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Yearly Archives: 2021

Florida Guardianship Lawyer — what you can learn from a recent case

In the News Dec 19, 2021
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Finding a good Florida guardianship lawyer should not be hard. There are, after all, dozens of so called “elder law” attorneys and “guardianship attorneys.” But if you are in a “fight” or a contested guardianship, don’t you need firepower? A guardianship trial attorney? A December 15, 2021 case lets you get up to speed very quickly on some of the most important legal principles. To see a number of FREE FLORIDA GUARDIANSHIP VIDEOS, simply click those words. What You Need to Read How can you learn the basic “legal stuff” about guardianships quickly? There are four things to read. The Florida Guardianship Code. Chapter 744 of the Florida Statutes is our Guardianship Code. That is an excellent place to start. It sets for the basic legal concepts, some procedural time frames and legal rights. Second, consider reading the Florida Probate Rules. Why? Because there are special rules for guardianships. See Part III to the Rules. I know that everyone has see the Netflix film, I Care a Lot, or have read about the Britney Spears guardianship. But in Florida, you might consider taking your cues from serious, experienced guardianship trial attorneys. Read Florida Appellate Opinions. These are written legal opinions from our District Courts of Appeal. There is a December 15, 2021 opinion from the 3rd District Court of Appeal. That court handles appeals for Miami-Dade County. Let’s see what we can learn from their opinion in the In Re: Guardianship of Ash. Florida Guardianship Lawyer — do I really […]


Florida Trust Lawyer — to help you with administration, litigation, malfeasance, or …..?

Our Attorneys Dec 4, 2021
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Trust law in Florida is sort of specialized, right? I mean there are special rules and laws. We have previously written about hiring a Florida Trust Lawyer. Now, let’s go a bit deeper and give you another perspective. Whether you are a beneficiary, trustee, or you were cut-out of an inheritance, and need to file a TRUST CONTEST, the following should be helpful. How Do I Find the Best? Many times, wealth in passed along to a trust. You don’t get your inheritance OUTRIGHT. Your receive money or property in a Florida Trust. And you have to ask your trustee for money in many cases. That’s because many trusts give a trustee the DISCRETION to give — or not give— money to you. That’s a lot of power over a lot of money. Beneficiaries who claim that their trustee is not behaving properly may sue. Many times, those Florida trust lawsuits revolve around whether or not the trustee abused her discretion. For a free video on Trustee Abuse of Discretion, click that phrase. To read a book about being a Florida Trustee written by trust litigator John Pankauski, Esquire, click HERE. Find the Florida Trust Lawyer That’s Right For You Now, no one is telling you to run down to the county clerk’s office and file a trust lawsuit. But, it may make sense to have a Florida trust lawyer explain how your trustee is doing. How is the trust being managed? The truth is, many times beneficiaries mistakenly believe […]


Estate Claims in Florida — how to deal with them

FAQs Dec 2, 2021
post about Estate Claims in Florida — how to deal with them

Many times, you have to make a claim in a Florida probate or estate to get your money. That’s if you are considered a “creditor.” On the other hand… Often, if you are beneficiary or an executor, you have to deal with those creditors and estate claims. Should you pay them? Are they valid? You can OBJECT to those claims if appropriate. This Florida Probate Commentary will deal with estate claims. To read more about making a claim, you can click HERE. Now, let’s find out quickly and concisely what you need to know. Estate Claims — what are they and how do I get paid? Estate claims are claims made against a deceased Florida resident. They are sometimes referred to as creditors claims. Why? If you are owed something from a dead person, you are her creditor. A creditor’s rights and status are different than those of a BENEFICIARY. Since the Florida resident (who owes you something ) is now dead, you have to make your claim against her estate. What is an estate claim? Think of a claim as an assertion of a right. It may be a right to get re-paid, like from a loan you made to the dead person. Or it may be a right to buy certain property. Think real estate or an interest in a Florida LLC when a member dies. How do I do make my claim? File Your Claim ! If you are owed any money from someone who died, you […]


Estate Objections in Florida

In the News Dec 1, 2021
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Sometimes, to exercise your rights in a Florida probate, you have to file estate objections. This is particularly true with a surviving spouse . Why? Because a spouse has a lot of legal rights and options in a probate. Elections to make–or not make. What about compensation and attorneys fees? Yup, someone might object to them. A November 24, 2021 case discusses when one has standing in a Florida estate or probate to object. Estate Objections What’s to object to? Things like: compensation of the Personal Representative, fees, costs and how the estate is being administered or how property is being managed. You have to object to an estate inventory before the estate is closed. But for other matters, you may have to object much sooner. Compensation of the executor (personal representative) Attorneys fees Determination of beneficiaries Costs incurred or estate money spent Elective share elections Family allowance Estate property inventory Probate accounting Statements of claim Creditors claims and more……………….. ! How Can I Learn More (What Do I Need to Read Right Now) ? The Florida Probate Code is the set of statutes or laws which govern estates. Estates are those legal proceedings or entities which are created when a Florida resident dies. The person in charge of a Florida estate is the “Personal Representative.” What does she do? A personal representative of a Florida probate does a lot ! They: gather assets, pay creditors, pay estate administration expenses, deal with any issues like litigation or payment of final […]


Statute of NonClaim — creditors claims in Florida Estates

In the News Nov 30, 2021
post about Statute of NonClaim — creditors claims in Florida Estates

If you are owed anything from a dead person in Florida, file a statement of claim absolutely no later than 2 years after the date of death. Wow, that’s an earful. A November 24, 2021 Florida Appellate Opinion on estate claims reminds us about Florida’s Statute of Nonclaim. And why you need to file a statement of claim ASAP in a Florida probate. To read more about creditors claims in Florida estates or probates, you can click HERE. Claims in a Florida Probate If you are owed anything from someone who dies, you need to open a probate. And make your claim ! If a probate is opened, that saves you a step! Now, you need to file a timely statement of claim. (If you don’t want to open a probate, consider filing a CAVEAT. But be careful of the 2 years time frame.) If you lent money to a person who is now deceased, break out the loan agreement. It probably has a provision on what to do if the borrower dies. But money lent or loans are just one example of a claim that must be filed in a probate in Florida. If you have rights under a prenup, a contract, or an operating agreement, like a Florida LLC, you need to file a statement of claim. And the law limits how much time you have to do that. If you don’t file your claim properly and timely, you are out of luck. For a free Florida probate […]


Undue Influence Lawyer Florida

FAQs Nov 18, 2021
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Need an undue influence lawyer Florida? Understanding this legal concept can assist in finding an experienced attorney for your will contest or trust contest. To see a free video on undue influence, you can click HERE. To read more about undue influence, click HERE. Now, let’s discuss this topic in light of a November 17, 2021 opinion from the Miami-Dade Appellate Court. What is Undue Influence? Undue influence is a form of fraud that can cause a will or trust to be void. If someone caused a will or trust to be signed by undue influence, it’s void. Undue influence is over-pursuasion, force, coercion. Pressure. When that pressure or force or influence is so great, the “undue-influencer’s” desire and intent replace the victim’s. To read more about this legal topic, click HERE. To read about the warning signs of undue influence, click this FREE Florida probate legal commentary. Recent Appellate Opinion Undue Influence Lawyer Florida On November 17, 2021, the 3rd District Court of Appeal issues its opinion in the case of In Re: Estate of Tien. You can read that opinion for free . That case dealt with related issues involving a challenge to the will, a voluntary dismissal and a caveat.


What is a Revocable Trust Florida?

FAQs Nov 7, 2021
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Millions and billions of dollars pass through revocable trusts in Florida to beneficiaries, family members, in-laws and even outlaws. But many people mis-understand what a revocable trust is. This is your easy-2-understand guide. We have previously written about these estate planning documents, or entities (click HERE to read more). Now, let’s go a bit deeper. What is a Revocable Trust Florida? Background — why do I care? You need to know about revocable trusts for 2 main reasons. First, everyone in Florida has them ! (Mostly everyone !!). They work just like a will….sort of ! They are part of a Florida resident’s estate plan. They can work with a pourover will and also a power of attorney. Most of the time, someone has a will that leaves most everything to their revocable trust. Then, the revocable trust gathers assets and administers those assets according to the trust document. The trust document may, for example, distribute everything right then and there. Or, keep money in trust for years and years to come. (Some beneficiaries may never get a dime. And some may not see any money for decades unless you modify the trust. Want to modify a trust? Start by reading this law. ) What else do I need to know about what is a revocable trust Florida? What is a revocable trust ? Second, that’s how a lot of inheritances are left or created. Through one of these trusts. While most of the time a lawyer writes a trust. […]


Disqualifying an Attorney in Florida — in a nutshell

FAQs Nov 7, 2021
post about Disqualifying an Attorney in Florida — in a nutshell

Even though attorneys are often the brunt of jokes, they do serious work. And are held to high ethical standards. They owe duties of loyalty to clients. As they should, right? And they should be disqualified if they are presented with a conflict of interest. This Florida legal commentary will discuss disqualifying an attorney in Florida. Including a November 3, 2021 appellate opinion. (We have previously discussed this subject HERE and HERE.) Even if you are a FORMER client, you have rights. Ethical Duties of Florida Lawyers Lawyers in Florida are held to high ethical standards. Lawyers owe clients a duty of loyalty. The Florida Bar has an Ethics Hotline that consumers and attorneys can call. You can review, search, and read, for free, Florida Bar Ethics Opinions online. A lawyer must always act in the best interest of her client. And while a lawyer is not required to be perfect, she must always seek to put the client first. That’s what a fiduciary does. You place your client’s interest over everyone else’s, including your own. And when your interests as a lawyer conflict or collide with a client’s, the lawyer must disclose that conflict. In most instances, the lawyer must also end the representation. Although, some conflicts may be knowingly (and voluntarily) approved of, or consented to, by the client. To read more about ethical duties of Florida lawyers, read the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar. Focus on Chapter 4 Rules of Professional Conduct. Disqualifying an Attorney in Florida […]


Florida Trust Fraud

Probate Information Oct 22, 2021
post about Florida Trust Fraud

Disinherited from a trust? Bad trustee? If you are a financial victim and lost an inheritance, you don’t have a lot of time to act. Depending upon what your trustee, or her trust lawyer, may have sent to you, you may only have 6 months. To do what? To file a trust contest or object to the validity of the trust. Or to object to trust money decisions. We have previously discussed Florida Probate Fraud. Now, let’s talk about Florida Trust Fraud. (To see a free Florida Trust Video on a trust challenge, click HERE.) Kinds of Fraud — bad trustees Under Florida law, there are actually many types of fraud. Constructive fraud is when a person who is required to disclose information does not. Sounds like a bad trustee, right? You got it. The Florida Trust Code sets forth a LOT of trust beneficiary rights. And, there are also a lot of DUTIES owed by a trustee to her beneficiaries. So much more than just an annual accounting. A trustee has to give “qualified beneficiaries” notice of the trust with her contact information, the name of the trustee. And the trustee has to give you a copy of the trust. No hiding the ball ! (That’s fraud !) And, a trustee is REQUIRED to provide relevant data when you, a beneficiary, asks questions. So, if the trustee lies, that’s fraud. Intentionally withholds information? Fraud! And if the trustee steals, we KNOW that’s fraud, right? That’s what Florida Probate Litigators […]


Trust Standing Florida — who can attack a trust?

In the News Oct 22, 2021
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Want to object to a trust? You need trust standing Florida to bring a trust contest. Also called a “trust challenge.” That means you have to have some connection to the trust, a prior trust, the trustee, or the dead person who created it. A recent Florida Appellate Court decision tells you more about whether you can attack a trust. It’s worth a read whether you want to have the trust voided, or if you are the trustee, and you have to defend the lawsuit. 1st Steps 1st — what is standing and why do I need it? What is trust standing Florida? Why does it matter? Think of standing as the legal connection one has to the trust. After all, everybody in the world can’t come in and object to a trust or launch a trust challenge. You need some connection. You have to have an interest that was affected by a trust before you can file a trust lawsuit attacking it. And it matters for two reasons. 1st, family members and prior beneficiaries may want to challenge a change to the trust if there was undue influence or fraud. And — 2nd — let’s face it, there are a lot of trusts in Florida! Holding billions and billions of dollars. And many times, a trust will be “restated” or “amended.” Or revoked ! And a new trust created. Not surprisingly, those trust documents often leaven out certain family members, or beneficiaries. Sometimes they leave more to another family […]