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Florida Inheritance Lawsuits and Personal Financials

Uncategorized Jul 29, 2020
post about Florida Inheritance Lawsuits and Personal Financials

Are you involved in inheritance litigation? Are you the trustee of a Florida trust? Is a beneficiary of a Florida estate suing you? Can a beneficiary request personal financial records from a Florida trustee? When can the opposing party request personal financial records from me? Do I have to disclose my personal tax returns and bank records in my current probate lawsuit? Florida Trusts and 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, suing the trustee is necessary to get the answers and information you are entitled to as a beneficiary. Florida Trustees and Discovery Trustees in Florida […]

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Florida Estates and Timely Creditor Claims

Uncategorized Jul 27, 2020
post about Florida Estates and Timely Creditor Claims

What is a reasonably ascertainable creditor in a Florida probate proceeding? How does a creditor give the personal representative of a Florida estate notice of his or her claim? What does the personal representative have to do to properly determine creditors? What happens if a creditor files a claim against a West Palm beach estate after the claim period? Florida Estate Proceedings: Notice to Creditors If you are serving as the personal representative of a Florida estate, you will have to comply with Florida Statute, section 733.2121. Therefore, as personal representative, you must properly publish Notice to Creditors and make a diligent search to determine creditors. To ensure that the Notice to Creditors is properly published, it is important to read the relevant statute in its entirety and to consult with your Florida probate attorney. Furthermore, in any probate matter, it is very important to know filing deadlines. Under Florida Statute 733.702(1), creditors must file any statements of claim against a decedent’s estate within three months of the first publication of the notice to creditors or within thirty days of being served with it, whichever is later. Any claim not filed within that time is barred unless the court grants an extension.733.702(3), Florida Statutes(2012). Extensions can be granted “upon ground of fraud, estoppel, or insufficient notice of the claims period.” Florida courts take deadlines very seriously. If you believe that you have a creditor claim against a Florida estate, you should begin interviewing estate lawyers and get your claim filed immediately. If you […]

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Suing a Trustee: Individually and as Trustee of a Miami Trust

Uncategorized Jul 27, 2020
post about Suing a Trustee: Individually and as Trustee of a Miami Trust

Are you involved in a lawsuit against a Florida trustee? Do you wish to sue a Florida trustee as trustee of your dad’s trust? When should you sue a Florida trustee individually ? When should you sue a trustee both individually and as trustee of a trust in Florida? Why is it important to acknowledge that suing a person who happens to be serving as a trustee is different than suing that person in his or her capacity as trustee? Florida Trustee Duties Under the Florida Trust Code, a trustee has the following duties: Duty to Administer the Trust in good faith and accordance with its purposes and the Florida trust code. Duty of Loyalty. A trustee cannot engage in self dealing for its own advantage of profit, it must be loyal to the trust and beneficiaries. The trustee violates the duty of loyalty any time a transaction is entered for the trustee’s own advantage or benefit. These are general voidable by the court.  Duty of Prudence. The trustee must administer the trust as a prudent person would after considering the purpose of the trust, its terms, what the circumstances of the trust and market are etc. The trustee also cannot incur unreasonable expenses. Duty of Special Skills means that a trustee with special skills will be held responsible to utilize those skills. For example, if a person serves as a trustee who is a lawyer or accountant, that person will be held to a hire standard. Duty to control, collect and protect the trust property, and assets.  Duty of Impartiality. If a […]

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West Palm Beach Inheritance Disputes and Petitions for Certiorari

Uncategorized Jul 26, 2020
post about West Palm Beach Inheritance Disputes and Petitions for Certiorari

What is a petition for certiorari? How are petitions for certiorari different than appeals in Florida? When can you file a petition for certiorari in your Florida probate lawsuit? What must you demonstrate to invoke the relief of certiorari in a trust and estates lawsuit? When should you seek certiorari review in a West Palm Beach trust case? Certiorari Review and Florida Estate Lawsuits During Florida trust litigation, or during a probate lawsuit, you may disagree with a trial court’s order.Can you do anything about the order while the lawsuit is still going on, or do you have to wait to file an appeal? Generally, you can only appeal final orders. However, there are exceptions. In limited circumstances, your Florida trust lawyer can seek certiorari review of an order from the appellate court. Certiorari review only becomes an option when, during litigation, the trial court “departs from the essential requirements of law.” There are three requirements that must be demonstrated to invoke the relief of certiorari: 1) you have to establish a departure from the essential requirements of the law 2) resulting in material injury for the remainder of the case 3) the injury can’t be corrected on post-judgment appeal. Basically, you must prove that the trial court made a legal error that caused irreparable harm and, therefore, you need a remedy for it now. Invoking the Relief of Certiorari Invoking the relief of certiorari is difficult and your Palm Beach probate lawyer should be experienced and knowledgeable about the […]

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Surviving Spouse Inheritance Rights and Florida Homestead

Uncategorized Jul 26, 2020
post about Surviving Spouse Inheritance Rights and Florida Homestead

Does a surviving spouse have rights when it comes to inheritances? Can my wife or husband disinherit me and leave me nothing? If I am a surviving spouse, should I hire a West Palm Beach probate lawyer? What happens if my husband doesn’t include me in his Florida will or trust? Are there certain Florida Statutes I should be familiar with as a surviving spouse? What happens to my wife’s homestead property now that she has passed away? Can my husband’s adult children take away the house that I live in just because it was only in my husband’s name? Florida Surviving Spouse Rights In Florida, surviving spouses have inheritance rights to property of a deceased spouse.  In fact, there are statutory minimum benefits to ensure that surviving family members are provided for, regardless of the decedent’s intent.  What are these benefits? Homestead, elective share, and family allowances are three of the main inheritance rights of surviving spouses in Florida. Are there exceptions? As with almost every Florida law, there are exceptions. If a surviving spouse waived his or her inheritance rights in a prenuptial or other agreement, he or she may be out of luck. However, it never hurts to consult with a Florida probate lawyer to make sure that the inheritance rights or homestead rights were validly waived. Surviving Spouse and Homestead Florida Statute 732.401 explains that a surviving spouse in Florida takes a life estate in the homestead property UNLESS the surviving spouse elects to, instead, take an undivided one-half interest in the homestead as […]

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West Palm Beach Settlement Agreements and Privileged Communications

Uncategorized Jul 24, 2020
post about West Palm Beach Settlement Agreements and Privileged Communications

What is a settlement agreement? When do settlement agreements come into play during a probate battle? Whens should you sign a settlement agreement? What should you know before signing a settlement agreement in Florida? What should your Miami trial lawyer tell you before you decide to enter into a settlement agreement? When does litigation occur to enforce a settlement agreement? What happens if you do not comply with the terms you agreed to in a settlement agreement? In Miami, how can you compel compliance with a settlement agreement? Florida Litigators and Settlement Agreements At Pankauski Hauser Lazarus, our attorneys handle civil litigation and appeals throughout Florida. Our trial attorneys handle probate, guardianship, and business disputes. The cities we practice in, to name a few, include Miami, Orlando, West Palm Beach, Delray Beach, and Fort Lauderdale. Although business litigators frequent the courtroom, they must also handle other aspects of litigation. For example, outside of the courtroom, experienced trial lawyers prepare for depositions, negotiate settlement agreements, prepare petitions, etc. Another part of a business lawyer’s job is to provide client’s with legal options. Some clients choose to be more aggressive than others. For example, some clients want to have their day in court at a trial, while others prefer to end their inheritance dispute as quickly as possible. Some probate and business lawsuits are resolved with a settlement agreement. An experienced Florida lawyer can help you to negotiate settlement terms, explain to you what the terms in the agreement actually mean (prior to […]

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Florida Lawsuits: POA Documents and Arbitration

Uncategorized Jul 23, 2020
post about Florida Lawsuits: POA Documents and Arbitration

What does a power of attorney (POA) document have to do with arbitration? When is arbitration correctly compelled by a trial court? How do you interpret the scope of a POA document? How can a health care surrogate become involved in litigation regarding arbitration? POA and Health Care Documents in Florida Florida Guardianship lawyers know that, even if a person is deemed incapacitated by a probate court judge in Florida, the court may choose not to appoint a guardian if there’s a lesser restrictive alternative that adequately addresses the incapacitated person’s needs. Therefore, POA and health care documents can prove to be very valuable. If you meet with aFlorida estate planning attorney to execute a POA, trust and/or health care documents, you will be able to choose who will take care of you if you are to become unable to care for yourself. If a proper estate plan is in place, and you get Alzheimer’s or dementia, you may not have to worry about strangers, or greedy relatives that you dislike, taking over you and your finances. The Scope of a POA Sometimes, it can become confusing to a trustee or POA as to what the estate documents allow them to do exactly. For example, certain POA documents specify or limit the authority that it delegates. How do courts determine what authority a POA grants? A recent Fourth DCA opinion, Manor Oaks, Inc. v. Campbell discusses whether or not a particular POA document gives a health care surrogate the ability […]

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West Palm Beach Trust Lawsuits: When is an Evidentiary Hearing Necessary to Determine Relevancy?

Uncategorized Jul 22, 2020
post about West Palm Beach Trust Lawsuits: When is an Evidentiary Hearing Necessary to Determine Relevancy?

Are you involved in a West Palm Beach trust lawsuit? Have you, as the beneficiary of a Palm Beach trust, recently sued a Florida trustee? Can a Florida court compel the disclosure of trust information? What must the court consider if financial information from a nonparty is requested? How should I choose a West Palm Beach lawyer for my complex Florida trust battle? Choosing a Palm Beach Trust Lawyer If you are the beneficiary of a trust, or even the trustee of a Florida trust, you may find yourself in need of a trust lawyer. Trust litigation happens often and having a powerful trust attorney representing you is important. When interviewing Florida lawyers for a trust lawsuit, you may want to consider how many years of experience the lawyer has practicing trust law. For example, has your lawyer just began practicing law or does he/she have over 20 years of experience like the partners at Pankauski Hauser Lazarus do. Also, you may want to make sure that your trust lawyer is extremely familiar with Florida’s Trust Code and the Florida Statutes pertaining to trust and civil lawsuits in Florida. Lastly, look for a lawyer who limits his or her practice. If trust and estate litigation and appeals is one of the firm’s main practice areas, the lawyers at the firm have probably been in front of a Florida judge in many other trust lawsuits. Trust Lawsuits and Evidentiary Hearings Florida trust lawsuits can involve many different issues and topics. For […]

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Florida Trust Litigation: Compelling the Disclosure of a Florida Trust’s Financial Records

Uncategorized Jul 22, 2020
post about Florida Trust Litigation: Compelling the Disclosure of a Florida Trust’s Financial Records

Are you the beneficiary of a Florida trust? Has the trustee provided you with an accounting? Do you know how much the Florida trust you inherit from is worth? Do you believe that a trustee has stolen money from the trust? How can you compel the trustee of a Florida trust to disclose the trust’s financial records? When should you hire a West Palm Beach trust attorney? Florida Beneficiary Rights To Relevant Information Beneficiaries of a Palm beach trust have a right, under Florida probate and trust law, to “relevant information.” This includes a right to receive accountings. Therefore, when you are the beneficiary of a West Palm Beach or Miami trust, you have a right to request, from the trustee, an accounting of that trust. 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.” Trust Lawsuits in Florida If you are the beneficiary of a Florida trust, and you believe the trustee is hiding something, or has stolen money, you may decide to sue the trustee. The trustee has a duty to communicate certain information to the trust beneficiaries. If the trustee is ignoring your inquiries, refusing to provide you with […]

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Florida Appeals and Alimony Modification

Uncategorized Jul 21, 2020
post about Florida Appeals and Alimony Modification

What is a Florida appeal? When do you need to hire a West Palm Beach appellate attorney? What probate or family law orders are appealable? How can an appellate attorney help me with an alimony modification? Florida Family Law Litigation and Appeals Florida lawyers know that some family law cases can lead to an appeal. If you disagree with a final judgment or order, you may be able to file an appeal. If you win a case, the other side may appeal. Therefore, it’s important to anticipate the possibility of having to hire a West Palm Beach appellate attorney. Hiring a Florida Appellate Lawyer For Your Family Law Appeal If you are in the process of hiring a Florida appellate firm, you may want to look for a law firm with extensive experience in handling civil appeals. Does the West Palm Beach appellate attorney you are interviewing have over twenty years of experience? How many appellate briefs have they written? At Pankauski Hauser Lazarus, one of the law partners, Robert Hauser, has been named a Board Certified Specialist by The Florida Bar in Appellate Practice. The appellate team at Pankauski Hauser Lazarus handles appeals in each and every district court of appeal in Florida.  Nangle v. Nangle If you are involved in alimony litigation, you may want to read Nangle v. Nangle, a December 18, 2019 Fourth DCA opinion. This case is a good example of how an alimony dispute can end up in a Florida appellate court. Here, the former husband […]

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