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Yearly Archives: 2023

Palm Beach Estate Attorney

Our Attorneys Aug 8, 2023
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Finding the “right” Palm Beach Estate Attorney probably turns on what you NEED. Read more below if you are in the middle of a dispute. If you need someone to write a will or trust for you, look for a good estate planning attorney. If you need some litigation counsel, consider seeing this short, free video. It just may help you find what you are looking for. Or, keep reading. How to find a good one “Shopping” for a good Palm Beach Estate attorney is kind of like searching for any service provider. What? Are you telling me that there is no difference in finding, say, a good dry cleaner or architect, from a “fire-breathing” litigator? Well, who we hire may be different, but aren’t most of your best search practices the same? Try to find someone who specializes in what you are after, who has years of experience, and someone you connect with. Have faith in. Can confide in. Have confidence in. If you are looking for a lawyer to write a will or trust, or POA, that’s an estate planning attorney. Don’t look for someone who handles probate litigation, trials and appeals. Palm Beach Estate Attorney But what if you objecting to a will or bringing a trust lawsuit? Or, maybe your Personal Representative or Trustee or Executor is not sharing information with you? Then, you need some “firepower”, right? (To see some free Florida probate litigation videos, click here.) Look for someone who backs up his or […]


Palm Beach Trust Attorney

FAQs Aug 7, 2023
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When do you know if you need a Palm Beach Trust Attorney? And when should you have one who handles trust litigation? If you need someone who does more than “writes trusts“, read on. The key to your trust matter may just be selecting the “right” “firepower.” (If you believe that you need a trust litigator, you can read (FREE) more about what you may be looking for by CLICKING HERE.) Trust Lawyering So, to be clear, there are some really, really good Florida trust lawyers who write trusts. They do estate planning. They draft wills, powers of attorney, health care documents like health care proxies, and surrogates. And Living Wills. That’s NOT what we are talking about here. If you need a revocable trust, or a living trust, you need an estate planning lawyer. You don’t need a litigator who is in the “trenches” of lawsuits and litigation. If you have a trust issue, dispute, lawsuit or challenge, read on. Palm Beach Trust Attorney — understanding the trust” holy trinity” The type of Palm Beach Trust Attorney that you may need should be one who has the “firepower“. The experience in courts, trying cases. Handling Trust Appeals. SERIOUS trial experience. You need someone who not only understands the Florida Trust Code, Chapter 736. But also the Evidence Code, Chapter 90. And the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure. Why? Because if you are involved in a trust dispute over an accounting, an inheritance or a revocable trust, you may need […]


Palm Beach Inheritance Lawyer

Our Attorneys Aug 6, 2023
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A Palm Beach Inheritance lawyer may be needed to help you with your inheritance. If you are “contesting” something in a Florida probate or trust, maybe you need a litigator. (Someone who actually handles probate trials + appeals all the time…..NOT just some lawyer who says they “go to court“. ) If you want a lawyer who does more than just “writes letters” demanding your inheritance, and you want a probate litigator, read on. This just may be the best 4 minutes you have spent on your Florida matter. (For more info, you can read free legal commentary and guidance by clicking HERE . ) Palm Beach Inheritance Lawyer = Firepower OK…………..not everyone needs an Alpha Dog, right? Many times, you are going to inherit money from an estate. A Florida probate. Maybe a revocable living trust. So, if you trust your trustee or Personal Representative, you don’t need a Palm Beach Inheritance Lawyer. But……………..what if that person is not sharing information with you? And………..sometimes, things are not breaking your way. Sick and tired of YOUR Personal Representative or Trustee not showing you the books? Or NOT telling you where YOUR money is? What can you do? (For a brief read, free, on whether you need to hire a pitbull or not, read THIS.) Baby Steps OK…………..so there are some basic, simple things which you can do. First of all, you can open a probate. That’s a court proceeding. Why? Because it causes all “interested persons” to play by the […]


Palm Beach Guardianship Lawyer

FAQs Aug 6, 2023

How do you find a good Palm Beach Guardianship lawyer, and, what, EXACTLY, is one? (For free, helpful videos on Florida Guardianships, click HERE.) Palm Beach Guardianship Lawyer For good or for ill, guardianship cases have exploded. If you asked me 20 years ago if I would be handling contested guardianships, I would have guessed “no.” But, now, contested guardianships are a vital and important part of the probate litigation practice at Pankauski Lazarus. And, I’m proud to say, we have built up a stellar reputation, Florida-wide. To read more about our guardianship practice, click HERE. It may assist you in determining whether you need to file for a Florida guardianship or not. Let’s discuss the “two” “main” types of Palm Beach Guardianship lawyers. Contested vs. Un-Contested Guardianships in Florida There are two types of guardianships: contested and un-contested. You don’t need me for an uncontested guardianship. That’s where everyone gets along and there are no disagreements. The truth is that there are many fine guardianship lawyers out there who do a good job. At much lower rates that a guardianship trial lawyer like me. They know Florida Guardianship Law and are effective at assisting families. But, what if you don’t agree? What if you disagree?……………………….a LOT!? Disputed Matters When parties to a Palm Beach Guardianship do not agree, we call it a “contested” guardianship. There are two things which may be contested. First, whether or not someone, the alleged incapacitated person (AIP), is competent or not competent. Do you […]


Right of First Refusal Florida

FAQs Jul 22, 2023
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A lot of real estate changes hands in Florida. A recent case deals with a right of first refusal Florida. If you are a tenant, or have a ROFR via a contract, you need to read that case. Florida Real Estate So, there is a LOT of interest in Florida real estate. Vacant land, office towers, apartment complexes and plain old homesteads and residences can change hands multiple times over the years. (But….remember…. ROFRs are NOT for just real estate.) Many times, a tenant may have a right of first refusal Florida. This gives the tenant a right to purchase a particular property upon certain terms when the seller intends to accept an offer from another. Many times, though, a right of first refusal Florida is not found in a lease. But in a private contract. A deal. Because a potential buyer wants to know if the seller is going to sell. But this property right places obligations on the seller or owner of the real estate. She needs to give notice, and proper notice, to the person who has, or holds, the ROFR. Failure to follow the ROFR can get the owner/seller into legal trouble. A recent case from Florida’s 4th District Court of Appeal discusses this very issue. But, first, let’s get some bullet-point-advice from a Florida trial attorney who handles lots of clients, litigation and appeals over homestead, real estate and plain old Florida real estate. Florida Right of First Refusal


Importance of Trust Protectors in Florida Estate Planning

FAQs Jun 3, 2023
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What’s the importance of trust protectors in Florida when many Floridians already have an estate plan? They have a POA, a living will, a will and a revocable trust. Where does a Trust Protector fit in? Understanding Basic Florida Estate Planning Documents Let’s start with a basic Florida estate plan: Trust Protectors Florida A trust protector is the creature of “hard thinking” trust lawyers. There’s no one definition for a trust protector. In the Florida Trust Code, the word “trust protector” is only used once. And not even defined. And, candidly, lawyers who “write” trusts have different takes on trust protectors and what they do or should do. Here’s a broad overview:


Florida Trust Accounting

In the News Jan 28, 2023
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Who gets to see the books? And who has legal standing in a trust matter to get a Florida trust accounting? The answers may surprise you. Who gets a Florida trust accounting? Just as “not everyone” can participate in a Florida probate, you have to be connected to participate in a trust. (To read more about the probate process, click here.) What?… Who gets a Florida trust accounting is limited to qualified beneficiaries. What’s a qualified beneficiary? Well, think of it as one who can get trust money right now, or who may get it when another beneficiary’s interest ceases. (Like, for example, if your mom or dad die, you might inherit their share of the trust. You don’t get money now, but you will get it in the future if there’s any trust money left. You and mom or dad in this example are qualified beneficiaries. And entitled to an accounting each year). A qualified beneficiary is defined in the Florida Trust Code at 736.0103(19). Want to learn more? Read this…. Read Florida Trust Code Chapter 736. It will tell you all about Trust Law in Florida and explain beneficiary rights and trustee obligations or duties. For more information about legal standing in a trust contest, read the Cruz case. This 5th District Court of Appeal opinion dealt with adult children who challenged their father’s revocable trust. This case also dealt with a limitations notice. (To learn about standing in a Florida probate, you can read this for free […]


Florida Heirs

Probate Information Jan 19, 2023
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Who are Florida heirs and how much do you inherit? Heir Inherit an Intestate Estate Many people die in Florida without a will. When that happens, the estate is called an “intestate” estate. The Florida laws of intestacy rule. What do the laws of intestacy say? They say that heirs inherit. How much? The entire estate. But remember, that you have to pay taxes, claims, creditors and expenses of administration before beneficiaries see a dime. (For more on intestacy, click here.) Who Are Florida Heirs? OK…………..so, who, exactly are Florida heirs? First of all, a surviving spouse is. Descendants are. Like minor or adult children and a deceased child’s children. Note that being an “heir” is different than being an interested person. If the spouse of the deceased Florida resident is the parent of all the children of the deceased Florida resident, the spouse takes the entire estate. Unless he or she waived inheritance rights. Like in a prenup. Then, her or his rights to inherit are limited by the prenup. Assuming the prenup is valid or cannot be turned over. But , then again, sometimes people fight about the “plain” language in a prenup. If the spouse is not the parent of one or more of the deceased Florida resident’s children: the spouse takes half the estate and the other heirs take the other half. Remember: homestead is often a very valuable asset. That’s the one true home of the deceased Florida resident. Although the spouse has lots of […]


Who Are Heirs in Florida?

FAQs Jan 18, 2023
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Heirs can inherit an entire Florida probate. Like….. all the property of the dead Florida resident. BUT, there are rules. To learn more about whether you are an heir or not, keep reading, or click here. Florida Probates + Family Who are heirs in Florida? That class of “legal actors” are those who inherit under the laws of intestacy. There is a Florida statute right on point in the Florida Probate Code. Check out Florida Statute 731.201(20). These can include the surviving spouse (if any), adult or minor children, and, maybe, grandchildren (children of deceased children). To read more about intestacy, click here. Quick note: an heir may be different than an “interested person.” Remember, not everyone can participate in a Florida probate. You need some connection. That’s an interested person. And remember: often, one’s house or homestead is very, very valuable. So, find out how the house “goes” and see if you get a share. Who Are Heirs and What Do They Inherit? In Florida, a person has the right to dispose of her wealth as she sees fit. That means that she can leave it all to whomever she wants. You just can’t dis-inherit your spouse completely. A surviving spouse has a LOT of inheritance rights. Unless they signed a prenup. Children…………..that’s a different story. But, if there is no will, that’s called intestacy. Heirs inherit the entire estate in an intestacy. What some call an “intestate estate.” But remember, heirs only get paid after all the creditors, […]


Estate Appeal — now or never in Florida !

Probate Information Jan 14, 2023
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This legal commentary is on a Florida estate appeal. It will list each probate ruling which you MUST appeal within 30 days under the “new” Florida Rule 9.170. To learn more about a probate appeal or a homestead appeal, click those links for free commentary. Understanding the Basics So, here are some of the basics to understanding an estate appeal in Florida. After all, every day in Florida, family members, beneficiaries, interested persons and personal representatives are faced with orders and judgments. Knowing if you can live with them, or if it makes sense to take an appeal, are challenges which many face. In many instances, you have to wait until the end of your legal matter (e.g. trial) to file an appeal. You only file an appeal if you believe that the probate court committed reversible error. (For short video on an appeal regarding a petition to revoke probate, click here.) More Basics — to help you understand What do you do if you WIN in the probate court? And the other side appeals? Well, you have a couple of options. One, you may not want to spend the money on an experienced probate appellate attorney. Two, maybe someone else will defend the judgment or order and “fight” the appeal so you don’t have to. Or, three, maybe you file a limited cross-appeal. This may be done if you believe that there was one little, or limited, error that needs correcting. Talk to your probate appeals lawyer about whether […]