianship court's order, the house could be transferred to a child who has been the caretaker for a period of time. You should work directly with the guardianship attorney that you have hired to represent you to explore the options under chapter 744, and always petition the court for authority to act if the authority requires a court order, if there are objections to actions not typically requiring a court order, or if the funds have been placed in a restricted depository by the court.
Q. I my mom passes, does my stepfather or his children from another marriage have any rights to her home?
A: Please accept my sincere condolences on your mother's passing. If hers was the only name on the deed and she was married at the time of her passing, then her spouse has an election for which he only has six months to make, otherwise he gets a default of a life estate in the homestead, remainder to you. His other option which requires an election in a certain format which is then recorded in the public records like a deed is to elect to take a 50/50 tenancy in common with you. He would need to hire an attorney most likely to make this election. In the meantime, in order for this property to be transferred by a court's homestead order as follows: life estate to him (right to reside in the home for life with responsibility for maintenance and paying taxes), remainder to you upon his death, you would need to hire an attorney to petition the court to open a summary administration and for the court to sign the homestead order. If you open a summary administration, you can also include your mother's personal belongings inside the home (anything that would not be considered joint personal property), and those items should be distributed 50/50 between you and your stepfather. If, for example, he is refusing access for you to retrieve your mother's personal belongings, then a court order can be helpful in this regard. If you don't get a homestead order, this property will remain as heirs property with the presumption that it is life estate to spouse, remainder to child; however, spouse will not be able to get a homestead exemption on his property taxes without the homestead court order, and the property taxes are likely to increase. Also if you and he wanted to join together to sell the home, then you would first need a judge to sign the homestead order, which when recorded in the public records by the clerk, acts like a deed, again, life estate to him, remainder to you. If you agree to sell the property after the order is signed, then the title agent at the time of closing will help you determine the value of the life estate and the remainder, based on the actuarial tables and your stepfather's life expectancy (unless he has made that 50/50 election mentioned above and recorded it). If he has made that election, then the proceeds of sale would be split 50/50. Our office handles summary administration anywhere in the State of Florida for a flat fee. If you would like to call me for a free phone consultation, you are welcome to do so, and we can discuss this case further and what it would cost to proceed.
Q. Do i have beneficial title for purpose of homestead approval being im only heir to estate?
A: You will not be able to apply for property tax homestead exemption until the property has been transferred to the heirs with a homestead order in a probate proceeding. You are welcome to call our office for a free phone consultation. We handle homestead only summary administration for a flat fee anywhere in Florida.
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4061 NW 43rd Street
4061 NW 43rd Street
Suite 16
Gainesville, FL 32606
Telephone: (352) 204-2224
Cell: (352) 872-2183