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Venue, Will Contests, and West Palm Beach Trust Lawsuits 

Uncategorized Jun 13, 2019
post about Venue, Will Contests, and West Palm Beach Trust Lawsuits 

Has your Florida trust attorney advised that you transfer your West Palm Beach trust lawsuit to a different venue? Has a beneficiary of an estate filed a motion to transfer venue? Are you confused about the Florida laws pertaining to venue, and how they can affect your Florida probate matter? When should a transfer of venue be considered? What is required for a Florida court to grant a motion to transfer venue? Can you move to transfer a will contest in Broward County to a more conveniently located venue? If you are involved in Florida litigation regarding a venue transfer, you may want to read an April 10, 2019 Fourth DCA opinion, Cohen v. Scarnato. Venue and Florida Probate Litigation Florida attorneys know that venue is a legal term for where you can file a lawsuit. In other words, a venue is where actions or a lawsuit can be brought. Florida is the jurisdiction or “forum”, but venue refers to the county in which your probate lawsuit or trust dispute may be heard. For example, some cases can be brought in Miami- Dade County, while others can be brought in Orange County. Proper Venue Florida Statute 47.011 provides that “actions shall be brought only in the county where the defendant resides, where the cause of action accrued, or where the property in litigation is located.” Therefore, in a trust or probate lawsuit, multiple factors will be considered to determine proper venue. Courts may consider where the trustee or personal representative […]

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Transferring Your Florida Trust Lawsuit to a Different Venue

Uncategorized Jun 11, 2019
post about Transferring Your Florida Trust Lawsuit to a Different Venue

What is venue? What does venue have to do with a Florida trust lawsuit or Palm Beach will contest? If you are involved in a probate lawsuit, where do you sue the personal representative or trustee? How do you know if you sued the trustee in a proper venue? Can you transfer a trust dispute from one Florida county to another? What should your probate lawyer know about venue and trust litigation? What is Venue? Venue is a legal term for where you can file a lawsuit. In other words, a venue is where actions or a lawsuit can be brought. Florida is the jurisdiction or “forum”, but venue refers to the particular county. For example, some cases can be brought in Palm Beach County, while others can be brought in Broward County. Where Can a Florida Action Be Brought? Florida Statute 47.011 provides that “ actions shall be brought only in the county where the defendant resides, where the cause of action accrued, or where the property in litigation is located.” Therefore, in a trust lawsuit, multiple factors will be considered to determine proper venue. Courts may consider where the trustee resides, where the trustee’s principal place of business is, where the Florida trust is being administered, etc. You should not assume that where the estate money is located is automatically a proper venue. For example, the estate money being located at a bank in Miami-Dade County, doesn’t guarantee that Miami-Dade County is a proper venue in which to […]

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Who Can Create a Valid Will in Florida?

Uncategorized May 31, 2019
post about Who Can Create a Valid Will in Florida?

In Florida, who can write a will? Who can have a trust drafted? Do you have to be over a certain age to create an estate plan? What is being of a “sound mind”? What is Florida Statute 732.501? How can you contest a will in Florida? How can a West Palm Beach probate lawyer help you to prove that a will is invalid? Who Can Write a Valid Will in Florida? Florida Statute 732.501 states that any person who is of a sound mind and who is 18 years or older may execute a Florida will. Florida estate lawyers and West Palm Beach trust attorneys know that a person needs to have testamentary capacity when they execute a will. Otherwise, their Florida will may end up being contested by the beneficiaries. What is being of a “sound mind”? What is testamentary capacity?  There are four main components to show testamentary capacity (sometimes called “sufficient mental capacity”) in Florida: understanding that he or she is creating a distribution of his or her property after death, knowing the nature and extent of his or her property, knowing the named heirs and members of his or her family understanding in a reasonable manner the general nature and effect of the act of signing the will. What are the Formalities Required for a Valid Will in Florida? Florida Statute 732.502 describes what formalities must be met for a will to be valid in Florida. A valid Florida will must 1) be in writing 2) be signed by the testator or another […]

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Holographic Wills in Florida

Uncategorized May 30, 2019
post about Holographic Wills in Florida

Who can write a valid will in Florida? What does it mean to be of “sound mind”? What is a holographic will according to Florida law?  Are holographic wills valid in Florida? What should I know about Holographic wills? What Florida Statutes can I read to learn more about Holographic wills in Florida? How can a Florida probate lawyer assist me if I believe a will was not properly executed? When should I hire a West Palm Beach estate lawyer to contest a holographic will in my Florida probate proceeding? Who Can Write a Valid Will in Florida? Florida Statute 732.501 states that any person who is of a sound mind and who is 18 years or older may execute a Florida will. Florida estate lawyers and West Palm Beach trust attorneys know that a person needs to have testamentary capacity when they execute a will. Otherwise, their Florida will may end up being contested by the beneficiaries. What is being of a “sound mind”? What is testamentary capacity?  There are four main components to show testamentary capacity (sometimes called “sufficient mental capacity”) in Florida: understanding that he or she is creating a distribution of his or her property after death, knowing the nature and extent of his or her property, knowing the named heirs and members of his or her family understanding in a reasonable manner the general nature and effect of the act of signing the will.  What is a Holographic Will? A Palm Beach probate lawyer can tell […]

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How to Recognize Financial Exploitation of the Elderly in Florida

Uncategorized May 24, 2019
post about How to Recognize Financial Exploitation of the Elderly in Florida

Unfortunately, financial exploitation of the elderly has become a huge issue throughout Florida. Palm Beach guardianship lawyers and estate attorneys frequently receive calls from concerned relatives or friends regarding an elderly person being financially abused. What are the different ways that an elderly person may be financially exploited? How can you detect if your mom or dad is being financially exploited? What should you do if you believe that your elderly relative is being taken advantage of by a caretaker or “friend” ? When do you need an experienced Florida guardianship lawyer? Florida Couple Arrested for Financial Exploitation of the Elderly A recent article by Fox News describes just one way that an elderly person can be financially exploited. Here, a Florida couple allegedly stole over $50,000 from the bank account of an 82-year-old veteran. They stole most of the money by placing threatening calls to the man. They would tell him that, if he didn’t pay, he would have to go to jail. The police became aware of this scam because the poor elderly man called the Veterans Crisis Center after discovering that his bank account had been drained. He told the Crisis Center that his bank accounts were negative, and that he didn’t know what to do other than to end his own life. To read the entire article about this Florida exploitation of the elderly case, click here. Power of Attorney Mis-Use The above article discusses how an elderly person can be financially exploited by a scam […]

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Divorce and Inheritance Rights in Florida

Uncategorized May 15, 2019
post about Divorce and Inheritance Rights in Florida

If you are divorced, can you still inherit from your ex-spouse under his or her Florida will? How does divorce affect inheritance rights in Florida? What if an ex-spouse is a beneficiary named in the decedent’s Florida will? Does it matter if my ex-wife wrote her will before we got married rather than during our marriage?  How can divorce affect an inheritance? Did you know that getting a divorce could have a substantial effect on your inheritance rights in Florida? Palm Beach probate lawyers know that certain probate statutes limit the inheritance rights of ex-spouses in Florida. Frequently, trust and estates litigators, like the lawyers here at Pankauski Hauser, encounter cases involving ex-spouses who believe they should be inheriting what had been left to them in a will that was written during their marriage. Is that ex-spouse entitled to inherit from his or her former spouse’s Florida will even though they got a divorce? This answer can prove to be tricky, and it depends on several factors. For example, one factor to be considered is whether the will was created BEFORE the marriage or DURING the marriage. Therefore, if you are getting a divorce in West Palm Beach or anywhere in Florida, you may wish to speak to your divorce lawyers and estate lawyers about this. You may also wish to read Florida Statute 732.507(2). What is Florida Statute 732.507? If you are the ex-spouse of a decedent, and you are named in the decedent’s Florida will, you may still be out […]

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Stalking Injunctions in Florida

Uncategorized May 10, 2019
post about Stalking Injunctions in Florida

When is a stalking injunction necessary in Florida? According to Florida Statute 784.048(2), stalking occurs when a person “willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks another person. You may wonder what the definition of “harass” is according to the Florida Statutes. To harass means to “engage in a course of conduct directed at a specific person which causes substantial emotional distress to that person and serves no legitimate purpose.” §784.048(1)(a), Fla. Stat. Is someone stalking you in Florida? Are you involved in Florida litigation where the person you are suing has started harassing you? Do you need a West Palm Beach lawyer to petition for injunction for protection against stalking? What Does a Stalking Injunction have to do with Florida Inheritances? West Palm Beach probate attorneys, like those at Pankauski Hauser, know that disputes over inheritances can become messy. What do we mean by “messy”? Frequently, probate lawyers who handle litigation witness family members “fight” in the courts over money and property. As John Pankauski states in his book Probate Litigation: Top 10 Probate Mistakes Revealed, “your family is going to fight over your wealth: when you’re gone and- perhaps- while you’re still alive.”  Many heated Florida trust and estates battles involve sibling rivalries. For example, one sibling may sue another sibling for unduly influencing their mom, while mom had dementia or Alzheimer’s, to change her Florida will or trust. Another example would be a sister suing her brother, the brother was dad’s power of attorney (POA), for wrongly […]

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Why Should I Create an Estate Plan?

Uncategorized May 7, 2019
post about Why Should I Create an Estate Plan?

How does dementia affect probate litigation? How does dementia affect a revocable trust?  Why is it so important to meet with your Florida estate planning attorney to draft a will or trust? How can a Florida estate plan help you to avoid a guardianship? How can a solid estate plan help you if you suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s? Why should I create an estate plan in Florida? What do probate litigators and guardianship lawyers need to know about dementia? How can dementia affect an estate?

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Probate Litigation: Florida Wills and Divorce

Uncategorized May 7, 2019
post about Probate Litigation: Florida Wills and Divorce

How can divorce affect an inheritance? Will my ex-husband still inherit from my Palm Beach estate if we get divorced? What happens if you leave an ex-spouse property in a Florida will? Are you involved in a probate matter regarding divorce and a Florida will? If so, you may want to read a recent Second DCA opinion, Gordon v. Fishman.

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Can Your Ex Spouse Inherit From Your Florida Will If You Forget to Change It?

Uncategorized May 7, 2019
post about Can Your Ex Spouse Inherit From Your Florida Will If You Forget to Change It?

Did you write a Florida will while you were married? What if that marriage has ended and your forget to change your will before you pass away? Can your ex-wife or ex-husband still inherit from your will if you get a divorce? If you are involved in a Palm Beach probate matter where an ex-spouse inherits in the decedent’s will, you may want to read a recent Second DCA opinion, Gordon v. Fishman.

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