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Category: In the News

Jeffrey Epstein and GRATs

In the News Feb 13, 2021
post about Jeffrey Epstein and GRATs

Jeffrey Epstein was back in the news in 2021. This time, the focus was on a unique and sophisticated estate planning technique called a GRAT. We had previously provided insight on Jeffrey Epstein’s estate and potential creditors of the now deceased Palm Beach resident. So, what is a GRAT? Why are Florida families and trustees litigating about these Florida trusts? What is a Florida GRAT? What is a Florida GRAT? GRAT is short for Grantor Retained Annuity Trust. “It’s a fantastic, low risk estate planning technique that can literally save millions, even billions, in estate taxes if done correctly” says Palm Beach trust litigator John Pankauski. And Pankauski should know. After all, he was reading the IRS federal regulations on GRATs back in the early 90’s and writing them for wealthy clients over 20 years ago. Today, he doesn’t write or draft GRATs. He and the handful of expert litigators at his firm now only litigate and handle appeals for GRATs. Jeffrey Epstein GRATs With a GRAT, the creator, or settlor of a special trust irrevocably transfers property to her trustee. The grantor of the GRAT retains, or keeps, an annuity stream for a fixed term–such as a number of years. With a properly drafted or written GRAT, the savings can be amazing. But you also need the right family asset and a good appraiser. Why do these things matter? Because the amount that is transferred (or “gifted”) for federal gift tax (or estate tax) purposes can be very small […]

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Britney Spears Guardianship — removing your guardian

In the News Feb 13, 2021
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The conservatorship of Britney Spears is in the news again. You may have read some of our blogs on Britney Spears and Florida guardianships in the past. After all, Pankauski Lazarus is one of the few boutique litigation law firms that restricts its practice to Florida guardianship trials. Let’s discuss a very recent update on the guardianship of Britney Spears, first reported in the New York Times. ( February 9, 2021: Britney Spears Conservatorship Case Heads Back to Court). Why do Florida families care about the Britney Spears Guardianship? What if Britney Spears Guardianship Was in Florida? Some states refer to an adult guardianship as a “conservatorship.” In Florida, most probate divisions of the Circuit Courts exclusively handle all guardianships. And, remember, Florida guardianships are not just for minors or those people who are under 18. “For good or for ill, guardianship lawsuits have increased in the 25+ years that I’ve been admitted to practice law in Florida.” says John Pankauski, Managing Member of Pankauski Lazarus, a boutique guardianship and probate litigation law firm. Well if the Britney Spears Guardianship was in Florida and not California, the Florida Guardianship Code would apply. Changing Your Guardian in the Guardianship Court In Florida, the “guardianship court” is actually the Probate Division of the judicial circuit where the alleged incapacitated person, or “ward”, resides. Probate courts have exclusive jurisdiction over Florida estates, Florida guardianships and most of the time Florida trusts. In the case of the Britney Spears Guardianship, Ms. Spears wants to […]

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Miami Business Lawsuit & LLCs– recent appeals case re judgment creditor

In the News Jan 16, 2021
post about Miami Business Lawsuit & LLCs– recent appeals case re judgment creditor

Are you involved in a Miami business lawsuit? If you won your case, do you know how to get paid from your defendant? A January 13, 2021 appeals court opinion from Florida’s 3rd District Court of Appeal reminds Miami business litigation lawyers about judgment creditors and Florida LLCs. If you are a Miami business owner involved in a lawsuit, what can you learn from this case which had a $30 Million judgment? (For legal commentary on a case involving a Florida LLC interest, and how it passes upon death, click HERE. ) Let’s say that you won your business lawsuit and you got a judgment against your defendant. And your defendant is an investor in some Florida limited liability companies. Now, you want your Miami business litigation attorney to explain how you get paid. Florida business lawyers would describe you as a “judgment creditor.” How do you get your judgment “satisfied” after the Miami business trial ? Is it possible to obtain or get the other side’s units or interests in those limited liability companies? Well, start reading Florida law on judgment creditors and Florida limited liability companies. You can read all about the Florida Revised Limited Liability Company Act, or Chapter 605, by clicking this link: In the recent case of Ramos v. Mississippi Real Estate Dispositions, LLC, from the Miami Appeal Court, there was actually a charging order regarding Membership Units or shares of a multi-member limited liability company. Could the judgment creditor, with a $30 Million judgment, […]

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Civil Theft Florida — + 3x Damages

In the News Apr 22, 2019
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Is someone you know the victim of civil theft in Florida? Have funds been embezzled from a Florida trust or bank account? Many times, heirs and family members want to know what happened to their inheritance. Understanding your rights to your inheritance is important. Here’s more information about this unique legal remedy. It is SERIOUS stuff. Do you have the stomach to handle it? Civil Theft Florida — can you handle the risk? Florida law says if you commit a crime, you can be sued civilly ! Are you ready to collect and exercise your rights? Now, the this law comes with risks + rewards Like all litigation matters, no one– I mean NO ONE– has a crystal ball Would you risk being assessed with attorneys fees if you lose? One such remedy is an action for civil theft Florida when funds have been stolen Can you use this in West Palm Beach probate court? When a trustee comingles or pilfers funds, is that civil theft? For more information, why don’t you start with the law: Florida Statutes 772.11 What about when the personal representative takes funds that she is not entitled to? Recent Case + 1 Law OK, so you want to read more about this law? This “right of recovery?” You can read this 3rd District Court of Appeal opinion in the case of Bailey v. Covington. This is an April 7, 2021 opinion. So, it’s recent and pertinent. Is your probate lawyer up on this? And the statute, or law, you already know about. Because […]

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