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Yearly Archives: 2020

Florida Trust Litigation: Compelling the Disclosure of a Florida Trust’s Financial Records

Uncategorized Jul 22, 2020
post about Florida Trust Litigation: Compelling the Disclosure of a Florida Trust’s Financial Records

Are you the beneficiary of a Florida trust? Has the trustee provided you with an accounting? Do you know how much the Florida trust you inherit from is worth? Do you believe that a trustee has stolen money from the trust? How can you compel the trustee of a Florida trust to disclose the trust’s financial records? When should you hire a West Palm Beach trust attorney? Florida Beneficiary Rights To Relevant Information Beneficiaries of a Palm beach trust have a right, under Florida probate and trust law, to “relevant information.” This includes a right to receive accountings. Therefore, when you are the beneficiary of a West Palm Beach or Miami trust, you have a right to request, from the trustee, an accounting of that trust. In Florida, trustees actually have a duty to provide an annual accounting. Florida Statute 736.0813 (d) says that “a trustee of an irrevocable trust shall provide a trust accounting, as set forth in s. 736.08135, from the date of the last accounting or, if none, from the date on which the trustee became accountable, to each qualified beneficiary at least annually and on termination of the trust or on change of the trustee.” Trust Lawsuits in Florida If you are the beneficiary of a Florida trust, and you believe the trustee is hiding something, or has stolen money, you may decide to sue the trustee. The trustee has a duty to communicate certain information to the trust beneficiaries. If the trustee is ignoring your inquiries, refusing to provide you with […]

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Florida Appeals and Alimony Modification

Uncategorized Jul 21, 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 Trust Lawyers and Rule 4-1.6

Uncategorized Jul 3, 2020
post about Florida Trust Lawyers and Rule 4-1.6

What is rule 4-1.6? What do my West Palm Beach lawyers need to know about this rule? What do trust lawsuits have to do with attorney-client privilege? What is a waiver of consent? What information can your trust lawyer disclose without your consent? Can you compel a nonparty to disclose privileged information? Disclosure of Trust Documents and Attorney-Client Privilege Rule 4-1.6 is one of the rules regulating the Florida Bar. This particular rule is very important as it is addresses a lawyer’s duty in regards to the confidentiality of his or her client’s information. Specifically, this rule states that ” a lawyer shall not reveal information relating to the representation of a client unless the client gives informed consent, the disclosure is impliedly authorized in order to carry out the representation, or the disclosure is permitted by Rule 4-1.6(b).” If you are involved in trust, estate, or even business litigation in Florida, you should consider reading this rule in its entirety. That way, you can understand your lawyer’s responsibilities when it comes to attorney-client privilege. Florida Statute 90.502 In addition to becoming familiar with rule 4-1.6, you may want to read  Florida Statute 90.502. This is the Florida statute that attorney-client privilege is governed by. Per the statute, as a client, you have “a privilege to refuse to disclose, and to prevent any other person from disclosing, the contents of confidential communications when such other person learned of the communications because they were made in the rendition of legal services […]

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Holographic Wills in Florida

Uncategorized Jul 1, 2020
post about Holographic Wills in Florida

Who can write a valid will in Florida? What does it mean to be of “sound mind”? What is a holographic will according to Florida law?  Are holographic wills valid in Florida? What should I know about Holographic wills? What Florida Statutes can I read to learn more about Holographic wills in Florida? How can a Florida probate lawyer assist me if I believe a will was not properly executed? When should I hire a West Palm Beach estate lawyer to contest a holographic will in my Florida probate proceeding? Who Can Write a Valid Will in Florida? Florida Statute 732.501 states that any person who is of a sound mind and who is 18 years or older may execute a Florida will. Florida estate lawyers and West Palm Beach trust attorneys know that a person needs to have testamentary capacity when they execute a will. Otherwise, their Florida will may end up being contested by the beneficiaries. What is being of a “sound mind”? What is testamentary capacity?  There are four main components to show testamentary capacity (sometimes called “sufficient mental capacity”) in Florida: understanding that he or she is creating a distribution of his or her property after death, knowing the nature and extent of his or her property, knowing the named heirs and members of his or her family understanding in a reasonable manner the general nature and effect of the act of signing the will.  What is a Holographic Will? A Palm Beach probate lawyer can tell […]

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Florida Probate Appeals and Jurisdiction

Uncategorized Jun 30, 2020
post about Florida Probate Appeals and Jurisdiction

What is a probate appeal? When do you need to hire a Florida appellate attorney? What probate orders are appealable? What should West Palm Beach probate lawyers know about Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.170? What happens if it is determined that a Florida appellate court does not have jurisdiction to hear a certain appeal? Florida Probate Litigation and Appeals Florida lawyers know that some probate cases can lead to an appeal. If you disagree with a final judgment, you may be able to file an appeal. There are certain probate orders that can also be appealed. If you win, 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 Probate Lawyer If you are in the process of hiring a Florida probate litigation firm, you may want to look for a law firm that is experienced in both estate litigation and appeals. In the early stages of litigation, many people fail to consider the possibility of an appeal being filed. However, in the probate world, appeals do occur. What if you win your Florida probate case 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 Procedure and the Florida Probate Rules, ready to assist. At Pankauski Hauser Lazarus, one of the law partners, Robert Hauser, has been named a Board Certified Specialist by The Florida Bar […]

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Surviving Spouse Rights: Inheriting Homestead Property in Florida

Uncategorized Jun 27, 2020
post about Surviving Spouse Rights: Inheriting Homestead Property in Florida

Do surviving spouses in Florida have inheritance rights? What inheritance rights do surviving spouses have? Can my wife give her house to someone else in her Florida will or trust? Can my husband leave me and our minor children nothing? What do spousal rights have to do with Palm Beach probate litigation? Can my spouse of twenty years leave all of his money to his children from a prior marriage? If I am a surviving spouse, should I hire a Florida probate litigation lawyer? What am I entitled to? What happens to the homestead? Palm Beach Surviving Spouse Inheritance Rights In Florida, a surviving spouse may have rights to property of a deceased spouse. As In re Estate of Magee discusses, there are statutory minimum benefits that must be provided for families regardless of the decedent’s intent. What are these benefits? Homestead, elective share, and family allowances are three of the main rights of surviving spouses in Florida. With that being said, these rights can be waived by a prenuptial agreement. Did you sign away your Florida inheritance rights? Talk to an experienced Florida inheritance lawyer to learn exactly what you, as a surviving spouse in Florida, are entitled to inherit. Florida Statute 732.401 This important statute describes the descent of homestead in Florida. If you are a surviving spouse in West Palm Beach or Boca Raton, you definitely want to read this statute if there is a homestead property involved. Your Florida probate attorney should also be very familiar with this statute to ensure that you do not […]

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Health Care Surrogates, Guardianships and Florida Lawsuits

Uncategorized Jun 26, 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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What Happens if the Personal Representative of a Florida Estate Does Not Properly Provide Notice to Creditors?

Uncategorized Jun 25, 2020
post about What Happens if the Personal Representative of a Florida Estate Does Not Properly Provide Notice to Creditors?

What are the responsibilities of a personal representative in Florida when it comes to creditor claims? Does a personal representative need to publish Notice to Creditors? How does a personal representative determine the creditors of a Florida estate? Florida Statute 733.2121 and Notice to Creditors If you are serving as the personal representative of a Florida estate, you will have to comply with Florida Statute, section 733.2121. Therefore, as personal representative, you must properly publish Notice to Creditors and make a diligent search to determine creditors. To ensure that the Notice to Creditors is properly published, it is important to read the relevant statute in its entirety and to consult with your Florida estate attorney. Once the personal representative has provided Notice to Creditors, a clock begins to tick for the creditors who wish to file a claim. Therefore, if you believe that you have a claim against a Florida estate, it is important to get moving! Under Florida Statute 733.702(1), creditors must file any statements of claim against a decedent’s estate within three months of the first publication of the notice to creditors or within thirty days of being served with it, whichever is later. Palm Beach probate lawyers know that any claim not filed within that time is barred unless the court grants an extension.733.702(3), Florida Statutes(2012). Extensions can be granted “upon ground of fraud, estoppel, or insufficient notice of the claims period.” Therefore, if the personal representative of a Florida estate fails to properly give notice to a reasonably ascertainable creditor, […]

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Florida Business Lawsuits on a Contingency

Uncategorized Jun 20, 2020
post about Florida Business Lawsuits on a Contingency

When does a Florida business lawsuit on a contingency make sense? Florida shareholders and business owners, listen up! If you are the partner or a member of a Florida LLC, and are now involved in a business lawsuit in Florida, can you afford it? Here’s what Florida partners and former shareholders need to know. A contingency fee for your Florida business lawsuit may or may not make sense. Serious Business Lawsuit Lawyers Ask any business owner who has been forced out by their Florida partners, and he or she will tell you that you need to hire a tough litigator. What does this mean? You want to find a lawyer who is experienced. You should consider how long a law firm has been in business, and how many years of experience the Florida attorneys at the firm have. Ask the business lawyers you are interviewing how often they go to court. Let’s consider Florida probate law as an example. Many probate lawyers do not go to court. Instead, they write wills and trusts. However, probate litigators, like the attorneys at Pankauski Hauser, do NOT write estate plans. Instead, our attorneys fight hard in court for our clients. Trial experience is imperative if you are in need of someone to represent you in a Florida business dispute. Look for a Florida business attorney that is aggressive, yet professional. You want someone who will work hard and fight hard for yo, both inside and outside of the courtroom. You want a West […]

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Florida Civil Litigation: How does a voluntary dismissal affect an appeal?

Uncategorized Jun 16, 2020
post about Florida Civil Litigation: How does a voluntary dismissal affect an appeal?

Are you thinking about signing a settlement agreement where you agree to voluntarily dismiss your lawsuit? Have your Florida attorneys thoroughly explained how your voluntary dismissal will affect a future appeal? When should you agree to voluntarily dismiss a Florida probate or business lawsuit? What does voluntarily dismissing a lawsuit in Florida have to do with Florida appeals? Voluntary Dismissals in Florida Civil Lawsuits A recent Third DCA opinion, Metalonis v. Eastgroup Properties, explains just how voluntarily dismissing your lawsuit can affect an appeal. Here, the parties had entered into a Florida settlement agreement. One party did not comply with the terms of the settlement agreement so an emergency motion to compel compliance with settlement agreement was filed. The trial court, after a hearing, approved the terms of the agreement, granted the motion to compel and ordered that a voluntary dismissal with prejudice be filed. After the voluntary dismissal was filed with prejudice, and the case was dismissed, the party that filed the voluntary dismissal wanted to appeal the trial court’s order granting the emergency motion to compel. Unfortunately, by filing the voluntary dismissal, he had lost his chance to appeal. When to Voluntarily Dismiss Your West Palm Beach Lawsuit Only voluntarily dismiss your Florida probate or trust lawsuit if you are sure that you want the lawsuit to be COMPLETELY over! As the Metalonis v. Eastgroup case shows, once a party to a Florida lawsuit voluntarily dismisses his or her case, the trial court lacks jurisdiction to do anything. Therefore, an […]

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