1-561-514-0900 FREE CONSULTATION

Category: FAQs

What is Undue Influence in Florida Wills and Trusts

FAQs Mar 15, 2021
post about What is Undue Influence in Florida Wills and Trusts

Undue influence is a serious topic for estate litigators. And, perhaps more so, for family members and heirs. Have you been dis-inherited by a last minute will? This Florida probate commentary will explain what undue influence is and point you to an important Florida Estate Law. If you want to see a FREE UNDUE INFLUENCE VIDEO by estate and trust litigation attorney John Pankauski, CLICK HERE. Voiding a Florida Will Based Upon Undue Influence A will that is caused by undue influence is void. Florida Probate Law makes that very clear. Read Fla. Stat. 732.5165. Likewise, a Florida Trust that is caused by it is also VOID. If you want to read more about Florida probate and trust law, you can read the Florida Probate Code and also the Florida Trust Code for free. Here, also, is a free link to the Florida Probate Rules. The Florida Probate Rules are different than Florida statutes. There is a special procedure to follow to have a will or trust declared void . “You have to file papers in the Probate Court to contest the will” says veteran estate litigation attorney John Pankauski. “For trusts, you have to file a separate civil lawsuit.” In some instances, like with a Pour Over Will, you have to do both. How Do You Define It? Undue influence is defined as a form of coercion, over-persuasion and force. It is not always the same. It can vary from perpetrator to perpetrator. Undue influence can also have different […]

READ MORE

Florida Trustee Compensation — everything you need to know (almost)

FAQs Mar 14, 2021
post about Florida Trustee Compensation — everything you need to know (almost)

Are you the beneficiary of a Florida trust? And wonder if the Florida Trustee Compensation is too much? Welcome to your new club ! Virtually no beneficiary likes to pay their trustee compensation. And a lot think that their trustees take too much in trustee fees. But, a trustee is entitled to be compensated. So, what are the rules for Florida Trustee Compensation? There are 3 things which Florida Trust Beneficiaries need to read about trustee compensation. We have written before about trustee fees and trustee removal. Now, let’s focus a bit more on trustee compensation. Florida Trust Law on Trustee Compensation Florida trustees are ENTITLED to reasonable compensation. Florida Trust Code Statute 736.0708 tells you about reasonable compensation. But most experienced expert trust trial lawyers, like John Pankauski, will tell you that the devil is in the details. “Each trustee compensation case is so fact specific” says Pankauski. He should know. He tries cases involving trustee fees and trustee compensation. And if an estate is involved, that’s important, too. Many times, a person will have a POUR OVER WILL which leaves everything to their Revocable Trust. A Florida Revocable Trust may also be known as a Living Trust or a Revocable Living Trust. To see a FREE VIDEO about whether an amendment to a revocable trust is valid, click HERE. Trustee Compensation Appeals in Florida As a trust litigator who also handles Trust Appeals, John Pankauski knows that opinions from appeals courts are important. That’s why you should consider […]

READ MORE

Florida Family Law and Inheritances: do I inherit from my ex?

FAQs Dec 13, 2020
post about Florida Family Law and Inheritances: do I inherit from my ex?

Have you inherited a trust from a Florida estate? If you were you married at the time you received an inheritance in Florida, be careful if you get divorced. This legal commentary will focus on equitable distribution of inheritances. While you are at it, you may wish to consider how family law and estate law overlap. Family Law and Divorce Property If you are in the process of hiring a Florida law firm to assist you with Miami probate litigation, you may want to look for a law firm that is experienced in both 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 a trust or divorce lawsuit and the other side decides to appeal? You will want to make sure you have an appellate attorney, who is knowledgeable about the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure and familiar with the Florida appeals courts. At Pankauski Lazarus, one of the law partners, Robert Hauser, has been named a Board Certified Specialist by The Florida Bar in Appellate Practice. Florida Equitable Distribution If you want to know what is considered to be a marital asset in Florida, you should read Florida’s equitable distribution statute. The statute provides the following in part: (a) 1. “Marital assets and liabilities” include: a. Assets acquired and liabilities incurred during the marriage, individually by either spouse or jointly by them. b. The enhancement in […]

READ MORE

Miami Inheritances and Alimony

FAQs Dec 7, 2020
post about Miami Inheritances and Alimony

What do Miami family law or alimony modification lawsuits have to do with Florida inheritance matters? Why are Florida divorce cases relevant to probate cases? What do South Beach estate litigators need to know about prenups and alimony? How important is it to hire an experienced Miami Beach appellate attorney for an alimony appeal? How can an appellate attorney help me to appeal a court order denying an alimony modification? Miami Prenups and Inheritances Your Miami estate planning lawyer or probate attorney can tell you that a prenuptial agreement (prenup) can protect your inheritance from your spouse in the case of death or divorce. In a prenup, you can specify how to divide up property and inheritances at the end of a marriage. Miami family law and probate lawyers know that inherited assets can be considered in the award of alimony. However, by fixing the term and amount of alimony in a prenup, entangling an inheritance with a divorce can be avoided. In the case of death, inherited assets are treated just as any other asset. Therefore, in the absence of a prenup, inherited assets are subject to spousal claims just like any other asset. If you don’t have a prenup, you may find yourself needing to hire a Miami family law attorney to represent you in an alimony battle, a probate attorney to fight for your inheritance, and even a West Palm Beach appellate attorney if the modification lawsuit leads to an appeal. Florida Alimony Modification Appeals If you are involved in alimony litigation, or questioning whether or not you should […]

READ MORE

Florida Inheritance Lawsuit and Personal Financial Data

FAQs Nov 24, 2020
post about Florida Inheritance Lawsuit and Personal Financial Data

Are you involved a Florida Probate case? And it is about Florida Inheritance Lawsuit and personal financial data? One of the pressing issues is how much can you learn about money. Finances. And Personal Financial Data. Can a beneficiary request personal financial records from a Florida trustee? When can the opposing party request personal financial records from me? We have previously provided FREE FLORIDA LEGAL COMMENTARY on your Florida Right to Privacy . In Florida, there is a Constitutional right to privacy which includes financial information. Florida Trusts & Relevant Information West Palm Beach probate lawyers know that beneficiaries of a Florida trust have a right, under Florida probate and trust law, to “relevant information.” For one, beneficiaries have a right to receive an annual accounting from the trustee. 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.” If you are the beneficiary of a trust in Florida, and your trustee is not providing you with requested relevant information or accountings, you should consider consulting with an experienced West Palm Beach inheritance attorney. Unfortunately, as trust and estates litigators, we know that there are “bad” trustees out there. Sometimes, […]

READ MORE

Florida Will Contests: Can Prior Beneficiaries Sue to Revoke Probate?

FAQs Oct 20, 2020
post about Florida Will Contests: Can Prior Beneficiaries Sue to Revoke Probate?

Are you thinking about contesting a Florida will? Whether you can file Florida Will Contests may depend on whether or not you were in a prior will. If you were cut out by a later will, understand how to object to the will. For more on “legal standing” or the ability to object, read on. Need a contingency fee probate litigator? Contesting a Florida Will If you are looking to contest a will in Miami or Fort Lauderdale, you should consider consulting with a Florida probate litigator. Florida probate lawyers, like the lawyers at Pankauski Lazarus, can evaluate your matter to determine whether or not there are facts that may lead to a successful will contest. Both Florida estate planning attorneys and trust litigators know that there are many reasons a will may be contested. One of the main reasons a Florida will could be challenged is if the testator, the person who signed the will, did not have “testamentary capacity” to sign a will in Florida. According to Florida law, what is “testamentary capacity”? Testamentary Capacity, Competency and Florida Will Contests If a will was signed with the signer did not have “capacity”, the will is void. Put another way, if the will-signer was not competent, then the will needs to be objected to, to overturn it. Failure to object timely means an otherwise invalid will may be admitted to probate. There are four main components to show testamentary capacity (sometimes called “sufficient mental capacity”) in Florida: understanding that he or she is creating […]

READ MORE

Florida Retaining Lien

FAQs Feb 7, 2019
post about Florida Retaining Lien

A retaining lien in Florida may permit an attorney to retain its files until she is paid for her services. There are only a handful of points that are easy to grasp to understand this concept. It’s different than, but related to, a charging lien. And, there was a 2021 Florida Bar revised or reconsidered opinion on this topic which is a must read. What is a retaining lien? A retaining lien in Florida is a right. The right belongs to a lawyer or law firm. It is a form of security. To provide some assurance that a lawyer will be paid. If it is valid, it attaches to files. Papers, documents, notes, drafts. …. sometimes ! Maybe! Why? Because the Florida Bar just issued an ethics opinion on lawyer liens on March 23, 2021. It is a must read. That 2021 opinion is a reconsideration of Florida Bar Ethics Opinion 88-11 which was issued on August 1, 1988. To read the 2021 reconsideration, click HERE. How do I learn more? Consider reading an opinion from Florida’s 3rd District Court of Appeal. A 2010 opinion tells you more about this obscure legal topic. That opinion also distinguishes a charging lien from a retaining lien. To see free Florida Legal videos on charging liens, click HERE.  

READ MORE

What is Declaratory Relief in Florida Trust and Estates Litigation? May 11,2016 4th District Court of Appeal Opinion

FAQs May 20, 2016
post about What is Declaratory Relief in Florida Trust and Estates Litigation? May 11,2016 4th District Court of Appeal Opinion

Trust beneficiaries and trustees seek declaratory relief all the time. Filing a “dec action” is permitted by statute and caselaw. What is declaratory relief and how can an action help you? Florida law, 736.0201 specifically permits declaratory relief.  What is declaratory relief in a trust and estate lawsuit? How do Florida probate litigators get a probate judge West Palm Beach to make a declaration about your rights or someone else’s rights? A May 11,2016 Fourth District Court of Appeal opinion discusses a declaratory action under Chapter 86, Florida Statutes.

READ MORE

4th DCA Upholds Use of “Trust Protectors” –What IS a “Trust Protector”?

FAQs Oct 15, 2015
post about 4th DCA Upholds Use of “Trust Protectors” –What IS a “Trust Protector”?

A trust protector is recognized under Florida trust law and may be more influential than you realize. Both trustees and beneficiaries should understand who this “legal actor” is. And, what she can do ! Do you have a revocable trust?  Do you use domestic and off shore trusts together to control your wealth?  You may already be familiar with the idea of a “trust protector” that may assist Florida trusts.  She may guide a trustee of a trust in its administration. Traditionally these were not very common for Florida Trusts. A West Palm Beach appeals court however has recognized them in a relatively recent case. How does this change trust litigation and trust administration in West Palm Beach?

READ MORE