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Yearly Archives: 2018

Mom Steals More Than $13 Million From Her Own Daughter’s Inheritance

Uncategorized Aug 10, 2018
post about Mom Steals More Than $13 Million From Her Own Daughter’s Inheritance

As John Pankauski, managing partner at Pankauski Hauser, always says….your family is going to fight over your wealth when you’re gone and, perhaps, even while you’re still alive.  A recent article by the New York Post discusses a family dispute involving a mother, her child, and her child’s inheritance. Here, the daughter sues her own mother who allegedly used $13 million of the daughter’s inheritance to buy herself a mansion and other luxurious things.

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What if Video Evidence in a Probate Trial Contradicts Witness Testimony?

Uncategorized Aug 10, 2018
post about What if Video Evidence in a Probate Trial Contradicts Witness Testimony?

In probate trials, witness testimony and video evidence can be very important. But what happens if the witness testimony contradicts what a video shows? Can a Florida probate judge choose to believe the witness over a video that literally shows opposite facts? What if a witness testifies that a decedent did not sign her own will, while a video shows that the decedent, in fact, DID sign her will? What if a Florida notary states that she witnessed the decedent signing a deed, when a video shows that the decedent’s sister forged the decedent’s signature on the deed? You may want to read a January 31, 2017 opinion from The Supreme Court of Florida, Wiggins v. Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Although this is not a Palm Beach probate or Florida trust case, it is a very important opinion, as probate litigators frequently rely on both witness testimony and video evidence.

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Are Florida Courts Required to Recognize Final Judgments of Another State?

Uncategorized Aug 6, 2018
post about Are Florida Courts Required to Recognize Final Judgments of Another State?

On February 16, 2017, the Supreme Court of Florida reviewed the Fifth DCA’s opinion in LeDoux-Nottingham v. Downs, 163 So. 3d 560 (Fla. 5th DCA 2015). The Fifth DCA held that “under the Full Faith and Credit Clause [of the United States Constitution], trial courts in Florida are required, without discretion, to give recognition to final judgments of another state when applicable.” The Supreme Court of Florida upheld this decision.

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Mental Illness & Florida Inheritances: Dementia is Now a Leading Cause of Death

Uncategorized Aug 5, 2018
post about Mental Illness & Florida Inheritances: Dementia is Now a Leading Cause of Death

On November 14, 2016, BBC News reported that dementia has now become a leading cause of death. The article states that, last year, more than 61,000 people died of dementia(11.6% of all recorded deaths). Dementia, unfortunately, is common, and probate lawyers are frequently facing inheritance and guardianship disputes involving it. How can having a valid estate plan prove beneficial to someone with dementia? Don’t estate plans only affect me when I die? What do Florida probate litigators know about dementia and undue influence? Can you create a valid will after your doctor tells you that you have Dementia or Alzheimer’s? Can you amend your Florida trust or will even though you have severe dementia and are being influenced by a family member?

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What does your Florida probate lawyer need to know about common law marriage?

Uncategorized Jul 27, 2018
post about What does your Florida probate lawyer need to know about common law marriage?

What is common law marriage? What does your Florida probate lawyer need to know about common law marriage? Does Florida recognize common law marriage? Florida does not recognize common law marriages. However, in some circumstances,  it does recognize common law marriages from other states and countries. What does this mean? If you have lived with your loved one for fifty years, yet never legally married him or her, will he or she inherit from your Florida estate if you die without a will?

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How do I Inherit my Parent’s House?

Uncategorized Jun 21, 2018
post about How do I Inherit my Parent’s House?

Did your mother or father die in Florida with a house, or a homestead? If you live out of state, not in Florida, you’re probably wondering how you inherit your father or mother’s house. Inheriting your parents residence, what they call Florida homestead, is an interesting issue in the law.

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Guardianship Appeals: You May Want to Read a May 2, 2018 Iowa Guardianship Appeal

Uncategorized Jun 20, 2018
post about Guardianship Appeals: You May Want to Read a May 2, 2018 Iowa Guardianship Appeal

Why would Florida probate lawyers want to read a guardianship appeal in Iowa? Probate lawyers tend to encounter similar fact patterns in their cases throughout the country. Therefore, even though we are discussing an Iowa opinion, not a Florida opinion, there is much to learn from it.  This particular appeal, In re Guardianship of Monkhouse, discusses a limited guardianship and what is required to show that a limited guardianship is necessary. 

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