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COVID-19, Florida’s Stay-at- Home Order,and Depositions

Uncategorized Apr 3, 2020
post about COVID-19, Florida’s Stay-at- Home Order,and Depositions

What is a deposition? How are West Palm Beach lawyers holding depositions while social distancing? If I have a deposition scheduled, will it be canceled because of the Coronavirus Disease(COVID-19) pandemic? How has technology made depositions possible during social distancing? Are my West Palm Beach estate lawyers still able to take depositions and attend hearings while this is all going on? Depositions in Florida A deposition is where someone is placed in front of a video tape and/or a court reporter, and asked questions by opposing counsel. The person being deposed is required to answer the questions truthfully and under oath. Florida trial lawyers know that depositions can prove to be one of the most important events during a civil case, aside from the trial itself. It is an opportunity to gather important information from both people who may benefit a case and opposing parties. Probate and business litigators may choose to depose people who may know relevant facts to the case. For example, in a probate case, a witness to a Florida will or POA document may be deposed. In an undue influence case, a doctor who has knowledge of the victim’s Alzheimer’s disease or Dementia may be deposed. Social Distancing and Depositions How can West Palm Beach probate lawyers hold depositions while staying safe during this pandemic? Under some circumstances, depositions are done telephonically. However, at the very least, the notary or person swearing in the witness is physically with the witness. The Florida Governor’s stay-at-home order, effective April […]

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Florida Appellate Lawyers and Guardianship Cases

Uncategorized Mar 31, 2020
post about Florida Appellate Lawyers and Guardianship Cases

What is an appeal? When might I need a Florida appellate attorney in my guardianship case? When do you need to hire a Florida appellate attorney? What guardianship orders are appealable? What can I do if I do not agree with a judgment issued in my West Palm Beach guardianship proceeding?How can guardianship litigation lead to a guardianship appeal? Florida Guardianship Litigation and Appeals Florida guardianship lawyers know that some guardianship proceedings can lead to an appeal. For example, if you disagree with a final judgment or order, you may wish to file an appeal. On the other hand, if you win, the other side may appeal. Therefore, it is important to anticipate the possibility of having to hire a West Palm Beach appellate attorney. Hiring Florida Guardianship and Appellate Lawyers If you are in the process of hiring a Florida law firm to assist you with guardianship litigation, you may want to look for a law firm that is experienced in both litigation and appeals. In the early stages of litigation, many people fail to consider the possibility of an appeal being filed. However, in the guardianship world, appeals do occur. What if you win a lawsuit and the other side decides to appeal? You will want to make sure you have an appellate attorney, who is knowledgeable about both the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure and Florida Guardianships, ready to assist. At Pankauski Hauser Lazarus, one of the law partners, Robert Hauser, has been named a Board Certified Specialist […]

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Practicing Florida Law and COVID-19

Uncategorized Mar 28, 2020
post about Practicing Florida Law and COVID-19

How are Florida lawyers practicing law and social distancing? How has the Coronavirus Disease(COVID-19) affected Florida law firms? Can I still hire a Florida probate litigator to help me with an inheritance dispute? How has technology made practicing law possible during times like these? Are my West Palm Beach estate lawyers still able to take depositions and attend hearings while this is all going on? Are probate and business lawsuits still being filed? Florida Law and Technology As West Palm Beach trust and inheritance lawyers, the attorneys at Pankauski Hauser Lazarus know the importance of staying focused and productive, even while the world is experiencing a pandemic. Because of the CDC social distancing recommendations and requirements, many Florida law firms, including our litigation firm, are relying on technology to seamlessly continue to work on cases. The good news is that many lawyers today frequently utilize technology in their everyday practices. Therefore, they are familiar with the programs that allow them to virtually lawyer. For example, CourtCall allows Florida lawyers to easily attend hearings via telephone. Our attorneys are very familiar with CourtCall because we represent clients throughout the state of Florida. Therefore, appearing telephonically can, sometimes, be the most cost effective and convenient way. Furthermore, our Florida litigators are able to conduct telephone conferences, rather than in-person meetings, with both clients and each other. Zoom is being used for video depositions and some hearings. Plus, on April 1,2013, e-filing became mandatory throughout Florida. Therefore, petitions and court documents are filed via […]

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Health Care Surrogates, Guardianships and Florida Lawsuits

Uncategorized Mar 18, 2020
post about Health Care Surrogates, Guardianships and Florida Lawsuits

What is a health care surrogate? What is a power of attorney (POA)? How is a health care surrogate different than a guardian? When may Florida litigation regarding a health care surrogate occur? What decisions can a health care surrogate make? Florida Adult Guardianships At Pankauski Hauser Lazarus, we handle many guardianship cases throughout Florida. When we refer to “guardianships”, we are talking about guardianships over adults, not minors. Commonly, children or friends of the elderly file a guardianship to protect someone who is suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s. Furthermore, certain disabled or injured adults may benefit from a guardianship if they are incompetent and unable to take care of themselves. In Florida, guardianship law is governed by Chapter 744 of the Florida Statutes. If you are involved in guardianship litigation in West Palm Beach, or anywhere in Florida, you should refer to this chapter. You should also consider interviewing an experienced guardianship litigation lawyer who can answer your questions and properly file petitions on your behalf. Guardianships and Lesser Restrictive Alternatives Florida guardianship courts take guardianship proceedings very seriously because these proceedings can result in a ward’s rights being taken away. The “ward” is the person subject to the guardianship who has been determined to be incompetent or incapacitated. Guardianship lawyers know that, even if somebody is deemed incapacitated by a probate court judge in Florida, the court may not appoint a guardian if there’s a lesser restrictive alternative that adequately addresses the incapacitated person’s needs. Therefore, you may be able […]

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Surviving Spouse Inheritance Rights and Florida Homestead

Uncategorized Mar 18, 2020
post about Surviving Spouse Inheritance Rights and Florida Homestead

Does a surviving spouse have rights when it comes to inheritances? Can my wife or husband disinherit me and leave me nothing? If I am a surviving spouse, should I hire a West Palm Beach probate lawyer? What happens if my husband doesn’t include me in his Florida will or trust? Are there certain Florida Statutes I should be familiar with as a surviving spouse? What happens to my wife’s homestead property now that she has passed away? Can my husband’s adult children take away the house that I live in just because it was only in my husband’s name? Florida Surviving Spouse Rights In Florida, surviving spouses have inheritance rights to property of a deceased spouse.  In fact, there are statutory minimum benefits to ensure that surviving family members are provided for, regardless of the decedent’s intent.  What are these benefits? Homestead, elective share, and family allowances are three of the main inheritance rights of surviving spouses in Florida. Are there exceptions? As with almost every Florida law, there are exceptions. If a surviving spouse waived his or her inheritance rights in a prenuptial or other agreement, he or she may be out of luck. However, it never hurts to consult with a Florida probate lawyer to make sure that the inheritance rights or homestead rights were validly waived. Surviving Spouse and Homestead Florida Statute 732.401 explains that a surviving spouse in Florida takes a life estate in the homestead property UNLESS the surviving spouse elects to, instead, take an undivided one-half interest in the homestead as […]

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Stalking Injunctions in Florida

Uncategorized Mar 16, 2020
post about Stalking Injunctions in Florida

When is a stalking injunction necessary in Florida? According to Florida Statute 784.048(2), stalking occurs when a person “willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks another person. You may wonder what the definition of “harass” is according to the Florida Statutes. To harass means to “engage in a course of conduct directed at a specific person which causes substantial emotional distress to that person and serves no legitimate purpose.” §784.048(1)(a), Fla. Stat. Is someone stalking you in Florida? Are you involved in Florida litigation where the person you are suing has started harassing you? Do you need a West Palm Beach lawyer to petition for injunction for protection against stalking? What Does a Stalking Injunction have to do with Florida Inheritances? West Palm Beach probate attorneys, like those at Pankauski Hauser, know that disputes over inheritances can become messy. What do we mean by “messy”? Frequently, probate lawyers who handle litigation witness family members “fight” in the courts over money and property. As John Pankauski states in his book Probate Litigation: Top 10 Probate Mistakes Revealed, “your family is going to fight over your wealth: when you’re gone and- perhaps- while you’re still alive.”  Many heated Florida trust and estates battles involve sibling rivalries. For example, one sibling may sue another sibling for unduly influencing their mom, while mom had dementia or Alzheimer’s, to change her Florida will or trust. Another example would be a sister suing her brother, the brother was dad’s power of attorney (POA), for wrongly […]

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Florida Appeals and Alimony Modification

Uncategorized Mar 12, 2020
post about Florida Appeals and Alimony Modification

What is a Florida appeal? When do you need to hire a West Palm Beach appellate attorney? What probate or family law orders are appealable? How can an appellate attorney help me with an alimony modification? Florida Family Law Litigation and Appeals Florida lawyers know that some family law cases can lead to an appeal. If you disagree with a final judgment or order, you may be able to file an appeal. If you win a case, the other side may appeal. Therefore, it’s important to anticipate the possibility of having to hire a West Palm Beach appellate attorney. Hiring a Florida Appellate Lawyer For Your Family Law Appeal If you are in the process of hiring a Florida appellate firm, you may want to look for a law firm with extensive experience in handling civil appeals. Does the West Palm Beach appellate attorney you are interviewing have over twenty years of experience? How many appellate briefs have they written? At Pankauski Hauser Lazarus, one of the law partners, Robert Hauser, has been named a Board Certified Specialist by The Florida Bar in Appellate Practice. The appellate team at Pankauski Hauser Lazarus handles appeals in each and every district court of appeal in Florida.  Nangle v. Nangle If you are involved in alimony litigation, you may want to read Nangle v. Nangle, a December 18, 2019 Fourth DCA opinion. This case is a good example of how an alimony dispute can end up in a Florida appellate court. Here, the former husband […]

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Florida Appellate Lawyers and Injunctions

Uncategorized Mar 11, 2020
post about Florida Appellate Lawyers and Injunctions

What is a Florida appeal? When do I need to hire a Florida appellate attorney? Can I appeal a circuit court’s order? Can a court orally promise something and then say something different in their written order? Florida Injunctions and Appeals Florida guardianship lawyers are sometimes hired to file a petition for injunction against exploitation of a vulnerable adult per section 825.1035 of the Florida Statutes. In addition, guardianship lawyers may file other petitions for injunction if the situation deems necessary. Guardianship litigation or Florida injunction lawsuits can lead to an appeal. If you disagree with a final judgment or order, you may be able to file an appeal. It’s also important to note that, if you win your case, the other side may appeal. Therefore, it’s smart to anticipate the possibility of having to hire an experienced Florida appellate attorney. Hiring a Florida Injunction Lawyer If you are in the process of hiring a Florida litigation firm to file a petition for injunction on your behalf, you may want to look for a law firm that is experienced in both litigation and appeals. In the early stages of litigation, many people fail to consider the possibility of an appeal being filed. However, as any litigator can tell you, appeals do occur. What if you win your West Palm Beach injunction lawsuit and the other side decides to appeal? You need to make sure you have a powerful appellate attorney, who is knowledgeable about both the Florida Rules of Appellate […]

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Florida Lawsuits: Injunctions and Exploitation of a Vulnerable Adult

Uncategorized Mar 10, 2020
post about Florida Lawsuits: Injunctions and Exploitation of a Vulnerable Adult

Unfortunately, Florida guardianship lawyers encounter many cases involving financial exploitation of the elderly or exploitation of a vulnerable adult. Palm Beach guardianship lawyers and estate attorneys frequently receive calls from concerned relatives or friends regarding an elderly person being financially exploited or abused. What are the different ways that an elderly person may be financially exploited? How can you detect if your mom or dad is being financially exploited? What should you do if you believe that your elderly relative is being taken advantage of by a caretaker or “friend”? When do you need an experienced West Palm Beach guardianship lawyer? Alzheimers and Dementia Many financial exploitation of the elderly or exploitation of a vulnerable adult cases involve elderly people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Due to their vulnerability, exploiters view people with mental illnesses as easy pray. If you suspect that your elderly parent, or disabled friend, is being exploited by his or her caretaker, you may want to read Florida Statute 825.103. You may also want to learn about Florida guardianships. Florida Adult Guardianships A family member can file a Florida guardianship for an adult who is no longer able to care for himself. A Florida guardianship can protect an elderly person or disabled person from being financially exploited as long as the appointed guardian can be trusted. In Florida, guardianship law is governed by Chapter 744 of the Florida Statutes. Soldatich v. Jones A January 22, 2020 Fourth DCA opinion, Soldatich v. Jones, is a great example of a Florida […]

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Florida Lawsuits: POA Documents and Arbitration

Uncategorized Mar 9, 2020
post about Florida Lawsuits: POA Documents and Arbitration

What does a power of attorney (POA) document have to do with arbitration? When is arbitration correctly compelled by a trial court? How do you interpret the scope of a POA document? How can a health care surrogate become involved in litigation regarding arbitration? POA and Health Care Documents in Florida Florida Guardianship lawyers know that, even if a person is deemed incapacitated by a probate court judge in Florida, the court may choose not to appoint a guardian if there’s a lesser restrictive alternative that adequately addresses the incapacitated person’s needs. Therefore, POA and health care documents can prove to be very valuable. If you meet with aFlorida estate planning attorney to execute a POA, trust and/or health care documents, you will be able to choose who will take care of you if you are to become unable to care for yourself. If a proper estate plan is in place, and you get Alzheimer’s or dementia, you may not have to worry about strangers, or greedy relatives that you dislike, taking over you and your finances. The Scope of a POA Sometimes, it can become confusing to a trustee or POA as to what the estate documents allow them to do exactly. For example, certain POA documents specify or limit the authority that it delegates. How do courts determine what authority a POA grants? A recent Fourth DCA opinion, Manor Oaks, Inc. v. Campbell discusses whether or not a particular POA document gives a health care surrogate the ability […]

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