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Frequently Asked Questions

Get answers from our experienced Fort Myers firm.

From the start to the finish of your case, you will likely have many questions that will require the focus and interest of a knowledgeable legal guide. At Your Advocates, we can help you during your case and provide you with the level of communication you deserve.

To begin, we have answered a number of common questions in each field of law we handle:

General Firm Questions

What sets you apart from other firms?

At Your Advocates, we value communication and place a huge emphasis on going above and beyond in our representation. We do not believe in one-size-fits-all solutions. In addition, we will not rest until we know that you are satisfied with the end result of your case.

How much is the initial evaluation?

You will not have to pay anything for the initial consultation with our team. All you need to do is fill out the form on our website and we can help you get started by scheduling the introductory appointment.

What is the overall mission of the firm?

At Your Advocates, we are so confident about the service we offer that we do not hesitate to make the following promises to each of our clients:

  • We focus on you and protecting your rights
  • We perform tasks with integrity and honesty
  • We treat you with honor
  • We will not stop working until we reach a successful result
  • We make client experience our top priority
  • We represent you in a way that makes sense you
  • We aim to exceed your expectations
  • We tailor our representation to suit your needs
  • We strive to provide legal service that is unmatched

Estate Planning Questions

What are the legal requirements for a valid will?

Every will must be put in writing and signed by the testator. If the testator is not able to sign the document, it can be signed by another in the testator’s presence at his or her request. All of the legal documents must be signed in the presence of two witnesses who are required to sign in the presence of one another and the testator.

Are self-proving wills accepted?

Under Florida law, self-proving wills can be used for estate planning. A self-proving will is the same as a regular will, but it includes a page signed by the witnesses. The purpose of this page is to show that the witnesses attest to the soundness of mind of the testator. The page and signatures are then accepted as proof of the testator’s signature and state of mind, rather than having to obtain this testimony upon the death of the testator.

Can I make my own will?

It is possible to create your own will, but is highly discouraged. There are often many unknowns with a self-made will, such as the validity and effectiveness of the document. With the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney, you can know what type of will to create and have confidence in the future of your estate.

Probate Questions

What is probate?

Probate is a court-supervised process used to identify and gather the assets and debts of the decedents, and distribute to beneficiaries as necessary. Florida Probate Code is Chapters 731 – 735 of the Florida Statutes. The purpose of probate is to wind up the affairs of the decedent. Under Florida law, the decedent is allowed to make certain decisions through a valid will.

What areas of probate do you assist with?

At Your Advocates, we can help you handle various probate matters, including:

  • Will Contests
  • Trust Contests
  • Formal Estate Administration
  • Summary Estate Administration
  • Ancillary Probate Administration
  • Disposition Without Administration

There are various types of probate administration that our firm can help you with. We can help you determine which type is necessary for your situation!

Where are probate documents filed?

Probate is filed with the Clerk of the Circuit Court in the county where the decedent lived. The filing fee will be paid to the clerk to begin the probate administration.

Get 70+ years of combined experience on your side by calling Your Advocates today! We offer free initial case consultations!

Real Estate Questions

Do you represent both tenants and landlords?

At Your Advocates, we focus on the representation of landlords, rather than tenants. We handle a variety of real estate disputes and litigation matters on behalf of landlords. We provide experienced guidance for clients who are faced with boundary disputes, title transfers, evictions, and other issues that may arise.

Do I need an attorney to evict a tenant?

If the landlord wishing to perform the eviction is an individual, he or she can act as his or her own lawyer. There are many situations, however, when you will want to be represented by an attorney during the eviction process. Hiring an attorney can also improve the success of the eviction and help avoid battles.

Should I hire an attorney for my real estate closing?

The number one thing you do not want in a real estate closing is a delay. Setting a deal back just one day could mean the end of it. With a real estate attorney by your side, you can eliminate legal hurdles that may have cropped up unexpectedly and hampered your real estate closing had you only relied on a real estate agent.

Should I get title insurance before buying a home?

In most real estate transactions, title insurance is a necessity before you can buy a home. If there are any defects on the title, such as a co-owner who doesn’t want to sell it or a lien imposed by a creditor or bank, title insurance protects the potential buyer from losing significant deposits. In some cases, it can also hold the property until the defects are eliminated, ensuring the buyer can still get the home they wanted, just a little later than expected.

What do real estate closing costs typically run?

The closing cost for your real estate transaction will vary depending on the details of the property, its history, and who is buying or selling it. On average, however, you can expect closing costs to be anywhere between 2% and 5% the purchase price of the property.

Family Law Questions

What types of paternity tests are available in a Florida divorce?

Determining the fatherhood of a child can be done through a blood test. In a Florida paternity case, either a Human or DNA test can be used, dependent on the circumstances. If the Human test indicates that the man tested has a 95% or higher chance of being the biological father, the court will follow the assumption that he is the child’s biological father.

What does a home study involve in an adoption process?

An adoption home study includes an independent investigation to ensure that the prospective family is suitable to take on the responsibilities of raising an adopted child. In the state of Florida, a positive home study evaluation is valid for one year after the date of completion.

If I have a background of domestic violence, can I still retain child custody?

The court will evaluate the best interests of the child when assessing child custody. With a background of domestic abuse, your chances of receiving child custody may be decreased depending on the assessment of the court. With the help of a knowledgeable Fort Myers family law attorney, we can help you build a case.

Business Law Questions

What factors are considered when choosing a business type for my company?

When choosing a business form, many considerations will be made. Some include:

  • Preference of tax treatment
  • Intention for capitalizing the business
  • Whether you plan to issue stock and trade publicly
  • Liability of the business owners

It is important to work closely with a knowledgeable business lawyer when you are establishing your company.

What is a non-profit corporation?

Non-profit corporations are formed to carry out a charitable, religious, educational, literary or scientific purpose. This type of company does not pay federal or state income taxes on the profits that they obtain.

Are buy-sell agreements a good idea?

Corporations that are shared by more than one person should consider buy-sell agreements. In the case of a shareholder’s termination, disability, death, or divorce, a buy-sell agreement can protect the company and its other shareholders.

Civil Litigation Questions

What is considered a violation of the FDCPA?

Some of the actions that are violations of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act include, but are not limited to:

  • Harassment
  • Collecting money that was not owed
  • Contacting third parties
  • Creating false sense of urgency threats
  • Contact after retaining an attorneys’ services

Can I sell my house for less than I owe on my mortgage?

If the sale price of your home falls short of the amount you owe to the lender, it is called a “short sale.” For this to occur, you will need permission from your lender.

Can bankruptcy stop foreclosure?

Filing for bankruptcy can delay a foreclosure, but it will not be able to permanently stop the process. When you file, the court issues an automatic stay which requires all creditors to cease collection activities, including foreclosure. The sale of your home will be postponed until the bankruptcy is finished.

Personal Injury Questions

What is considered as “negligence?”

Negligence is defined as any conduct that is done against the standards of care that are established to protect against the unreasonable harm to others.

How long do personal injury lawsuits last?

The length of a personal injury lawsuit will depend on the severity of the accident and the participation of the involved parties. Your attorney can provide you with a more detailed assessment of the length of your injury case.

What if I am unable to afford medical treatment?

Accident victims often have a difficult time dealing with the expenses related to emergency care and treatment, and recovery is not immediate. Many physicians and healthcare providers will treat the patient with the promise of future payment. Our office can help you find a medical provider who can help you resolve your case.

Working with Powell, Jackman, Stevens & Ricciardi, P.A.

At Your Advocates, we recognize that you will likely have many more questions related to your specific case. For that reason, we offer free case evaluations to listen to your situation and provide you with a thorough analysis of the situation. We can answer your questions and fight for your best interest. Take the first step today and share your story with our firm!

How We're Different:

  • Dedicated & caring service
  • Over 70 years' combined experience
  • One-on-one attention
  • Customized strategies
  • Accessible - 24 hour response time
  • El abogado habla español

Read What Our Past Clients
have to Say About Us:

  • I recommend Rita Jackman and her law firm very highly.

    “I contacted Rita Jackman regarding a personal injury suit. Rita worked very hard to give me a favorable outcome. She is professional, and also very personable. She cares about helping people and it shows by her efforts. I also want to give credit to her staff, especially Noelle. She was also available anytime I had any questions. I recommend Rita Jackman and her law firm very highly. Diane Dautremont”

    Diane Dautremont

  • Honest and Effortless - The Absolute Best!

    “I have never needed legal help before and was going through a very difficult time following the loss of my grandfather. Every individual took careful time and consideration to walk me through each step of the process. They made the entire ordeal painless, understandable and easy. I highly recommend them for any of the services they provide and I am forever grateful for their kindess, compassion and help!”

    Megan Johnson

  • No more "No Fault Car Insurance"

    “This is my 2nd review for my legal issues when represented by the Law Firm of Powell, Jackman, Stevens & Ricciardi, P.A.. This issue was for a car accident; a person ran a red light at Cypress Lake & Summerlin tearing the front end off of the car I was driving. When the driver of the offending car approached me, still in my car, I was injured. "Are you ok" was not what came out of this person's mouth but; "The light was yellow"! Thankfully there were witnesses everywhere including a first responder. At this point I knew I'd need legal help. Without hesitation, I contacted Rita Jackman for advice. She agreed to represent me in pursuing the negligent party for reparations. Her team, including Noelle Gargano her very informative paralegal, did a wonderful job of getting me to the right doctors while addressing the insurance companies. I know how difficult it has been to get a fair judgement in this miserable "no fault" state but Rita's extensive knowledge of the law got me the maximum settlement allowed and in a very quick fashion. She is exceptional with her ability to represent clients against the liars and politically motivated bad guys. I will always trust Rita and her team at Powell, Jackman, Stevens & Ricciardi, p.a. to represent me. I full heartedly recommend her for any accident case! Thank you Rita! RonO, Florida Registered Architect”

    Ron Olbekson, architect

  • They are not just lawyers, they are great people who do business the right way.

    “In my business, my food purveyors along with the other contractors I utilize drive my business and are the ingredients for my continued success. Their knowledge and education is key. Our attorneys, Rita Jackman and Adam Stevens, are essential to our contin”

    Shannon Yates, Nevermind LLC

  • I placed my full trust in Rita and she delivered above and beyond.

    “Highly recommend Rita Jackman! She was extremely helpful during one of the most stressful and confusing times. Never once did I have to worry about how to handle the next steps as she and her team kept proactive and helpful communication throughout the entire post-accident process. I placed my full trust in Rita and she delivered above and beyond. I will always be grateful for her and her team. Having the representation of Rita means that you are in fully capable hands. I was able to take care of my injuries, relax, and let her focus on the hard part! THANK YOU x1000! You will not go wrong with her representation.”