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Category: FAQs

Notice of Trust Florida

FAQs Aug 23, 2022
post about Notice of Trust Florida

What is a notice of trust? Learn the two types, who is entitled to this, and what you should look out for if you are a beneficiary. To see a short video on this topic, CLICK HERE. What’s the big deal? A trustee is required to tell her beneficiaries that she is a trustee. A trustee should send a writing to a Florida trust beneficiary within 60 days. This is the first notice of trust which we will discuss. You can also read the Florida Trust Code Statute 736.0813(1). What’s the purpose of this document? It tells the beneficiaries: The existence of the trust. That there is a trust which you are a beneficiary of. It identifies the trustee with an address. That way you know who is in charge of your money and who to contact. Why would you contact your trustee? To ask for money, accountings and other relevant information about YOUR trust. Annual accountings. It also tells you that you are entitled to a complete copy of your trust agreement. Just ask the trustee. What other relevant information might a trust beneficiary want? How about… Financial statements. Copies of sale documents for real estate that is sold. A list of all trust assets How much compensation the trustee is taking from your trust. Beneficiaries have a lot of RIGHTS. Trustees owe you a lot of DUTIES. Notice of Trust in Probate Court When the creator, or “grantor”, of a trust dies and the trust becomes irrevocable, there […]


Inheritance Lawyer in Florida — do you really need one?

FAQs Aug 22, 2022
post about Inheritance Lawyer in Florida — do you really need one?

When do you really need an inheritance lawyer in Florida? Well, let’s first understand what one is. Then, we can discuss the most common times that people hire one. Finally, we’ll close by considering 6 factors to consider when you are interviewing one. What is an inheritance lawyer? An inheritance lawyer in Florida is one who can assist, counsel, guide or litigate legal matters for you. About what? Well, not everything. Involving inheritances. Property, property rights or money which you may get when someone passes away. Or… when a prior property interest ends. Like if you inherit a trust. OK…so…when? Under what circumstances? The most common are two areas of Florida law. Estates and probates. And Trusts. One may be a counselor. Informing and educating you about, for example, the probate process. Or how trusts work in Florida. Advising you on fiduciary fees, administration of an estate or trust. Giving you straight-talk and easy-to-understand explanations about what you are supposed to inherit and when. One may be an advocate. This advocate role of an inheritance lawyer will take a stand for you. Argue in court. File papers for you. And, also explain what court-filed documents are, what they mean, and how they affect you. An advocate is biased ! For you ! Most people want someone on their side. Or, one can be a probate litigator. You know, the type that isn’t afraid to “get dirty”. Who actually tries cases and handles appeals. They typically limit their practice to disputes […]


Marital Trusts in Florida — full time employment

FAQs Aug 22, 2022
post about Marital Trusts in Florida — full time employment

Marital Trusts were once set up to provide for a spouse and their children. But times have changed. Find out why these trusts are often the subject of serious, and expensive, litigation. The full time employment act for probate litigators? We have previously written about trust lawsuits among a widow, or surviving spouse, and adult children. Now, let’s re-examine this Florida Legal Concept and consider why there is so much litigation — and what you can do. How Did We Get Here? OK, here’s the scenario which we are talking about. Mom or Dad have a few bucks and die. Their estate plan leaves money and property in a trust. For her or his surviving spouse for lifetime. If there’s anything left in the trust when spouse dies, it goes to Mom or Dad’s adult children. Back in the 80’s and 90’s, you could only leave about $600,000 free of the estate tax. Everything over that was taxed. The tax act of 1986 changed all that with the marital trust. If done properly, this type of trust would benefit your spouse and then go to the kids. You got a marital deduction and paid the tax when the 2nd spouse died. Sounded good , right? Fast forward to the 2000’s and 2020’s in Florida. Lots of people get divorced Many re-marry. Many 2nd spouses, or 3rd spouses, don’t like their new spouse’s children. And vice versa. So, why is everyone still creating a marital trust for people who don’t get […]


Attorney That Deals with Inheritance

FAQs Aug 7, 2022
post about Attorney That Deals with Inheritance

Do you really need a lawyer to explain your inheritance rights to you? Not necessarily. And, even if you do, you might not need that attorney for long, or for much work. Knowing whether you need inheritance counsel is one thing. But how do you interview and select an inheritance lawyer to your liking? 5 things to consider. Straight talk, straight from the horse’s mouth. Do you even need an attorney that deals with inheritance ? Let’s face it: not everyone needs an inheritance attorney. You just don’t. Lots of times, a trusted family member is handling the Florida Probate with a good estate lawyer who everyone trusts. There are probate rules which provide for information sharing and disclosure. You know what’s going on, when, and how things are getting done. There’s no will contest, no fighting. But, what if the trust is not there? What if the executor or personal representative is not telling you what’s going on in the probate? “Many family members are let down when the estate executor does not communicate, let alone hides information” says Probate Litigation Attorney John Pankauski. Pankauski tries to reassure prospective clients who may not be trustful of their executor. He lets them know that financial data, assets, money, and property will all be disclosed. Or, should be disclosed. He points you to all the rights which a Florida estate beneficiary has under the Probate Code. And all the duties which an executor is required to follow. But what happens when […]


57.105– the Florida law for attorneys fees + costs for frivolous claims + suits

FAQs Aug 6, 2022
post about 57.105– the Florida law for attorneys fees + costs for frivolous claims + suits

Courts of law are NOT meant for fake claims or defenses. Someone filing a frivolous matter or claim may be sanctioned. They could be ordered to pay attorneys fees and costs under Florida Law 57.105. This law provides for fees if someone makes a claim that is not based upon the law and facts. A recent opinion tells you all you need to know. The Basics To read more about this attorney fee and sanctions topic, click HERE. 57.105 is a statute which provides for attorneys fees and costs under limited circumstances The purpose of that law was to diminish or discourage frivolous filings When is something frivolous? This statute provides for the award of fees and costs if a claim or defense is NOT supported by the law or the facts. This law SANCTIONS such conduct. The sanction is in the form of awarding the prevailing party attorneys fees. But be cautious. When awarding fees as a sanction, an expert must give testimony. See the August 5, 2022 case of Mitchell v. Flatt. Recent Case On August 3, 2022, Florida’s 4th District Court of Appeal issued its opinion in the case of Cadavid v. Saporta. This case dealt with injunctions and claims of a violation of a restraining order. It required the trial judge to carefully weigh the conflicting testimony of both parties. This opinion gives you, the reader, just about all you need to know about Florida Law 57.105. And, remember: failure to timely appeal a sanction order […]


Charging Lien Florida

FAQs Jul 31, 2022
post about Charging Lien Florida

Understanding a charging lien Florida shouldn’t be that difficult. There are only a handful of points which you need to know. But lawyers and clients struggle to understand this obscure Florida legal concept — and about paying legal fees. Here’s some guidance from the horse’s mouth! Perspective from one who has drafted, or written, charging liens, litigated them in trial, and handled those appeals. Understanding the Basics A charging lien Florida issue typically comes to the court when there is a “fee fight.” A disagreement between a client and a lawyer. ( Note that a charging lien is different than a retaining lien . ) It generally involves non-payment of compensation by a client, or former client, to a Florida lawyer. To see a free Florida Legal video on this topic, click HERE. Lawyers, many times incorrectly, file a notice of charging lien. Why? “Notice” is one requirement for asserting a valid charging lien Florida. But when does a lawyer have such a lien? (Back in 2017, attorney John Pankauski presented a Florida Bar-approved continuing legal education seminar on this topic.) Once notice is given, or filed, the lawyer can then move the court (by filing a motion) to perfect, or rule on, the validity of it. But what is a charging lien and what are the key points you need to know? 5 Things You Need to Know A Charging Lien attaches to specific property. Not necessarily a client’s entire case. It may attach to a judgment or settlement. […]


How Long Do You Have to Sue an Executor?

FAQs Jul 24, 2022
post about How Long Do You Have to Sue an Executor?

Statutes of limitations are SHORT in Florida probates and estates! The first thing that you need to know is: are you suing the executor for something the dead person did? Are you suing the estate? Or………. are you suing the executor for something she did during estate administration? Hurry! Before the estate closes and you are left out. (To learn about WHO CAN BE EXECUTOR, click that link). Understanding Probate Claims Every right or possible lawsuit must be filed or asserted within the appropriate time frame. These time limitations to make claims are often referred to as statutes of limitations. You can read all about the statutes of limitations by clicking THIS LINK and reading Florida Law 95.11. If you have a claim against a person who is now deceased, you are a creditor. Part VII of the Florida Probate Code tells you all about creditor claims. Creditor claims must be filed no later than 2 years after the decedent’s death. That’s Probate Law 733.710. That’s the MAXIMUM time you have to sue. And you need a probate court proceeding open in Florida to file your Statement of Claim. Writing a letter won’t work. Even if you are under the 2 year rule, you may have had to file a statement of claim earlier. There are 3 month statutes of limitations. See Probate Law 733.702. It depends on whether or not you got actual notice and when publication of notice to creditors was accomplished. 3 months? Yes !! 3 months. […]


When Co Trustees Disagree

FAQs Jul 23, 2022
post about When Co Trustees Disagree

When Florida Co Trustees disagree, what is a beneficiary to do? Perhaps the BETTER question is what are the co trustees supposed to do? We have written before on whether or not co trustees must act jointly. Now, let’s consider when co trustees disagree in a Florida Trust. Florida Trust Rules In Florida, trustees must rule by majority vote unless the trust says otherwise. So, if you have an odd number of trustees or co trustees, not to worry. You just vote on stuff. But what if there are an even number of co trustees? Like two? Two co trustees is (are) very common in Florida. What rules apply when two co trustees can’t agree? Well, the answer to that question is two-fold. When Co Trustees Disagree First, look to the trust document. What does it say about trustees’ votes and decision-making? A trust, for example, could give one trustee “super-trustee” powers. Veto powers. Or, a third party, a tie-breaker, can step in to decide what to do when Co trustees disagree. Sometimes there is a “special trustee” for that single role. Or another person such as a trust protector to handle trustee disagreements. What happens when there is no tie breaker? Often, trustees go to court. They file a “dec action”. An action for declaratory relief. The co trustees or co trustee simply tell the Court what’s going on. What the disagreement is and the judge will decide what to do. To read more about the office of the […]


Do Co Trustees Have to Act Jointly?

FAQs Jul 23, 2022
post about Do Co Trustees Have to Act Jointly?

Trust disputes can get ugly between beneficiaries and their trustees. But what if there are multiple trustees of your Florida trust who don’t agree? Do Co Trustees have to act jointly? Read below for the answer. If you would like to see a FREE FLORIDA TRUST VIDEO on trust lawsuits’ secrets, click that link. Florida Trust Suits and Disputes The Florida Revocable Trust is almost as popular as the will. A Florida Will often “pours over” into a revocable trust. The revocable trust becomes irrevocable upon the creator’s death. (To read more about what a revocable trust, is click HERE.) Many Floridians use a revocable trust to leave inheritances, real estate and money for loved ones. When you create a trust, you have to name a trustee. (To read how to create a Florida Trust, consider glancing at Florida Trust Code Law 736.0401). Sometimes, the trust creator names multiple trustees. But what if the co trustees don’t get along? Do co trustees have to act jointly? (To see an easy-to-follow Florida Trust Legal Video on trust challenges, simply click HERE.) When Co Trustees Don’t Agree When co trustees don’t agree, how do they run the trust? First, Co Trustees should get along, cooperate and work together. (To read about a trustee’s duties, check out Florida Trust Code Law 736.0801- 736.0817. ) Read the trust document. Most trust documents will give the trustees instructions on how to act . A trust document might say that the co trustees MUST act unanimously. […]


Can a Power of Attorney Make Gifts?

FAQs Jul 16, 2022
post about Can a Power of Attorney Make Gifts?

In Florida, people have power-of-attorney documents as often as they have a will or a revocable trust. But mis-use of a “POA” causes concern. Many times, POAs take money or make gifts when they should not. So, can a Power of Attorney make gifts? To read about MISUSING a power of attorney, click this FREE LINK to Florida POA Law. Power of Attorney in Florida Let’s come out and say it : a power of attorney should not make gifts in Florida. There is even a special law about making gifts. Read Fla. Stat. 709.2202(1)(c) which prohibits making gifts ABSENT VERY SPECIFIC LANGUAGE AND PERMISSION. BUT, doesn’t every rule have exceptions. Here are some important bullet points for power of attorney law in Florida. (For a free legal video on UNDERSTANDING POWER OF ATTORNEY, click HERE.) A power of attorney is a fiduciary The person who “gives” or “creates” a power of attorney is called the “principal“ The POA is supposed to act in that person’s best interest The POA can and should spend the principal’s money — on the principal! The POA can use the power of attorney document to pay the principal’s bills The POA should not make gifts of the principal’s money unless the document specifically authorizes that The fiduciary should not make gifts of money or property to herself That’s called “self dealing” and is a “conflicted transaction” or a conflict of interest In unique or rare or limited circumstances, a principal might give the POA […]