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How to Revoke Probate in Florida

FAQs Sep 12, 2021
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How to revoke probate in Florida may be the key to getting your inheritance. Regrettably, in some cases of undue influence and probate fraud, it’s your only option. If a probate was “opened“, you will need to take action if you want to preserve your rights. And fight back. Knowing where such a petition fits in with you trying to get your inheritance is key to your success. Understanding the Probate Process in Florida In Florida, when you die, there are special rules for what happens to your property. Specific procedures that need to be followed. For example, most beneficiaries don’t know that all creditors and estate (probate) expenses are paid first ! Before a beneficiary sees a dime ! First, your assets should be gathered. This process is also known as “marshalling” your assets. Non probate assets, so called “will substitutes” like joint accounts, generally go to the survivor. But not always. Knowing when such an asset should come back to probate is often heavily litigated. So much for “avoiding” probate with joint tenancy, right? Second, all debts of the decedent need to be paid. Mortgage? IRS? Borrowings; last electric bill; cable bill, etc. You get the point. Then expenses of administration need to be paid. Including the probate lawyer ! Court documents need to be filed in the probate court and interested persons need to receive notice. What if the will that is on file is wrong? What if the petition for administration was granted and you think […]

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Probate Contingency Lawyer

FAQs Sep 8, 2021
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A contingency fee may be your key to the probate court. (But, how do you find the right lawyer?) If the idea of large legal fees just to protect your inheritance is daunting, you are not alone. Many beneficiaries, heirs and family members seek out a probate contingency lawyer for will contests and trust lawsuits. Even just plain old probates —to look out for them, and protect their inheritance, in a Florida estate case. Admittedly, good ones are hard to find. And big firms won’t do contingent fees. You need to find a boutique expert who limits their practice to this area of the law. Here’s what you need to know now. (to read more about contingency fees, click THIS LINK ) Everyone’s Doing It “I get dozens of calls each quarter” says Probate Litigation Lawyer John Pankauski. “A lot of people are looking for a probate contingency lawyer. And they are the ones asking for a contingency fee.” But Pankauski admittedly doesn’t take over 90% of those calls who seek out his firm. He would rather be paid each month for his time, at his hourly rate — rather than take a case on a contingency. But he has that luxury. His firm has a robust practice handling litigations and appeals for wills, trusts, probates and estates, throughout Florida. His band of trial lawyers have found success in trials and even appeals. “I am very selective on what cases I’ll take on a contingency” he says. If you can […]

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Florida Will Contest

Our Firm Sep 7, 2021
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What is a Florida Will Contest and what do you need to know? To see a free Florida probate video about a will contest, CLICK HERE. To learn more, keep reading. An Introduction to Florida Will Contest A Florida will contest is a challenge to a will. It involves going to court, the probate court, and making a claim. This claim is often in the form of a court-filed document called a Petition. In that Petition, you set forth your case on why the will is not valid. That is your challenge. You challenge the validity of the will. Florida law lists a limited number of reasons why a will may not be valid. Understanding all of these legal avenues is key to your success. Gathering your evidence is key. Finally, knowing how to try this type of case is paramount. Unless you settle your will contest, it will go to trial. A probate judge will tell you whether a will is valid or not valid. If there are a number of wills in play, she will tell you which ones are valid, which are not valid, and which one controls. Are you ready? Affect of Fraud or Duress A will that is caused by Fraud or Duress is void. Undue influence is a kind of fraud. Many times, people question wills that are signed right before death. Or, when a new beneficiary magically appears in a will, and was never there before. If a person forced or pressured someone […]

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Will Challenge Florida

FAQs Aug 31, 2021
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There are a number of ways to handle a will challenge Florida. These depend on the facts of your particular case. However, how you approach your probate lawsuit depends upon your STRATEGY. Whether you are claiming a will is invalid based upon an insane delusion, dementia or undue influence, read on. What is a Will Challenge Florida? A will challenge Florida is an attempt to have a will declared void. Or invalid. In some instances, you are challenging only a part of the will. Such as a provision that leaves a specific asset to a particular beneficiary. Or, the “residue”, or “residuary” clause that changes who gets everything else in the end. A challenge may also be thought of, or described as, a Will Contest. A will may be valid if it was not executed OR signed properly. If you don’t have two witnesses who sign in the presence of the person– and each other, who also sign in everyone’s presence– the will is not valid. Sometimes you simply start with the basics of a will challenge. Was the will signed correctly? To read a Florida appellate court opinion about will signings, click HERE. If the person who “signed” the will did not know what was going on, the will is not valid. Probate litigators call this lacking the requisite testamentary capacity. It does not mean that a guardianship was created. A Florida resident who signs a will must know, in general terms, what she is doing. Does she know […]

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Florida Interpleader Lawyer

Our Attorneys Aug 29, 2021
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Did you get notice of an interpleader action? Life insurance policy proceeds? Bank account? IRA or mutual funds? If you did, you only have a limited time to make your claim to the money. Understanding how to make your claim and prepare for victory can involve finding an experienced Florida interpleader lawyer. We have previously written about federal court interpleader. Now, let’s talk a bit more about this important topic. After all, you only get one chance. Talking to the Stakeholder and Making a Claim Most “stakeholders” like insurance companies don’t want to get involved in litigation. They have the insurance proceeds or annuity. When there is a doubt about who inherits those funds, they can interplead those funds into a Florida court registry. Having a lawyer who can talk to the company’s lawyers can help. Often, you can find out how much is at stake and get statements and information quickly. And then the people can make their claims without the insurance or annuity company involved. Who? Like heirs, beneficiaries and family members who believe they inherit the IRA or bank account or death proceeds. Interpleader actions can occur in state court and federal court. In exchange for “getting rid of the money” the “stakeholder” seeks to be discharged and removed from the case. That just leaves the family members or heirs to make their claims. Florida Interpleader Lawyer Ask any experienced interpleader attorney and they will tell you that literally millions of dollars are on the line. “I […]

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Florida Civil Theft Law– everything you need to know

Our Firm Aug 22, 2021
post about Florida Civil Theft Law– everything you need to know

Did someone take your property? You may be able to seek TRIPLE (treble) damages, plus interest, plus attorneys fees. Here’s everything you need to know about Florida Civil Theft Law. For a brief free legal video on DAMAGES and calculating damages, click HERE. The Statute You MUST Read on Civil Theft ! Florida Statute 772.11 is the “begin and end” of Florida Civil Theft Law. Read it here for free by a simple CLICK. To be thorough, read the entire Chapter 772. It does not take long and you will learn a lot about this. Don’t have time? Read the bullet point highlights below. Everything You Need To Know in Plain English + Few Words This law only applies to one of the crimes on the list in 772.11 . Pre suit demand is a requirement You can’t receive punitive damages if you prevail So, your probate or trust litigator needs to analyze whether you want to try to get trebel damages or DON’T SUE FOR CIVIL THEFT but seek punitive damages. But………………….can you plead in the alternative? Attorneys fees and costs can go to the winner — including the DEFENDANT under certain circumstances Can you prove your case by CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE? Can I Use This Law for POA or Florida Trust Cases? Can you use this law if your trustee is stealing from you? Yes ! To see a free trust video on trustees stealing, click HERE. The statute can definitely be used against Florida Trustees who […]

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Interpleader Attorney Florida

Our Attorneys Aug 18, 2021
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Did you just get notice of a federal court interpleader? If you are wondering why you have not received an annuity or life insurance proceeds, read on. You’ll learn all about what an interpleader attorney Florida does. And how you may inherit millions. We have previously written about federal court litigation. Notably, how probate matters don’t go to federal court. Now, learn how federal court may be the place to claim your inherited annuity or insurance money. And also consider recent state court Florida interpleader actions. What is Interpleader? Interpleader is a lawsuit or a court filing or “action.” It involves someone who has property belonging to another. That someone who is in possession of the property is referred to as a “stakeholder.” The stakeholder may have artwork, jewels, death proceeds or insurance proceeds from a life insurance policy. Or, simply annuity proceeds. Literally millions and millions of dollars are the subject of interpleader actions filed in Florida state courts. And also federal court in Florida. An experienced interpleader attorney Florida will have results from both state court and federal court. The purpose of such an action is to have the stakeholder properly deposit ( i.e. get rid of) the property in their hands. The those making claims for the annuity or life insurance can “fight” it out. And the court will decide who inherits the insurance or annuity. Interpleader Attorney Florida Generally speaking, the “plaintiff” to the action simply wants to deposit the property or money or funds and […]

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Challenging a Trust Before Death

In the News Jul 26, 2021
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Can you object to a revocable trust before the trust creator dies? You are not supposed to under Florida law. There are two things every potential challenger MUST READ. If you are thinking of contesting a trust or challenging its validity, read on. We have previously provided Florida Trust Commentary on such things as trust validity, trust attacks and undue influence. Now, let’s focus on a September 9, 2020 4th DCA opinion. (for a link to FREE TRUST VIDEOS, click HERE) 2 Things You Must Read Before Attacking a Trust Challenging a trust before death? Not so fast !! So, let’s be clear. You can’t attack a revocable trust while the trust creator is alive. The person who creates the trust is called the “grantor” or “settlor.” The attorney who writes the trust, or who prepares the trust for the creator, is often referred to as the “drafting attorney.” The Florida Trust Code is the body of statutory law laying out trust laws. It is added to by precedent. Precedent are the written opinions of our appellate courts. Trial courts, and appellate courts, interpret the Florida Trust Code. Judges tell us what the law means and says. When trial judges make trust rulings, appellate court judges will tell us whether the trial judge was correct or not. When a trial judge is wrong, it is referred to as committing error. Now, read Florida Statute 736.0207. This statute is a provision in the Florida Trust Code. It says that you can’t […]

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Florida Estate Laws

Our Firm Apr 14, 2021
post about Florida Estate Laws

There are two things you need to read to grasp Florida Estate Laws. There are also some other rules and authority which you may want to read. But let’s focus on these two important bodies of law for now. Would you like to read more about Florida Probate, Pour Over Wills, or Guardianship? Then you can click those words. If really want to read more, here is a link for FREE FLORIDA LEGAL COMMENTARY. If you still want to read more about probate law in Florida, watch a host of excellent FREE FLORIDA ESTATE VIDEOS. Florida Probate Code To understand Florida Estate Laws, begin with the Florida Probate Code. The Florida Probate Code is contained in Florida Statutes. Chapters 731-735. Those laws will tell you who may participate in a probate, how to open a probate and what must be done. There are laws in there about inventories, and rights and duties. There is also a definition section that helps explain important terms. Like what an “interested person” is. And how a Personal Representative should be acting. Most family members, beneficiaries and heirs like this because their rights are explained. But what if you are trying to exercise your rights in a Florida Probate. Don’t you need to know the procedures? Florida Probate Rules While the probate code is important, don’t forget about the Florida Probate Rules. Those rules set forth procedures and guidelines for getting stuff done in a Florida estate proceeding. The rules talk about petitions and hearings […]

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What is a Florida Estate Contingency Fee?

Our Firm Apr 11, 2021
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Lots of heirs and family members want help with Florida probates. Maybe they want to file a will contest or object to the will. Maybe there is already pending an INHERITANCE LAWSUIT. Perhaps it’s more simple. They want an inventory, accounting and someone to explain their Probate Rights to them in plain English. Regardless. But good & experienced probate litigators are hard to come by. And when you do find one that you click with, she or he can be expensive. Is there some way for a client to hire good legal counsel without shelling out thousands in billable hours? Some refer to a Florida Estate Contingency Fee as the keys to the courthouse door. Let’s examine what that is and its pro’s and con’s for probate matters. We have previously written about Probate Contingency Fees. 5 Tips to Finding a Great Probate Litigator Here are 5 tips on trying to find a great Florida Probate Litigator on an Estate Contingency Fee. First, find someone with 20 years+ experience. Like doctors, good lawyers develop over time. The more years you practice, the more cases you try. Hopefully, they are getting a lot better along the way. And, after 20 years of an active probate litigation practice, hopefully they “have seen it all.” Or close to it. Second, find a litigator, not just some probate lawyer. Litigators are more apt to take your case on an Estate Contingency Fee. Most probate lawyers don’t actually litigate, although they will tell you that […]

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